The Fruit Forager’s Companion: Ferments, Desserts, Main Dishes, and More from Your Neighborhood and Beyond
by Sara Bir, 400 pages, 7x10, softcover. Written by a poetic comical professional chef who knows her stuff, this book is bold, smart, witty and so fun to read! The fruits I already love take on a new life in these pages, and the ones that I would not have bothered to explore beckon to me now. On foot or bike, the author roams and forages her urban landscape and suggests that there is no place like home, and that we, too, could be out there moving, examining, noticing and falling in love with fruits growing in usual and not-so-usual corners. All-in-one field guide, history lesson, memoir and cookbook, this book is divided unequally into two parts. Bir begins with her manifesto on consumerism, food sourcing and the power of observation along with a how-to manual on foraging. Part two, the bulk of the book, dedicates each chapter to a different fruit with familiar edibles like apples and grapes alongside lesser known ones like hackberries, spicebush and sumac, with inventive recipes that are easy to follow. Beautiful photos and rich sidebars feature relevant musings with some unexpected entertaining commentary. A series of shorter plant profiles each stamped “Honorable Mention” or “Look But Don’t Eat” make for a pleasantly meandering read in a well-organized text. -Jen Ries
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