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Food on Fridays with Ann
On the May 30 NPR program Tell Me More, Michelle Martin moderated a discussion about minimalist parenting. Martin asked guest Jamila Bey where she stood regarding the idea of doing more with less as a parent. Bey said that in her home, they value critical thinking and come up with activities to teach her five-year-old son to think:
[T]his past weekend, for example, we went camping and the idea was, OK. Well, let’s pretend that you can’t find Mommy and you have to identify three plants you recognize…so I had the kid running around and it took hours. He could identify the wild strawberries and we ate a lot of wild onions and chives that you can pull right out of the ground and he could point to the black walnut tree.
So no money, other than the gas to get there, and it really did let us be together as a family, doing something together, teaching him to…know his environment. Something he’ll remember forever, I hope.
At this rate, Bey’s son will be ready for My Side of the Mountain in a few years, smoking venison, gathering nuts, and digging up tubers for winter provisions. I didn’t want to be outpaced by a five-year-old, so after listening to that program and writing about snacking on succulents, I decided to learn more about edible plants.
In fact, one evening I came across a rabbit nibbling on my pansies. “Hey!” I exclaimed, as if encountering a thief snatching twenties from an ATM, “Hey! He’s eating my pansies!”
The audacious bunny scampered away, a purple bloom still sticking out of his mouth. I kept calling after him like Farmer McGregor shouting at Peter Rabbit, “Stop munching on my blooms! Those are my pansies!”
It was my own fault. I’d left them on the ground to give them shade and to water more thoroughly, so they sat at a bunny’s eye (and mouth) level, easy pickin’s.
If it was good enough for the rabbit, I decided it was good enough for me. I considered using a bloom to top a salad, but ended up dressing up dessert.
I picked an imperfect bloom, brought it in, discovered two tiny slugs (so that’s what’s been eating holes in the petals!), pulled them off and flicked them out the door, washed the pansy thoroughly, and then ate some of its petals with one square of Endangered Species dark chocolate.
I didn’t taste any distinct flavor. So I finished chewing the petals and then tossed the remaining fragments in the trash.
Outside, the slugs will probably nibble holes in the rest of the flowers all night long, but I did place the containers back in the window boxes, out of Peter Rabbit’s reach.
Conclusion: Pansies are edible (just ask the bunny and slugs), but not all that tasty.
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Photos by Ann Kroeker. “Pin” these images in a way that links back to this particular page, giving proper credit.
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