1st Foraging Book for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly
Lapping waves, sweet smelling hedgerows, and glorious walks and forays in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly were the inspiration for writing my first book; Wild Food Foraging in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Which does what is says in the title.
Something worth sharing, I thought, something regional, specific and practical for these areas that I love and know with my forager's senses. The culmination of several years researching and teaching, several musing over possible book titles and angles, and a 9 month focused period from book proposal to sending the final product to the printers.
(Photographs from the Book; Bermuda Buttercup on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly)
It would be appropriate to mention that creating a book is a collaboration (you just need to look under 'Acknowledgements' to see some of whom I'm grateful to). Right from the beginning, the idea and content were honed by friends, colleagues, editors and of course my publisher; Alison Hodge - a joyful collaboration I might add.
From a young age my two loves of working with people and being creative were quite apparent. I have pursued both through my adult life; combining both as much as possible, as in this book. Armed with a camera, computer, books, kitchen equipment and a whole load of ingredients, both wild and bought - I aimed to capture the essence of 16 differing plants and 5 seaweeds, potential recipes, from facts to cooking tips. This was a project I loved.
(Dishes from the Book using Bermuda Buttercup ~ Oxalis pes caprae)
It was a busy period leading up to launching such a book, like having a party really - celebratory, though with lots of background work with invites, food, drink and a little media. I spent the morning of the launch (Thursday 7th May ~ Election Day actually), cycling out of town to forage ingredients for making wild pesto, and after lunching and voting, I set to in the kitchen, with my mother to make mountains of Three Cornered Leek and Nettle Pesto, and Sea Lettuce and Wild Carrot Seed Bread.
(Preparation for, and Three Cornered Leek and Nettle Pesto tasters at the Book Launch)
When 6pm arrived, we wandered up the main street of my home town; Penzance, to Edge of the World Bookshop, laden with bread and pesto, having changed out of both cycling clothes and kitchen aprons.
Guests started arriving, wine flowed (and ran out twice!), and tasters from the book enjoyed. There were shop keepers, b&b hosters, musicians, builders, walkers, web designers, health practitioners, council workers - indeed, Cornwall, food and nature lovers from all walks of life. The till was ringing, as books were perused, signed and there was a great hum of chatter throughout the shop.
As the evening progressed, the food was devoured - even the edible flower decorations were eaten - hurray! There's hope for our county eating up all the invasive weeds after- all.
By the end of the evening there were just 4 books left of the 70 that had been ordered by the bookshop earlier that week. Pretty good going for a thursday evening in a small town in Cornwall. Though of course the story does not end there... The book has now been on sale for over 2 months, and is slowly seeping into bookshops, delis, hotels and cafes on both the mainland and the islands.
Haven't got yours yet? Available locally in shops and food outlets (do feel free to suggest it if you can't find it locally yet), also available from this website, and on amazon.
Retails at just £5.95 and comes in a handy pocket size with 90 photographs. Spread the word - it's been described as a clear, practical, useful book with beautiful photographs to help with identification and tempting recipes.
Photos: Plants and Recipes - Rachel Lambert, Book Launch - Aspects Holidays