Friday, July 10, 2009

Weed-Eater (A Whole New Meaning)

Lisa’s mother, Judy, shared a distant memory from childhood. One spring evening, unexpected visitors came knocking just before dinner, and her mother was in a panic to find food for them. The children were therefore sent out to pick lamb’s quarters, a weed that grew in the yard. Chickweed, too, was occasionally brought to their table.

I listened to this tale with skepticism of two kinds. Firstly that any weed would be pleasant to eat, and secondly that I would find these weeds in my yard. Judy took me to my own alleyway and within ten seconds had identified both lamb’s quarters and chickweed. Thus began the sidewalk sample platter.

The lamb’s quarters had the same creamy texture as spinach. When we took it inside and heated it on the stove it wilted just like spinach, too. The chickweed was a bit tougher, and the slight woody flavour was a constant reminder that I was eating a weed.

When trying to find more edible weeds that grow in Edmonton, I happened upon this rarely-to-almost-never updated website.


  1. There's a delicious Dandelion soup in Chinese cooking. I am not sure if it's the exact same dandelion on the front lawn, or a different species. BUT -- it's quite delicious !

  2. I'm not entirely sure how our dandelions differ from those in other parts of the world.

    In Larousse it says that dandelion leaves should be picked while young and "sweet." I have never had a dandelion leaf I would describe as "sweet": no matter how young, they always have a pleasing bitter taste. Perhaps ours are different than those in Europe and Asia.

    Either way, they make for good eats.

  3. hmmm, I don't think it's the leaves that is in the soup, but the stalk.