Wild Leeks

Not far from our house there is a spot where the wild leeks grow like gangbusters.  This time of year they fill the woods, not only with their bright green leaves but with their fragrance.  Running past I can smell the odor of onions.

Yesterday I ran past and, inhaling one of the sweet smells of spring, said aloud, “Look at all that food.”  The green stretched across the floor of the woods as far as I could see.  It really was a lot of food, and almost no one would eat it.

I thought about this as I ran.  I also thought about the bash we would be hosting later in the day.  Then the two thoughts merged.  I was planning to make potato salad once I got back.  The recipe I had found called for onions and garlic.  The merged thought consisted of substituting some wild leeks for that onion and garlic.

And so on the way back past that spot in the woods I veered into the trees.  I brushed away the dry leaves, dug my bare fingers into the cold earth, and dug up some food.  They are small, not at all the supermarket version of leeks.  They are more the size of scallions.  I carried them lightly in my left hand as I ran slowly home.

The potato salad came out great.  It was one element of a fine pot luck dinner.  The problem, as I discovered/realized when evening came and we got to the business of cleaning up the final bits, was that it never got put out.  We simply forgot about it.  It sits in the fridge still, waiting for a diner.  I was going to have it for lunch but we still had some guests who spent the night.  I forgot again.

I need to head back over to the leek patch before long to harvest some more of the tasty little plants.  Spring doesn’t last long and soon they will be swallowed by the rest of the undergrowth.  They aren’t as tasty later in the spring or in the summer.

I will grow my own leeks in the summer but they don’t offer quite the same feeling as picking food straight from the woods.  Of course, that doesn’t matter much if I leave whatever I make sitting around uneaten, now does it?

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