Saturday, April 9, 2016

DANDELION WINE

I recently read, with great delight, Ray Bradbury’s  autobiographical celebration of summer 1928: DANDELION WINE.  
It’s written with such tender fervor and such affection for his younger self that you can’t help feeling a similar affection for the author.

Is it because he didn’t go to college or do any writing courses that his language is so fresh and strong? He has said:

“I don't believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries ... When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years....At the end of 10 years, I had read every book in the library and I'd written a thousand stories and graduated from the library when I was twenty-eight. People should educate themselves - you can get a complete education for no money.”

He writes in the introduction to DANDELION WINE:

“I came on the old and best ways of writing through ignorance and experiment and was startled when truths leaped out ... I blundered into creativity as blindly as any child learning to walk and see.”


I’m sure you can educate yourself quite well on the internet today but the key phrase may be “I had read every book”. With all that literature churning around in your head, blundering into writing through experiment may be a good, if lengthy, way to learn to write. That and living energetically 

Anyway, in celebration of Ray Bradbury’s lush, dappled book and because it’s spring and this is the time to do it, here’s a recipe (untested by me) for DANDELION WINE:

2 quarts dandelion flower petals only
4 quarts water
½  cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh chopped ginger (1”)
3 tablespoons chopped orange zest
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped lemon zest
3 cups  sugar
1 package dried brewing yeast
1/4 cup warm water

1) Wash flowers, remove petals.
2) Place in water with OJ & lime juices, ginger, zests  & sugar.
3) Boil for 1 hour.
4) Strain through coffee filter.
5) When cooled & still warm add yeast.
6) Cover with cheesecloth & let sit over night.
7) Bottle. Make holes in balloons and place over bottle tops to seal & allow gas to escape. This keeps out unwanted yeasts.
8) Store in cool, dark place for 3 weeks to ferment.
9) Cork and store in a cool dark place for 6 mos - 1 year.
10) Drink.

By the way, you can also make a fabulous salad from the green leaves: pissenlit au lard. So, make the wine now, read the book on Kindle then in a year when the wine is ready, get a paper version of the book so you can properly celebrate it with touch and smell and highlighters. Sit on the fragrant grass sipping your wine and nibbling your dandelion leaves while you sensually turn the pages

Mmm, summer.
                                                    *

RAY BRADBURY,  WRITERS, DANDELION WINE,  EDUCATION