WHEN MAMA COOKS DANDELION GREENS

When it’s springtime on the prairie

And the birds begin to sing,

And young blades of grass come poking

Through the earth, with other things,

Comes a morning mama beckons,

And as she hands me her soup pot,

Says “I bet today’s the day for

finding greens,–I’ll bet a lot!”

Fresh greens, I hanker longingly,

It’s been a long winter without,

Not counting string beans strung and dried.

Of that there is no doubt—there’s

Brooklime found in ditches, and

Cattails from the pond

Can be eaten in a salad

With chickweed, and dandelion;

Great Burdock can be eaten

In a salad or just raw,

Lamb’s Quarters some may call a weed

But steamed it’s not at all.

Clover can be used for tea

But in salad is still good,

Thistle can be nice with greens,

And the roots can be cooked and eaten.

Around the farm and fields throughout,

There’s plenty greens for taking,

But I’ve saved the best for last,

The dandelions that we savor.

To clean them mama holds the leaves

And cuts the bottom root away;

The very inner growth is shook

And gently thrown away;

The tender stems and leaves are put

In mama’s biggest cooking pot,

Then she takes them to the well

And washes them a lot;

She cooks up strips of bacon

In a skillet ‘til its crisp

Then adds vinegar to the drippings

Making sure it doesn’t drip.

Some boiled eggs will be sliced up

And laid upon the greens,

The dressing is poured over and

It’s the finest thing I’ve seen.

Mama tosses the greens lightly

And puts bacon on my plate,

We think that Dandelions are

The best thing that we ate.

–Sandra Lee Smith

 

Sandy’s note: two of my Canadian girlfriends and I created a poetry challenge; we took turns  creating a monthly list for our poetry; in 2010 I was inspired to write a series of poems about a family of pioneers, in the words of one of the children. Girlfriend Doreen put these poems into a booklet and added some old-time photographs to make it complete.  We kept our poetry group going for a few years but I am proudest of my “An American Childhood” subtitled “Mama in the Kitchen” – Sandra Lee Smith

 

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