Aunt Lillian’s Dandelion Pancakes

“Dandelions go to sleep early and wake up late, as should good children.”

I’m extremely excited to report that my yard isn’t the heinous mess I thought it was.

I know.  Try to recover from the surprise so you can keeping reading.  I assure you, no one is more shocked than I am.

See, what I thought was an unbearable (read: totally bearable and I wasn’t going to do anything to change it) weedscape is actually an edible garden.

Greg’s Aunt Lillian has saved us.  She writes:

Beth,

Your yard looks very healthy; start feeding it to your children.

Dandelions, a wonderful food source, have saved whole villages from starvation and were brought over on the Mayflower.

In fact, before the 1800’s, people used to pull up their grass to make room for dandelions.

Dandelions are our friends.

Did you see that?  DANDELIONS HAVE SAVED WHOLE VILLAGES FROM STARVATION!

I love it, love it.

Because I’m a mother, and, therefore, a protective freakazoid who thinks up apocalyptic scenarios in my spare time.  I often wonder what I’ll do when modern society collapses, and I’m forced to burn my dog’s dried poo for warmth (should’ve bought a bigger dog) and contemplate how much meat is on his bones (aaannnd again with the bigger dog… poor end-days planning on my part, I tell you.)

It’s not just me who’s a freakazoid, though.  Greg invents improbable scenarios, too.  For example, feel free to ask him all about exactly what he’ll do when terrorists take over his office building.  FYI, his office is in a two-story strip mall above a grocery store.  So it’s super, duper, extra likely that a terrorist will take over his office someday.  That’s why Greg has an executable plan that includes hiding in the ceiling and some form of jumping into a dumpster.

I mock now, but when the apocalypse happens, I’m going to have to apologize to Greg so he’ll share all the survival knowledge he gained from reading Robinson Crusoe and Mysterious Island.  That apology is going to suck for me.

Anyway, to discover that I, an inept gardener who once neglected a cactus to death in my college dorm room, have managed to plant an ENORMOUS garden that will keep my children from certain starvation… there aren’t words.

OK.  That was funny.  There are always words.  In this case, they are: hooray and yay!

So far, post-apocalypse, my kids are eating:

  • our lawn
  • blackberries from the adjacent field
  • scrub cherries from the towering trees that shed tiny, sticky, rocklike cherry pits all over my backyard, hurting my kids’ bare feet because I don’t force them to wear shoes even though I know no-shoe-wearing could result in an emergency room visit at some point in my near future
  • any animals we can steal from our neighbors, as soon as I figure out how to conceal a llama

Poor, unsuspecting llama.  (Seriously, any idea how to steal one of these bad boys?)

But, thank goodness, Aunt Lillian didn’t stop her hopeful message there.  She also shared her recipe for dandelion pancakes.

We followed her recipe this very morning.  Because a) how fun!, and, b) it was sure to make my children look at me like I’ve lost my mind.  And they did not disappoint.  Here are three of ’em, pre-dandelion-picking:

Nope.  Didn’t stage it.  That was all them.  And, um, if anyone wants to send me a donation so I can afford to buy pants with two legs for Cai, just let me know.

Here’s the recipe, without further ado:

Aunt Lillian’s Recipe for Dandelion Pancakes

Best made on a Saturday as children must stay in bed until the dandelions are awake.  Dandelions go to sleep early and wake up late, as should good children. Dandelion awakeness may be established by looking out the window.

When both children and dandelions are awake, send the former out with small baskets with instructions to bring in only the yellow blossoms.

[Nice job, PJ Boy!]

Plan on two blossoms per pancake. I use Snoqualmie Falls pancake mix and add organic applesauce instead of water and a little melted butter.

[I used Krusteaz ’cause that’s what’s cheapest at the discount grocery store, and it comes in 10 lb. bags.  I added water.]

Have the children remove the green part from the blossoms ( green parts may be added to a stirfry for supper).

The yellow parts need to be separated, not in a clump.

[I deflowered dandelions.  How can it be wrong, when it feels so right?]

Stir the separated yellow blossom parts into the pancake batter.  Make small pancakes as they turn easier, and use lower heat and cook longer than for regular pancakes.  We heat the rest of the applesauce in the microwave for a topping, drizzle with honey…. YUM!

[And here are mine, with syrup and butter.  And a few more blossoms for color and joy.]

Sure enough, Greg’s aunt has the right idea!  Yum, yum and yum.

Thank you, Aunt Lillian, for making my bathroom-garbage-ridden, canine-tromped, kid-bashed, toy-strewn lawn into something beautiful.  And useful.  And excusable.  I love you for it.  I do, I do.

Beth

Ahem.  Legal notice: don’t eat dandelions from an area that has been poisoned in the past.  Eating poison is bad.  Also make sure you can accurately identify a dandelion; if it’s mushroom-shaped, you’re on the wrong track.  So let it be said, so let it be done.  Amen.

