Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Most Delicious Lawn

I bet some of you think food is the kind of thing that comes from the store. This is not strictly true. In fact, some foods pre-date stores by many years. And if you know where to look, they might be nearby.

Growing in the lawn, of their own according, I’ve so far identified two delicious wild inhabitants*.

First, morel mushrooms. These little fellows cost $25-$30 a pound in the store. Little do they know, you can find them in the outdoors. In my case, in the lawn by the ash tree. I’ve found four so far, plus an addition 30 or so from the nearby woods. For any of you that plan on eating morel mushrooms in the wild, I recommend a website such as this, which explains the difference between a delicious morel mushroom, and a tricksy false morel mushroom. We don’t want you eating rocket fuel, now do we? Even sautéed in garlic and butter. On a bed of risotto. (I am not a mushroom expert, but morels are allegedly the one mushroom with easy-to-identify poisonous look-alikes. Remember: if the stem ain't hollow, don't swallow. Also: When in doubt, throw it out.)

This is a stock photo. Once I find another I'll put a picture here.

Next, we have a delicious invasive species Alliaria petiolata. Known to the layman by such names as “garlic mustard,” “jack-in-the-bush,” and “penny hedge,” this illegal immigrant comes from Europe and has overstayed its visa. When something is invasive and delicious, there is a moral imperative to eat it. As the name suggests, the leaves taste like garlic and mustard. I like mine in a salad or on a sandwich. The small leaves are milder, and the larger leaves are sometimes uncomfortably spicy. It just looked like a weed to me, until a local Euell Gibbons pointed it out. I’ve eaten it every day since. Delicious though it is, "[m]any land managers consider it to be one of the most potentially harmful and difficult to control invasive plants in the region."[1]

This is also not my photo. Coming soon, though.

*I first wrote “plants,” the realized mushrooms are not a plant. In fact, fungi are closer to animals on the evolutionary tree than they are to plants. So I changed it to “inhabitants.”

No comments: