A Thousand Ways Of Revisiting Our Roots: The Garden Dandelion


I am thinking about looking at all of the ways we have developed as a society, the things that

Their seem to endless uses at the table for various plants that today are now no longer seen as foods.

The dandelion is one of those.

On spring days, the wind blows seeds. Among the many seeds that will come to touch the earth, there are the seeds of the "blowers". The ones we all blew as kids.

It's dandelion seeds, Taraxacum officinale. An extraordinary vegetable with excellent sensory qualities. Rich in minerals, fiber and vitamins.

Normally it is considered a weed, perhaps because it is tenacious and like few others, it resists stubbornly in the garden. Perhaps by changing our strategy we would be able to make it attractive in our eyes unlike what it appears to us today. For it once was a common summer green. Not without its fabulous quality to regrow once it has been cut.

Let's use it in the kitchen and grow it in the garden or even in pots on the balcony.

First of all the seeds are free and second it is one of those vegetables of which you can use the whole plant.

What parts of the dandelion are used in the kitchen you may ask:

  • flowers
  • leaves: eat young tender leaves in salad, or sauté then in a pan
  • flower buds: pickled and preserved like capers
  • the root

First the seeds can be recovered (some garden catalogs also sell the seeds), but how?

When you see the big beautiful puffy heads in the fields and grassy areas it's time to collect seeds. Bring along a nice piece of paper to collect all the seeds. Once you get home, make a nice ball with all the seeds from the "blowballs" or "clocks" (that is, the tufts with which the seed is carried by the wind ). Rub the seeds well using the two palms of your hands against each other. You will see all the seeds dropped on the table. Pick and sow them in pots or in the garden.

Remember the dandelion is a vegetable that you can harvest practically all year round, without interruption, because with each cut it will grow back without problems.

They have been used in the kitchen since the Middle Ages and probably long before that.

Cooking for a Large Family


It was in the fall of 1993 that I attended my first cooking course. It was organized at the local community center by a man who had recently opened an Italian restaurant in town. I am really not certain what the intent was because he was teaching us how to cook thw same food that you could order at his restaurant. It always sort of felt like he was creating his own competition. Regardless, we learned a lot and had fun doing it at the same time.

This morning I was leafing through my collection of recipes and I found some that lead me to remember his course. They were remarkable because they changed the way I felt about cooking, especially for large gatherings; cooking the Italian way, I suppose you could say, it became fun. Of those courses, one image remained alive in me for quite some time, it was the great passion the kitchen our teacher had. One that was not only about nourishment but a kitchen that is place of celebration, a small party, a kitchen that has its own culture, a laboratory in which to create new flavors, an art, a kitchen that brings family together, that enhances events and punctuates the greatness and importance of sharing a meal… in short, he had a deep feeling, a way of loving the kitchen that I had never known. It was of this passion that I thank, it has allowed me to develop on my culinary journey.

I learned that t was regardless of how simple or complicated the recipe was the same journey is taken each time and our kitchens come alive.