Wild Food Books!

Just a quick note on edible wild food books: some are huge and tome-like and some are better suited to actually bringing out into the field with you. Personally I mostly use books to tell me what plants I can safely eat and then I immerse myself in google images of those plants. Edible Wild Plants by John Kallas is a sturdy and beautifully made book; it is, however, heavy enough that I probably will not ever take it with me on adventures. It’s not suited for identifying new plants on the fly; however, it is an excellent place to begin a food foraging journey because of the great detail included on the fifteen widely available plants it does cover. Large photographs clearly depict every stage of the plant’s life cycle and Kallas includes his own experience and insight as he explains how to identify, harvest and prepare each one. Kallas provides all the tools to confidently open your eyes to the real reality where everything is provided.

For  more of a field guide with lots of different plants, I use a book by the same name: Edible Wild Plants by Whomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman. This one gives a single picture and brief paragraph of a wide range of plants. I like to use this in tandem with books on herbal healing (like this) and then insert the intersecting plants in image searches to really get to know the forms. Wild plants, even of the same species can be soooo different from each other because each one is the perfect manifestation for the spot in which it lives. We get acclimated to these rows and rows of uniform corn or soy and their consumption makes us perfect candidates for sitting in classroom rows or office cubicles and consistently becoming the same as everyone else. The tight, tenacious plant in full sun and rooted in dry sandy soil will be almost unrecognizable when compared to his tall and broad-leafed brother by the river in the shade. Millions of tiny interactions perfectly tailor each plant to fit its surroundings. Eating wild food furthers the expression of each unique form into the unique space it occupies.


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