The New Yorker magazine recently joined the throng of publications touting foraging as a thrilling throwback activity that connects us to our savage roots even as it lends cachet to the menus at some of the world's most talked-about--and expensive--restaurants. Jane Kramer penned this piece; you can read the full article here. It's an interesting article, very New Yorker-ish, as you might expect.
This passage I've quoted below struck me as odd when I first read it. I read it again, and then I understood why. It's an example, I think, of how the aura of something can fog the reality of it. Any avid forager or gardener will likely see what I saw. I'm eager to hear your reactions. A little puzzle for the weekend.
...we turned onto a quiet road that wound through fields of alfalfa and wheat and soon-to-be-blooming sunflowers, and parked next to a shuttered and, by all evidence, long-abandoned farmhouse that I had passed so often over the years that I thought of it as my house and dreamed of rescuing it.
Foraging places are like houses. Some speak to you, others you ignore. I wasn’t surprised that the land around that tumbledown house spoke to Paterson. He jumped out of the car, peered over a thicket of roadside bush and sloe trees, and disappeared down a steep, very wet slope before I had even unbuckled my seat belt—after which he emerged, upright and waving, in an overgrown copse enclosed by a circle of trees. Cleared, the copse would have provided a shady garden for a farmer’s family. To a forager, it was perfect: a natural rain trap, sheltered against the harsh sun, and virtually hidden from the road. Everywhere we turned, there were plants to gather. Even the wild asparagus, which usually hides from the sun in a profusion of other plants’ leaves and stalks, was so plentiful that you couldn’t miss it. We filled a shopping bag.
Wild asparagus has a tart, ravishing taste—what foragers call a wilderness taste—and a season so short as to be practically nonexistent. It’s as different from farmed asparagus as a morel is from the boxed mushrooms at your corner store.
From A Reporter at Large: The Food at Our Feet: Why is foraging all the rage? by Jane Kramer
The New Yorker magazine, November 21, 2011