Mad Wikkid Bike Toouah Lord Nerd Beta
June 7, 2016 | Vermont
Vermont’s excellence isn’t limited to a surfeit of jams made from the crushed matter of hand-coddled berries and gamey ripe yogurt, still warm with the active bustle of a probiotic kingdom.
When we told Benedict, aka Bene, aka Ultraromance, aka Poppi, aka Jonti, aka The Cybershark, that we needed him to organize a ride in the Northeast he told us that without a question, without even an inkling of a doubt, that the ride he’d be organizing would be taking place in Vermont, a state choked with artisanal grocery stores and co-ops despite its sparse population. These repositories of crafted and curated foods are essential for keeping the body, mind, and spirit in tip-top condition, and there is nothing in the world more important to a brahman/bohemian/vagabond/aesthete like Mr. Benedict Wheeler than a tip-top bod and all the groupies and fringe benefits that come with it. But Vermont’s excellence isn’t limited to a surfeit of jams made from the crushed matter of hand-coddled berries and gamey ripe yogurt, still warm with the active bustle of a probiotic kingdom. The state has so much more to offer: preternaturally smooth dirt roads, haunted tunnels, and wealth of wild camping and cabin options are just a few of the amenities that, taken together, will serve to WOW even the most calloused of bike tourists.
An Illustrated Guide to Edible, Medicinal and/or otherwise Notable Flora: Vermont Edition Illustrations by Mara Menahan, with Commentary by Poppi
If your spirit guide, route planner and exercise midwife is a modern-day vagabond by the name of Poppi Wheeler, and you’re traveling—nay, “touring”— the Appalachian outback for weeks on end, you’re going to come in contact with A LOT of plants. Because:
- They are everywhere. The humid hills and muggy mountains of the East Coast are literally covered in vegetation. Some of it thick. Almost all of it green AF.
- Even though your Poppi is the recent recipient of an Amateur Professional Adventure Contract he still only eats from the three major food groups: 1) wild edible plants 2) Builder Bars 3) a small selection of handpicked, small batch foods purchased from locally owned Co-Ops 4) Artisanal Yogurt 5) Pizza.
So please, if you will, consider this a Public Service Announcement, or Guide, to some notable plants you’re likely to come in contact while traveling the East Coast and that you might want to eat, avoid, or use in the creation of a powerful and effective poultice.
About Mara Menahan: Mara was first recognized for her botanical art in the 4th grade when she won second place in an art contest for the Prickly Pear Land Trust in Helena, Montana where she grew up. She didn’t get first place though because she drew a saguaro cactus instead of a prickly pear cactus. Her scientific accuracy has greatly improved and today Mara draws plants all day every day as botanical illustrator at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Instagram: @maramenahan
Nettles, According to Poppi
“Nettles are perhaps one of my favorite vegetables. Something about plants with defense mechanisms on the outside that make for a very palatable flavor. The nettle is no exception, covered in stinging hairs, but when cooked down, no more stinging—just a chewy, nutty, highly nutritious slop. This plant is especially useful for vegetarians, as it’s wicked high in iron and protein. There are folk tales in many folksy folklores that spin yarns of wise hermits living off nothing but.”
Pine Pollen, According to Poppi
“In mid to late spring, you may have noticed that there are a lot of things that make the genetically weak sneeze and get all puffy eyed. Well that’s pollen. What we are looking for is pine pollen though. It’s the yellow stuff you see on the tips of pine trees, released from the male part of the tree in order to pollinate the cone, or female part of the tree. The pine pollen, when consumed fresh off the tree, is wicked high in B vitamins and vitamin C. It’s got a citrusy flavor, and is a great yogürt topping.”
Dandelion, According to Poppi
“Dandelion greens and flowers: perhaps the most easily identifiable wild edible of all, you most likely have these growing through the sidewalk in front of your condo. What Monsanto and their henchman of Hades don’t want you to know is that dandelions are more nutrient-dense than just about anything you can grow in yer garden or buy at the store. En vogue for their pleasantly bitter flavor, and perhaps for the novelty of eating weeds, your gourmet grocer might even sell dandelion greens at $7 a pound. Big money for something you can just pick off the side of the road, fertilized with dog urine! Yah! So wash em off before eating I guess, and be sure they haven’t been sprayed.
Prep: the greens are bitter, but bitter means they’re good for you. This is a wiiiiikked healthy food, so don’t expect it to taste mild. Yer not a mild person. You’re better than that. Ok, so I eat ’em raw on the go, but they’re best cooked down into yer evening goulash after about 10 min on a simmer. The flowers are quite nutty in flavor, and are a great trail snack. You can also gather a bunch in early spring and ferment em into wine. I’ve got a batch going right now, actually. The tap root can be roasted like a carrot, or chopped and roasted until dried. This makes a great coffee alternative! It’s actually really good.
