today, i was reminded of the "shiso" that grows in many simple urban Cincinnati gardens. i ment to talk about it last summer, just didn't get round to it. it's name was spotted in a package of pickled ginger at the food co-op, and so here i am, bringing it to your attention.
according to the mother of all wikis:
"Perilla is a genus of annual herb that is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae. The most common species is Perilla frutescens var. japonica or shiso which is mainly grown in India and East Asia. There are both green-leafed and purple-leafed varieties which are generally recognized as separate species by botanists. The leaves resemble stinging nettle leaves, being slightly rounder in shape. It is also widely known as the Beefsteak plant. In North America, it is increasingly commonly called by its Japanese name, shiso, in addition to being generally referred to as perilla. Its essential oils provide for a strong taste whose intensity might be compared to that of mint or fennel. It is considered rich in minerals and vitamins, has anti-inflammatory properties and is thought to help preserve and sterilize other foods. In Nepal and parts of India, it is called silam. Its seeds are ground with chili and tomatoes to make a savoury dip/side dish."
this purple type's the one all over Clifton Heights. again, quoting el wiko:
"The purple type is called akajiso (赤紫蘇 "red shiso"?) and is used to make umeboshi (pickled ume), or combined with ume paste in sushi to make umeshiso maki. An inflorescence of shiso is called hojiso. Its young leaves and flower buds are used for pickling in Japan and Taiwan."
the other plant, i could only find online reference to in the humongous .pdf file Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World, which says it's latin name is Hydrophyllum virginicum. it's leaves are green, splotched with a more silverish verdency. Joe says when the silver dissapears later in the season, it will be too late to enjoyably consume.
in other news, i hear that Pope Ratzinger has appointed Henry Kissinger as an advisor. and Will made fun of Chavez for waving around a Chompsky book. seriously, when i heard this my fear of the dark returned and i had trouble going from building to building last night.
and... 'parently these posters are popping up all over Europe in train stations: