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Stalking the Wild Asparagus

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  743 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
Euell Gibbons was one of the few people in this country to devote a considerable part of his life to the adventure of "living off the land." He sought out wild plants all over North America and made them into delicious dishes. His book includes recipes for vegetable and casserole dishes, breads, cakes, muffins and twenty different pies. He also shows how to make numerous j ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published January 1st 1962 by Alan C Hood & Company
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Silent Spring by Rachel CarsonA Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo LeopoldThe Lorax by Dr. SeussThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanDesert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Best Environmental Books
53rd out of 563 books — 753 voters
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52nd out of 307 books — 88 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,828)
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Jeanne
Jul 01, 2008 Jeanne rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in foraging or survivalism
What a great book! This guide to foraging is more of a folksy cookbook than a field guide, but well worth a read. Just browsing through it, I found out that acorns are edible, there are no poisonous wild onions, you can make great apple dishes, butter & jams with crab apples, and that I could make maple syrup from the trees in my yard, even though they are not sugar maples. The author has a grandfatherly style I really enjoy.

The only thing that would make it better are more tips for recogni
...more
Cliff Davis
Loved this book. Read it all the time. The grand-daddy of foraging in America!
K.A. Jordan
This is a good overview of what plants are edible, and how to harvest them.
Jane
May 28, 2015 Jane rated it it was amazing
I run a book group that meets at a local and sustainable foods restaurant. We discussed Stalking the Wild Asparagus this month. This book was published in 1962 and is rightfully considered a bible of the environmental movement and a primer for anyone interested in healthy, inexpensive eating.

I didn't expect to enjoy this book very much, but I was wrong. I found it easy to read and full of interesting tidbits. For example, I learned that the Pecan tree is a member of the hickory family! The autho
...more
Ava Chin
Jan 03, 2015 Ava Chin rated it it was amazing
This is the forager's bible, and a true classic. Gibbons, who was embraced by the back-to-the-land movement, became famous and wrote a slew of other "Stalking" books, but this is the one that launched his career.

In plainspoken yet swaggering prose, Gibbons eloquently describes the benefits of eating wild foods, including dandelions, amaranth, and mulberries. Each chapter focuses on a different edible plant (mainly flora, although he's got a brief chapter on mushrooms) with a simple line drawing
...more
Beckina
Apr 11, 2013 Beckina rated it liked it
Shelves: part-way-through
More of a cookbook than guide. Sort of sweetly old fashioned with its emphasis on pies and jellies. The sense of humor and writing style are nice.
Nicole Heggelund
Jul 23, 2012 Nicole Heggelund rated it really liked it
I now recognize the edible, wild plants that I have been seeing everyday on my walk! Anyone want to come over for some milkweed?
Samuel Wells
May 29, 2016 Samuel Wells rated it it was amazing
Euell Gibbons was a practical naturalist, and his classic book is less about ecology and life histories of plants and animals than it is about the edible species that surround us. I'm surprised that this book isn't more widely read these days, considering the recent popularity of living off of the land. Anyone looking to diversity their diet should read Gibbons's book. And if you have tried eating wild plants without pleasure, you should also read it for the many recipes and helpful advice on ho ...more
Lisa
Nov 06, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
This book is an easy to read in-depth source of knowledge of wild foods. Not only does it include helpful tips of where to find these wild food items, but also how to prepare them. It is often quirky and folksy with an odd mix of cooking terms, reminiscences of his childhood, and botanical terms. Anyone who can use a term like esculent while discussing raccoon meat is certainly not your average hillbilly. Chapters read in a stand-alone style with each ending with an encouragement to "try it!". I ...more
Tinea
Aug 07, 2012 Tinea rated it really liked it
This book is a series of delightful short essays by this wonderful old country man sharing his favorite wild foods of North America. Each 2-20 page chapter is devoted to a different plant and meanders its way through its identification, common locations, how to harvest it, and several recipes... all nestled alongside quirky, chitchatty stories about that one time Gibbons first tried the food as a little boy or some expounding on the great joy of spending an afternoon berry-picking and how much b ...more
Leah
May 12, 2012 Leah rated it really liked it
Shelves: food-writing
"I have lived at my present address for only a few months and I am not as familiar with the area as I would like to be. But, just for fun and to escape from the typewriter for a while, I interrupted this writing to take my notebook and go for an hour's walk. Without going more than a half mile from the house, I saw, identified and recorded more than sixty species of plants good for human food and several of these had more than one edible part. A look at this list tells me that I could gather edi ...more
Jane
Apr 08, 2015 Jane rated it it was ok
The reason I picked this book up from the library is because it was listed as suggested reading for fans of "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood. I've always enjoyed foraging for berries and I thought maybe there are other foods that I could "branch" out and try.

