Dirty Dirt Cups
Tropseolum majns (Nasturtium flowers). Image from the "Annual illustrated and descriptive catalogue of new, rare and beautiful plants and seeds" circa 1894. Flickr Commons.
“Cleaner" Dirt Cups
[cute squiggly worm]
Mix yogurt and 3 tbsp crushed cookies; place inside a small jar or cup. Top with remaining crushed cookies and insert gummy worms.
- 6 ounces grass-fed Greek yogurt
- 4 tbsp crushed natural chocolate cookies or graham crackers
- 3 natural gummy worms
And so goes the advertisement for “Cleaner" Dirt Cups. Besides being somewhat annoyed by the ambiguous term “natural,” I couldn’t help but fall for the cutesy marketing and think fondly back to my childhood days of dirt cups. I used to love dirt cups. I ate the “non-natural” version that is probably more typical of what American school kids eat: artificially flavored chocolate pudding, crushed up Oreo cookies, mixed with gummy worms somewhere hidden in the middle.
But I loved these dirt cups for a different reason: The Nasturtium flower.
That bitter edible flower grew everywhere in my backyard and I loved the concept of an “edible backyard.” Growing up, mud was my medium of creation. I could make almost anything by mixing soil with the water and forming these clumps into little people, animals, houses, and food (picture Madeline age five playing in the mud, he he). I also loved tasting the bounties of nature—the red plums that hung over the fence from the neighbor’s backyard, sour flowers that rebelliously sprung up in the middle of the soccer field, and most of all: Nasturtium flowers.
Nasturtiums are not your “nice flower.” They knock off your socks with a peppery kick, which can be a pretty harsh taste for the young child’s developing palate. I liked them, not just for their taste, but because they made for a great trick to play with my friends. Edible flowers? It seemed novel (oh, how much we have learned since then). Now, I still enjoy the metaphorical concept of eating soil so here’s my grown-up version of dirt cups:
“Dirty" Dirt Cups
- Mud: Hmmm, this is a tricky. Why not go with real mud? I mean, dirt is good for us… Okay, if that grosses you out, try this (or any other) chocolate risotto pudding and that could pass for the worm-like appearance.
- Roasted cacao nibs to give it some crunch.
- Unflavored yogurt (it doesn't have to be the fancy Greek yogurt, totally up to your preference) to give it some tang.
- Nasturtium flowers to give it some bite.
- Spices to give it some earthiness. You could try cinnamon for the sweetness and chili pepper for the kick.
Have fun with it. Eat your dirt. It’s good for you.