By Marie Viljoen
One intrepid cook’s exploration of her urban terrain
In this groundbreaking collection of nearly 500 wild food recipes, celebrated New York City forager, cook, kitchen gardener, and writer Marie Viljoen incorporates wild ingredients into everyday and special occasion fare. Motivated by a hunger for new flavors and working with thirty-six versatile wild plants—some increasingly found in farmers markets—she offers deliciously compelling recipes for everything from cocktails and snacks to appetizers, entrées, and desserts, as well as bakes, breads, preserves, sauces, syrups, ferments, spices, and salts.
From under-explored native flavors like bayberry and spice bush to accessible ecological threats like Japanese knot-weed and mug-wort, Viljoen presents hundreds of recipes unprecedented in scope. They range from simple quick-weed griddle cakes with American burn-weed butter to sophisticated dishes like a soufflé-ed tomato roulade stuffed with garlic mustard, or scallops seared with sweet white clover, cattail pollen, and sweet fern butter. Viljoen makes unfamiliar ingredients familiar by treating each to a thorough culinary examination, allowing readers to grasp every plant’s character and inflection.
Forage, Harvest, Feast—featuring hundreds of color photographs as well as cultivation tips for plants easily grown at home—is destined to become a standard reference for any cook wanting to transform wild-crafted ingredients into exceptional dishes, spices, and drinks.
Eating wild food, Viljoen reminds us, is a radical act of remembering and honoring our shared heritage. Led by a quest for exceptional flavor and ecologically sound harvesting, she tames the feral kitchen, making it recognizable and welcoming to regular cooks.