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Stalking the Wild Asparagus [Paperback]

Euell Gibbons , John McPhee
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 18.78
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1962
Euell Gibbons was one of the few people in this country to devote a considerable part of his life to the adventure of “living off the land.” He sought out wild plants all over North America and made them into delicious dishes. His book includes recipes for vegetable and casserole dishes, breads, cakes, muffins and twenty different pies. He also shows how to make numerous jellies, jams, teas, and wines, and how to sweeten them with wild honey or homemade maple syrup.

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From the Publisher

Euell Gibbons was one of the few people in this country to devote a considerable part of his life to the adventure of "living off the land." His greatest pleasure was seeking out wild plants, which he made into delicious dishes. The plants he gathers and prepares in this book are widely available everywhere in North America. There are recipes for delicious vegetable and casserole dishes, breads, cakes, and twenty different pies. He also shows how to make numerous jellies, jams, teas, and wines, and how to sweeten them with wild honey or homemade maple syrup.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I lived very close to the forest on a small island in B.C. for 10 years. I wouldnt be able to make use of this book because its all words
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing Aug. 4 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very disappointed in this book, I expected a lot more edible weeds, pictures to recognize them, rather than recipes. I realized this book was quite old when I purchased it but I still hoped that it would have a lot more everyday weeds in it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Cuisine Nov. 10 2003
Format:Paperback
Toward the end of ASPARAGUS, Euell Gibbons relates stopping during a stroll with his wife "at a couple of blooming elder bushes and collecting a bag of elder blow with next morning's breakfast in mind". Clearly, he has a recipe for this strange woodland product, elder blow. That's just one of the strengths of this very strong volume: plenty of recipes and tips to make wild fare taste good. Unlike today's whole food zealot, Gibbons doesn't hesitate to add refined food such as butter or bacon or sugar to his natural bounty. He is equally authoritative on cooking as on gathering, giving clear steps on making everything from stuffed grape leaves to fried frog's legs to Elder Blow Fritters.
But for me the real charm of Gibbons is his evocation of how we ate in the past; far, far in the past when all food was wild food. He speculates that mankind has probably eaten "many millions of tons more of acorns...than of the cereal grains". Fascinating, when you consider that no groceries now carry this formerly prevalent staple, as though it were as useless as an 8-track tape. Gibbons reminds that dandelions were prescribed by primitive doctors to ward off diseases caused by vitamin deficiency long before we had any concept of a vitamin. He is mindful, as he plucks wild grape leaves, that the Vikings reported the presence of grapes on our continent a thousand years ago, and thought that important enough to name it Vinland.
His style is what one would expect from an amiable, erudite grandfather, a member of one of the last generations that saw starvation in America, and that knew the delight of tasting fresh spring greens after a long winter without vegetables.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Classic March 26 2003
By Malleus
Format:Paperback
I find the contrived home-spun common sense and naivety of contemporary books to be irritating, but with Euell Gibbons as the narrator I'm taken back to a simpler era (which may exist only in the popular imagination, but which still has an impact on those of us who from time to time rush through life). Rether than a how-to guide for foraging, I read in this book a way of living which stresses that, to use an already overused but apt phrase, we all stop to smell the roses once in a while.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An American Classic from a natural naturalist Feb. 21 2001
Format:Paperback
Euell Gibbons became a household word after the 60's because he did a famous cereal commercial "Tastes like wild hickory nuts." Now most of us have never chewed on hickory nuts, but we were captivated by Euell's down-home charm. And during his heyday, we were getting back to nature, being hippies, reading the Foxfire books and re-acquainting ourselves with nature after the cosmic-rocket styles of the 50's.
This book is fun to read because of Euell's way of writing as if he were walking beside you in a field, pointing out the bounties of nature to you personally. His praise of the humble cat-tail, seen in any marsh or even in highway medians is nothing short of a miracle. I think he could survive on cat-tails alone for weeks.
Perhaps Euell felt so strongly about wild foods because as a teen during the Depression in the Texas dustbowl, he provided for the family during a particularly lean time, by gathering wild foods to supplement their diet of mostly pinto beans. He wandered many states later on in his life, finally settling in Camp Hill, PA with his wife Freda, but he never lost his love of wild foods and his feeling that, no one need be hungry if he is a friend of nature.
This book is especially poignant if you have read Into the Wild by Krakauer, the account of a young man who strikes off into the wilds of Alaska to test his mettle, and perishes from a fatal mistake in botany. I recommend all of Euell Gibbon's books, but especially this one, as it was written straight from his heart. After 30 years, it still never fails to enchant.
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