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.
Two centuries ago, nearly half the North American diet was found in the wild. Today, so-called “wild foods” are becoming expensive commodities, served to the wealthy in top restaurants. In Feasting Wild, geographer and anthropologist Gina Rae La Cerva traces our relationship to wild foods and shows what we sacrifice when we domesticate them—including biodiversity, Indigenous knowledge, and an important connection to nature.
Along the way, she samples wild foods herself, sipping elusive bird’s nest soup in Borneo and smuggling Swedish moose meat home in her suitcase. Thoughtful, ambitious, and wide-ranging, Feasting Wild challenges us to take a closer look at the way we eat today.
About the authors
Gina Rae La Cerva 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, NY.
“La Cerva’s beautifully written narrative is as tantalizing as it is edifying.” — Publishers Weekly
“It is rare these days to find a food book with a truly original take on food. Feasting Wild gives you a great deal to think about and at the same time is a pleasure to read.” — Mark Kurlansky, New York Times bestselling author of Salmon: A Fish, the Earth, and the History of Their Common Fate and Salt: A World History
“An extraordinary book. My mouth watered, my mind expanded, and my heart broke and was remade through this superb writing.” — David George Haskell, author of Pulitzer finalist The Forest Unseen
“This is the food book I’ve always wanted to read—a witty, illuminating, and beautifully written travelogue that rightly centers the historical role of women and the importance of Indigenous knowledge. Throw away the trite faux-wisdom of dietitians and gorge yourself instead on the charming platter that Gina Rae La Cerva has served up.” — Ed Yong, author of I Contain Multitudes
“By turns lyrical, melancholy, and invigorating, Feasting Wild is an enthralling and necessary meditation on what it means to love the feral in a world increasingly of our making.” — Taras Grescoe, author of Possess the Air, Straphanger, and Bottomfeeder