Notes for a living planet
The urge to forage continues to spread. Prepare yourself and protect your hipster friends with this field guide and wild food cookbook.
Perhaps you consider foraging a deplorable hipster pastime. Perhaps you thought—based on principle alone—that you would never read a book dedicated “In gratitude to the plants!” It matters little, since each day the truth becomes clearer: No one will escape the weed-eating frenzy that has gripped our nation.
“I will never give in to the plant scavengers,” you vow. Alas, it is inevitable. One day you will be invited to a friend’s house for dinner. You will accept the invitation wholeheartedly, envisioning his delectable bread pudding. But when you arrive he will tell you that he’s gone gluten free. Instead of bread pudding, he will present to you a hand-woven basket, which you’ll carry though town and trail, plucking various flowers, berries, and leaves.
When that day comes, you must be ready. Though your friend will assure you that he researched wild edibles on a suspicious device called the internet, it is possible that he could mistake poison hemlock for wild carrot, or pokeweed for elderberry. Or (worse?), he might be an overzealous harvester—a scourge on the very plants he professes to love.
Prepare him—and save yourself from uncertain demise—with Foraging & Feasting, an illustrated guide to common wild edibles. Organized alphabetically by common name, the authors have also included Latin names for concrete identification and further research. Further, they clearly list such necessary facts as the best times to harvest, and whether there are poisonous look-alikes of which you should be wary. Beneath the drawings, culinary uses of the plant are listed, as well as information about preferred habitat, typical size, and methods of reproduction.
The second half of the book contains brief, useful descriptions of common weeds’ medicinal uses and recipes for that dinner your friend promised. No bread pudding, regrettably, but the herbal truffles and meadow custard should suffice. Stay away from this section yourself, lest you find yourself smitten, swept up in the fad you so despise. If you cannot resist in spite of your dismal knowledge of the kitchen arts, do your loved ones the favor of starting with the basic cookery section—it covers such fundamentals as simmering whole grains and concocting soup stock from scratch. After that, beware, you’ll be well on your way to becoming as lost as the rest of them.