Is DIY turning into FIY (Forage It Yourself)?

If there's one kind of a cookbook I can't resist (and goodness knows there's more like a dozen kinds I can't resist),  it's a book about weeds.  Every time I try to put a book about weeds on the Give Away pile, it's like an invisible force tugs my hand back and puts the book back on the shelf.  It's almost as hard as eradicating burdock, plantain, dandelion, sorrel, creeping charlie, chickweed, lambs-quarters, and Queen Anne's lace from my vegetable beds.

This season there seem to be an unusual number of foraging books from small presses like Quirk, Storey, and Cico.  They have differing levels of commitment to providing recipes (Backyard Foraging has hardly any, for example ),but all have appealing reference sections.  They tell you what part of the plant to pick and when to pick it and what looks similar but should be avoided at all costs, and often they offer the Latin names too, delighting the heart of every true geek.

I think of these books as kind of the opposite of those whimsical-cupcake books, which turn the obviously edible - butter and sugar and flour - into something that looks like you shouldn't be able to eat it - puppies or zombies or that sort of thing.   These are things that seem as though you shouldn't be able to eat them - acorns, hostas, stinging nettles.  And yet you can.

  I guess the real danger is now I'll start feeling like I have to save the weeds for cooking, too.  Poor garden!  I just hope I can bring myself to weed out the beds more ruthlessly than the bookshelves.

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