Book Review

Book Review of It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It: Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter-Gatherer

Slow Food Book ReviewIt's not often I find a book that really makes me laugh out loud (for real, not just the saying "lol")! It's Only Slow Food Until You Try to Eat It: Misadventures of a Suburban Hunter-Gatherer had me chuckling... and sometimes cringing... and often learning, while reading about the author's adventures of trying to forage for a majority of his own foods in a variety of environments.

If you are squeamish, a vegan, member of PETA, save the deer crusader or other similar type person, you'll want to skip this book. While Bill Heavy loves the outdoors and tries to "get closer" to nature, he's not what I'd consider a typical nature lover and there are some pretty graphic descriptions of his encounters with his food (like cracking open an egg and finding a fully formed goose fetus). While he does go on about foraging for plants, he doesn't skip descriptions of bow hunting or fighting squirrels who take a single bite out of each tomato (with tragic results for a particular squirrel that will make you squirm a bit).

Heavy describes foraging and finding food in the corners of an urban landscape as well as a bit more far afield. He talks about hunting, fishing, gathering and trying his hand at a backyard garden. Along the way you meet others who helped him in his foraging quest such as Paula, who runs an illegal bait fish business and somehow manages to survive by scrounging a little bit of this and that. Heavey learns a lot from people who HAVE to forage to survive. He shares their stories, intertwined with his own - humorous, dosed with a bit of self-deprecating sarcasm, enjoyable and sometimes brutally honest - enough to make you cringe.

As his friend Paula teaches him how to forage for watercress he has a moment of panic:

"I sputtered. "This water's gotta be filthy. It's D.C. groundwater, runoff from God knows where. And there's deer sh*t and homeless people crapping everywhere." I was already imagining explaining to the emergency room doctor why I'd eaten watercress growing in an inner-city park full of feces." Paula knows the right spot though, where the water seeps through the sand from the ridge and points this out, all the while giving Bill a lesson on how the Greeks filtered their water.

The book is filled with moments like the quote above.

Hunters will sympathize and laugh when Heavey talks about "abundance mania" attacking during a fishing outing. Gardeners will appreciate him sharing his temptation to rototill the sidewalk just because he was sure his machine was capable of it as well as his description of his daughter blasting his new seedlings with the hose with "such violence that it was like a mini-diorama of the Birmingham riots."

If you are interested in doing a bit of foraging yourself, or just want to laugh at someone else's adventures (and misadventures) giving it a try, this is a fairly quick read that will not only teach, but entertain.

Note: This is NOT a book to hand over to your kids, with the exception of a mature teen. There is a fair bit of cursing, a mention of drug use, graphic descriptions of killing animals, etc.

*I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Click here to return to our book reviews.





Guesthollow store


Link to Guest Hollow