Sunday, July 7, 2013

Browsing Nature's Aisles by Wendy and Eric Brown

A little bit outside of my normal reading, Browsing Nature's Aisles is a non-fiction book detailing the authors' experience foraging for wild food. However, the book is more than just a summary of their stories or a dry how-to guide; rather, it is the start of a conversation with would-be foragers.

The book is split into three parts: "What We Did", "Why We Decided to Start Foraging", and "Life Lessons We Learned from Foraging". Parts 1 and 3 were extremely interesting, but to be honest, I skipped almost all of part 2. They make some good points about food safety, security, and scarcity, but it came across a little preachy to me. Not to mention I (and probably many of their readers, if they're reading a book about foraging) am already familiar with many, if not all, of these arguments. If they were out to "convert" new readers to the foraging lifestyle, well, then why is the "why" not the first section, as an introduction?

No matter, parts 1 and 3 are sufficiently interesting and helpful to read even if one does choose to skip part 2. Though it is not a how-to guide, there is still plenty of useful advice and tidbits of information to be gleaned. For example, my mother taught me to recognize Queen Anne's Lace as a very small child; I (and probably my mother) had no idea it is actually wild carrot! The conversational tone of the book, along with the inclusion of common knowledge tips like Queen Anne's Lace, made foraging seem less like a practically dead art of pioneers and crazy survivalists and more like something that was actually possible in my own life, even a skill I could become comfortable with. As such, the book serves as a comfortable stepping stone between sitting on my couch and actually heading out for a first foraging trip. I'll be picking up a few more detailed guides to foraging on my next trip to the local library, and who knows what's possible from there? Maybe the Browns will help me put a dinner or two on my own table.

Thanks to New Society Publishers for providing me with a copy of Browsing Nature's Aisles via NetGalley!

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you enjoyed the book. I look forward to hearing about your own adventures.