Foraging, Then Cooking. My Favorite.

Pacific Feast: A Cook's Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cusine by Jennifer Hahn Skipstone, 223 pp., $21.95

I have recently become a mushroom forager. I enjoy romping through the wet forest; digging through the underbrush; the thrill of the hunt; and the dopamine induced rush brought on by the discovery of a white capped Matsutake. There is also the cleaning; brushing; and the preserving in numerous ways - freezing, drying, vacuum packing - all part and parcel under the wide umbrella of mushrooming. And, of course, I also love eating them - which helps to connect this voracious cycle.

Hunting for mushrooms has piqued my interest for other types of foraging, and Pacific Feast: A Cook's Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine, by Jennifer Hahn, is a perfect book for someone in my position: someone excited about the prospect of discovering foods in the wilds of the pacific northwest, but unenlightened to its bounty.

Pacific Feast features detailed notes on 40 species of flora and fauna. From kelp to shellfish, mushrooms to grapes, Pacific Feast is a great introduction to a variety of foods available for harvest and for cooking. The field notes include descriptions, locations, edible parts, harvest calender, and culinary uses. I have yet to cook any of the numerous recipes, but they appear simple and complementary to the foods they feature. Wonderful.

There is a separate fold out foraging guide that sells for $7.95.

Reviewed by Tom

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