About a year ago, my friend Susanna Reppert from The Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg, PA asked me if I'd do a talk on wild plant foods for her garden club, so I agreed and put it on my calendar, never knowing that I would be part of an amazing event held this past Monday.
The Penn-Cumberland Garden Club holds an annual Bertha P. Reppert Herb Tea Party, and this year (the 48th!) was themed on wild edibles.
My sister was kind enough to drive me there. I get nervous enough about talking, and the last thing I need is to get jangled up trying to find a place. This led to the added benefit/amusement of getting to watch Maryanne eat some wild edibles too :-D.
We arrived to find the women looking spring-y and dressed for tea. The tables were set with a vast variety of bouquets, featuring a mixture of spring flowers, herbs, and weeds! Tea was served prior to the talk, and Susanna had encouraged us to get there early to enjoy the treats. I'm so glad we did!
I'm hoping she'll put out a small e-book with the recipes from the menu, which included:
Dandelion Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing
Watercress Dip with crisp, fresh vegetables
Toasted Weed Sticks
Tansy Egg Sandwich
Red Clover Bread with Blackberry Spread
Double Thumbprint Cookie with Elderberry Jam
Cupcakes with Teaberry Frosting
Very Berry Tea
We were stuffed! I loved every bit of it. The nettle soup and the sassafras sorbet stood out for me, but it was all delicious.
Generally when I speak about wild edibles, there is some undercurrent running through the crowd - perhaps that they would never actually eat what I'm talking about unless it were an emergency, but find it mildly amusing. This time, the entire group had just thoroughly enjoyed an elegant, delightful experience where the food was not a survival thing, but something they might actually WANT.
That was a new experience for me!