This past weekend I was at my Dad’s house and while there I always try and do something for him.  Age is creeping up and cleaning, gardening and just about anything physical is becoming difficult.  It had rained all of Saturday so the ground was perfect for weeding on Sunday.  I spent a good hour on my hands and knees in the garden pulling out young, tender dandelion greens.  I’m not sure how many I had pulled when it occurred to me that I buy these very same greens at the Farmers Market for a healthy sum.  I jumped up and charged toward the house bellowing from the back door, “Dad, do you use any pesticides?”  I thought he hadn’t since my mother became ill in 2001 and just wanted to make sure that these weeds were in fact organic.

“No,” he said.  “Why?”

“I’m going to eat them.”  I said this with enthusiasm.  I really was thrilled.

He looked at me with a scrunched face, “Do I have to eat them too?”  He obviously found the thought repulsive.

My father still likes to eat white bread and on Sunday I left him in charge of getting the cold cuts for lunch.  He bought liverwurst.  I don’t eat red meat anymore, only like organic fruits and vegetables, am gluten free and yet lunch with my dad… it’s pickles and liverwurst.  I don’t cause a fuss and leave my cancer prevention diet at the door.  It is one meal with a man I adore and I do not think a liverwurst sandwich alone will kill me.  Liverwurst is his favorite cold cut and he thinks I love it too.  I have gluten free bread in his freezer and after toasting it I layer two slices of liverwurst on the bread and smile.  There is a part of me that wants to scream, “I don’t eat this crap anymore.  You don’t know what’s in it!” and then there is a part of me that knows how much he enjoys this lunch.  I keep my opinions to myself and eat.  He’s 90 and sooner rather than later moments like this will only be memories.

I assured him I would not make him eat his own weeds.  He was relieved and after hearing how much I pay for them in the city, he tried to charge me for them.  Of course, he was only joking.    I washed them, packed them up and have been eating the dandelion greens all week.  I love that I foraged for them myself and I admit there is a part of me that hopes these greens will cleanse my body of some of those nitrates!

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10 Responses to Dandelions

  1. Don Ostertag says:

    I often said that if dandelions were’t so invasive, nurseries would sell for gardeners to plant. When they are in bloom, they are beautiful. Walking with one of my little granddaughters and the wind carried some dandelion spores past us. The little one looked up at me and said, ‘Someone must have made a wish.’
    My grandfather had another use for dandelions. He made dandelion wine.

  2. John says:

    About a year ago, my partner and I switched to eating vegetarian, but, my mom, who’s almost the same age as your dad, lives with us, and she’s a meat and potatoes lover. Generally I cook two sets of meals, one for us, one for her, and I’ve learned how to use many of the same ingredients, for both meals, so it’s easy to prep.

    We are not 100% vegetarian. I’d say 99%. There’s a place in town that makes their own bratwurst, and my mom likes to go there for lunch, and the only options there are the brats. We could skip eating, and just keep her company while she eats, but, it’s not quite the same. So we indulge, because sharing a meal is a joy, and at her age, there are only so many meals left.

    A little sacrifice here and there is not such a bad thing… the pleasure your father gets from sharing his liverwurst with you (I used to love it!) is worth it!

  3. maesprose says:

    Glad to hear I am keeping good company!

  4. LB says:

    I have to confess: While I’ve heard the name liverwurst many times through out my life, I wasn’t exactly sure what it was (thank you, Google). Despite the fact that it doesn’t fit the cancer prevention diet, how does it taste?
    I love your epiphany about the dandelions while pulling them up … and that he jokingly wanted you to pay for them. You are continuing to create, and document, lovely memories

    • maesprose says:

      I love that you actually looked it up! I think liverwurst is an acquired taste that happens in childhood. Beer, onions, Limburger Cheese and liverwurst were a large part of mine. We’re of Swiss descent and these were items our picnic baskets were filled with. My palette has since been “Americanized” and none of the above are on my list of things I want or desire to eat!

      Have a great weekend!

  5. Tracy says:

    I loved this post Mae, the dandelions, your cancer prevention diet and your devotion to your Dad, so heart-warming and truly wonderful to read. The simplest things in life, our families, friends and gifts of nature really are the best things in life

  6. elroyjones says:

    Tracy said it all; lovely post, Mae.

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