A Review of Hank Shaw’s Hunt, Gather, Cook

If you’re following Hank Shaw or Holly Heyser’s blogs, you’ve already heard about Hank’s new book Hunt Gather Cook: Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast.  It’s just out from Rodale Press, and it fills an important gap in the books already available on this topic.  You can find it at both blogs, elsewhere online, and at bookstores everywhere.

Even if you’re already a dedicated forager, angler, and hunter, you’ll learn a lot from this book.  If you’re a total beginner, you’ll really learn a lot.  Not many people have Hank’s knowledge of all three areas.  Even fewer have his knack for explaining things so simply and clearly.  Hank used to be a political writer, but he probably had a lot more fun writing this book.  He’s also a former chef, the kind of guy who’s written for both Food & Wine and Field & Stream.  Now how many people can say that?

This means Hank does more than just give you practical guidance about what to eat and how to get out there and pick it, catch it, or shoot it.  He shows you how to do it with style.  Then, once you get back home, you’ll be ready to make magic in the kitchen—maybe not quite like Hank does, but still…

If you’re like me, you tend to get in a rut now and then.  Maybe it’s time to get up some gumption and try a few new recipes beyond the usual fried fish, fried birds, and fried venison.  It’s time for some inspiration, the kind you’ll find in this book.

Hunt, Gather, Cook isn’t another one of those books about how to merely “survive” on what you find out in the wild.  It’s a book about how to have fun foraging, fishing, and hunting, and then come home and turn all those wild ingredients into a gourmet feast.  (And if all that work makes you thirsty, there’s also a chapter on how to make your own wines.  Real, drinkable wines that don’t taste like a science experiment gone wrong.)

Most important, this book will inspire huge numbers of people to get out of the house and get out on the water or out in the woods.  Getting more people to take that first step will be Hank’s most important accomplishment.  But if you’re already getting outdoors and bringing back an occasional dinner, then you’ll find inspiration in these pages, too.  And who knows?  Your dinners just might become a little tastier.

The book features great photos by Holly Heyser.  Even though they’re black and white, they still look way too delicious.  I’m writing this an hour before lunchtime, and another quick flip through the book has made me start salivating.  (For a sampling of luscious food photos in living color, check out Holly’s photography website.)

I’d write more, but I have to go find something to eat.  After that, I need to slip out for a bit and check on that one berry patch to see how things are coming.  And maybe I should get in some target practice and start doing a little scouting for deer season…

© 2011 Al Cambronne


Author: alcambronne

Retired photographer, author, and cancer survivor living in northwest Wisconsin.

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