Shepherd’s purse is a wild vegetable, but it can be served in my hometown. In our place, there are a few cold dishes at the beginning of the general banquet, which are set up before the guests enter the table, usually ham, preserved eggs (preserved eggs), wind chicken, sauce duck, deep-fried shrimp (or choked shrimp), cockles Duck eggs (brought from outside, we don’t produce them there), salted duck eggs and the like.
If it is spring, there will be two seasonal side dishes: shredded Yanghua radish (small water radish in Beijing) mixed with jellyfish and shepherd’s purse.
Blanch the shepherd’s purse, chop it, mix it with dried fragrant diced, add ginger rice, pour sesame soy sauce and vinegar, or use dried shrimp, or not. This dish is often kneaded into a pagoda shape, tossed down before eating, and mixed well. Mixed shepherd’s purse is always welcome, eat it fresh. All wild vegetables have a fragrance that the vegetables grown in the garden lack.
Most of the shepherd’s purse is cold, and few people eat fried shepherd’s purse. Shepherd’s purse can be used to wrap spring rolls and dumplings (tangtuan). People in the south of the Yangtze River use shepherd’s purse to make wontons, which are also called “big wontons”.
We don’t use shepherd’s purse to make wontons. The wontons sold in our noodle shops are pure meat-filled wontons, which is what Jiangnan calls “small wontons”.
I had a famous dish in a well-known family restaurant in Beijing: jade custard. One side of a soup bowl is custard, the other side is shepherd’s purse, one side is tender yellow, and the other side is green, so there is no confusion, and they are mixed together when eating. This particular way of eating is not available in our hometown.
On spring mornings, especially after a light rain, you can hear the sound of selling goji berries. Most of the goji berries are sold by girls from nearby villages, and their voice is very crisp, “Sell medlar heads!” The
goji berries are placed in a bamboo basket, a kind of oblong bamboo basket called ingot basket, and the goji berries are carried Rain, the girl’s voice also carries rain.
Goji berries are not worth much. For a few dollars, they can pour you a whole basket of goji berries. Girls don’t regard this as a profitable business either, just sell it for a little money, enough to buy a bottle of hair oil.
It doesn’t take much trouble to pick the wolfberry heads by yourself. After a while, you can pick a bunch, and the wolfberry heads are everywhere. The playground of my elementary school was originally an open space called “Tianditan”. The roots of the four walls around the Temple of Heaven and Earth are all of these things.
Lycium barbarum sprouts tender buds in spring, which are the head of wolfberry, blooms small white flowers in summer, and bears many small red fruits in autumn, that is, wolfberry fruit.
Goji berries are also served in cold salad, and the fragrance is even better than that of shepherd’s purse.
The novel “Da Nao Ji Shi”: “The water is warm at the beginning of spring, and many purple-red reed buds and gray-green Artemisia persicae sprouted on the sandbar, and soon it will be emerald green.” I added a note at the bottom of the page: “Artemisia persicae is Weeds growing near the water, as thick as a pen tube, with knots, long and narrow leaves, about two inches high when first born, called ‘Artemisia lentils’, it is very fragrant when fried with meat…” Artemisia lentils, in the
dictionary Note “lou” sound “lou”, a kind of Artemisia, that is Artemisia white, I think Artemisia is not a kind of Artemisia, Artemisia cut off, does not have that kind of Artemisia, but has a kind of water grass. Su Dongpo’s poem: “Artemisia persicae is all over the ground with short reed buds”. The juxtaposition of Artemisia persicae and reed buds proves that it is a plant near the water, which is what my hometown calls “Artemisia persicae”.
The word “lou” in my hometown does not read “lou”, but “lu”. Artemisia arborescens seems to be fried with lean pork, but not vegetarian. When I was a child, I loved to eat fried betelwort. There was a plate of stir-fried betelwort on the table, and I was very excited and had a big appetite. In addition to its fragrance, Artemisia betel is also very crisp and chewy.
I have eaten shepherd’s purse and medlar head occasionally in other places. I have never eaten Artemisia persicae since I left home at the age of 19, and I miss it very much. One year, some people from my hometown drove a car to Beijing for business. My younger siblings asked them to bring a plastic bag of Artemisia arborescens, which was destroyed by the time they arrived in Beijing due to delays on the road. I picked some that weren’t too bad, and fried a plate, which was a bit interesting.
