Do you remember when I told you about a new foraging book, written by herbalist Dina Falconi and illustrated by artist Wendy Hollender, right here in Accord, NY? Well, I reached out to Dina and Wendy, who are also the publishers, Botanical Arts Press, and they were kind enough to send me a review copy and a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader.
I was so excited to receive my copy and I was not disappointed: it is a gorgeous book. The hardcover is beautifully illustrated and sturdy. The plant identification pages are intricately drawn to the tiniest detail, including what the plant looks like in all seasons, the leaves, flowers and fruits, close-up illustrations of the seeds, leaf undersides or other details which aid in plant ID. Each page includes details on habitat, life cycle, plant size and a list of culinary uses, with a page index of recipes that are included in the book.
These are, by far, the most detailed (and beautiful!) plant illustrations I’ve ever seen in a foraging book.
The one thing that I missed (common in some other foraging guides) was a note on any poisonous look-alikes; but I suspect, with pictures this detailed, plant ID should be a snap, and should leave no room for doubt. The authors inform me that notes on dangerous look-alikes are included in the book, where relevant. Hooray!
Plant identification is, however, only one part of the book: while there are 50 botanical illustrations of edible wild plants, there are also 100 master recipes for using your foraged booty. There are herbal infusions and teas, salads & sandwiches, soups and eggs and a number of desserts. You know I was thrilled by the large preserving section, including herbal sea salt, fruit chutney, wild BBQ sauce and fruit coulis, to name a few.
I smiled to see that the recipes outlined are very much the way that I cook: master recipes, with abundant room for substitutions, and several variations on each theme. There are pages devoted to stock, both animal and vegetable (and here I thought I was the only one who kept chicken stock on the stove for 2 days), as well as egg dishes like frittata, my favorite answer to the must-use-it-now vegetable conundrum.
All in all, it’s a beautiful book, and I can’t wait ’til Spring so I can take it out for a test drive in the fields & forests near home. Surely a great gift for the budding forager or wild foods cook on your list.
The giveaway is open to anyone with a US mailing address (sorry international folks!). Simply leave a comment here telling me what food you’d most like to forage, and what you would do with it once you found a stash. Comments are moderated, so please do not panic if you don’t see yours right away. It will be there, I promise. Comments will close at midnight on Tuesday, Dec 17th and the winning comment chosen by Random.org. I’ll do my best to get it in the mail to the winner in time for Christmas. Those of you who want to ensure Christmas delivery may want to order a copy directly from Botanical Press. Good luck!
Update: We have a winner! Stephanie was lucky commenter 21, who says, “Anything! I’m curious to learn what I can get a hold of out in the wild.” Congratulations, Stephanie! Your copy of Foraging & Feasting is on its way!
Disclosure: I received a copy of Foraging & Feasting in return for my review and hosting the giveaway. As always, all opinions are my own.