Good morning, Friday lovers.

We are not going camping this weekend, as the forecast is for rain. My hope is for us to still get out to the location, and an even greater hope that I will forage something I have been coveting. In the meantime, I wanted to share our most recent delight and inspiration.

A Kid’s Herb Book by Leslie Tierra is perhaps the most magical and holistic book on herbalism I have ever come across. Meant to be used by children and adults together, it is a combination of fact, fable, whimsy, spirituality and lessons for deepening into life on earth. It combines intuitive wisdom with medicinal reference, gracefully. I have a pretty sensitive bullshit detector, and it remained silent as I gleefully flipped through the pages, reading meditations on “Becoming a Plant” and recipes for homemade marshmallows. If you want a resource for teaching your kids herbalism, I can’t recommend this book enough.

One of the first recipes to help kids make the connection between herbs and their uses, past and present, is for home-made rootbeer. There is no fermentation involved, and is something that can be made for an afternoon snack. I *so* don’t have permission to post this recipe, but I’m going to anyway, and we can just pretend that you came over to my house and wrote it down, ok?

Natural Root Beer (from A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra)

You will need:

1 TB Sarsaparilla
2 tsp Anise seeds
1/4 tsp Cinnamon bark
purified water
carbonated water
sweetener (it’s optional, but I used maple syrup)

Simmer the sarsaparilla (it smells amazing! the quintessential root beer smell!) in 1 1/2 cups of water, covered, for 15 minutes. Keep the heat on low so it doesn’t boil over. Turn off the heat.

Add the anise seeds (I used anise stars) and the cinnamon (I used 1/4 of a stick) and let steep for 10 minutes.

Strain (add the sweetner if you are using it) and let cool.

Add 1/4 cup cold carbonated water. Enjoy! Add ice cream if you dare.

We drank half before we took a picture.

This morning, as Fern had rootbeer for breakfast, I took my cup of coffee and schlepped out to the car to move it for street cleaning. I found a decent parking spot by our little park, and just sat for a few minutes after I turned the engine off. The local radio station was playing the new Cold Play song. I sat sipping my brew, looking at a sky preparing to be stormy. People were walking to work, and I remarked to myself, definitely not for the first time in the 14 years that I’ve lived here, that San Francisco’s beautiful people are a breed unto themselves. I could see the Zen Center down the street, and two monks slowly strolling up the hill. I exited the car, the song still humming around my head, and walked back towards the house. I waved to my neighbors across the street, our acquaintance cemented by the acknowledgement that I have earned my place in this hood from sheer time spent. The finch people were singing in the tree out front, hiding in the newly leafed out branches, our home also hidden in the green. The air was still and balmy, the garden blooming and I was met at the door by my exuberant daughter.

I can get pretty disgruntled with our city life. But there’s also a reason I’ve stayed so long. This morning was a nice reminder of why.

Have a beautiful weekend folks.


13 thoughts on “Rooted

  1. i’m rocking out to the new song, and loving how you tied in the root beer to the contemplation of your sf roots. i think we rooty types can’t help putting them down wherever we go, and you’ve been there for a while, it’s true. πŸ™‚ did you collect the sarsaparilla root yourself? i added the book to my wishlist- that looks excellent, something quinn and i will both devour.

  2. root. maybe you will forage some roots this weekend…we have some crazy happy yellowdock root i pull up here and there to make room for other stuff. maybe i’ll share it on the blog. it’s so cool. so orange. like a carrot. i have yet to use it. i like that root beer idea. so pretty all those little ingredients. how do i not have that book??

    i love the scene you painted of your morning coffee experience. so sacred feeling. it all is. i had a sacred morning getting some skin frozen off. i had some lichenoid. yes. i grow lichen now like a beautiful whale. it was a safe growth most likely, but it was bothering me. so off. sweet off. sacred off. love. love your process. love mine. love together. next lichen i grow might get to stay. till it falls off itself. till it’s roots let go. we’ll see…..

  3. thought of you this weekend hiking along san pablo bay, munching on but deciding not to being home any delicious “sea beans” – salicornia virginiana – but just leave them in the state park to enjoy their lives.

  4. 1) The herb shop I used to manage carried that book. I had completely forgotten about it. THANKS for the reminder.
    2) LOVE that your daughter had homemade rootsy rootbeer for breakfast.
    3) Wondering what wild plant you’re coveting.
    4) Love your miner’s lettuce and nastursiums. My nastursiums always wish they were growing near the coast in California.
    5) Your daughter’s cheeks! What is she storing in them? Can you even stand the cuteness?

  5. I am going to have to purchase this book at some point. Thanks so much for the recommendation. Was the root bear good? I am making it.


    1. the root beer was good! without sweetener it’s an acquired taste, but with the maple syrup it’s just the thing! thanks for saying hi and i’m excited to check out your blog!

  6. Oh, I’ll have to try the rootbeer, I’m sure Jude would love it. I make him “soda” now with sparkling water and fruit juice, the root beer sounds so much fun.
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. So funny. I’d just decided that root beer was next on our list of to-do’s. No bottling and aging process? My husband’s recipe sounds so much more daunting. Methinks I’ll try yours instead. Thanks!
    PS enjoyed your ending with ‘roots.’ After I read your previous post it made even more sense. I remember reminding myself a million times how much I loved Berkeley before we left it at long last. Staying in the moment as much as possible can help with any waiting game.

  8. Wow. You are the best mom. I’ve seen this lovely book at our store and thought it the best present for some child (I was actually thinking of getting it for Mycie who’s Amber from Violet Folklore’s little daughter, but never remembered to ask her if she already had it. ) . There are so many things from their own childhood that people almost accidentally transfer to their own kids; flavors, customs, ideas, games and its wonderful that you’ve just added your own twist to the simple pleasure of root beer.

    It’s nice to hear that you can feel your roots (i love how your titles often have such multilayered names;) in your adopted place, which can be hard, but rewarding. The sense of belonging is , in my humble opinion, one of the best human feelings one can have. I keep going back to both you and Sara’s posts on home and pondering deeply on the meaning of the words.

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