Cover Image: The Wilderness Cure

The Wilderness Cure

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I admire anyone with the dedication and willpower to conduct an experiment which lasts a year never mind it being to only forage for food! It was a fascinating book which really made me think differently about how we live in the current era. Educational and entertaining, it gave great insight into a simpler yet more challenging food lifestyle. Fascinating stuff.
Was this review helpful?
A fascinating book that documents how to live off the land by someone who is willing to put their interests and convictions into practice. I have found myself telling friends and long suffering husband of the well researched facts behind how our ancestors lived and many other wonderful facts. There is nothing more to say than read this and try not to run off into the wild, Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book.  Mo decides to live for an entire year on wild food.  In the process, she connects deeply with nature, the seasons and her own body whilst shunning consumerism.

She writes with honesty and great beauty.  I was fascinated and inspired.

I highlighted many pages, so that I could remember how to make gremolata (a mix of fresh green herbs and wild garlic immersed in oil with lemon zest) and how ground up dock seed can be added to a flan base.  I loved discovering the many uses of Dandelion root, how to make cleavers seed coffee and that alexanders are a fabulous spinach substitute.  

By the end of the book, I wanted to go and live with Mo and beg her to teach me more.  Given that she’d probably refuse that request, a recipe book would be wonderful!
Was this review helpful?
At the end of November 2020, Mo Wilde decided to embark on a year of eating wild. She's led foraging courses for many years, and frequently encountered the query 'but could you actually live on only foraged food?' - here was a chance to prove it. So on Black Friday when the rest of the world seemed overwhelmed by buying frenzy, she resolved to stop - or at least to stop buying food. In The Wilderness Cure  Wilde takes us on an incredible year of only living on what she gather - nuts, shoots, leaves, mushrooms (so many mushrooms!) and occasional gifts of a culled deer or surplus salmon; all foods which would have been familiar to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. 

I grew up in the country, so foraging is always something I've done a little of. As a child I went out to gather blackberries and elderberries in autumn, as an adult I've collected elderflowers in spring, sloes, crab apples, and the occasional chestnut in autumn - but the important difference is that to me they're additions to what I grow or buy. I knew that it was feasible to harvest more from wild sources - mushrooms being the obvious thing but I never had any one to teach me their secrets when young, and fresh spring leaves of hawthorn or beech which I'd rather looked on as extraordinary things for when harvests had failed. This book came as a revelation of the many, many things which can be gathered from the wild; the roots and shoots, seeds and flowers, which can be used as part of our daily food.

This book is more than a foraging diary. It digresses naturally into the author's philosophy, her belief in the Gaia world-system and how this challenge re-affirmed her connection with the Earth, into the disconnection between humans and the natural world, into the bodily changes brought on by this unusual diet, and even into archaeological research which provides historical context for 'foraging' (or 'collecting dinner' as I assume our pre-historic ancestors considered it). 

It's a fascinating read, even if you've only the slightest interest in foraging but in a world based round consumption and consumerism, doing anything for yourself is an act of rebellion - and nothing more so than deciding to live on only the food you can gather for free
Was this review helpful?
Beautifully written and full of positive ideas.    I feel much more in touch with nature and the value of spending time with trees.
Was this review helpful?
This wasn’t what I expected, but was very interesting and innovative in her methods of educating others. It’s a beautiful book and a perfect read for anyone with even the slightest interest in foraging.
Was this review helpful?
The Wilderness Cure.

How we can learn to forage from the land in the natural nature environment around us.

How we need to recognise the bountiful  produce about us and how we are damaging this environment. 

Open your eyes and see the beauty around us. Appreciate it and protect it.
Was this review helpful?
I thought this book would be purely about foraging but it is so much more. I read this, for free, from NetGalley but will be buying my own copy as I want to read this again and I know it is one of those books that I will go back to often. It is a diary of Mo Wilde’s experiment to live off only foraged food, as well as a commentary on the state of the world, a history of people’s eating habits over time and how we need to reconnect with nature. All of this is told seamlessly, Mo Wilde has an engaging writing style and she shares a wealth of information which has the power to help people reconnect with not just the earth but with each other too.
Was this review helpful?
I should start this review by saying I don’t really understand what the big fuss is about food. Yes it keeps us alive and is required for fuel but beyond that I have very little interest. If I could take one pill a day that gave me everything I needed rather than have to eat meals I would. It maybe seems very odd therefore that I would choose to read something about food, however the blurb of this did make me curious to know how this experiment of sorts would change the author and their own view of food, fuel and things relating to this. 

