cover image Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food

Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food

Gina Rae La Cerva. Greystone, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-77164-533-1

La Cerva, a geographer and environmental anthropologist, explores in her impressive debut humans’ relationship to wild food and the disappearing places and animals that provide it. Starting at Noma, the Michelin-starred Danish restaurant that relies exclusively on local and wild ingredients, La Cerva explores how “the seemingly archaic practice of gathering wild plants is having a resurgence.” She travels to several continents to explore the landscapes that once provided a natural abundance of food but have been dramatically impacted by development, climate change, and shifting values. She recalls her “feral” upbringing in New Mexico (where she picked “the fuzzy hairs of prickly pears out of my fingers, the tips stained red from the peeling of the fleshy fruit”); travels to Poland to explore her ancestral roots (“I withdrew toward the wilderness to strip away the superficialities—to regain contact with the essential”) as she wanders through “grasslands filled with rare birds”; and meets folks living off the land, such as “The Hunter,” a Swede living in the Congo who also heads an anti-poaching patrol in local national parks. La Cerva’s beautifully written narrative is as tantalizing as it is edifying. (May)