Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving thanks for wild food

One important feature of my life growing up in Alaska is the food: wild berries, game, fish, mushrooms, weeds in the woods. I learned to identify edible and poisonous, what to look for in plants. It frequently astounds me that my spouse, who can look at a board and tell me what tree species it comes from, is very very bad at identifying which plant is what when we're out in the woods, even after twelve years living in Alaska. He is getting better at spotting edible mushrooms, though: he's got shaggy manes down cold, and puffballs, and boletes. He's also getting comfortable with wild berries, blue ones in particular.

I detest domesticated blueberries and cranberries. Absolutely no flavor, all mush and size. So, tonight when I make cranberry relish and cranberry sorbet (recipes to come), I'll be using wild berries. My tastebuds will be happy tomorrow.

We've been participating in Ester's community Thanksgiving feast for the last several years, and people bring an amazing collection of wild foods to this occasion. Haven't had bear or beaver at this event, though. Well, maybe bear one year.

I'm looking forward to it.

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