Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We are intent on foraging, gathering, and growing most of our food this year. So far, we have clams, mussels, huckleberries, blackberries, apples, pears, and grapes.
Hazelnuts, more mushrooms and truffles to come. Maybe crawdads and crab.Jewel-like grapes
Steaming to extract the grape juice
It tastes good mixed with sparkling water, homemade Italian sodas, mmmmm...
Plus, we have all the regular garden vegetables (broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, etc.). Cherry tomatoes
We bought the freshest salmon ever on Saturday ($8.00/lb!) at the Portland Farmer's Market, from a Native American man who had caught it in the Columbia River the night before. Luckily, the Pacific Northwest is a pretty good area to live in if you want to eat locally all year long. In the past, I have kept the garden going all winter with cold hardy vegetables and a plastic cloche.

I just bought a shiitake mushroom block. It is supposed to yield three pounds of mushrooms, and can keep going for a long time. It is not an aesthetically pleasing addition to the kitchen, but I need to tend it (keeping it moist*, mainly). Shiitakes are very flavorful and are good immune-system boosters.
looks like meatloaf, sprouting chopsticks
not attractive
*I was listening to Roy Blount Jr. on the radio yesterday, talking about his book, Alphabet Juice. Apparently, the word "moist" is one that many people cannot stand to hear. The kids and I used to keep a running list of what we called "forbidden words". We agreed to avoid them in conversation, not because they were obscene, but because they create an unpleasant visceral response. Mr. Cranky can't stand to hear people say "absolutely" and "kinda", but that is because they are misused and over-used, not because they make him feel creepy inside. I wish I could find that list, I do remember someone hating the word "vile".Here's a quote from the book:
"I do hope you realize that every time you use disinterested to mean uninterested, an angel dies, and every time you write very unique, or 'We will hire whomever is more qualified,' thousands of literate people lose yet another little smidgen of hope."
I love words.


  1. Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog today. I loved it not only because it was just so warm but also because now I got to come visit your blog. Thank you! I love it. And after reading this post I'm off to get a little something to eat, nom nom nom...


  2. wow wow wow, my mouth is totally watering at the sight and sound of all this delicious freshness. how long have you been growing/foraging your own food; any books/sources you'd recommend for novices?

  3. I can't wait for Thanksgiving. Note to self: stop saying the word 'absolutely'. (I over-use that one.)

    'Moist' has always been one of my least favorite words, also; my girlfriends and I, in college, agreed to stay away from that word, 'panty', and 'chowder'. Then someone put all three of those words together as a phrase, and I died.

    Must try the book!

  4. Liason~ one of my favorite books is Drinking the Rain by Alix Kates Shulman, it is a foraging inspiration but not exactly a guide. Books by Euell Gibbons are a good source of foraging information, at least for the US. You're in Ireland, right?
    Snotty~I'm excited for Thanksgiving too.
    I hate to hear myself say 'awesome'...I cannot believe it just pops out of my mouth sometimes, extremely age-inappropriate (I'm not fourteen)to say the least.
    Oh, and thanks, now I never want to hear the word 'chowder' ever again.

  5. sure am! though, never can tell how long we'll be here. thanks for the recommendations I'll have a look!


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