Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dangerous edibles

In our relationship Thag has always been the more cautious one. I have a tendency to speak without thinking, cross without looking, and stand too close to the edge. The baby shows every sign of being even more of a risk taker than her mama. This discrepancy between our personalities has become evident in our foraging quest. When faced with a plant he is relatively sure of, Thag will take the time to key it our precisely before adding it to our menu. I look it up in the index, find the photo, compare real life plant to photograph, and take a bite. Since I am still breastfeeding (I don't want to poison her) and also trying to set a safe example for my offspring, I am attempting to take a step back.

The other day, Thag collected some Japanese knotweed, a very invasive edible. While collecting, his knife brushed against something in the carrot family. While some members of this family (ie. the carrot!) are delicious and nutritious, others (water hemlock) are deadly to the taste. He was fairly certain that what he touched was not the Socrates killing hemlock, he spent the better part of an hour making sure. After this adventure, we committed to practice the foragers safety protocal--designed to fend off allergic reactions as well as trips to the emergency room.

First identify the plant carefully by fully keying it out. Second touch it to your tongue. Wait several hours. Third, take a bite, chew, and spit it out. Wait several hours. Fourth, take a bite, swallow, and wait a day. Fifth, add it to your repetoire. I will have to work on my patience.

1 comment:

  1. We were just talking about this at our house with Sam as I start our Spring yard forage of violets, dandelion, and sorrel (Sp?). I've been worried Sam will think he can stick any plant from our yard- like the buttercups- in his mouth. We wondered how you were approaching this. Thanks! We love your blog.