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Stalking The Wild Asparagus Paperback – Deluxe Edition, March 22, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

STALKING THE WILD ASPARAGUS was a bible of the environmental movement--as well as a primer for anyone interested in healthy, inexpensive eating.


"“delightful and as valid today as they were more than two decades ago.”
Nelson Bryant,The New York Times (1989) "

"“He (Euell Gibbons) was a man who knew the wild in a way that no one else in this time has even marginally approached.”
John McPhee,The New York Times (1976) "

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 303 pages
  • Publisher: Alan C. Hood & Company, Inc.; 1 edition (January 1, 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0911469036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0911469035
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joanna Daneman #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Euell Gibbons became a household word after the 60's because he did a famous cereal commercial "Tastes like wild hickory nuts." Now most of us have never chewed on hickory nuts, but we were captivated by Euell's down-home charm. And during his heyday, we were getting back to nature, being hippies, reading the Foxfire books and re-acquainting ourselves with nature after the cosmic-rocket styles of the 50's.
This book is fun to read because of Euell's way of writing as if he were walking beside you in a field, pointing out the bounties of nature to you personally. His praise of the humble cat-tail, seen in any marsh or even in highway medians is nothing short of a miracle. I think he could survive on cat-tails alone for weeks.
Perhaps Euell felt so strongly about wild foods because as a teen during the Depression in the Texas dustbowl, he provided for the family during a particularly lean time, by gathering wild foods to supplement their diet of mostly pinto beans. He wandered many states later on in his life, finally settling in Camp Hill, PA with his wife Freda, but he never lost his love of wild foods and his feeling that, no one need be hungry if he is a friend of nature.
This book is especially poignant if you have read Into the Wild by Krakauer, the account of a young man who strikes off into the wilds of Alaska to test his mettle, and perishes from a fatal mistake in botany. I recommend all of Euell Gibbon's books, but especially this one, as it was written straight from his heart. After 30 years, it still never fails to enchant.
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Format: Paperback
Toward the end of ASPARAGUS, Euell Gibbons relates stopping during a stroll with his wife "at a couple of blooming elder bushes and collecting a bag of elder blow with next morning's breakfast in mind". Clearly, he has a recipe for this strange woodland product, elder blow. That's just one of the strengths of this very strong volume: plenty of recipes and tips to make wild fare taste good. Unlike today's whole food zealot, Gibbons doesn't hesitate to add refined food such as butter or bacon or sugar to his natural bounty. He is equally authoritative on cooking as on gathering, giving clear steps on making everything from stuffed grape leaves to fried frog's legs to Elder Blow Fritters.
But for me the real charm of Gibbons is his evocation of how we ate in the past; far, far in the past when all food was wild food. He speculates that mankind has probably eaten "many millions of tons more of acorns...than of the cereal grains". Fascinating, when you consider that no groceries now carry this formerly prevalent staple, as though it were as useless as an 8-track tape. Gibbons reminds that dandelions were prescribed by primitive doctors to ward off diseases caused by vitamin deficiency long before we had any concept of a vitamin. He is mindful, as he plucks wild grape leaves, that the Vikings reported the presence of grapes on our continent a thousand years ago, and thought that important enough to name it Vinland.
His style is what one would expect from an amiable, erudite grandfather, a member of one of the last generations that saw starvation in America, and that knew the delight of tasting fresh spring greens after a long winter without vegetables.
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Format: Paperback
I was always interested in survival and eating wild foods and I tried several (with indifferent results) during my boy scout days. Thus, it was that "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" was a revelation to me when I first encountered it as a young man. Somebody else in the world was interested in eating wild plants! Quite a few somebodies, it developed, because this book ran through a lot of printings and Euell Gibbons became a folk hero and TV star.

Gibbons identifies and discusses the culinary virtues of about 50 different wild plants and animals. Among the familiar plants he identifies are dandelions, cattails -- the "supermarket of the swamp" -- and daylilies. He tosses in a few animals worthy of pursuit and ingestion by the modern day hunter/gatherer: bluegills, turtles, frogs, and carp. One is immediately impressed that Gibbons knows what he is talking about. He tells you what you need to do with the plant or animal, gives you a recipe or two for its preparation, and adds a bit of personal experience and folklore about the plant. He even gives you menus for wild-food feasts.

There is something of the primeval in the attraction of children to gathering their own food, even if is only raspberries growing beside a road. For a few, such as Gibbons, it becomes a lifelong passion. His strength as a writer is infectious enthusiasm. I usually find nature writers to be preachy and sanctimonious. Gibbons isn't. He seems impervious to the thought that he might be considered as crazy as a loon (not one of the animals he proposes for eating). He can say with a perfectly straight face, "Let's go nutting."

"Stalking the Wild Asparagus" has found a permanent place on my bookshelf and due recognition as a nature classic.

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