Time for a little break
When the proofs of COOKIING WITH BONNIE: FARM TO FRANCE were returned for printing, I knew it was time for a little break and I felt the Ozarks beaconing me. Spring had arrived and watching spring unfold in the Ozarks pulls me like a magnet back to the Missouri hills, a place I called home for many years. So I packed a few things and headed for Missouri.
Traveling east on Highway 54, I arrived at Lebanon where I spent the night. The weekend was spent connecting with old friends and included a short visit to Waynesville to visit an elderly aunt who still lived on the farm that once belonged to my grandparents. The old home place, way back in the hills, had long ago been replaced by a new, modern home up by the highway. But the winding road was still there! I followed it back to the original hollow (“holler” to the Ozarkians) where the spring-fed creek provided water for the livestock. As a youngster, however, the many beautiful rocks captured my interest and my sister and I would spend hours collecting the pretty ones—some with colorful layers and others that sparkled like diamonds in the sun.
My jaunt ended up at Bennett Springs located on the Niangua River—a trout fishing Mecca for many. Surrounded by majestic hills covered with native trees and flowers, and with the music of the natural springs playing softly in the background, it was the perfect place to relax and explore nature. That was when I discovered wild watercress growing in the Missouri sunshine.
Watercress, a gourmet treasure, grows wild along Ozark mountain streams in the early spring. We often picked this peppery herb to add additional flavor to salads or to make a refreshing spring soup. Sometimes when it was in abundance, we steamed it much like spinach and finished it with bacon and a little vinegar. Although we harvested it wild without much thought of its value, you can now find it in large supermarkets sold in small bunches much like parsley.
Cream of Watercress Soup is one of the many recipes in FARM TO FRANCE but you will also find the recipe on the Recipes page of this website.