Monday, December 10, 2007

Book Review: Wild Food by Roger Phillips

My mother bought me this book when I was about 12 years old and I immediately set about trying as many of the suggestions for wild food it contains as I could get away with. This is somewhere between an identification book and a cookery manual and as such perhaps doesn't really do either properly, but for its superb photos and bizarre suggestions it is a great book, firmly rooted in the realm of the vegetarian so avoiding the squirrel stew or baked eel that so upset many people.

This book will make countryside lovers look at the species around them in a new perspective and even if readers do not try any of the recipes, just the knowledge that they are possible will be of interest. The suggestions for food vary between delicious and ridiculous, but are mostly fairly simple and easily tried, although some degree of caution is needed with the fungi section.

Amongst the best suggestions here are blackberry water ice and garlic butter made from Jack-by-the-hedge, whilst amongst the worst are chestnut soup (a really good way to ruin good chestnuts) and nettle beer which carries an alcoholic kick along with a sting!

This book is highly recommended to countryside lovers in the United Kingdom but those searching for hard-core survival recipes would do better to look elsewhere.

Score: 7.5/10

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