Wild food forager Paul Tappenden describes his forager’s feast, and it sounds so good that one can almost taste it.
Every year since 2011, I have come together with a group of fellow wild crafters to celebrate Thanksgiving with a forager’s feast.
We begin planning in October, when there is still plenty to be foraged, although some of us even gather and preserve seasonal food throughout the year, in anticipation of our yearly gathering.
Anyone hearing of a wild foods feast may imaging barely eatable dishes made from weeds. But quite to the contrary, many of our number are excellent chefs, and produce some delicious and imaginative culinary creations.The dishes that arrive at our pot luck gathering may contain such gourmet ingredients as Maitaki or Chicken of the Woods mushrooms, wild fruits such as Autumn olives and Mayapples, and game such as venison or partridge. We also incorporate common wild foods such as Stinging nettles, Chickweed, Dandelion, and acorns.
In addition to using the leaves, we grind and roast the dandelion roots for “coffee”. We process the acorns to make flour for creating exotic nutty crusts for our pies and pastries.
Drinks range from home-made kombucha to Dandelion wine.
We always look forward to these gatherings, to enjoy the delicious food and great company. No matter what sort of feast you’ll be having this Thanksgiving, I hope it makes you feel the same way.