My parents always wonder why I would be interested in recreating any of the foodways of their native India. They left India for work and found a life filled with convenience stores, cable and clean streets. Some things were so ingrained they didn’t even think to relinquish them. I couldn’t pass the foyer with shoes. Forgot something in the kitchen having laced yourself into your tennis? One step onto linoleum and I would hear, “no shoes in the house” from the furthest reaches of the second floor. Now I find myself reminding Belle that she is half Indian and we do not wear shoes in the house.
But, in their assimilation, they made certain concessions even if only unconsciously. Indian food always remained our mainstay, but certain special vegetables that were expensive or time-consuming to prepare just disappeared from their lives. Now, I scour the internet for recipes and ingredients for items that they just let go of.
My father in law was born to Italian immigrants. Born in the mountains of Abruzzo in place where stone farming was the only career option, J—‘s grandmother came to find that Ohio might have been the land of milk and honey. Like so many Italian immigrants, Nonna began to include more meat in her diet. But, other cultural mainstays were hard to give up. She would send my father in law out to the park to pick dandelion greens; as expected this was a chore that he didn’t enjoy. The greens were just fine, but the experience made him different that his American friends.
So the other day, when we bought red veined dandelion greens from the market and called to see how they were prepared in his childhood, he was truly surprised. It might have been the fact that we purchased dandelion greens or that we even thought to eat them. After all, they ate them not because they were chic, but because they were cheap.
From our weeds, we made a large dinner salad with them using ripped Ohio roasted chicken, dried Ohio cherries, olive oil, balsamic, local spring onions. (We did include California almonds.) This is our entry for One Local Summer for this week. Tomorrow at the Farmers Market, I will actually write down the farmers names and locations when we go to the market (if Belle allows me) so I can give mileages for food at the upcoming week.
This is also my entry for BSI: Greens this week hosted by the Girlichef.