Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Foraged Flavor in March's Martha

You may have heard of Tama Matsuoka Wong by now. The lawyer turned forager.

Damn. I wish I'd done it that way, too. Then I could support my weed eating habit.

In this month's Martha Stewart Living (you can download the app from the link) there is a beautiful spread about her, with recipes. And look for her book, the recently published Foraged Flavor (Potter). My favourite part of it is the section of colour scans of edible plants -including dead nettle, creeping Jenny and mugwort, all on my menu for this year. The book's emphasis, though,  is on recipes, developed by Eddy Leroux, who is the chef de cuisine at Daniel. Daniel Boulud wrote the introduction.

There is also a really wonderful printing error in the book, the classic, collectable kind: an illustration of edible speedwell, described as poison ivy. An insert in the book explains and corrects the error. The author also recommends lesser celandine (the invasive, yellow, ranunculus flower) while experienced foragers I know shun it.

I will nibble its young leaves this spring.

I have always wanted to.

PS: Martha Stewart Radio's host Stephen Orr (also author of Tomorrow's Gardens and the Garden Director of Martha Stewart Livng) will talk with me about spring in the foraging and terrace world this Thursday at 1PM ET. If you subscribe to Sirius XM, tune in to Stars Channel 107. (If you do not have satellite radio, you can listen by signing up a 30 day free trial!) Show repeats at 8pm. 

It's real, live radio so I'm just a tad nervous.


  1. Gotta make sure you qualify it as your weed eating habit.

    1. Well, the words are there, and it's a post about eating weeds. How else should I qualify it?

      And since just about everyone I know smokes the other kind of weed, I don't feel too strongly on that subject, either.

  2. I always mean to forage for plants but get sidetracked in the spring. I am a lawyer turned nursery owner so there is hope for all lawyers! I own Carolyn's Shade Gardens, specializing in shade plants especially snowdrops, hellebores, native plants, and miniature hostas. I have a blog too, also Carolyn's Shade Gardens, and a fellow blogger told me to visit your blog. I am glad she did.

  3. I'm sure Stephen will put you at your ease. You'll be great. I heard you on the radio once - I hadn't been prepared for your lilting South African accent - I don't know what I thought. Brooklyn. Ya know?

  4. Wish I could hear it ! I like the thought of a lilting Safrican accent.

    1. I just mustn't talk about blek-footed efriken kets.

    2. Marie,

      I know that you will be great because your intelligence and your care will shine through. And here are some radio tips, from one who has been interviewed and also one who teaches.

      1. How got started in foraging.

      2. Be ready with the least, best, worst questions. Exp. What is the best weed...which one is worst, could die from ..etc.

      3. Location and trespassing questions

      4. How cook and how taste

      5. Tip questions...three tips for new foragers

      6. Learn more questions...best reference book, maybe local group

      7. Celebrity question...Google for celeb and foraging. Btw, google and wikipedia foraging, because host will.

      8. Best interview tip...When asked a question and not sure where to start, use my past-present-future method. Exp. In the beginning...Now I...In the future, I hope to...

      You can also switch this around. Now I..Before I...
      Not now, maybe some time in the future. That is, use "time" as your thought organizer

      9. Trumpet yourself and your consulting business.

      10. Ask for a tape and a transcript.

      11. Get a repeat visit by saying such as...I would love to talk to your readers again in May, after I...

      12. Have fun!

  5. Hi Marie. Yes lesser celandine is delicious when picked young BEFORE it flowers when it becomes more acrid. I trowel out the plant because it is the tubers that spread so rampantly. Also while conservation groups recognize it as one of the worst spreading invasives it might not be the easiest for a beginner to identify. Chefs and foragers I know are gobbling it up. I will post a recipe later today.
    PS Harvesting invasives and weeds is Very sustainable as opposed to foraging declining and lovely native spring ephemerals.
    All best,

    1. Thank you, Tama, and an honor to have you visit :-)

      I am very happy that your recommend lesser celandine, as I see so much of it around. I think some local foragers sometimes tend to repeat what become established "truths", but which are in fact myths - like the one about boiling common milkweed so many times.

      And I am entirely with you on the harvesting of weeds.


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