While it’s built entirely around wild food, the full title is “The Wild Vegan Cookbook: A Forager’s Culinary Guide (in the Field or in the Supermarket) to Preparing and Savoring Wild (and Not So Wild) Natural Foods,” which hints at the fact that the recipes very often require a trip to the store to buy special ingredients like lecithin (an emulsifier) and exotic spices. Also, you should know that almost everything is designed to be prepared from scratch, down to the sauces. This is great stuff if you happen to be a culinary whiz who likes to take your time, but if you’re like me — super simple in your cooking, the sort who only makes things that take under 15 minutes to prepare and spends as little money as possible — then many of the recipes can seem intimidating. (If you’re ambitious, you’ll like that he does include a helpful overview of basic cooking techniques in the introduction). The good news is that all of Brill’s ideas can be modified into easier, quicker, more accessible versions of themselves. I made the dandelion leaf curry, for instance, with a bottle of sauce from Trader Joe’s — and it was awesome!
One of the most exciting ideas in the book is acorn ice cream — where else can you possibly taste that?! Unfortunately, my attempts to make it fell through in a most unexpected way. After gathering a bucket full of red oak acorns (as I mentioned in an earlier post), my plan to leach them (get rid of the tannins) in a cold stream was thwarted when an armed robber took to the woods, creating a dangerous fugitive situation that outlasted the acorns. (Damn!)
So, the bottom line? I really like this book. It’s a great investment, particularly as a unique reference tool you can thumb through for inspiration. Plus, with over 20 years of experience, Brill is an icon. You can get a copy through Brill’s web site, using PayPal, here.