I recently went on a foraging adventure with Urban Outdoor Skills, a Southern California organization that endeavors to connect people with nature.
Wait. Let me preface this account of my adventures in the wild with the admission that I spend altogether too much time developing Survivorman-flavored fantasies while staring at the straight borders of the lawn from my office window. My favorite scenes in every episode of said show are as follows:
- Les Stroud perches a rock on a spindly stick and waits for a squirrel;
- Les Stroud plucks and onion bulb from the soil and pops it right into his mouth;
- Les Stroud stabs at the crystal clear waters of the tropical sea before settling for a dinner of sea snail boiled in a coconut.
Survival dining. It gets me every time.
I was Katniss before she was an itch in Suzanne Collins’ fingertips. In my mind…
I would emerge from the woods with a brace of rabbits and skin them without hesitation. I’d eat them with gusto and maybe a little salt. I’d hobble around under my pelt collage and the bleached bones adorning my fat-free hermit’s body would jangle like wind chimes as I crouched behind redwoods. Hikers would stop in their tracks and wonder at the sound but never see. Yeah I’d be a Jim Henson character but I would also catch salmon traveling upstream with nothing more than my bared teeth and the hunger strength in the springs of my knees.
While these visions persist for all the glitter in my brain, my true-to-life outdoor skill level has less in common with Survivorman than with, say…Troupe Beverly Hills.
With my woefully dubious visions of grandeur and podcast gossip about the glory of foraged foods, I struck out for the Foothills of Pasadena and for the Urban Outdoor Skills workshop on foraging and cooking wild foods.