The Year in Foraging

The climax of the 2009: tiny little fish, pulled out of the fish hole.

It was a very good year. This will catch you up on all the things I put in my mouth this year, and a few that escaped:

1. While covering a Coast Guard winter survival school in Juneau, learned to eviscerate and eat the roe of a sea urchin, and also where to find sea urchins. Terrible ambivalence introduced to deep love for otters.

2. Ate eggs from variety chickens of a northern chicken coop. Tasted exactly like eggs. Also saw a Ziploc bag full of all the eggs a chicken has inside itself. There were eight yolks of varying sizes, down to the tiniest youngest egg. The white isn’t put on until just before it’s about to get laid.

3. In spring, pried various creatures off the rocks and ate them. Also sampled every kind of kelp on rocks. Made W. eat a sea urchin. Forwent eating a chiton longer than forearm, on account of it oozing eggs and trying really hard to reproduce.

4. Acquired pink Disney Princess plastic fishing pole from Fred Meyer. Fished like heck all summer. Learned to carry salt on me. Fished during lunch at work, and from every place you can fish off the road in Juneau.

5. Entered, with brewmaster W., a brown ale in the Haines Beer Festival. Gusher. Oops. Good though.

6. Bought kayak, learned to net dollies while paddling.

7. Came home with sixteen brook trout. Later learned limit was ten. Ate fish for more meals than desired. Gave fish to cats. Learned cats do not like fish. Wrote short history of said brook trout.

8. Worst meal of year: pad thai while camping.

9. Dug clams with a master. Ate none of the clams. Meanwhile wrote about new frontiers in paralytic shellfish poisoning detection.

10. Wreaked revenge on devil’s club by eating it. Coworkers preferred it to sea cucumber.

11. Killed (well, W. killed), butchered with kitchen knives, made posole of and ate a Mount Roberts porcupine.

12. Picked red and orange salmonberries, raspberries, nagoonberries, cloudberries, thimbleberries, blueberries, huckleberries and at least four kinds of currants. Made mental map of underexploited currant bushes in Juneau, and preserves.

13. Moved to Madison. Found wild places hiding in the urban zone. Started blog.

14. Worked a month at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station. Consciousness expanded regarding varieties of apples, grapes, peppers, raspberries, what have you. Epic canning and pickling sessions. Trauma from late blight.

15. Things that fall from trees or bushes: Walnuts, apples, blackberries, wild grapes, seaberries.

16. Fungi: Oysters, late oysters, angel wings, hedgehogs, honeys, velvet stalks, puffballs, corn smut, boletes, chickens of the woods, stinkhorns (not eaten). Etc.

17. A turtle. Not eaten.

17. Drove motorcycle from San Francisco to Madison via Yuma. Date shakes, tamales, chorizo and eggs, Hal’s horseradish, a 72 oz. steak I didn’t eat.

18. Before the snow hit, the cranberries finally ripened.

19. Raccoon. From a butcher. With a foot. As goulash.

20. Ice-fishing. A dream realized—with tiny little fish.

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4 responses to “The Year in Foraging

  1. OK, this confirms it. I am officially coming to Madison in whatever month suits you between May and August, to make a documentary about you. And tangential issues that may ensue. Please let me know if you will still be there in May, June, July?

  2. “Fruits of the Loom” from the sewer story has replaced “notaries public” and “Georges Foreman” as my favorite compound plural.

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