Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Recommended Posts

After working at many restaurants that have local foragers come in to sell product and now reading through the Noma cookbook I'm very interested.

I do so much gardening for the heirloom faire but always see wild greens and flowers here in the Bay Area California.

Of course the standard google search came up with a list of books to buy but I was looking for recommendations from fellow forum members!

Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

My eGullet Foodblog

Link to post
Share on other sites

You can take classes - such as this one.

There are several in the Bay area.


I have friends who live in Carmel and forage the coast. Check here for fees and what you will need. (fishing license).

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a kid, my family spent several years in Western NYS, and I recall my mum referring a lot to a couple of books by Euell Gibbons, called Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Stalking the Healthful Herb. From what I recall (I remember using them too, and bringing home my finds), they seem worth at least a look, even though hundreds of books on this subject must have been published since then.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hank Shaw has a useful post on foraging books here. For that matter, his website has a lot of great information, albeit not in book form. The content there may have been condensed down somewhat into his recent book, Hunt Gather Cook. I haven't laid my hands on a copy, but I gather it's not meant to be a thorough foraging manual as much as to provide inspiration and some gentle encouragement to get out and explore the natural bounty.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spend time talking to local aboriginal people, especially the older women, and just people in general who've lived here and who's family has lived here for a very long time about foraging and traditional cooking. I also talk to some of the local hunting and fishing guides who have knowledge of wild edibles in the area. The pickings are disappointingly slim even from the best information sources I can find. I've been considering trying to wheedle my way into being invited to one of the hunter's feasts or similar so I can hang around the cooksites and bother people for information but I haven't done it yet. I'm not sure about the etiquette of asking to join in on a traditional aboriginal celebration.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

I am also looking for good books on that topic. I am looking into several references and was wondering if there were some that were especially recommended. Ideally, I would like an identification guide for edible plants in California with lots of pictures/drawings (I am only moderately interested in mushrooms, more interested in wild greens or berries) and a few preparation ideas (not necessarily detailed recipes, but best practices on usage).

Here are the ones on my list currently, but I would like to narrow it down to 2 or 3:

  • Stalking The Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons (already mentioned)
  • Nature's Garden by Samuel Thayer (recommended in Hank Shaw's post on foraging books)
  • Edible and Useful Plants of California by Charlotte Bringle Clarke (also recommended by Hank Shaw)
  • Pacific Feast by Jennifer Hahn - I am intrigued by this one since I live on the coast and it covers sea vegetables
  • The Wild Table by Connie Green (seems interesting but about half of the book is about mushrooms based on the TOC)
  • Hunt, Gather, Cook by Hank Shaw

ScottyBoy - if you are reading this, what did you end up buying?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 8 years later...
10 hours ago, Zimma said:

I would read with great interest a book about wild plants that can be used in food. Maybe someone can advise me such a book?


The guide should be locally reference based. General  is not the best route. Many areas have foraging groups that can assist. Also classes where you go into the "wild" give a better feel than pictures in a book.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/26/2020 at 12:21 AM, Zimma said:

I would read with great interest a book about wild plants that can be used in food. Maybe someone can advise me such a book?


Check out the works of Pascal Baudar including: 

The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir 


If you find yourself in southern california he also teaches classes through - www.urbanoutdoorskills.com/


I took a private class through a restaurant I was working at. He is a great teacher.





Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @donk79. My book is much more of a cookbook than a foraging guide, and I don't focus too much on plant identification - just as necessary for my recipes. I second Pascal's series of books. All are amazing. I also love my Moerman books on indigenous ethnobotany - he has one on medicinal uses and one for food, but both are a great source of ancient wisdom that you can use for your area through the lens of the tribes that used to live off of the land surrounding you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That's true, @gfron1.  I was thinking less on the idenfication end, and more about what to do with them once I have them.  I grew up working outside, so ID is something I can take for granted.  If you have not grown up with foraging and harvesting, you should not be so casual.  And always double check your gathering regardless!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎4‎/‎26‎/‎2020 at 12:10 PM, heidih said:


The guide should be locally reference based. General  is not the best route. Many areas have foraging groups that can assist. Also classes where you go into the "wild" give a better feel than pictures in a book.


This.   x 1000.   I own most of the books suggested in the 2012 FrogPrincesse post.  They are of limited in terms of how much they can teach you.  I find it very challenging to translate a photograph, worse yet a black and white photo or a drawing, into an actual plant I come across.  There are also fairly extensive restrictions about what you are allowed to forage and from where, at least around DC.    Now would be a terrible time to make yourself sick or get in trouble.


You will learn a lot more having an experienced forager take you out, than you will from a book.   


