A husband-and-wife team shares methods and recipes for those who want to catch, grow, and cook their own food.
The Ingrams (New River Guide, 2015, etc.) outline multiple benefits to living the locavore lifestyle, the least of which is saving money—although it will probably do that too. Mainly they want to eat healthier food that’s not laced with pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones and enjoy the closer ties to nature that living off the land engenders. In short chapters, the authors give the basics: hunting for and butchering deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and grouse; freshwater fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass, trout, and panfish; gathering wild fruits and nuts, from pawpaws and persimmons to black walnuts and hickory nuts; growing a backyard vegetable garden; and raising chickens for meat and eggs. Interwoven among tips on how to get started in all these endeavors are recipes, along with black-and-white snapshots of the authors, friends, and family hunting, fishing, gathering, and cooking. The last section of the book includes several essays by Bruce, a longtime outdoors writer, on how he began hunting and fishing—despite a late start in stalking animals and his Depression-era parents’ discouraging his first youthful angling expeditions—and the joys of being outdoors with friends and family. This is a book for active locavores looking to hunt, fish, farm, or forage rather than for the more passive type simply wanting to buy local produce from farmers markets and other sources. A primer aimed at beginners, the volume provides an excellent overview of likely food sources, the basics about how to get them, and resources where readers can find further details. The writing is clear and succinct—occasionally, perhaps, too succinct. The authors leave a few questions unanswered—why should one never eat more than one pawpaw, for instance, or never “buy store apples on sale”? But the Ingrams’ research and decades of experience on their 38 acres in Virginia have yielded a rich harvest of locavore lore. Their love of the outdoors and pleasure in providing for themselves, family, and friends come through vividly, whether for armchair hunters, anglers, and gardeners or for those wanting to use their advice to catch or grow their own food.
A slender book about hunting and gathering that should be useful for those preparing to go out in the field and delightful for those just dreaming about it.