Stalking the Wild Asparagus on Tour
"Readers old enough to recall the series of popular nature and food books put out by Euell Gibbons should easily catch the allusion in the title. Though Gibbons was probably best known for his Stalking the Wild Asparagus, my own favorite is his work on surviving a seashore vacation in good gastronomic fashion, Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop. Who indeed could resist a book with chapters bearing such exotic and imaginative titles as "How to Cook a Sea Serpent," or the surprisingly more utilitarian, though no less exciting, "The Purple Snail or Dog Whelk"?" - John S. Hilbert.
I'm reading the second book Dr. Hilbert mentions in the quotation above, and Gibbons' writing is amusing and graceful in a manner that's absent from most nature writing. It, and Stalking the Wild Asparagus, would make an ideal book to bring along on a bike tour. But not just for the prose; some readers might try to combine foraging with touring. Has anyone here done it? Has anyone gathered wild plants, nuts, berries, and mushrooms to feed themselves on tour?
The closest I've come across foraging tourists was on the recent Bike Forums GAP/C & O tour. A fellow I rode with for two days spent some time searching for milkweed and wild berries near Ohiopyle, and ALHanson scrambled down an embankment along a Maryland road to gorge on wild blackberries.
Certainly berries - mainly blueberries and blackberries. And an occasional pear, apple, or orange from fruit trees along the side of the road. On a recent tour one of the members gathered enough berries in the evening to flavor all of our breakfasts and had enough left over for an ice cream stop later in the day. Heard too many horror stories to try mushrooms - seems to be a particular problem with recent asian immigrants along the west coast. Apparently some of our poisonous ones look very similar to edible types they have back home.
Last edited by prathmann; 07-26-09 at 05:03 PM.
Senior Moment Member
Nothing unusual here -- mostly common berries -- mulberries, raspberries and blackberries. Apples when I see a nice one, but the windfalls are usually wormy and bruised/rotten. I stopped and had some cherries in Valley Forge (pretty tasty). I've made sassafras tea and have had ripe pawpaws near Four Locks. Field (dent) corn is OK if it's early in the season... I prefer mine cut from the cob, sauteed in bacon fat and salt.
I'd like to go searching for ramps... but I'll skip morel hunting. Maybe field greens in the spring?
Or cattails? Gibbons seems to think they are a miracle plant.
Originally Posted by jagraham
Foraging sounds fun, but it's a job in itself at times. Read John McPhee's account of a week spent on a foraging expedition with Gibbons in A Roomful of Hovings. Pine needle tea sounds like it would be easy to make, however.