In ancient China, it was very common to eat purslane, and it was mentioned together with human amaranth (that is, red and white amaranth). Later, there were fewer people who didn’t know how to eat.
My grandmother would pick some purslane every summer, dry it, and make buns for the Chinese New Year.
Ordinary people in my hometown usually don’t make steamed buns. They only make steamed buns during the Chinese New Year. My family eats them, and some guests come to steam a plate for them. It’s not made by family members, but with noodles and fillings, and the chef in the bun shop is invited to make it at home. After making it all morning, it is enough to eat in the first month. Grandma’s purslane buns are only eaten by herself. I have tasted one, and the purslane tastes a little sour, not bad, but not delicious.
Purslane is found in both the north and the south. I lived in Ganjiakou in Beijing, which is very close to Yuyuantan. Yuyuantan has a lot of purslane. Beijingers call it purslane, and few people eat it. The bird breeder pulls out the thrush and feeds it. It is said that eating the thrush can clear the fire. Will the thrush still have “fire”?
During the Ming Dynasty, there was a Sanqu writer Wang Pan in my hometown. Wang Pan, known as Wang Xilou, was very famous at that time, and he was called “the crown of Nanqu” together with Chen Dalou, a master of Sanqu.
Wang Xilou was also a painter. Gao You now still has an allegorical saying: “Wang Xilou marries his daughter-more paintings (talks) but less money”. Wang Xilou has a somewhat special book: “Wild Recipe”. “Wild Cuisine” collects 52 kinds of wild vegetables, some of which I know, such as Baiguding (dandelion), Puergen, Malantou, Artemisia annua (that is, Artemisia chinensis), wolfberry head, wild bean, Artemisia persicae, shepherd’s purse, purslane, gray strips.
The word “tiao” in Huitiao should be “Huo”, commonly known as Huicai. This thing is not eaten in my hometown.
The first time I ate gray vegetables was at the home of a classmate in Shandong. After dipping them in thin noodles and steaming them, the garlic was rotten, which had a unique taste. Later, when I was teaching at Huangtupo No. 1 Middle School in Kunming, the school couldn’t pay my salary, and we often stopped cooking, so we took gray vegetables and fried them.
In Beijing, I also pick gray vegetables for stir-frying. Once I found a lot of gray vegetables growing outside the walls of Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, which were extremely fat and tender, so I bent down to pick some and put them in my schoolbag. After the guard found out, he came over and asked, “What are you doing?” He probably thought I was planting a time bomb. I grabbed the Hui Cai out of my schoolbag and showed him, but he walked away without saying anything.
The ash has a slightly alkaline taste, which I like very much.
There are some in Wang Xilou’s “Wild Recipes”, not only have I never eaten, seen, or even heard of them, such as: “Swallows are not fragrant”, “Oil is burning”… “Wild Recipes” above and below
. The picture shows the appearance of this wild vegetable, and the article briefly talks about the growing season and eating method of this wild vegetable. Each article is followed by a poem, a small Yuefu similar to a ballad, all of which are based on themes. Inspired by the name of wild vegetables, it writes about the suffering of the people. For example:
Yanzicai, like Zhangmu,
looks forward to spring and cuckoo every year,
as if looking forward to autumn when it is ripe.
Why can’t I get tired every year,
worry about watching the four wild waves floating house.
Cat ears, listen to my song,
this year the floods will hurt the crops,
the barn will be empty and the mice will abandon their nests,
what will happen to the cats!
Jiangzhe is green and the water of the Qingjiang River is green, and
the daughter who picks vegetables by the river is crying.
Father, mother, newborn, and brother,
stop keeping me and my sister to watch the house.
”Hao Niang Artemisia”
Bao Niang Artemisia, the roots are firmly knotted and
cannot be untied, like lacquer glue.
Don’t you see that yesterday, on the boat selling passengers,
the son hugged his mother and cried and refused to let her go.
The feelings of these poems are very sincere, and it is sour to read. My hometown was originally a poor place, and there were many famines, mainly floods, families were destroyed, and children and daughters were often sold. I saw it when I was young.
Now that water conservancy has been greatly improved, the tragic scene written by Wang Xilou no longer exists. Thinking of this, I feel relieved for my hometown.
In the past, people in my hometown ate wild vegetables mainly to survive the famine, but now they eat wild vegetables to try something new.