Vegetable literacy

The garden helps you get things into view. Whether you have potted plants or a big garden, relating to growing plants can inspire you to ask questions and discover similarities. Then, when you use those plants in the kitchen, you know more about them. For example chard, beet, spinach, and quinoa are all in the same family (Amaranthaceae), and their leaves taste similar. As you note these flavor relationships, you might say, “I don’t happen to have chard, but I’ve got beet greens. I think I’ll use those instead.” You’ll be fine. Spinach is going to cook down more than chard and less than beet greens, but the flavor essence is there. And the same is true of wild spinach, or lamb’s-quarters