Salking the Wild Asparagus

10 Jul


Your stalking what???

Asparagus. Really.

This year my goal is to become familiar with edible plants in the Midwest area. My infatuation with foraging for food began while shelf reading at the campus library. I happened to stumble across Euell Gibson’s field guide to edible wild plants while working my very exciting job of reading shelves. I was really excited to find out that Euell just happens to be from the mid-west, and is a foremost expert on all things not planted by the human hand.

My interest in foraging stems from a wee bit of necessity I admit. I have said before that I am a teacher and in case you didn’t know, teachers make just enough money to starve to death…in a good year. While contemplating over the last few years about what I will do for a second and third job so my kids don’t go hungry as well, I fell into researching concepts such as foraging and freeganism. You can imagine how excited I was then, when I literally tripped over Euell in the library. Yea! I will be able to mix yummy things into my white rice!

So, a bit of orientation on Mr. Gibbons before I begin blogging aboyt this stalking is in order.
Euell Gibbons wrote ‘Stalking the Wild Asparagus’ in 1970, including a field guide, which I have and will be using. Wild food has a great biography of Mr. Gibbons, it is very well written and informative. Also, should any reader be inspired to go out picking more than berries with me, a quick search on YouTube will provide a wealth of information.

I enjoy Euell Gibbons as a writer; his books are reader friendly and even a bit humorous. As great as the book is, I will be honest in how great the book is also not. My mentor put his chapters together in such a way that is still a mystery to me. I was a bit dismayed that this will be a longer than intended journey because I need to figure out what plants grow when and at what stage they need to be harvested. An example of this: dandelions are in the middle of the book…oops, I read to that point after they needed to be harvested. I really could have used that information FIRST. After all, dandilions are out while the ground is still too cold to plant a garden. However, instead of holding grudges, I simply began using a word document calendar to note when these plants will be ready to eat, and enjoy dandilion tea next spring.

At first I had this grandiose idea that I would post regularly and make methodical progress through my little project, proclaiming myself to be, well, whatever it is I will be when I know how to pick and eat weeds. Alas, this will not be the case. Even so, I hope I will have friends out here in the blogging world that will join us as we blaze trails across Michigan looking for all things yummy. My hope is that my children will grow up knowing where food comes from as well as how to get at it, and that food also grows as a gift right outside our front doors.

“Children who have the opportunity of sharing this fascinating hobby with an interested family for only a single season will learn a great deal more about the basic processes of nature than many years of classroom instruction can teach them.” ~Stalking the Wild Asparagus~


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