The Wilderness Cure begins and ends on Black Friday. In what Mo Wilde saw as a symbol of destructive consumer behaviour towards the planet, she made a pledge: to live off entirely free and foraged food for an entire year. As a foraging specialist, ethnobotanist and research herbalist, Mo was more than equipped to meet the demands of her wild experiment.
The book diaries her year, journaling the seasons and weaving in historical accounts and studies to present a compelling argument for more mindful eating habits. She details the highs and lows of the journey from the scarce winter months, her relationship with eating meat, to how her body changes and reacts to a diet of foraged food. And while food may be wild, the meals she makes are as elegant as the writing describing it. Nothing goes to waste, nuts are made into flours, berries into ferments and ingredients dehydrated to last for longer. They are turned into meals that sound as if they’d be at home on the menu of any fine dining restaurant.
It’s written with such charm and an open reverence for the natural world, it’s impossible not to want to join her in examining our relationship with food. For instance, she forages an astonishing amount of different plant species and in doing so, shines a light on the relatively small amount that most of us eat as supermarket consumers. In a time of soaring living costs, the knowledge of how to find nutritious and free food on our doorstep would be valuable to have.
The Wilderness Cure makes a thought-provoking case for us to examine what, how and when we eat certain foods and our relationship with the environment that produces them. It is essential reading, not just for those interested in foraging and food but for all of us as consumers.
Review Rating: Five stars
Buy this book: The Wilderness Cure by Mo Wilde
£16.99, Simon & Schuster UK
Review written by Nick Dodd a Leeds-based pianist, teacher and writer. Contact him at www.yorkshirepiano.co.uk
The Wilderness Cure has been shortlisted for the Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2022