Suggested Reading & Purchasing
I have grown up being shown how to find and make the things that I write about in my blog, and sometimes its difficult to impart all those tiny details without wearing you out before you’ve even begun. If I were to start providing detailed descriptions on how to identify everything that I suggest you look for, none of us would ever leave the computer (although I made a valiant effort here, which is worth a look.) With this in mind I suggest that you treat yourself to a pocket size field guide (you don’t want to carry a mighty tome when you’re out and about) on edible plants and such and then you can check things as you go. I would recommend something like the Collins Gem Food For Free by Richard Mabey. Check the look of a field guide before buying and consider whether it has information on where to find the plants,things not to mistake a certain plant for (important if you don’t want to poison yourself), clear pictures of the plant, an easy lay out where plants are organised by season or appearance so that you can easily locate them when on the side of a hill holding something mysterious.
To accompany this, I would suggest buying something a little larger to keep in your kitchen. You can scan through it to remind yourself what’s in season and you can get some ideas of what to do with the things that you find. I find that Edible Wild Plants & Herbs: A Compendium of Recipes and Remedies by Pamela Michael is a really good one as it lists plants according to seasons on the inside of the cover. You will find there are many books on wild eating, however, this book appeals to me because she is a little more honest than others. Some people will write about ALL edible plants but the truth of the matter is that whilst most things are edible and you could eat them in a pinch if you were starving many are best left for this unlikely scenario because some plants, quite frankly, are best left to their own devices; edible they may be but enjoyable they are not.
As regards cooking, well, you really only need a very small selection of utensils to cook well. It astounds me the amount of rubbish that is available to confound the novice cook. Even I get confused in cookware shops and I know what I went in for! Please don’t waste your time with the multitudes of “time saving” devices available, they only save you time until it comes to the washing up, then you’ll wish you’d not spent the money I can assure you. To cook good savoury food you really only need the true basics. A very sharp knife, a nice wooden board, and a wooden spoon. Other incidental items such as a pyrex measuring jug are useful, a grater (don’t buy a fancy round one, it may look wonderfully appealing but you end up with cheese that has a perpetual bite shape out of it which I find deeply frustrating) a pestle and mortar is quite handy although I have been accused of being a “purist rustic”. If you can afford to invest in a set of balance scales then all the better as many recipes when baking, work best when you can balance one ingredient against the other.