The other day I was foraging in the thesaurus for synonyms for “forage.” Here are a few:
The primary definition involves "finding food in the wild," which meant about zero to me until Evan began to forage out in the Pacific Northwest. I prefer all my edible items to be shrink wrapped and marked with “sell by” dates for guaranteed freshness. It was a major mind shift to realize that not all un-domesticated mushrooms are toxic, and that stinging nettles lose their sting--and become delicious--when they are blanched and sauteed. I still hesitate to eat a thimbleberry from a bush, even when an expert (who just happens to be related to me) pinky-swears that it’s a perfectly safe nibble. Sadly, if I were lost in the forest, I’d probably croak quickly, preferring starvation to taking a chance on munching some salal leaves.
I’m much better at other kinds of foraging. I really enjoy rummaging in a used bookstore in search of a rare volume. For example, I was on the hunt for a cookbook illustrated by the great artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, ever since I first saw it in the kitchen of a babysitting customer when I was 12. It’s been a Holy Grail of sorts, and I’m thrilled to have finally found a gently used copy (on Amazon!) Need a new Grail now! Also, I’m good at hunting for makeup that doesn’t look like makeup, for those times when I feel the need to prettify myself, but very subtly (never mind the illogic of spending $$$ on “invisible” beauty products.) If I know that I’m wearing “barely-there” blush, then that’s good enough for me!
NO one of my acquaintance scours the internet for useless info with my level of skill and perseverance. Why, just the other day Steve and I were trying to remember the actor who played Richard III in a 1975 production we attended at the University of Connecticut when Steve was a grad student. My hubby was content to shrug and go on with his life, but I spent a decent while Googling (did you know there are online archives for the UConn newspaper that go back way before the 1970’s? True!) It was with triumph that I found the show review, and announced the actor’s name--though we actually couldn’t recall his performance after all.
Our prehistoric ancestors, we’re told, were “hunter-gatherers,” traveling all over to find sustenance, before the dawn of agriculture and “grow it yourself.” This has evolved into “buy it yourself at Costco,” but the basic idea is the same.
Yet, the thrill of the hunt is still a part of our nature. Just watch a determined woman tearing through the racks at H&M for a LILAC colored top (NOT purple!!!!) Observe the madness around Christmastime as frantic parents search everywhere for THE hot holiday toy.
Let Evan seek morels in the woods. I’ll keep looking for obscure actors online.
Foragers, the two of us.