I spent the summer foraging, like an early hominid with clothes. It didn’t matter that the first thing I learned about that daunting pastime of hunter-gatherers and visionary chefs was that nature’s bounty is a thorny gift. Thorny, or, if you prefer, spiny, prickly, buggy, sticky, slimy, muddy, and, occasionally, so toxic that one of the books I consulted for my summer forays carried a disclaimer absolving the publisher of responsibility should I happen to end up in the hospital or, worse, in the ground, moldering next to the Amanita phalloides that I’d mistaken for a porcini. I was not deterred. I had foraged as a child, although it has to be said that children don’t think “forage” when they are out stripping raspberry bushes and blackberry brambles; they think about getting away before the ogre whose land they’re plundering catches them and turns them into toads. I could even claim to have foraged as an adult, if you count a mild interest in plucking berries from the caper bushes that cling to the walls of an old hill town near the farmhouse in Umbria where my husband and I go, in the summertime, to write. Caper berries are like blackberries; they amount to forage only in that they are not your berries. I wasn’t the first throwback on the block. The pursuit of wild food has become so fashionable a subject in the past few years that one eater.com blogger called this the era of the “I Foraged with René Redzepi Piece.”
more from Jane Kramer at The New yorker here.