Field of Science

Bitter greens of spring

TPP appreciates the anonymous tip to this poetic description of spring greens at Salt and Stone Poetry. Although if you considered TPP's comment in the last blog as anything other than saying dandelion greens were the best of a bad lot, then best this author brush up on his writing. You must understand the world of 2, or for most of you, 3 generations back. Over the winter food was canned or winter-stored; cabbage was as close to green and fresh that you got.  My Father would shovel snow and then move straw to dig fresh carrots, parsnips, and salsify from his garden, carefully planted where the snow would drift, more digging, but more insulation. Those were wonderful vegetables in the depth of winter, sweet and full of flavor. And in a day and age when the local grocery did not carry year around strawberries from the southern hemisphere, those first fresh greens of spring were very special and very welcome break in the winter food monotony. It was a different time and the poem's author doesn't understand that deep desire for something fresh and green, even if a bit bitter, something to make that corn cake taste other than a corn cake. This was the world of my grandparents that barely resides in my memory. 

3 comments:

William Connolley said...

My mother remembers - she was young during WWII - that there was a patch in springtime before the spring veg came through, but when all the over-wintering stuff (brussels sprouts, whatever) had run out, when eating got very boring.

I remember a much weaker thing, which was when you could go abroad and have interesting food you couldn't get at home. Which made going abroad more interesting; but its hard to say that having it all available now is bad.

Anonymous said...

The author fully understands, having been born in 1930 - when even if there had been imported foods her family could not have afforded them. But although the adults found the sharp, bitter dandelions welcome it was a hard sell to a four year old.

The Phytophactor said...

It is true that young children have a more sensitive sense of taste, and an acceptable amount of bitterness, sourness, or spiciness for an adult can be nearly overwhelming and unpleasant sensation. But then there's the poetry of it leaving it to the readers' to interpret.