“No place for her in the slow, terrible armies of the cautious. She ran ahead where there were no paths.”
– Dorothy Parker on Isadora Duncan.
Every forage is a journey of discovery and creativity. There is always an element of the unexpected. Even on home turf.
Yesterday, for example, I popped out to pick some water pepper from a riverbank 15 minutes walk from our house. I pop out to forage like many people pop out to the shops. And just like shoppers, I tend to encounter “mission creep”.
I didn’t come back with the water pepper (which I had intended to use as an experimental spicy infusion in my sundowner – alas, its done for the season), but with a dozen or so other delights that kept me busy in the kitchen until midnight. Sloe and cloveroot ice cream, dandelion tonic, hogweed root gin, blewit risotto, pineapple weed shrub, ground ivy vinegar…it was a late night…
At the outset, I hadn’t the time, energy or inspiration to do any of this stuff. But wild ingredients are inspiring like nothing you can buy. They fire the imagination with their vibrancy, freshness and unique flavours. By the time you get them home, you have already invested time and care in gathering – so it would be criminal to let them fester. They demand loving treatment.