Wild Seasons by Kay Young

Wild Seasons - Gathering and Cooking Wild Plants of the Great Plains by Kay Young
There are books that cover the east, books that cover the west, and Young’s book here which covers everything in between. The range of this book spans the area bordered by the Rocky Mountains in the west to the deciduous forests of the east, the Texas panhandle in the south to the north in Canada. The actual range of this book goes far beyond the Great Plains. 80% of the plants in this book are found in eastern North America, 25% are found to the west of the Rockies, and perhaps 15% are found in the dry Southwest.

This book could have just as appropriately been in our cookbook section due to its 250 good quality recipes. Kay covers 52 plants sharing many insights and experiences along the way. She is a botanist, naturalist, folklorist, and wild food educator. Each two to seven page chapter starts out with high quality line drawings by Mark Marcuson that clearly depict the spirit of the plant covered. These illustrations will help in identification, but should be supplemented by plant identification guides.
Following the illustrations Kay systematically provides a mildly technical description of the plant, its distribution (range), its habitat, edible parts, seasons to collect, cautions, additional information, and recipes. This ‘additional information’ is where this book shines. Kay shares real life experiences learning about, finding, gathering, and preparing the plants for use in her dishes. There is often really good detail here. Following that are one to seven recipes using that plant as an ingredient.

Like Bill Beatty’s book (see cookbook section) Young’s recipe titles are simple (non pretentious) and straight-forward like “Traditional Gooseberry Pie”, “Creamed Lambsquarters with Mushrooms”, “Cooked Wood Nettle Salad”, and “Sandcherry Jam”. Highly Recommended as part of your wild food library – Essential for anyone in the Great Plains areas of North America, and valuable just about anywhere else.

Order a copy from  Amazon