Revisiting My Side of the Mountain in the Locavore Era

One of my favorite chapter books growing up was My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George's 1959 fable about a boy who runs away from New York City to the Catskills and lives off the land, aided by his trusty falcon Frightful. I picked up the book for a quick reread one night over Thanksgiving weekend, and was surprised to discover how much of the text is focused on Sam Gribley's food foraging and preservation efforts, including plenty of recipes for things like acorn pancakes, dandelion greens, wild garlic, fresh mussels, venison, smoked fish, and other forest edibles. As a kid, I spent long afternoons in my own city backyard playing My Side of the Mountain by making elaborate, inedible “soups” out of branches and weeds — it had never occurred to me that the foods that Sam eats in the book were fact more than fiction, and that the book was a sort of handbook for off-the-grid living. Pretty subversive reading for a fourth grader.

See also:

Wild Kitchen Dinners Serve a Gourmet Introduction to Foraged Foods

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