Saturday, June 07, 2008

Delicious, Nutritious, Vitamin-Rich Death

Apocrypha and I took a Wild Edibles class this morning, the idea being that, in a floundering economy with skyrocketing food prices, we could bolster our groceries with some free leafy greens.

My only other experience with this subject involved a booth at a Health Fair back in the mid-90's, where a nice lady wearing a garland and a peasant skirt served dandelion salad and extolled the virtues of backyard gardening. So I was caught off guard when today's instructor turned out to be a cantankerous, grizzled survivalist, who defined "wild edibles" as "anything that can't run faster than you."

As unsettling as some of the class material was, the personal experiences he shared were absolutely bizarre. This betrays how fatally entrenched I am in pop culture and suburbia, but I kept wanting to ask him how it felt to win Fear Factor.

"So there I was," he said to his cringing, captivated students. "Trapped in an abandoned well with a dead cow." And then he explained how easy it is to catch fish by using fire ants as a waterborne poison.

Dandelion salad never even came up. But at least now I know how to make a nourishing tea out of pine needles. And how to skin a rattlesnake.

4 comments:

Apocrypha Jones said...

It was the ground earthworm meatloaf that got to me.

I don't think I'm hardcore enough for that...

Evn said...

True. But next time you're at a party and someone accidentally chops a thumb off, you'll be a hit with the deer-intestine-and-rawhide bandage.

Anne Johnson said...

I have actually skinned a rattlesnake. The first step is ascertaining beyond a shadow of a doubt that the thing is dead. Not just playing dead, dead. Not just unconscious, DEAD. As in, let the buzzards start the job.

Evn said...

I suspect that if someone handed me a rattlesnake and said "skin this," I'd be too busy screaming to remember to check its vitals.

Oh, wait. I mean squid. Not rattlesnake. Squid.