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Sour Grass Soup and the Boa Constrictor Song

Sour Grass Soup and the Boa Constrictor Song

Sour Grass Soup

Brilliant yellow flowers dot California roadsides and hillsides this time of year.  I recognize it as sour grass from my childhood. In researching this post, I learned people call it clover and Oxalis. I didn’t grow up out in the country, but my “growing-up-house” sat atop a hill with our nearest neighbors either further up the hill or directly down the hill, which left a lot of weed growing space in between.

Space where my sister and I used to play and pick sour grass for our “soup.”

My dad works in construction. He drove a big white Ford pick-up when I was little. I remember hanging out while he worked on projects outside and in the garage. One day he backed the truck halfway out of the garage and gave us some sheets he’d been using as drop-cloths. He helped us hang the sheets over the raised garage door as a curtain to make a 2-room fort out of the pickup truck bed.

My sister and I prepped an inside area . . . kitchen and bedroom. We pretended the outside was a back porch  by sitting on the tailgate with our legs hanging over the edge.  I don’t know who taught us it was okay to eat the sour grass, but we did. It’s REALLY sour. You chew on the stem and suck the sour juice out of it, then spit out the leftover stalk.  It’s crunchy – like really thin celery.

When I see these yellow flowers alongside the road, it brings up vivid memories of making sour grass soup for our pretend game of house in that big white truck.

Sour Grass Soup Recipe (from my youth): Go out into the yard and pick some sour grass stalks. Strip off the flowers and save it for decoration. Or just put it in your hair to look pretty.  Break the stalks into bite-size pieces and talk like a grown-up while you’re doing it. Wear an apron if you can find one.  Add tons of water making sure to get yourself soaking wet in the process. Steal some ice cubes from the freezer in the garage.  Add a lot.  The soup is better when it’s super-cold.  Get some big spoons from the kitchen and stir over the stove you draw on a piece of cardboard. Then, dump it out and repeat for lunch and dinner.

CLICK for The Boa Constrictor Song

Peter, Paul and Mommy was my favorite album as a kid. We had the record!  And we used to giggle and giggle about this song. It’s one of the shortest songs ever at under a minute. You can click on the album cover to hear a sample. Enjoy!

Photo credit: / CC BY-SA 2.0


Thursday 9th of August 2012

Oh! the memories! Loquats from the trees in front of the City Water building, the treat of a pomegranate at the grape juice factory -- no pomegranates? The coldest water you could imagine was available. Nectarines down the alley by the trailer park. Picking up bruised oranges at the loading dock of the orange packing house. Picking spinach in the irrigation ditch by the insecticide yard. And a handful of sour grass by the lumber yard.


Thursday 11th of February 2010

I love that you had to add ice to your soup because it was better cold! My childhood soup consisted of honeysuckle flowers and a touch of muddy water. I never tasted it but we did bribe our neighbor to try it...poor kid!


Thursday 11th of February 2010

We wove a web in childhood. A web of sunny air. - Charlotte Bronte And sometimes I can still smell it - especially when reminded!


Wednesday 10th of February 2010

Thanks for sharing such a special memory from your childhood. Must be nice to see nature's reminders of your youth reappearing every year. .-= Debi´s last blog ..El Matador State Beach =-.

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