DEPRESSION ERA DANDELION DINNER

DEPRESSION ERA DANDELION DINNER

No meal was more eagerly awaited for and enjoyed with more relish that the springtime dandelion dinner. The best dandelions were found partially under leaves. They were gathered by the dishpan full as soon as they made their appearance. To clean them the top of the leaves were held together while the bottom root was cut away. After shaking out the very inner growth and discarding it, the tender stems and leaves were put into another large pan and were thoroughly washed.

Bacon or side pork was fried and removed to a serving dish. Vinegar was added to an equal part of drippings in the pan. Several hard boiled eggs were sliced over the cut-up greens, a potato was crushed into it, hot from the boiled potato kettle, and the vinegar dressing was pour over hot from the stove. The large salad was tossed lightly and served with the boiled potatoes and side pork or bacon. No gravy was needed or ever wanted with this dinner. The unique piquant flavor of the greens blended just right with the plain mealy potatoes. Very large bowls of this salad were consumed as long as the dandelions were in season. Today we use fresh endive.

Dandelions were also prepared by steaming them and adding a similar dressing. They were popular in most communities as were another green called lamb quarters. These were always steamed and prepared like spinach. By the time the dandelion season came to an end the young beets were sprouting their tender leaves, except through the drought, when only weeds grew. These greens survived the dry weather longer than the gardens and grains did. They were used as long as they could be found.

The drought was a climatic disaster lasting from 1933 to 1937.