I am an avid reader, so it’s not uncommon for me to come across books that have me up late at night, and waking in the wee hours of the morning, devouring every word and gliding through the pages. What’s more uncommon, however, is finding a book that’s so good that I pace myself, allowing only a chapter a day so that I can fully appreciate each word, thought, and experience conveyed; Ava Chin’s Eating Wildly is one of those books.
From the first pages, I knew that I had a gem in my hands, getting lost in Chin’s graceful prose and masterful gift of storytelling. There’s something voyeuristic about my love of memoirs, and I’m equally drawn to stellar food writing; Eating Wildly is both. Chin interweaves stories of her life, loves, and personal growth with beautiful stories of her education and experiences foraging. At the end of each chapter, focusing on some of her favorite plants and fungi to forage, Ava gives readers a gift: delicious wild food recipes for readers to try at home.
Even rarer is a book that urges me into action, but I found myself performing internet searches for local foraging guides, eager to locate a guide to show me how to “eat wildly” in my area. Not only that, but I found myself seeing my beautiful backyard and woods with new eyes, pleasantly surprised to find some of the very plants Ava discusses. I was delighted to have my first taste of citrusy wood sorrel, found literally outside of my back door:
If you’re in the mood for a beautifully written memoir, of a thirty-something woman who reconciles her past with fortitude, sustains a symbiotic relationship with nature in the present, and carries all of this wisdom into her future, then Eating Wildly is the perfect read for you. If sumptuous food writing, with a little taste of the exotic, is what you’re craving, Eating Wildly is sure to satisfy.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book to facilitate my review; all opinions are my own. This post contains an affiliate link.