Gibbons books are an important component of any great wild food library. In some ways Gibbons books have been usurped by the first three books in our “All-in-One” category. But in other ways and in some areas Gibbons research, experimentation, and play will always be worth reading. He reports knowledge based on experience. When I can’t find information elsewhere, I check to see what Gibbons did. The ingenuity of his ‘vegetarian mayapple chiffon pie incorporating whipped mallow will amaze and inspire you. While I often recommend his books to anyone interested in wild foods, keep in mind that, except for the Scallop book, these are not field guides. His first two books have an occasional good line drawing, but you must ‘know’ the plant before the rich detail that he gives will do you any good.
Euell’s books are written in an informal folksy style that is endearing. Gibbons work has been so valuable over the years that he has become one of the most plagiarized wild food authors. Read Gibbons then read other authors. You will see his experiences and recipes repeated over and over again in subsequent books, often without giving him credit. His books inspire your interest in wild foods and help you to figure out what to do once you get a wild food into your kitchen. About half the content of his books cover plants exclusive to the Eastern half of North America, the other half (or closely related plants) grow across most of North America.
Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Stalking the Healthful Herbs are similar in the way they cover plants. Edibility is the predominant topic for both books, with mild medicinal uses covered secondarily. When discussing ‘healthful herbs’ his focus is not on treating major diseases, but reporting on his research and experimentation into gentle home remedy aspects of the plants he covers. Lots of teas and salves.
*Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop is different from the other two books because it focuses primarily on seashore animals of the eastern seaboard. Gibbons covers crabs, clams, mussels, sea urchins, seaweeds and a few seashore land-based edibles in a wonderful kind of detail. As in his other books, he reports knowledge based on experience. Gibbons does this like an effortless walk through life, journalling his interesting story filled with research and discovery. There are a fair number of good line drawings that are useful in combination with other photograph-based guides. Scallop, like his other two books is written in an informal folksy style that is endearing.
The best uses of this book are to inspire your interest in wild foods, get you out into the coast, and to guide you once you get back to kitchen or campfire. Most of the focus is on eastern species, but quite a bit of it can apply to the west. All three of these books are recommended to add some depth to your wild food library! For more on Gibbons, read his biography at this site.
Order a copy of Stalking the Blue-eyed Scallop Amazon
Order a copy of Stalking the Wild Asparagus Amazon
Order a copy of Stalking the Healthful Herbs Amazon