"In wildness is the preservation of the world." -H.D. Thoreau

Why eat from the wild? The answer is obvious to anyone who has felt the emotional uplift from the weight of a basket brimming with morel mushrooms, the earthy-sweet scent of digging Sassafras roots, or the heavy pulsing of a fish testing the limits of your fly rod.
There are a million reasons to eat wild, to get dirty, to taste fresh food. It is here where we connect to the Earth, our Ancestral past, immediate present and hope for a healthy future...

"Nothing else can build such awareness as surely and powerfully as practicing the ancient ecological art of humankind - foraging. It is not observation of, but rather participation in the phenomena of Nature that brings us to our greatest understanding of our place in the mosaic of life."
-Samuel Thayer The Forager's Harvest

Foraging in the Tip of the Mitten!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Full Moon Feasts

Inspired by Jessica Prentice's book Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection,
we've decided to follow seasonal culinary rhythms by posting twice each lunar cycle - once at the New Moon discussing what that season meant (and often still means) to indigenous peoples, and once more at the Full Moon with a recipe.

Before calendars delineating the days with almost meaningless numbers, we watched the phases of the moon to count the passing of time. The sun stays basically the same everyday; it is the moon that shifts nightly, renewing itself about every 29 days. This is called a "lunation," probably the prettiest word I've learned in a long time.

 The origins of the word "month" are rooted in the Old English "mona," meaning Moon. So before months we had moons, each moon named after an event that occurred during it's waxing and waning. For example the spring's moon in the Atlantic Isles was known as the Hare Moon due to that season's prolific growth. Things, you could say, were "breeding like rabbits." While across the pond, the Cree of the Northeast Americas called it Sakipakawpicim meaning Leaves Appear Moon.

The moon itself is a source of wondrous things: it shifts the very moods of the ocean - the place believed by some to be the very source of all life on Earth. A source of magic for cultures across the world, moon lore is so common it seems there must be serious force behind the lunations. I've met more than one cop who told me that crime rates always skyrocket on the Full Moon. Lunar folklore is too varied and diverse to get into here, but I'll share one interesting belief I've learned while researching for this post. In old Europe it was believed that sorcerers could "draw down the moon," and through some type of spell, called virus lunare, would collect a magical and powerful liquid from it. This classical belief of a sacred moon elixir was immortalized in Shakespeare's Macbeth (act 3, scene 5) in which this liquid, steeped in herbs, was fed to the witch Hecate:

Upon the corner of the moon
There hangs a vaporous drop profound:
I'll catch it ere it come to the ground:
And that distill'd  by magic sleights
Shall rise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to this confusion.

Shakespeare was pretty creepy and weird....

So to celebrate both foraging and lunations, we will be posting each New Moon with a traditional food-related name for that lunar cycle and the seasonal sustenance that defines that particular moon. Upon the peak of that lunation, the Full Moon, we'll post a recipe with emphasis on wildcrafted ingredients that are indigenous to this particular time of year.
We hope you enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I'm blogging through Full Moon Feasts this year, too! We'll have slightly different takes on it, but it will be interesting to see what you write :)