To everything there is a season. And now it is summer and I am in Washington, DC, with much to engage my forager’s eye – from the yards of beautiful homes whose considerate landscapers planted herbs as part of their design scheme, to the honeysuckle covering fences, there for the sipping.
Fortuitously, my sister Jocelyn invited me to dinner at the home of a friend whose house is surrounded by an expansive organic garden. As our host walked us through the chaotic bazaar of summer bounty, I had several happy encounters with the East Coast relatives of some old friends. A patch of purslane which had taken root in an old pot attested to life in a climate where water can be counted on to come from the sky. Back in the summer-parched Galilee, you would never find purslane that isn’t hugging a water spigot or irrigation pipe.
Knowing my interest in edible wild plants, our host showed me this plant and asked if I knew what it was.
Lamb quarters, he explained. Also known as duck’s foot.
I don’t know what a lamb’s quarter looks like, but the duck’s foot is a dead giveaway. And there they were, the same webbed feet, just more lush and verdant than their Galilee cousin. Even more delightful was to meet that ducks foot again at the dinner table, prepared as wild greens like best – sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with a little salt.
And these cheery blue chicory flowers I’d recognize anywhere – even mid-summer on busy Connecticut Avenue.