The weeds of the field and garden have two big advantages in the kitchen: firstly, they are free to anyone; secondly, they contain any amount of dietary goodness, often not so readily available form the anemic products of the hothouse and intensive farm. And what is really needed is a set of recipes to turn them into everybody's favorite supper. This Vivien Weise provides in spades. With plenty of clear illustrations of the plants in question-ensuring that every reader will be able to identify the quarry when out gathering-Vivien has created a series of vegetarian dishes (all the recipes are meat-free_ with a defiantly modern slant: comfrey hamburgers, daisy ginger soup, dandelion salad with a banana yogurt sauce, dead nettle eggplant spread, ground elder layered pancakes, and many more. The great charm of this book is that you can go into the vegetable plot with two baskets: one for dinner and one for the compost heap. While gathering you supper, you weed the garden. In the popular weed-cookery courses the Vivien gives at her home in Germany, she demonstrates the culinary value of upwards of a hundred different plants. The value of weeds is a given in Mediterranean countries where wild-plant salads are commonplace. It was also understood by our own ancestors who recognized that many of these plants-now derided as pests-might actually taste nice (stinging nettle soup is but one hangover from this era), and that they also had a great therapeutic value: the lesser celandine, for instance, was a particular remedy for scurvy; the dandelion is a diuretic. They also have very high vitamin, mineral and protein content, especially in comparison with cultivated vegetables. For example, the dandelion has 3.3% protein per 100g (the lettuce 0.9%); ground elder has 648mg of vitamin A per 100g (broccoli 370mg); Good King Henry 3.5mg of iron per 100g (swiss chard 2.2mg).