This week my goal was to find food without consulting edible plant expert Wies Teepe. My first test was to see if I could find a meal in my neighbourhood in Amsterdam in twenty minutes, the time it usually takes to buy my groceries for a meal at the local supermarket. I would not eat anything, but take pictures and send those to Wies. Tricky thing: I can hardly distinguish thyme from rosemary.
Did I kill myself?
These are samples of the food I picked in twenty minutes on the road from my house to my supermarket. What does Wies think of it?
This one on the right is poisonous though. It’s the leaf from buttercup (boterbloem). ‘It’s tastes so horrible you probably wouldn’t eat a lot of it.’ says Wies, ‘Animals get sick from it sometimes, it can lead to infections and problems with your eyesight’.
I could smell this plant before I saw it: lavender. But can you eat it? ‘Yes’, says Wies, ‘you can add it as an aromatic to rice pudding, apple sauce, or apple cake.’ Yummy! Let’s check if I can make a primal applecake.
This one I knew for sure as well: dandelion. ‘You can eat the leaves, but they are a little bitter’, Wies says. ‘The flower can be eaten raw or you can make lemonade of it, the bud can be prepared as pickle. And it’s very healthy: it purifies your blood’.
I was absolutely sure that the plant on the left was thyme. ‘That is rosemary I think’, says Wies.
Mm. More practice is needed. But I didn’t die from my first gathering session! I only would have gotten a little blind by eating the buttercup. And one change in me occured: the green of the city used to be merely a nice colour amongst the grey to me. Nature in the streets was for decoration. In this last week green became like the sign of the local supermarket, the sign of potential calories.
However, these plants don’t contain enough calories for a proper meal. This Friday Wies will take me on a trip in my neighbourhood to find enough for some real cuisine, of which I will post the recipe here.
And if you happen to be at ecofestival Landen in Amsterdam this weekend, you can find Wies there too!