READER CHALLENGE: Cooking With The Whole Garden?

I still plan on doing the resolutions round-up, but first, from the inscrutable Moi (my girlfriend, for anyone new), a question for any biology-or-cuisine savvy readers.

The question stems from the fact that Moi has this odd habit of nibbling, like our own little bunny, on all the plants in our garden, even though most of them are not generally considered edible. From this, she has learned that carrot tops taste a bit like carrots, as do pea leaves taste like peas, while tomato leaves definitely don’t taste like tomatoes. Really, it is a miracle that we have any plants at all.

Clearly, she isn’t dead yet, so nothing is very toxic. But why, if these bits of the plant all taste as good as she says, don’t we eat them? This is my question to you? Is it a matter of gastronomic preference, or are their biological reasons for it? Are our stomachs even set up to digest some of these plants (I know we would need to evolve a rumen to extract nutrients from grass, for example)?

I hope someone out there has the answer. In the meantime, look for the Cooking with the Whole Garden cookbook.

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