Now that we’ve got the Backyard Schadenfreude all figured out, I wonder if Aunt Lillian can give me an equally wonderful recipe for the other Schadenfreude I reported during Christmas.  What do you say, Aunt Lillian?  Do you have a recipe for something delicious out of the foam mattress on which my dog peed?  Don’t let me down!
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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
15 comments
  1. […] its vine covered hills and evergreen forests, clean water and invisible air, and, of course, our llama farms which are a constant source of comfort because they relieve my fear of the ever-impending zombie […]

  2. […] zipped out the back door, as is his habit, to take a quick turn at the lovely, green, clover-and-dandelion-filled urinal we grew for them, and Greg, for reasons that are clear to neither of us, told Cai’s […]

  3. Beth,
    Thanks for this neat recipe! Ellie will be out picking blossoms tomorrow.
    Again, I have to say, eat the dog first when the apocalypse happens. Llamas are too hard to catch! Unless you want to tackle one like I did. Or, you can just join us in Costco. We were there yesterday and realized it’s the perfect setup. They have bathrooms, cooking facilities, a diesel generator, all the food you could want, and then more toilet paper than you can imagine! Not to mention the big metal roll up doors out front for when the zombies show up. Cause you know if there’s an apocalypse, there’s gonna be zombies too! : 0 In the mean time, you should come to karate on a Saturday morning and say hello.

  4. Girl, you are awesome! I just “made” my son pick some dandelions from our back yard on the promise of a penny a piece. He was done and whining for help after about 20 flowers. I told him I wasn’t paying myself! Besides, I was enjoying the sunny day that was finally warm enough to be outside in (stupid wind).
    But really? My yard looks way worse than yours! It’s not even green, just has lots of dandelions among the brown.
    Oh, and by the way, I’ve been reading your blog for a couple weeks now when Kim posts links on facebook (we’re friends from Fox) and then this morning my mother-in-law sent me a link to your blog in an email saying that we’re related and you’re funny. 🙂 I married into the Roberts clan by way of Brian Herling.
    It’s a small world after all… 🙂

    1. Oh. My. Gosh.

      Greg and I laughed and laughed, Krista. Greg is pretty sure that Brian is his 4th (?) cousin. And I can never, never, never keep all the Quakes straight. Greg used to say, “All the cute girls are my cousins.” How’s that for terrifying? Want even more terror? Greg and I have grandmothers who had the same maiden name… so we might be 5th or 6th or something… which proves all the cute girls really ARE Greg’s cousins. 😉

      So glad to have you on board the crazy train! Welcome, and my thanks to Kim for sucking you in.

  5. I love it and someday when I am not pregnant I think it would be fun to try. Now I have something to do with the “flowers” my kids lovingly bring me-I can eat them. ;0)
    BTW I love the half pants. My almost 7 yr old has a pair of sweats that are half pants, half shorts and they are one of his favorite pairs. Maybe they should start selling them that way in the stores.
    Thanks again for the laughs and I am glad to know that I am not the only one to make up ridiculous “what if” situations. I am the queen of that and also “should have” ones.

    1. Julieann! What baby news have you? Are you dying yet? (Probably – sorry to rub it in.)

      Let me know when you try the dandelions. And force your kids to eat them. 😉

      Sending love and baby-come-soon wishes. I need you in the 5 kids club.

  6. Uh… didn’t Chip, Cai and Cael *pee* on those dandelions?

    On a more serious note, your great grandfather *loved* dandelion greens with chicken gravy. Of course he’s the same one who *loved* tomato aspic with canned salmon mixed into the quivering, gelatinous mass.

    Maybe the edible dandelions and the edible free-range dog ought to be raised in separate enclosures?

    1. WHAT?? Pee on my dandelions? Say it isn’t so.

      (Yes. Of course there was pee on my dandelions. I’m banking on the “urine is sterile” argument, and the fact that I rinsed the flowers in water. Rinsing is sufficient, right? It’s a gross, gross life I live.)

    2. Yeah, just what I was thinking. Weren’t those dandelions pee laden? Ew.

      1. As Dora the Explorer says, “Yum, yum, yum! Delicioso!”

        As Papa and Nana say, “It’s an adventure.”

        As I say, “I grew up in SE Asia. Show me a food I won’t eat.” (Actually, it’s called balut.)

        1. just googled ‘balut’… ew!!!!!!!!! (made me throw up in my mouth a bit 🙁 )

  7. You can always fatten up your pup now so he’ll be ready when the time comes… They eat dandelions here too, they come as a decoration with our raw fish that we also eat. I’ve never eaten one even though I’ve been told numerous times they are food. Now, thanks to Aunt Lillian I’m going to have to try it. I like your sauce better though, the flavor coating for ours would be soy sauce and wasabi. Love that photo of your kids. You’re all just crazy! What a fun family!

    1. Ha! I love that we’re influencing dandelion-eating all around the globe. Thanks for making that possible, Holly. 😉

      You nailed it with the crazy fam. Always entertaining. Never, ever bored.

      Send me a pic of your dandelion decorations.

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