Cookbook Review – The Wild Table by Connie Green and Sarah Scott

by Robyn on November 1, 2010

Photo of wild foods on table with mushroom soup illustrating the new cookbook the wild table.Cookbook Review – The Wild Table by Connie Green and Sarah Scott Photographs by Sara Remington
Forward by Chef Thomas Keller
Publisher Viking Studio a member of the Penguin Group Inc.(USA) New York
368 pages 100+ recipes

Publisher’s summary: A captivating cookbook by a renowned forager of wild edibles-with more than one hundred sumptuous recipes and full-color photographs.

In the last decade, the celebration of organic foods, farmer’s markets, and artisanal producers has dovetailed with a renewed passion for wild delicacies. On the forefront of this movement is longtime “huntress” Connie Green, who sells her gathered goods across the country and to Napa Valley’s finest chefs including Thomas Keller and Michael Mina.

Taking readers into the woods and on the roadside, The Wild Table features more than forty wild mushrooms, plants, and berries- from prize morels and chanterelles to fennel, ramps, winter greens, huckleberries, and more. Grouped by season (including Indian Summer), the delectable recipes-from Hedgehog Mushroom and Carmelized Onion Tart and Bacon-Wrapped Duck Stuffed Morels, to homemade Mulberry Ice Cream- provide step-by-step cooking techniques, explain how to find and prepare each ingredient, and feature several signature dishes from noted chefs. Each section also features enchanting essays capturing the essence of each ingredient, along with stories of foraging in the natural world.

The Wild Table is an invitation to the romantic, mysterious, and delicious world of exotic foraged food. With gorgeous photography throughout, this book will appeal to any serious gatherer, but it will also transport the armchair forager and bring to life the abundant flavors around us.

Connie Green does more than introduce us to the abundance of wild foods growing all around us. She challenges us to put on our jeans and go for a walk in search of food. The Wild Table is not only a cookbook, but a resource for foraging foods growing all around us, yet going unnoticed by most. The plants she’s chosen to give reference to not only have a great place in culinary merit, but also are found in widespread areas of the North American continent, not endangered at all. Connie teaches us how to forage and Sarah Scott’s genius makes them more than edible.

Green also provides us with foraging etiquette in nine simple rules. #2 being “Eat small amounts at first. Everyone seems to be allergic to something. If you haven’t eaten the food before, give your body a gentle introduction to it.” The rules are fundamentals for setting you out on a path of foraging.

I found the book, and it’s recipes, to be intriguing. One of my newest finds are Sea Beans. I’ve been up and down the Pacific coastline and photographed many different varieties of Sea Beans and often wondered if they were edible. Of course they are! In fact, while recently visiting The Kitchen Restaurant in Sacramento, I dined on a delicious serving of sea beans with roasted walnuts.

This book is a go to book for the adventurous eater. Many times I’ve had the opportunity to spend days camping and learning skills to survive in hard times. The Wild Table will introduce and teach you how to find a full table of food and recipes to keep you well fed. The chapters talking of wild mushrooms will have you salivating thinking of the many ways to enhance your meals with these delicious fungi.

The superb photography by Sara Remington has you salivating at every picture and recipe. She, and her stylists, have presented us with ample enticements to seek out new foods and get you out hiking and foraging. If I only find a tenth of the foods presented, I will count myself successful in the endeavor. Coupling the photography with the wild calender included will have you jumping at the chance to forage some of your own food in areas close by you. Juniper berries are now in full season and it’s time to collect them! The ranch is filled with Juniper trees, and I’m heading there to collect and dry some and pickle the rest. I also spied a giant cactus covered in prickly pears around the corner from my house. I’ve always wanted to try them and now the recipes are here and ready to use. Off I go to forage some foods native to this area. Soon there will a recipe or two to share!

Publisher’s Note: It is important to use caution when gathering and preparing wild edibles. Use reliable guidebooks and/or consult with a professional before partaking of any unfamiliar wild ingredients. The recipes contained in this book are to be followed exactly as written. The publisher is not responsible for your specific health or allergy needs that may require medical supervision. The publisher is not responsible for any adverse reactions to the recipes or ingredients contained in this book. Anyone participating in the activities that this book discusses or suggests assumes responsibility for his or her own actions and safety. The information contained in this book cannot replace professional advice, or sound judgement and good decision making.

{ 1 comment }

Gary November 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm

We eat so much processed food, our society is always in such a rush and we end up eating what’s easy. It’s time to return to what’s really good for us. Cooking is a relaxing and a very creative activity. I love this book! Thanx for a great review!

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