Monday, November 07, 2005


Mitsuba (Cryptotaenia japonica), Japanese wild parsley, is a wonderful wild herb not only because of its delicate parsley-y, celery-y, faintly lemony fragrance, which goes so good on sushi, in misoshiru and other dishes, and not only because it grows from early spring throughout the summer and into autumn, but also because when you go to gather it you have to walk around bent right over staring carefully at the ground in search of those three shy, irregular leaves down there under all the higher plants, thereby causing you to notice everything that is going on underfoot of your otherwise generally look-straight-ahead daily life.

For lunch we were having both sushi and misoshiru, so I went out into yesterday morning's rain with a double sense of purpose. Needless to say, everything down there was wet, but now the ferns are curling up, as are most of the other plants, but from here and there in the multicoloring undergrowth peeped the bright shining rainwet leaves of the mitsuba, saying "pick me!" "Pick me!" It didn't take much wandering to gather a large handful of the tiny light green leaves; just a sniff of them honed my hunger.

On the way back to the house I stopped at the oak logs stacked under the cherry tree and harvested a handful of just-emerging shiitake to round off the meal.


Anonymous said...

I live in the forest, so when I take our puppy for a walk each day, it is in the forest we walk. He stops often, to sniff and snoop and investigate things on the forest floor I can not, at first glance, see for myself. But the longer we stand in one spot, the more I see. It is the oddest sensation, to stare at one spot of earth, and watch it come alive with so many tiny plants, and mushrooms and smaller still animals -- that I would have told you a minute before were not there because a minute before I could not see them. Nothing changes but my vision.

Tabor said...

I distinctly remember staring out of my Dad's pick-up truck when I was small and looking at all the cool stuff on the ground and thinking that adults missed all this because they never looked!