Eager to eat for free? Wild Food will have you foraging far and wide and, importantly, safely too.

It’s all a bit fashionable in the restaurant world nowadays, chefs foraging for free, natural wild ingredients. And then charging customers the earth to eat them. It’s the new thing, now that cooking with a chemistry set has just about had its fifteen minutes.

We have all probably foraged at one time, most probably for blackberries in the autumn. Yet there are far more things out there free to eat; edible flowers, seaweeds, leaves and herbs, fruits and nuts and even roots too. You just need to know what to look for and when.

Author Roger Phillips looks reliable, a bit of an old hippy, which is good. If he didn’t know his stuff he probably would have died a young hippy. Wrong kind of’shrooms, maaan. He does in fact stress that his mushroom chapter is not to be taken as gospel and that one should always consult an expert or specialist book and for that he provides a helpful bibliography.

He also says in his intro that he wants to alert us all to the diversity of forageable food and encourage innovation in preparation and cooking. For the latter he provides a wealth of folk recipes he has collated over the years. And he stresses, pick only when there is profusion, think of others and think of the survival of the plant and its habitat.

It is a quite fascinating book, a revelation in the things one can go out and find and there are over a hundred delicious recipes ancient and modern that can use them. Roger also points out the often now proven health benefits of many of the things we see in the country and take for granted.

Good photography, informative and erudite text and lots of inspiration abound, as well as amusing stories, in this book first published in 1983. There may be no antidote for boring cookbooks yet available in the wild, but this book comes as a refreshing change from trendy books about burgers and celeb tie ins. Highly recommended for the serious, mature food lover.