by David Hamilton
Roost Books, 2019
Review by Christian Perring on May 28th 2019
Family Foraging is a little paperback, 6.5 by 8.5 inches, that you can take with you when going for a walk in the countryside. It goes through a fairly short list of plants that one can identify, pick, take home and eat in a meal. It has photographs and drawings, along with descriptions of what to look for, and where you are likely to find these plants.
Some are easy to find and identify: woodland strawberries and wild plums, for example. Or even easier, dandelions and blackberries. Others may be harder to find: sorrel, goosefoot and wild garlic. And obviously some will be sweet while others are bitter or pungent. They are grouped according to the four seasons, and each has a few pages devoted to it. It's a pretty basic introduction to foraging, which is where most of us need to start. There's no danger here of getting something poisonous, and tasting whatever you pick raw will tell you about its flavor. As using wild plants becomes increasingly popular with chefs, it is good to remember that it is an activity for everyone. As we become more connected with the sources of our food and try to move away from processed and packaged meals, foraging is potential fun and can lead children to be more informed about tastes.
This little book may also be more useful than trying to download and use some foraging app on your phone and getting all sorts of uncertain results. It is nicely produced with beautiful pictures. Author David Hamilton is based in the UK, but these are plants that grow in many parts of the world, so it can be used by foragers from all over.
© 2019 Christian Perring
Christian Perring teaches in NYC.