In French they’re called Dent-de-lions, which means "Lion’s Tooth." In English they are called pests. I looked out this morning and saw nary a dandelion on my lawn. This makes two years in a row that my yard has been free of the obnoxious plant. But I’m not complaining.
Wondering if the dandelion had any redeeming qualities to support its reason for being, I looked it up. I found that it made its way to the U.S. from Europe and old timers used parts of it as an herb, and for making tea and wine. I’ve never tasted either because I am not a tea or wine drinker. However, it must be a cultivated taste, one that I have never acquired.
When it comes to making homemade wine, my husband considered himself a first class vintner or wine-maker. I remember one summer season when we were visiting my niece and nephew, Brenda and Donnie Rains of Williamsburg, when Donnie’s muscadines were just ripe for picking. So my husband filled several containers of the grape-like berries and brought them home with us and proceeded to start another of his wine-making operations.
After corking the wine, he left the filled bottles in the basement to ferment. Several weeks later, in the dead of night when we were fast asleep, we were awakened with a loud pop! pop! pop! coming from the basement. When we investigated, we found the wine had exploded and sent the corks and wine flying every which way. The basement ceiling had turned a lovely mottled purple.
I have never been a partaker of strong drink, whether it be wine or beer or more potent potables. I guess I was turned against it when my mother put whiskey in hot lemonade and made me drink it when I had measles as a child. But it only added to my misery…the cure was worse than the illness. But there was a time when I got wasted, crocked, soused or anything you want to call it.
My son and I were attending a political rally. It was in July, one of the hottest days of the year. A candidate for governor was giving a long speech and the heat was making me thirsty. A punch bowl filled with homemade elderberry wine was sitting on a table at the side of the room. So to quench my thirst, I poured myself a cup. It was cold and sweet and nice and fruity. I liked it! So I drank another cup and another cup; pretty soon I was chug-a-lugging it.
Then suddenly, the room started whirling around me. The floor wouldn’t stay still. It was bobbing and weaving; I felt like I was walking on a swinging bridge. So I grabbed my son’s arm and whispered, "Get me outta here. I’m drunk!" As he led me down the hall to where the car was parked, I was hitting both walls.
The scene would have reminded you of Otis Campbell’s Saturday night stagger to his cell at the Mayberry jail.
Serve as a salad or dessert.
Tropical Stuffed Pears
Yields 6-7 Servings
1 cup sour cream — (8 ounces)
8 ounce can crushed pineapple — drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
29 ounce can pear halves — drained
In a bowl, combine the sour cream, pineapple, marshmallows, coconut and pecans. Place pears on lettuce leaves if desired; spoon pineapple mixture in to the center of each.