The Times' article about the Danish chef who incorporates wild edibles into haute cuisine made me feel three things: hungry, ecstatic, and irritated.
Hungry because I want to eat "pulp of air-dried sea buckthorn with pickled rose hips." Ecstatic that an international star chef is making his name by cooking with undomesticated flora. Irritated for the same reason.
As much as I loved the article, I wish we lived in a world in which it wasn't news. I wish that using the free and compelling ultra-local bounty of the natural world was the default, not a bold move that attracts the attention of the press.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: eating wild edibles is a sublime experience. A bite of your environment will shower you with oodles more terroir than wine from thousands of miles away. It will surprise and delight your palate infinitely more than, say, a potato. And perhaps most importantly, it will give you a glimpse of the interconnectedness with the natural world that used to fuel our existence as a species. Which, if you're spending your free time reading a blog, chances are you could use.
The food world is so gaga for novelty, and yet new and exciting tastes abound right under our feet. Everyone (including me) made such a big stink when black garlic hit the scene, but what about the weeds in your lawn? There you're almost guaranteed to find clover, plantain, poor man's pepper, dandelion greens (and flowers and roots and buds) and chickweed, all delicious, all compelling, all free. You'll also find the source of one of my favorite wild teas: oxalis.
This morning I started the day with an ice cold glass of oxalis tea. Oh, you've never had it? Funny, it grows everywhere, it's as easy to make as microwave popcorn, and it tastes totally crazy.
Oxalis tea is a refreshing summer drink with a surprisingly citrusy twang and just a hint of vegetable funk. Pick oxalis from anywhere that you trust. Oh, you don't trust your own lawn because you spray it with toxic chemicals? Hmm, maybe you should think about that. Boil water. Steep a handful of fresh leaves and stems in the hot water for about five minutes. Strain. Cool. Drink. Call the New York Times.