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Stalking the Wild Asparagus

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  1,013 ratings  ·  87 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, 320 pages
Published January 1st 1962 by Alan C Hood & Company
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May 06, 2008 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 recognizing
Craig Evans
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Imagine, if you will, sitting with your grandfather on his screened-in front porch or around a picnic table listening to your great-uncle spin his tales of years past. That might be the sensation you experience reading Gibbons' iconic 1962 text on wild foods.
Filled with personal vignettes, interesting recipes (some even with MSG!), and thoughtful commentary and insightful views, Gibbons came before the 1960's and 70's "back-to-nature" movement and the Foxfire books... perhaps his writings helped
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I’m a little torn on how to review this book. It’s partly on me that I expected it to be all about asparagus. But come on! So I basically borrowed a book from the library to read 2.5 pages on the subject of asparagus and it wasn’t even about growing it. It’s about finding it in the wild. In any event, I found some of the other chapters interesting, although I got tired of the author repeatedly saying he has no use for wine. We get it! You heard people make dandelion wine and grape wine but you c ...more
Catherine B
Oct 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Beginner Foragers
Recommended to Catherine by: The internet
I thoroughly enjoyed this work. I did not enjoy weeding out the sexism and the "holier than thou" thoughts about his "drinking uncle" and how he loathes the taste of wine and drink (as though it makes him a better human). I was greatly encouraged by his passion for foraging to begin my own adventure with the task. Gibbons writes in length about the exquisite meals he and his partner prepare for their completely foraged dinner parties. It makes my mouth water, to be honest. And I adore the way th ...more
Cliff Davis
Loved this book. Read it all the time. The grand-daddy of foraging in America!
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent guide to beginning with wild foods and a great segment on tapping maples and other wild foods and various preparations as well as a crucial herb distillation process that can be done for cheap but you cannot use aluminum or iron stainless steel is preferable for distillation.
Kerry Shoji
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
A thoroughly enjoyable book for foragers or want-to-be-foragers. Delightfully written by a very enthusiastic and passionate forager. I am old enough to remember the Grape Nuts TV commercial with Euell Gibbons in the 1970s - people made him out to be a kooky health food nut - but he was just ahead of the times. The book provides directions on how to prepare/cook your finds as well as where to find them, and when.

Although the book has black and white drawings of the plants (I have the 1962 editi
Nick Woodall
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an exceptional book on foraging the wild, collecting just the right plants, and then cooking them to perfection. Euell Gibbons is a master gardener, forager, and cook. There are also drawings of each plant so that you can recognize them in the wild. With our food in the supermarkets these days, knowing how to forage, prepare and cook wild plants is a comforting backup to our food chain.
Nicole Heggelund
Jul 23, 2012 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?
Apr 05, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Dugan Maynard
May 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book, it cause you to look at the plants around you and start viewing them all as a potential source of food. I like that the author doesn’t fixate on native species and has no problem writing about common weeds or invasive species; especially considering how common they are. Overall my only critique would be that many of the recipes don’t sound very tasty, like the greens are boiled to death, or there’s gelatine mixed in where you wouldn’t really want it, etc... parts of it ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I love the outdoors. I love to see and learn about wild plants. And I love to eat good food that is actually good for you. So this was just the book for me.
Euell Gibbons has a down-to-earth way of telling his story. He is enthusiastic. He explains how through research and experimentation he came up with the ways of preparing and cooking each of these wild foods so that they taste good.
This book has a happy and positive outlook that makes you feel good.

Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite foraging book, so good that I read it cover to cover. This guy loves his wild plants and it seems like he has tried cooking every one of them in every way possible. I love that it also includes a section on "foraging" meat.
It's old so it doesn't have color photographs (my copy at least), but it wasn't hard to look up dozens on my little computer as I read.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Fun read, the most interesting part was probably the short forward about the author's life. The plant sections are really interesting, but not at all scientific and do not leave the reader confident to do more wild foraging. Recipes mostly just rely on gobs of sugar to render things edible. ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Incredible! Found in a used book store on the way to Acadia. Read most of it while there. 1960s book on foraging wild food. Charming, old-timey stories, great info, tested recipes. I'm thrilled and hooked! ...more
Robyn Obermeyer
Mar 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a awesome book! Being a gardener for a long time, I have been paid to pull most of these plants! I love the pictures, the botanical names and the many uses each plant has! Great field guide!
Excellent resource for living off the land. If you traipse through meadows, forests, and ditches you’ll want to have read at least some of this book. Useful and entertaining writings.
Ed White
Sep 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent field guide for foragers and the curious, especially during the lockdown. I learned a lot about the superfoods growing around us.
Julie Brock
Dec 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
I know it's a classic, and I do find this content interesting and exciting, but it was more dry than I expected. I will try his memoir instead. ...more
May 25, 2015 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
Jul 21, 2012 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
Aug 27, 2008 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
May 01, 2012 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
Ava Chin
Jan 03, 2015 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
Hannahhippo vvverst
Feb 24, 2008 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
Feb 01, 2010 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
Nov 08, 2011 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
Dec 16, 2011 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
May 26, 2015 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
Samuel Wells
May 29, 2016 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
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