Sour and Sweet


What does it remind you of? For me these tastes are a remembrance of spring. My childhood spring, when everything was fresh, when usually I was waking up, taking my breakfast usually with a cup of linden flower tea (Link), dressing up in my uniform and going to school, schoolbag on my back.

Have you ever tasted young fresh grapevine tendrils? Their juice is tasty and mild sour. For a child this was a miracle, a happy treat. After chewing them I was throwing the rest. Then, when the vine leaves were big enough, but not mature yet, my grandma was making little boiled meat rolls with pork, rice, tomato juice and spices. Served warm with a teaspoon of yoghurt as a dressing. What else is sour and easy to find in the fields? Wild sorrel leaves. (Recipes Link) I was nibbling them in summer when I was strolling in the orchards in my grandparents’ village. There was another taste of my adventures as a child among different natural wonders. Children often feel the need in spring to taste unripe fruits, for example green cherry plums or green apricots, the latter ones combined with their kernel taste are bitter-sour. Unripe cherry plums can make a good boiled juice for souring in a natural manner, (without prefabricated vinegar or others) fresh springtime vegetable and meat soup. Romanian recipe Link. And this natural souring product has a good flavor and it is rich in Vitamin C. A garden is a source of many well-known and less well known treasures.

Sweet…What was sweet? Nectar, of course. Honeysuckle were climbing our garden fence. Plenty of them, their nectar is abundant and easy to be tasted. If you know how to do it…extracting carefully the bead of nectar from the bottom of the flower, pulling the pistil out gently. And for those who don’t know even lilac flowers are edible (one of the purple varieties of lilac) and I was sipping the nectar from their small flower cups. I don’t suggest you to do this until you are not sure which lilac varieties are really edible. (Link) And my grandma was cutting lilac branches, decorating our room, teaching me that it is better to use a hammer to crush the ends of the branches, in order to make the flowers last longer in a vase. What else? Of course acacia flowers, full of nectar, used also for making special pancakes or other cakes. Acacia honey was always my favorite. And the taste of fresh honeycomb…

And while I was making my first steps as a child into this world, tasting sour-sweet in the beginning, my grandma was knitting or sewing, guarding my steps and our pendulum clock, in which I was not allowed then to turn its key…
Now those days are gone and gone with them is the sour-sweet taste. All that is left for me is a linden tree leaf, pressed in an old notebook, still green, the evergreen of reminiscence. By the way, even tender linden tree leaves are edible, used for meat rolls (sarmale in Romanian, a traditional meal usually prepared with sour cabbage leaves – Link). 🙂 🙂

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