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Books offer guide for eating something wild
September 24, 2013

As the sustainable food movement continues to grow, people are looking not forward, but backward, to our ancestors who hunted and gathered the food that was on their table. Several new cookbooks support this movement of hunting and gathering and field dressing your dinner, as well as cooking it.

• Afield: A Chef's Guide to Preparing and Cooking Wild Game and Fish is by Jesse Griffiths, award-winning cook and recent guest on NPR's Splendid Table program. Griffiths is one of the leaders in this movement and has even opened a practical hunting school. His book is filled with detailed photos to help the reader understand how to get the wild animal at your feet to your kitchen counter to make it into dinner. If you are just starting out, this is a must read.

• Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast by Hank Shaw focuses on both gathering plants and hunting. An outdoorsman from an early age, Shaw has always looked at the outdoors as a storehouse of food to be gathered and eaten. His book is an opportunity to pass this knowledge on to the reader so they, too, can appreciate the bounty all around them.

If hunting your food isn't an option, you may appreciate Jo Robinson's Eating on the Wild Side. In this book, Robinson explains about the greater nutrients that occur in wild plants compared with their domesticated cousins, and how to find these plants, grow them, and enjoy the health benefits they provide. She also talks about how to recognize the healthiest varieties in the supermarket or farmer's market so you can eat for optimal flavor and health.

So step outside and recognize the feast around you. Squirrel season opened in Iowa Aug. 31 - bon appetit.

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