Monday, November 17, 2008

Foraging Central Park

This past weekend I was on assignment in Manhattan, trailing Wild Man Steve Brill as he showed a group of New Yorkers things to eat in Central Park that weren't hot dogs. I would never have associated an urban space with natural bounty, but here's a list of wild foods we ate or gathered to prepare at home:

-dandelion greens
-gingko nuts
-curly dock
-persimmons (pictured above)
-Kentucky coffee
-garlic mustard
-wild chervil
-onion grass
-crab apples
-honey locust (the pulp in the pods, a more complex apricot jam)
-sheep sorrel
-black nightshade (berries only!!!)
-sassafras root
-poor man's pepper
-plantain (the leaf, not the banana)
-wild mustard
-lamb's quarters (the plant)
-Asiatic day lilly
-wild mint

After a blustery four hours of snacking our way through the park, my traveling companion and I headed back to Red Hook and made tea with the wild mint. It was extremely pungent, delicious, and remarkably calming. But its best attribute was that it provoked thought, as it's not often that one drinks tea grown in Manhattan.

You might think that foraging is a step backward in our relationship with nature, but if you eat a wild persimmon you'll understand that it's clearly a forward move.

The only reason I'm not gushing further details is that I'm saving it for the article, which I'll certainly post here when the time comes.

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Jay said...

Aren't all those things in a hot dog?

north shore girl ~ said...

So what are those big pink blobs? Ginkgo? How fun to be foraging in Manhattan! Your blog is great - but your puppy is simply the best. How goes the liver cupcakes??

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