• 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 an account.


A book for the "Locovore" or those who would like to be.

3 posts in this topic

The title "It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It" does not really give one an idea of what this book is really about. The subtitle: "Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter Gatherer" is much more descriptive of the contents.

First of all, it's got a lot of very funny writing. And there are some real "characters" that the author describes so well that I felt I could shake hands with them.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who really loves food and wonders why we eat what we eat and what happened to the things that once were common on the tables of America - or for that matter, other countries where it is difficult to find anything but "factory food" unless one lives in a truly rural area.

Here is the review I wrote for Amazon. I received the book via the Amazon Vine program so am required to publish a review but this is one I would have reviewed anyway.

Funny, enthusiastic, witty and insightful.

This is really a remarkable book because it looks at things that we see every day in a different light - that is, consider how many times you may walk past something that in the past was a source of food for many of our ancestors. And not just Native Americans but ordinary folks like me and you.

I grew up on a farm in the 1940s when most of the people in the area still gathered wild "greens" in the spring, pawpaws, maypops, berries, wild asparagus, onion grass, ramps, plantain, watercress, mallow, nasturtiums, nettles and purslane as well as the wild mushrooms that only the experts in the family were allowed to pick.
There was also hunting and fishing, finding bee trees (for the local "bee charmer" to harvest).

The author writes with wonderful humor and modesty in that what he was doing is often labor intensive but certainly for one who truly believes in eating what is available for free (and often tastier than anything in the stores) it is worthwhile, totally satisfying.

He writes about his backyard garden and reading his description of a homegrown tomato and the incredible flavor, causes me to wish that I had managed to find the effort to plant some this year. I am growing herbs, onions, shallots and radishes but thats it for this year.

His description of his adventures in Cajun country had me laughing out loud and the writing makes the scenes so vivid that it is easy for me to picture exactly what was happening. We hunted frogs when I was a child but we used long-handled fish nets because my grandpa was afraid we would stab each other (or ourselves) if we had gigs. The rule was, if you caught it, you cleaned it once one was old enough to handle a knife safely.

His trip to Alaska to spend some time with the Native Gwich'in people of the Alaskan tundra is equally inspiring. It also points up the problems these people are having with the attempts of the oil companies to exploit an area that is CRITICAL to the continuing success of the caribou as the ANWR area is their calving ground and not even the natives go there because it is important to not disturb the routine that has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years, or longer.

Foraging around San Francisco can be successful but the writer indicates that some people appear to be in it only for the notoriety (or the money) and not from any personal conviction about sustainability. The local expert who takes him on a seafood excursion is at the other end of the spectrum, doing it for the sheer pleasure of finding something that other people do not even realize is there.

And, it is also a love story...

I recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about urban ADVENTURES that anyone can have if they take the time to look around and actually SEE what is there if one just bothers to take some extra time. I wish that I was still physically capable of doing some of these things but age and arthritis forbid it. Meanwhile I can enjoy the experiences of writers like Bill Heavey vicariously through his evocative writing.

Edited by andiesenji (log)
1 person likes this

"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the eGullet friendly link to the book LINK

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll get it by ILL when it is available that way. Sounds really interesting. Harder to be a locavore in the far frozen north.


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Mike.jj
      Hello Egullet family.. its good to be back on here, been away for a while, i hope to find some new trending recipes .. and be ready to get some African dish recipes for those who love African Dishes, You can Read and  Download  Mp3 Audios here of some Nigerian dishes, and there are more coming in which i would be placing on here.. Thanks
    • By FrogPrincesse
      I've been eying this book since I heard about its upcoming release. For me, a cocktail book with a French slant is a hugely appealling. I flipped through it at my local bookstore and was compelled to buy it when I saw a recipe calling for Byrrh, along with a few re-interpreted classics. The recipes are not overly complex and generally don't call for esoteric ingredients. If you have Sam Ross' Bartender's Choice app, it's in the same vein but with a definite French (and international) touch, with recipes calling for things like Suze, Armagnac or Japanese whisky.
      Measurements are given in milliliters and ounces, and were probably conceived in metric so they can be a bit unusual sometimes, but this is not a big deal at all. Each recipe is provided with a little background about its creation or general concept, which I always find the most interesting part of these types of books.
      The first thing I mixed was the Byrrh cocktail of course. It had quite a few other ingredients, but luckily I had everything already on hand.
      Handsome Jack (Chris Tanner) with Rittenhouse straight rye, Pierre Ferrand 1840, Aperol, Byrrh, green Chartreuse, maple syrup, Angostura and Peychaud's bitters.
      As indicated in the notes, it is slightly on the sweet side but it has a slight bitterness that compensates for that (from the Byrrh and Aperol). The flavor is deep and complex. There is almost like a chestnut note with the maple syrup and cognac, and a nice kick from the rye. A very good fall/winter drink.

      Review of the book on Eater.
    • By Lisa Shock
      The team over at Modernist Cuisine announced today that their next project will be an in-depth exploration of bread. I personally am very excited about this, I had been hoping their next project would be in the baking and pastry realm. Additionally, Francisco Migoya will be head chef and Peter Reinhart will assignments editor for this project which is expected to be a multi-volume affair.
    • By liuzhou
      Another great article from the great Harold McGee. "The Science of Herbs and Spices" on Lucky Peach.
      Fascinating as ever.
      Now I just need to find the Chinese for "chitosan".
    • By Secret_Ingredient
      I emailed OXO a while ago, asking if they could design and market a thermocouple based thermometer. I reasoned that with their market penetration, the cost would be in the same range of current thermometers. I never heard back and cannot guess why there was no response.
      Most consumer grade digital thermometers use a thermistor. I had one of the first Polder Probe/wire (or cable) thermos and I loved it. It had a cable or wire, shielded in a metal braid. The new ones, use a silicon covering. Most of the reviews say that probe breaks and Polder has addressed that by adding a "handle" (of sorts) to the probe. Reasonable care while inserting and extracting the probe would have been more sensible by the reviewers who broke there devices, but the handle works, too.
      Still, this device and as I said above, most all temperature reading devices use a thermistor, or even a bi-metal strip (don't call me a perv!). The thermocouple devices read a much more accurate temperature range. From here on I'm spelling thermocouple as t/c.
      The Cook's Country (and under a multitude of other names) commonly shows the Thermapen t/c. At $100 it's pricey for the kitchen, but not for what it is. I imagine there are loads of industrial, scientific, and technical uses for it. There the $100 is worth it. The website: Cooking For Engineers sells the device for a "MERE" $79.  That site reviews a number of thermometers and puts the t/c on top.
      So dear reader, I must ask, why have the OXO's and Sur La Tables, Williams-Sonomas, and the like not found a way to place a t/c probe in a thermometer?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.