Wild Food Adventures, Institute for the Study of Edible Wild Plants & Other Foragables
John Kallas, Ph.D., Director, Portland, Oregon


Wild Food Bookstore
Cookbooks


The books listed here contain the information that will give you options and help you be more creative in combining and cooking up wild foods that you've already positively identified and know the edibility of. They may optionally include illustrations, photographs and nutritional information. The value of the books outlined below is in the practical, and useful information they provide about putting these foods into meals. Actual critiques of the recipes in each book are impossible, due to the shear number and the prepared wild foods required to test them. These books were written by authors who, we hope have tried these recipes themselves. Remember, none of these books is perfect, nor can they be expected to cover plant identification or pre-kitchen processing. A good 'Starting Library' aside from containing the books in our all-in-one category, might contain some of these books depending on region and the focus of the book. These books can be supplemented with books from the other categories as the need arises for your locality, particularly ones with more photographic images. When studying any particular plant use the index of all relevant books in your library to get a more complete, realistic, and safe picture of 'edibility'.
   



Copyright 1998
174 pages
Amazon: $ 17.46

The Wild Food Gourmet - Fresh and Savory Food From Nature
by Anne Gordon
This is the nicest 'looking' wild food cookbook I've seen. The Wild Food Gourmet is designed in the classic style of photographic-based cookbooks and high end food magazines. The food photography is professionally done, plentiful, and the finished dishes look luxurious. The text is filled with gourmet recipes that range from simple to moderate in preparation. Two-thirds of the plants covered could be found anywhere in North America.
Many of the greens can be found in ones own garden growing as weeds. The wild food ingredients are common enough to make these recipes possible for those who know the plants. Gardon, her own photographer, is genuinely gifted. It is obvious that she has an artistic eye. The book is divided into these recipe groupings: Greens and Flowers, Wild Mushrooms, Berries and Other Fruits, Cold Drinks and Liqueurs, Herbal Teas, Jellies and Butters, and Vinegars. Each recipe grouping is preceded by photographs of many of the plants in nature.
Even though many of the photographs are helpful in identification, this is not a field guide nor does it go into detail on gathering or processing techniques. This book is highly recommended for those that want to show off the potential of wild foods, those who want to be inspired by the potential of wild foods, and for those who want the challenge of duplicating the look of the meals Gardons has created for serving wild food meals to your friends. Highly recommended as a coffee table style gift book for someone interested in wild foods. The recipes would be fun to try for anyone who enjoys cooking with wild foods and making them look beautiful.
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The price was: $ 17.46
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The average reviewer rating was 5 out of 5 stars



Copyright 1989
312 pages
Amazon: $16.95

The Wild Taste - Plant and Mushroom Recipes for the Knowledgeable Cook
by Kathryn and Andrew March
March and March have been writing about and experimenting with wild foods for years. Their first publication was "Common Edible and Medicinal Plants of Colorado" in 1979. Kate March studied cooking at the China Institute in New York City, and with various chefs. "The Wild Taste", aside from an Appendix, is all recipes. The recipes range from traditional Americana to International cuisine using wild foods. They cover almost a recipe a page for 270 pages of text.
At the beginning of 3 chapters (Pickles; Jelly; Teas Beers & Soft Drinks), they briefly covered the principles of preparing or processing foods. The Appendix includes 3 small nutrient tables, a list of conventional foods you can use in place of wild foods, 109 brief notes on edible plants and 28 brief notes on mushrooms. These notes are pretty useless relative to the information you can get from the books on the edibility page at this site.
The following chapters are found in Kate and Andrew's book: Appetizers, Salads, Soups, Chinese Dishes, Indian Dishes, Main Courses, One Dish Meals, Vegetable Dishes and Sauces, Desserts, Pickles, Jellies, and Herbal Teas Beers and Soft Drinks. Latin names are not consistently used throughout the book. Some of the recipes are titled: "Young Waterleaf with Shrimp and Prosciutto", "Pennycress and Swiss Cheese Souffle with Wild Onion and Tarragon", and "Lamb Chops Stuffed with Prickly Lettuce and Oyster Mushroom". This book is recommended for the shear number of recipes it gives. The recipes would be fun to try for anyone who enjoys cooking with wild foods.
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Copyright 2001
143 pages
Amazon: $12.56

Wild in the Kitchen - Recipes for Wild Fruits, Weeds and Seeds
by Ronna Mogelon
This book has the look and feel of the Moosewood Cookbook. The plant and food art within is stylistic - creating a down home mood more than serving to identify the plants illustrated within. Ronna Mogelon is a chef (she studied cooking at George Brown College in Toronto Canada), amateur naturalist, graphic designer, and food stylist for the movie industry. She lives in a 100-year-old log home on a farm in rural Ontario Canada.
At the beginning of the book Ronna gives some brief tips on how to proceed if you are not a botanist, on preservation and canning, and has a small section on the conventional ingredients she prefers to use in her recipes. Her 'recipe' chapters are titled Berries; Flowers; Fruits; Greens; Mushrooms; and Roots. Recipes are offered plant by plant. So after a brief discussion and a few tips about using barberry, for instance, she'll offer up one to four recipes.
Sometimes her tips are insightful and help you to improvise. Some of the recipes are titled: "Dandelion Flower Marmalade Jelly", "Orange-and-Currant-Stuffed Wild Grape Leaves", and "Charred Chicken with Fettucini and Creamed Morels". At the end of the book she has a key to Latin names for plants she's used in her recipes and a section for recommended readings. This book would make a sweet gift for the kind of person who would like the Moosewood cookbooks. The recipes would be fun to try for anyone who enjoys cooking with wild foods.
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The price was: $12.56
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The average reviewer rating was 5 out of 5 stars - based on 5 reviewers.