Just my 2 cents

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Mutleyracers
      Hi all. I hope you are well. I am just into baking bread due to lockdown and need help. Ideally I would like modernist bread but the wife is not quite agreeing to that yet. So I would like some where to start for now until she comes around to the idea. After she has tasted all my amazing breads I make. 
      I would like this to be in metric rather than imperial.
      Thank you 
    • By Burmese Days
      Hello everyone,
      This is my first post, so please tell me if I've made any mistakes. I'd like to learn the ropes as soon as possible. 
      I first learned of this cookbook from The Mala Market, easily the best online source of high-quality Chinese ingredients in the west. In the About Us page, Taylor Holiday (the founder of Mala Market) talks about the cookbooks that inspired her.
      This piqued my interest and sent me down a long rabbit hole. I'm attempting to categorically share everything I've found about this book so far.
      Reading it online
      Early in my search, I found an online preview (Adobe Flash required). It shows you the first 29 pages. I've found people reference an online version you can pay for on the Chinese side of the internet. But to my skills, it's been unattainable.
      The Title
      Because this book was never sold in the west, the cover, and thus title, were never translated to English. Because of this, when you search for this book, it'll have several different names. These are just some versions I've found online - typos included.
      Sichuan (China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (In English & Chinese) China Sichuan Cuisine (in Chinese and English) Chengdu China: Si Chuan Ke Xue Ji Shu Chu Ban She Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (Chinese and English bilingual) 中国川菜:中英文标准对照版 For the sake of convenience, I'll be referring to the cookbook as Sichuan Cuisine from now on.

      There are two versions of Sichuan Cuisine. The first came out in 2010 and the second in 2014. In an interview from Flavor & Fortune, a (now defunct) Chinese cooking
      magazine, the author clarifies the differences.
      That is all of the information I could find on the differences. Nothing besides that offhanded remark. The 2014 edition seems to be harder to source and, when available, more expensive.

      In the last section, I mentioned an interview with the author. That was somewhat incorrect. There are two authors!
      Lu Yi (卢一) President of Sichuan Tourism College, Vice Chairman of Sichuan Nutrition Society, Chairman of Sichuan Food Fermentation Society, Chairman of Sichuan Leisure Sports Management Society Du Li (杜莉) Master of Arts, Professor of Sichuan Institute of Tourism, Director of Sichuan Cultural Development Research Center, Sichuan Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base, Sichuan Provincial Department of Education, and member of the International Food Culture Research Association of the World Chinese Culinary Federation Along with the principal authors, two famous chefs checked the English translations.
      Fuchsia Dunlop - of Land of Plenty fame Professor Shirley Cheng - of Hyde Park New York's Culinary Institute of America Fuchsia Dunlop was actually the first (and to my knowledge, only) Western graduate from the school that produced the book.

      Here are screenshots of the table of contents.  It has some recipes I'm a big fan of.
      ISBN 10: 7536469640   ISBN 13: 9787536469648 As far as I can tell, the first and second edition have the same ISBN #'s. I'm no librarian, so if anyone knows more about how ISBN #'s relate to re-releases and editions, feel free to chime in.
      Sichuan Science and Technology Press 四川科学技术出版社  
      Okay... so this book has a lot of covers.
      The common cover A red cover A white cover A white version of the common cover An ornate and shiny cover  There may or may not be a "Box set." At first, I thought this was a difference in book editions, but that doesn't seem to be the case. As far as covers go, I'm at a loss. If anybody has more info, I'm all ears.
      Buying the book
      Alright, so I've hunted down many sites that used to sell it and a few who still have it in stock. Most of them are priced exorbitantly.
      AbeBooks.com ($160 + $15 shipping) Ebay.com - used ($140 + $4 shipping) PurpleCulture.net ($50 + $22 shipping) Amazon.com ($300 + $5 shipping + $19 tax) A few other sites in Chinese  
      I bought a copy off of PurpleCuture.net on April 14th. When I purchased Sichuan Cuisine, it said there was only one copy left. That seems to be a lie to create false urgency for the buyer. My order never updated past processing, but after emailing them, I was given a tracking code. It has since landed in America and is in customs. I'll try to update this thread when (if) it is delivered.
      Closing thoughts
      This book is probably not worth all the effort that I've put into finding it. But what is worth effort, is preserving knowledge. It turns my gut to think that this book will never be accessible to chefs that have a passion for learning real Sichuan food. As we get inundated with awful recipes from Simple and quick blogs, it becomes vital to keep these authentic sources available. As the internet chugs along, more and more recipes like these will be lost. 
      You'd expect the internet to keep information alive, but in many ways, it does the opposite. In societies search for quick and easy recipes, a type of evolutionary pressure is forming. It's a pressure that mutates recipes to simpler and simpler versions of themselves. They warp and change under consumer pressure till they're a bastardized copy of the original that anyone can cook in 15 minutes. The worse part is that these new, worse recipes wear the same name as the original recipe. Before long, it becomes harder to find the original recipe than the new one. 
      In this sense, the internet hides information. 
    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
      This one appears to be older.

      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

      Any insight would be helpful.
    • By K8CanCook
      Update!! --- the sale is still going on at Amazon as of Sunday (11/24) at 11:15am EST
      Did anyone note the sale price on Modernist Cuisine today (maybe yesterday)? Amazon and Target dropped the set of tomes to $379!!!
      This price looks like it will change after today...so get it ASAP!!!

    • By Bollo
      I need a book on the application of rotavapor machine. I've searched something on web but i can't find something strictly professional for the kitchen please help me. To improve the research. 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...