Wild foods have become popular in the high end of the food world; locally found wild ingredients appear in many farmers markets, chef's menus and cookbooks. Marie Viljoen is a garden designer, forager and cook raised in South Africa and living in Brooklyn, N.Y. In Forage, Harvest, Feast, she offers more than 400 recipes that center on the wild foods of the northeastern U.S. and beyond, and use culinary approaches from all over the world. It is primarily a cookbook, but also offers brief histories of the uses for each plant, foraging tips and cultivation advice for growers.
Chapters are organized by ingredient, such as bayberry, fir and sumac. Each gives the common and botanical names of the plant, an identification photo, advice on where and when to harvest or purchase it, health warnings and some idea of whether it may be cultivated and how it tastes. That section is followed by recipes, in some cases more than 20 of them for one ingredient, including entrees, sides, condiments, baked goods and drinks. These include pork belly, burdock and pickled field garlic curry; fermented honeysuckle cordial; simple serviceberry cakes; and porseleinbredie, a South African stew with lamb, ginger, red chiles and wild purslane. Urbanites will be able to forage many of the plants, as she does around New York City, and she considers those who might be picking in parks and near roadways. A final section organizes the recipes by course and allows readers to identify them as vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian and omnivorous. Home cooks, gardeners and food professionals will find many interesting new flavors and ideas here. --Sara Catterall