Gina Rae La Cerva discusses her new book, Feasting Wild: In Search of the Last Untamed Food (Greystone Books) with David George Haskell.
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About Feasting Wild
Two centuries ago, nearly half the North American diet was foraged, hunted, or caught in the wild. Today, so-called "wild foods" are becoming expensive luxuries, served to the wealthy in top restaurants. Meanwhile, people who depend on wild foods for survival and sustenance find their lives forever changed as new markets and roads invade the world's last untamed landscapes.
In Feasting Wild, geographer and anthropologist Gina Rae La Cerva embarks on a global culinary adventure to trace our relationship to wild foods. Throughout her travels, La Cerva reflects on how colonialism and the extinction crisis have impacted wild spaces, and reveals what we sacrifice when we domesticate our foods --including biodiversity, Indigenous and women's knowledge, a vital connection to nature, and delicious flavors. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, La Cerva investigates the violent "bush meat" trade, tracking elicit delicacies from the rainforests of the Congo Basin to the dinner tables of Europe. In a Danish cemetery, she forages for wild onions with the esteemed staff of Noma. In Sweden--after saying goodbye to a man known only as The Hunter--La Cerva smuggles freshly-caught game meat home to New York in her suitcase, for a feast of "heartbreak moose."
Thoughtful, ambitious, and wide-ranging, Feasting Wild challenges us to take a closer look at the way we eat today, and introduces an exciting new voice in food journalism.
"A memorable, genre-defying work that blends anthropology and adventure."--Elizabeth Kolbert, New York Times-bestselling author of The Sixth Extinction
About the participants
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.
David Haskell’s work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world. He is a professor of biology and environmental studies at the University of the South and a Guggenheim Fellow. His 2012 book The Forest Unseen was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and won the 2013 Best Book Award from the National Academies, the National Outdoor Book Award, and the Reed Environmental Writing Award.