Amazon: $11.95
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Bob Krumm: 4 Books:
Rocky Mountain Berry Book
. 1991, 164 pages, 148 recipes, 32 color photos, 15 plants.
Great Lakes Berry Book. 1996, 144 pages, 115 recipes, 48 color photos, 22 plants.
New England Berry Book. 1997, 128 pages, 100 recipes, 24 color photos, 13 plants.
Pacific Northwest Berry Book. 1998, 132 pages, 107 recipes, 47 color photos, 18 plants.

After learning about wild foods from his mom, an avid forager herself, Bob Krumm spent time in various parts of North America learning about wild berries and other edibles. At the four regions covered by his books, he amassed recipes from the local inhabitants and is sharing them with you. Each short chapter covers a different berry producing plant or covers groups of related plants like, for instance, "all wild rose hip producing plants", or "all gooseberries".
Chapters start out with his personal experiences and reminiscences. On occasion he shares insights on gathering and processing berries. Bob does his own color photography which is quite good. The photographs are found grouped together at the center of each book - an expense saving technique that I find inconvenient for the reader who has to leaf back and forth. Two photographs are given for almost all plants he covers - a close up of flowers, and a close up of the berries. This flower/berry combo is something more books should offer.
'Wild Berries of the West' and the 'Alaska Wild Berry Guide', both in our Plant Identification section, do some of this flower/berry photography. Had Krumm included more plants, and more leaf and stem structures in his photos, his books would be in the Plant Identification section. All four are in this cookbook section because the recipes, in my opinion, are the predominant feature of these books. If you use the information from both Bob's experiences and the sometimes expanded recipes you can learn a lot here. What you want in any good wild berry cook book are gathering and processing tips, techniques and pitfalls that help you make the best berry preparations for use in any recipes they give.
These books do not cover lots of plants. The New England book covers 13 at the low end and the Great Lakes book covers 22 plants at the high end. But these books are good, clean, quaint, and useful. Any of them would make a great gift - primarily as inexpensive cookbooks, but also as and aid to plant identification.



Copyright 1987
174 pages
Amazon: $9.95

Bill and Bev Beatty's Wild Plant Cookbook
by Bill and Bev Beatty
This book could have just as appropriately been included in our edibility section had the title been different. Bill, the actual author, covers thirty plants sharing insights and experiences along the way. He has a degree in biology and is a nature and wild food educator. Each plant-based chapter starts out with Bill sharing his real life experiences learning about, finding, gathering, and preparing the plants for use in his kitchen. There is often really good detail here. Following that are one to seven recipes using that plant as an ingredient.
When appropriate, he includes more insights in between recipes to help you successfully work with the plants. Recipe titles are simple (non pretentious) and straight-forward like "Day Lily Salad", "Milkweed Flower Pancakes", "Persimmon Cookies", and "Purslane Omelet". This is not an identification guide. The black and white line drawings are only of limited usefulness. This is not a 'showy' cookbook, but it is recommended as a very useful cookbook and edibility guide. The recipes would be fun to try for anyone who enjoys cooking with wild foods.
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Copyright 1995
Hardcover Only
63 pages
Amazon: $12.56

Acorn Pancakes, Dandelion Salad and 38 Other Wild Recipes
by Jean Craighead George
This book probably sells more copies by it's title alone, then any other wild food book. It is a cute little hardcover published by Harper Collins Children's Book Division. They say it is appropriate for ages 4-8. It looks like and is about the size of a children's book. But I disagree with Harper Collins. Any recipe book involving simmering, frying, baking, and generally using fire and stoves etc. requires adult supervision. I envision the adult cooking this food while the child helps. But any of the books in this section would fit this wonderful purpose.
If your child is mature enough (ages 12+? on up) to safely follow recipes that involve them cooking with adult participation, then this book might work for them. If you are a self-gifter, you know, a person who buys something for someone else, but it is you who will really end up with the gift, then this book might be for you. Most of the plants covered are common and can be found anywhere in North America. This is not a field or identification guide.
Some of the recipes included are: Fiddlehead Pie, Indian Cattail Spoon Bread, Prickly Pear Jelly Roll, and Sweet-and-Sour Lambsquarters. The smallness of this book makes it not such a 'practical' buy (it contains only 40 recipes), but the look is sweet, the recipes are fun, and it would make a nice inexpensive gift for a cooking capable friend.
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The average reviewer rating was 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 reviewer.



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