This book shows its age in places (who cooks with monosodium glutamate anymore?) and the author makes a few assumptions about his readers that writers today would not make, but nonetheless, this book holds up despite being from the
...more
Fishface
Jan 31, 2016 Fishface rated it it was amazing
The classic from the king of wildcrafting. Tells you how to identify, collect and fix all kinds of wild foods. Gibbons is right -- once you know what you're looking at, you can't walk down the road without seeing more food than you can possibly eat.
Desiree
Dec 21, 2011 Desiree rated it really liked it
Shelves: sustainability
A great overview of wild foods. Beautifully illustrated (botanical line drawings) by my great aunt, Margaret Forbes Schroeder.
I looked to this for a manual of sorts on how to survive once the food supply is insecure, if things continue the way they are... And it is an excellent start, but I am concerned about the preparation required to achieve some of his recipes... In a starvation situation, I somehow doubt many would have the energy, time, tremendous amounts of water, or other ingredients re
...more
Rachael
May 19, 2010 Rachael rated it really liked it
I loved the premise of this book! (for one thing, who knew that acorns were edible--if you prepare them properly?) I found it so interesting that the author could live so long by foraging along (if I recall correctly, his longest foraging "trip" was 4 years), plus I had no idea that it's actually better to forage in an urban setting than in the wilderness--I think at one point he commented that he'd found 42 edible species in a vacant lot in Chicago.

What I would have liked, however, was more in
...more
Michelle
Sep 06, 2015 Michelle rated it liked it
What I learned from this book: Euell Gibbons is a badass, who learned how to forage to support his family during the Great Depression. He really loves making jellies and chiffon pies. He thinks wine is a waste of good juice. And there are lots of wild plants that can be cooked like potatoes.

This is a fun book to read through, though all the jams and jellies get a bit tedious by the end. It's not really a foraging guide (few pictures, minimal descriptions on habitat and season), but it will get
...more
Hannahhippo vvverst
Feb 24, 2008 Hannahhippo vvverst is currently reading it
there's an old copy of this old forager's classic here at black bear ranch and i am currently gulping it up. there are simply drawn plates of many of these common edible finds, which are easy for me to draw and trace--something that i have to come to regard as essential if i want to retain the wee details. besides that these essays interspersed with keen plant descriptions and many preparation techniques read like a guilty-pleasure there are so witty--somehow both dated and perfectly poignant to ...more
Troy
Dec 22, 2011 Troy rated it liked it
Shelves: environment
A very interesting book containing knowledge that has been forgotten by most in the modern day (including myself). While some of the chapters were more interesting than others, the overall message of this book is really quite good. While I doubt that I will ever use most of the information in this book, it is still fascinating to learn about the abundance of food around us. This book makes you think differently about those weeds growing in your yard or on the side of the road. What we find in na ...more
LEE
Aug 31, 2015 LEE rated it liked it
Pictures are black and white, drawn poorly.
Katie
Nov 20, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
Shelves: post-secondary
Hippies loved this book.
Tim
Feb 12, 2015 Tim rated it liked it
Shelves: nature
I had a summer job as a janitor at my old elementary school and as we'd be out doing groundswork, the head janitor would point out various weeds and trees and whatnot and say "You can eat that, you know!" and he'd show me which parts were edible.

