Not only people in the modern society, but also ancient people, not only ordinary people, but also emperors and ministers have shown special preference to wild vegetable. Existing historical data showed that Emperor Li Shimin of the Tang Dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming Dynasty and Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty ate wild vegetable. But they did so to boast they love the subjects and are thrifty, failing to taste the real flavor of potherb.
When it comes to eating edible wild herbs, we cannot help but mentioning Zhang Han of the Jin Dynasty who worked as an official in Luoyang, but missed brasenia schreberi very much of his hometown thousand miles away. So he simply quitted his job and returned back to the hometown so that he could fully and delightfully enjoy brasenia schreberi, which is an authentic edible wild herb whose lamina is floating on water and back produces a kind of grume like agar. It is smooth and tasty and can be cooked to thick soup. The line that “eating rice every day will be bored while having brasenia schreberi soup throughout a year will not be enough” clearly pointed to the feeling of the ancients after enjoying brasenia schreberi soup.
Shepherd's purse is a top grade among wild vegetables. It is cool in nature and sweet and has a fresh scent if being cooked. Lu You, a great poet in the Song Dynasty, loved shepherd's purse very much and especially wrote “Verse of Eating Shepherd’s Purse”.
Su Dongpo was a literary giant and fine-food eater at the same time. He understood the beauty of every food. As the magistrate, he lived on the hump and cooked on his own. Su Dongpo liked artemisia selengensis turcz (also known as seleng wormood) in the spring. In 1084 when Su Dongpo was dispatched by Emperor Shenzong of the Song Dynasty to take office in Ruzhou, he specially went to today’s Ninjing to savour artemisia selengensis turcz. Every time when he went by Nanjing and was available, he would go to eat artemisia selengensis turcz, speaking highly of the delicious, tender wild herb with the effect of getting away fever and defusing bruise.
In the final analysis, ancient celebrities ate wild vegetable not to fill the stomach; rather, what they enjoyed is a kind of elegance. If they were really reduced to satisfying hunger by wild herb, they should not have had leisurely and carefree mood to inscribe a poem for wild herb. Over the centuries, wild herbs were eaten by many poor people. For them, no matter how they eat wild herb, it’s unlikely for them to have the mood like the celebrities.