On a somewhat stormy Saturday morning, my friend Catherine and I took a foraging class and this is what I learned:
1. You can eat almost any plant in Wisconsin, except the ones that will kill you in a prompt and painful manner.
2. You can forage almost anywhere in Wisconsin, except where it is definitely illegal and then you’ll be arrested and made to pay a steep fine.
In short, you probably don’t want to get lost in the woods with me because, despite the wise instruction of both our guide Dave and a random retired first grade teacher turned carpenter named Nick, I still can not tell you the difference between a cut leaf tooth wort, which is delicious pickled, and a giant hogsweed, which could cause me to go blind.
Following our rainy forage in the woods around Bubolz Nature Preserve, our class of 25 intrepid souls (and Nick) combined our loot into one big, leafy salad. This seemed a little reckless to me, a near-sighted and not particularly attentive picker, but, Catherine assured me that trained eyes would be preparing our lunch so I ate with my customary gusto.
The meal was very tasty, except when it was not, and I then remembered the semantics lesson that kicked off our class.
“People forget when we say edible it does not always mean it tastes good,” Dave said.
I got a big kick out of the whole experience and it reinforced for me my general outlook on life. The world is full of delicious things, you just have to know where to look.