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Apr 6, 2014 02:47 AM

Euell Gibbons

Given Rene Redzepi's acclaim for plucking dandelion leaves alongside the asphalt and serving them up on a large white plate alongside some kind of reduction, I wonder where Euell belongs in the conversation. So I'm gonna dig in for a few days, and would be glad to hear what other folks think and remember about the man while I do.

When I was growing up, he was a punchline. Now he would be an industry.

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  1. I remember my Mom picking dandelion leaves from our lawn in Levittown and trying to make us eat salad made out of them. She was always into the latest trend! She finally gave up and tried making dandelion wine instead....that's my Mom.

    This song is what I remember myself

    1. Wild dandelions are too tough and strong flavored for salads. Maybe if they were cooked they'd be better. I just feed them to my tortoises.

      2 Replies
      1. re: EricMM

        I mix them raw with a green leaf lettuce and use them like radicchio, as an accent. or cook them like I would collards.

        1. re: hill food

          I could add to this, but I don't know if it's the time or place.

          he did open a lot of eyes. I love any DIY effort.

      2. Definitely a punchline for me too. "Ever eat a cotton ball?" was the SNL version, as I recall. But for a really enlightening and entertaining read, look at John McPhee's profile of him. It's in The New Yorker (paywall, unfortunately) and also his collection "A Roomful of Hovings."

        3 Replies
        1. re: monfrancisco

          Forgot to include the second sentence: "Many parts ARE edible."

          1. re: monfrancisco

            All is not lost; the New Yorker profile is included in "Secret Ingredients", the anthology of the magazine's food writing and cartoons. Well worth a trip to the library, bookstore, or e-reader.

            The wild greens discussion reminds me of "Get Your Ya-Yas Out", David Sedaris's hysterical, politically-incorrect essay about his senescent Greek grandmother. It is included in his book, "Naked", but IMO is best experienced on audio version, narrated by the author.

            1. re: greygarious

              oh wow I'd forgotten that one - when their Ya-Ya is out foraging the neighbor's yards swathed in black wool and not speaking a word of English.

              I can't read his work in public or in bed as I find myself giggling too much.

          2. Ahhh, Euell. I remember him being on Merv Griffin in the 1960's talking about "stalking the wild asparagus." He also did a commercial plug for Grape Nuts cereal claiming they tasted like "wild hickory nuts" (whatever they are.)

            1 Reply
            1. Italians immigrants to the US and many Italian-Americans have been picking roadside dandelions for many, many years now and cooking them.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ttoommyy

                My husband's uncle was into picking roadside cardoon, he had a special patch on the side of Southern State Parkway. He called it "road weed".

                His Sicilian grandmother used to stuff tiger lilies the way most stuff zucchini blossoms. Doesn't seem to have killed any one!