A writer and anthropologist searches for wild foods―and reveals what we lose in a world where wildness itself is misunderstood, commodified, and hotly pursued.
In Search of the Last Untamed Food
by GinaRae LaCerva
Greystone Books, May 2020
Anthropologist and geographer GinaRae LaCerva’s fascination with hunting and gathering quickly exploded into a personal obsession that sent her on a quest to taste the wild foods we still eat and the ones we have forgotten: from wild boar in Borneo, to a lobster bake on an island in Maine, to gathering herbs near Kierkegaard’s grave in Copenhagen. She didn’t expect to find something much more profound—an untamable love affair and the elusive pleasure of simple sustenance. Along the way, she illuminates that the history of food is also the history of environmental conservation, examines the rapid transformation of wild food from nutritional necessity to luxury good, explores how this shift reflects our attempts to tame and commodify “natures” of all kinds, and ultimately finds that her own sense of adventure is just as unruly as the natural places she explores.
This impeccably researched narrative history uncovers something essential about what it means to love the planet in the age of extinction. Equal parts environmental history and adventure narrative, FEASTING WILD weaves together extensive field research and personal narrative to interrogate our concept of nature, investigate how our insatiable appetites have contributed to the current landscape of environmental crisis, and question what we might do about it now.
GinaRae LaCerva is a geographer, environmental anthropologist, and award-winning writer who has traveled extensively to research a variety of environmental and food-related topics. A National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, La Cerva holds a Master of Environmental Science from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. Originally from New Mexico, she lives in New York.