He brought in a couple books by Euell Gibbons and I'd read them during breaks. I've eaten all kinds of stuff, I got the runs a few times, but for the most part I've been unscathed. Since reading his books, I see the outdoors with new eyes.
Krista
Mar 03, 2010 Krista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can barely remember his PBS programs, but mainly remember him from Grape Nuts TV commercials and as the butt of many Johnny Carson jokes. I'm halfway through this book and am itching to go foraging. His enthusiasm is contagious.

I just looked up his cause of death: Marfan Syndrome. Interesting. Just learned last night that many in King Tut's royal line had the same affliction. I was hoping he didn't die from eating some poisonous plant.
Jodi G.
Jul 19, 2012 Jodi G. rated it liked it
A classic, and I read it years ago, but in the re-reading I remembered why this book didn't sit well with me. Written in 1962 as a foraging guide, he recommends hunting and eating frogs and turtles as a delicacy. Since their numbers have declined drastically, nobody should be eating frogs and turtles. But the chapters on purslane and dandelion were useful - those grow in abundance in my garden!
Shad
Nov 28, 2010 Shad rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, ecology
Love this quirky little book! Interesting information, storytelling and good, old-fashioned country sense. One I turn to when I don't feel like reading anything else.

I love going around with people and telling them what weeds are and which ones they can eat. They always think I'm wicked smart. :) I just follow Gibbons lead and eat Grape-Nuts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XJMIu...
Tara
Sep 26, 2010 Tara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecology, food
Euell Gibbons is fascinating to read, and he's sort of hilarious. My adoration is enhanced by my mother's personal anecdote: Gibbons taught a class for a semester at Rutgers while she was a student. Apparently, Gibbons gave lots of winking references to dandelion wine. By the end of the semester, he needed to recuperate from his own studies of dandelions. I think that is adorable.
John Evans
May 31, 2012 John Evans rated it really liked it
This book had a big impact on my life. It was one of the influences that led me to "drop out" in the sixties. The book is a guide to finding and eating wild food, primarily plants although he does covers some small game. It will be of interest primarily to readers living east of Kansas as most of the plants he discusses are only found in quantity in the midwestern and eastern states.
bookczuk
Feb 03, 2009 bookczuk rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing
It's funny how you feel you get to know a celebrity or actor by the roles he plays or the talks he gives . Reading Gibbons felt like finding a quirky old friend between the pages of a quirky old book. I hope that should the need arise I am close to as successful in living off the land as my old friend Euell. I really wish I'd saved this copy of this book. Oh well.
Meg
May 12, 2008 Meg rated it liked it
found this book at the local free bookstore...
wow. nothing like a book that tells you how to make wild grape jelly AND skin a ground hog. The book is not well written. It is definitely interesting...but lacks pictures/drawings of the plants (I fear I will end up cooking some poisonous thing.)I do plan on collecting acorns this fall and making flour and bread....hee hee.
Robert Flach
Jul 18, 2012 Robert Flach rated it really liked it
This is not merely a field guide to edible plants. This is an amazing collection of stories related to wild plants. While not as good as Gibbons later books (he got more comfortable as a writer and teller of tales later I think), this is the book that made Euell Gibbons a star and it, along with My Side of the Mountain sparked my own love affair with nature.
D.E. Chandler
Mar 22, 2012 D.E. Chandler rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Euell Gibbons' Stalking the Wild Asparagus has been a constant companion of mine since my youth. My Mother introduced me to some wild foods and this book, and we have been inseparable ever since. Since the publication of this book there have been innumerable field guides and similar books, but this remains among the best, and is certainly the most revered by me.
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