I’m ashamed to admit this, but sometimes it takes someone else, someone else who is cool, to say something is cool before I start thinking of it that way.
Take mustard greens. Lowly, southern USA comfort food. Plain ol’ mustard greens, not the fancy Japanese tender salad green variety, but the kind of no-name greens you sow from the bucket of seed at the feed store. The kind your eighty-year-old cousin gives you a fistful of plastic Wal-Mart bags and tells you to go pick your weight of because she’s up to her eyeballs in it.
It has taken an elite chef from New England to show me mustard greens can be cool and you can do something with them other than boil ’em and slap pepper sauce on ’em.
Why didn’t I realize the delicious flavor of greens would taste even more delicious with pasta, chicken, and a chipotle-infused cream sauce? Duh. So good.
This book is full of such revelations and vindications. Someone else likes the stems of things. Someone can tell me how to cook the weird permaculture plants, like autumn olives and sunchokes. It’s also an invitation to cook things I’d never thought of as food, like stinging nettle, spruce shoots, rose petals, chickweed, and goosefoot.
As a gardener, it’s exciting, because it bridges the gap between growing out-of-the-ordinary plants, such as calaminth and cardoon, and knowing how to cook with them, with actual recipes from a top-notch chef. Awesome.
To enter to win one of two copies we’re giving away in partnership with the publisher, Chelsea Green, hop over to their website where they have set up a special page for Little House readers:
This is a gorgeous hardcover full of pics and knee-deep in recipes for things you may never have heard of, but will be dying to grow or forage yourself.
I want a field of lovage.
And I want it now.