Saturday, March 29, 2014


    – Rob Deason
When I was a boy in L.A., mom and dad, country people before dad's job doomed them to the city, would drive my two sisters and me to the country for a day of relaxation. Dad would wire a can of baked beans to the engine manifold of the Oldsmobile, and after an hour's drive we would find a quiet spot, help each other through a barbed-wire fence, and have a steamy-bean picnic in the shade of a big oak.
Mom, raised in Deluz near Fallbrook, was familiar with all the county's plants and animals. Dad, a Tennessee'n loved the country, and we spend hours hiking and looking. Mom would warn us about poison oak and rattlers. She would pick up gopher snakes so we could all see and hold them, and she would show us how to make scissors from Filaree seeds. She would point out birds and tell detail about each – mainly hawks, vultures, quail, and meadowlarks we didn't see in the city.

THEN, we would pick mustard greens. Yes, Deerhorn Valley friends and neighbors, they're growing all around, and are they good for you – So, eat your greens! They're especially good now while they're medium size, tender, and haven't yet flowered (toughened and turned bitter).

STEAMED MUSTARD GREENS:  Just pick the end of the leaf, it's tender and you avoid the thicker stem. Pick a lot, they'll cook down to nothing. Steam them in a double boiler 'til they lay flat and tender. Serve them with a big dab of butter (more for kids), a little salt, and a squirt of vinegar. A Vinegar and Oil dressing is good.

WARNING TO PARENTS: Your young'ns, unaware of your healthful intentions, will react to your wonderful serving . . . variably. In the forties, mom would say, "Robbie, eat your greens and we'll win the war." As a boy, I didn't like them much, but I ate them – and you know the rest.