Foraging for My Dinner

A few days ago, on Bloomsday to be exact, Barbara and I went foraging in a meadow and adjacent woods in Carlisle with David Craft–an urban forager based in Cambridge–and a few other friends.  I like that we did it on Bloomsday, in the sense of it seeming fitting to spend the day walking and eating and walking and eating.  But mid-June is not an optimal time to forage in Massachusetts.  We ended our trek hungry, albeit with lots on interesting new flavors lingering on our tongues. Not all of them, to be honest, were good. There were definitely some foods that I can only imagine eating in desperation. Some, though, could be really awesome: milkweed was a BIG surprise.

But even though this was a new thing for us, we apparently jumped onto a pretty raucous bandwagon.  Look at all the cookbooks for foragers that have come out in the last three years!

Food For Free, by Richard Mabey, publ by Collins (240 pages); 40th anniversary REPUB of 1972 edition.

Whole Larder Love: Grow Gather Hunt Cook, by Rohan Anderson, publ. by powerHouse Books (240 pages)

The Joy of Foraging: Gary Lincoff’s Illustrated Guide to Finding, Harvesting, and Enjoying a World of Wild Food by Gary Lincoff, publ. by Quarry Books (192 pages)

Foraged Flavor: Finding Fabulous Ingredients in Your Backyard or Farmer’s Market, with 88 Recipes, Tama Matsuoka Wong and Eddy Leroux, with a foreword by Daniel Boulud, publ. by Clarkson Potter (224 pages)

Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast, by Hank Shaw, publ. by Rodale (336 pages)

The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on $40 a week) by Robin Mather, publ. by Ten Speed Press (272 pages)

The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes, by Connie Green and Sarah Scott, publ. by Studio Publ. (368 pages)

Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate (The Wild Food Adventure Series, Book 1) by John Callas, publ. by Gibbs Smith (416 pages)

Nature’s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants, by Samuel Thayer, publ. by Forager’s Harvest Press (512 pages)

Pacific Feast: A Cook’s Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine, by Jennifer Hahn, publ. by Mountaineers Books (256 pages)

The Wild Vegan Cookbook: A Forager’s Culinary Guide (in the Field or in the Supermarket) to Preparing and Savoring Wild (and Not So Wild) Natural Foods by Steve Brill

That’s just the list of the ones available via amazon here in the US! And we’re LATE to the foraging craze.

Next time, I’ll add some thoughts on why this is so appealing to folks right now. Or at least some guesses.

In the meantime, I think I’ll make some nettle tea and dandelion greens.