Red Clover, According to Poppi
“The Vermont state flower. It grows all over the place, about as common as dandelions. I love eating the flowers as trail snacks. They’re delish, and reminiscent of the sweetness you find in sugar snap pees. The clover leaves are also not bad raw, featuring a liiiiiitle bit of sweetness.”
III Poppi's Public Restrooms & Pizzeria: Recipe #1
Poppi is a full service Bike-Packing Guide and East Coast Aficionado. Does he know where to find the covered’est of bridges?, you bet he does. What about the primo dirt roads?, the ones with a buffed-out surfaces, no cars and countless dead possums?, ummm, duh. Haunted Tunnels anyone??? The nearest artisanal co-op? Poppi knows it all! But his instruction and guidance doesn’t end there, he also knows how to (safely) subsist on weeds and wild edible plants and trash found on the side of the road and behind abandoned buildings. With this in mind, Yonder Journal is proud to present a series of recipes from Poppi’s forthcoming cookbook called Poppi’s Public Restrooms and Pizza.
Poppi’s “Run Right Through Ya” Goulash
- Bouillon Cubes: Bouillon cubes are cheap, tasty, packable and versatile… kinda… I always have ’em adorning my camp kitchen and incidentally seasoning the bottoms of my stuff sacks. I’m always like, “Are those my spare socks I’m smelling?? Aww, yah, that’s a bouillon cube onion waft”. It’s exciting.
- Coconut Oil: The praises of coconut oil have been heard by all, and for the most part are all true. It’s incredibly stable at high temperatures while cooking, and won’t go bad in yer camp kitchen. It’s also the best after-tanning and pre-tanning and general-tanning enhancer yer soon to be bronzed and muscular beach bod has ever adorned itself in. It’s also a pretty good lube for the inevitable brokeback moment. Better than just spit in my experience.11Other uses: It’s anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, a great alternative to showering. You can brush yer teeth with it, seriously! Use it to service yer undercarriage to keep saddle sores at bay. Brooks saddle moisturizer. Keep a beach olfactory atmosphere going through the wintär with it.
- Protein: I recommend tempeh for the vegetarians, and high-qual venison or bison jerky for the heartless, cruel, and unconscionable carnivores with no future world views.
- Micronutrients: Micronutrients needn’t be packed in yer bags. They’re everywhere you look, and far more nutritious than anything you can buy at the store. Weeds brü. Choice: lamb’s quarters, nettles, watercress, sheep sorrel. Not So Choice (but still good for you): dandelion22It’s everywhere, and makes kale’s nutrition read like iceberg lettuce. Since when did you eat kale for the taste anyway?, common plantain (not bananas), or basically anything green. It’s near impossible to poison yourself with greens. Trust yer instincts. Try a corner of something, and if it makes yer mouth do somersaults, you probably shouldn’t eat it. It’s how we managed for 12,000 years, until about 150 years ago. You may be a computer nerd with spindly fingers and a translucent visage, but you still have the DNA of A GREAT WARRIOR.
- Carbo: For a quick and easy one, add one or two of yer pre-baked sweet potatoes. Just chop em up. Alternatively use an ancient grain. If it’s not ancient, then don’t eat it. It’s not #cool if it’s not ancient. Two quick cooking (10-15 min) ones are quinoa and millet. Quinoa is choice if yer not socially conscious and don’t care about starving children in Peru no longer being able to afford their staple food. But it tastes great, and it’s a superfood! Plus we are AMERICANS, and that shit is cheap for us! Millet is even cheaper, and is comparable in nutrition, but it doesn’t taste as good IMO.
- Get yer ti bowl on the stove or fire.
- Add a cup of water.
- Add a bullion cube.
- Simmer down from a boil
- Add yer ancient, antique grain (optional) and coconut oil and cover.
- Simmer for 10 minutes then add yer protein and chopped greens.
- Cook for another 5:00-7:23 and add yer baked sweet potatoes.
- The people of Vermont are kind and patient. But once you step/ride across stateliness, be prepared for some animosity.
- Maple syrup is not as readily available as you might think. Be prepared.
- Even though it’s not as readily available as you might think, maple syrup will still get everywhere, even if you only use it once.
- If you aren’t into the artisanal side of life, please don’t come to Vermont. You’ll hate it.
- It is haunted here, and you’re going to have to deal with it.
- Barefoot Brad is a legend, not a myth.
- Ticks are everywhere and they show no mercy.