Mo Wilde decides on a Black Friday sales day that she is going to see if it is possible to live off the land (foraging, gathering, not purchasing in a shop food) for a year. This book records her year, the highs and lows, what was learnt along the way and the benefits of what she does manage to accomplish. While Wilde does state her diet before starting mainly consisted of a vegetable stir-fry for breakfast, snack for lunch and cheese and crackers for dinners so not your typical diet of processed food today (this experiment would probably have had a lot more withdrawal problems and been harder for someone who didn’t eat like Wilde before), it nevertheless is a challenge. We follow the author as she visits various places in Scotland, goes to stay in Poland and also has to juggle lockdown with one walk only a day, not easy when you need to find your food!

Wilde did not make me any more interested in food. However she did make me a lot more interested in humans connection to earth and it’s resources, often right underneath our noses. I absolutely loved her writing and when she ventured off on tangents on folklore, history, place names and also the science behind plants and what they can offer us I was enthralled! I found it especially interesting to learn how her year of wild food impacted her medically and her daily life.

While this experiment or lifestyle would not be possible for everyone (commuters with office jobs will not be able to spend daily hours hunting for nutrients from plants) many very important points are made. We are losing our connection with the Earth which is not a good thing. The way we eat and what we eat is not, in the long run, really doing anyone any favours. So while I don’t think we should all embrace a 24/7 diet of foraging I am convinced having read this we need to start leaning far more towards a natural lifestyle where we recognise what we can get from the land and world around us and not just as a thing to be consumed or purchased but as something that is a larger ecosystem. That may all sound idealistic but actually as Wilde does show it is possible for it to become reality.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Sometimes, a book comes along that shifts your entire perspective and changes your approach to how you live life; for me, The Wilderness Cure was such a book. I went into it with curiosity about foraging and wild foods, but no real knowledge of it and its history, and I came out of it with my world-view changed. Mo Wilde – forager, research herbalist, author, and ethnobotanist – decides, prompted in part by the consumerist excess of Black Friday, to live only on a wild food diet for an entire year, starting on 27th November. What follows is an account of that year, in which Wilde documents the foods available, the places and ways in which she forages, and the ways her body is affected during her seasonal diet.

The Wilderness Cure is so much more than just diary entires about eating habits; it is a history lesson, an invitation to reconnect with nature, an introduction to even the most unassuming of plants, and an ode to our planet. The planet that has nurtured us and driven our development for so much of our history, and which we are tearing down in thanks. This book made me both joyful and sad, as most nature books do these days. It’s like looking at old photographs, knowing that those times are gone and cannot come back, but it also nurtures a hope for the future and an encouragement for all of us to appreciate the natural world just a little more.

I know that not many people will be able to do what Wilde does during this wild year, because not many people have the access to countryside, the time, or the knowledge, but Wilde is not writing to suggest everyone adopt this lifestyle, but to show how much more vast the world of food is. Now, whenever I go on walks, even in my relatively urban neighbourhood, I find myself looking at all the vegetation I see, from flowers to trees to grasses, and wondering what they are and what properties they may have. It’s given me the desire to learn the art of foraging and wild cooking, and I think it would be very hard for anyone to read this book and not want to do so. As a writer and reader of fantasy, I must admit that it has also opened up more possibilities in my mind of how food can function in a society, and has given me a greater desire to research ways in which our ancestors lived and ate.

I would recommend The Wilderness Cure to anyone, because it’s such an easy one to pick up and put down, with it’s clearly divided sections, and I think – especially for people living in the British Isles – it provides a connection back into the murky depths of history to a time when our ancestors were much closer with the land, and that made me feel incredibly grounded. I have a feeling this is a book I will reread and reference frequently, and will definitely be a favourite for this year.
Was this review helpful?
DNF at 54%
It was interesting but once I realised she was not going to stave it became a dull list of unrecognizable foods.  She would have been malnourished had she not had generous friends who hunt and fish.   It gave no advice on how to forage yourself instead she inserted a probably very good further reading list.   Not sure the subject quite warranted a whole book.
Was this review helpful?
I was drawn to this book because I have an interest in foraging, wild food and sustainability. I was really interested in the idea of living on only foraged food for a whole year. I was quite surprised to find that the author had started her journey in November with no pre planning - this seemed to be an odd decision! I then discovered that she was going to using previously foraged food and preserved food and was allowing herself to eat gifted food, which made me wonder if this was cheating a little. I enjoyed the style of writing which was very evocative and the descriptions of her surroundings were beautiful. As a vegan I struggled with some of the descriptions of animal use and felt that meat was quite heavily used. I love mushrooms and was interested in the variety of mushrooms found and used. I felt the author was very creative in coming up with her meals! This is a book I have dipped in and out of rather than reading in one go but I wonder if it would be better read through in one go. it has to be remembered that this was an experiment and not something that most people could achieve, although it has spurred me on to think more about what I eat ad when and to do more foraging. The author clearly had to devote a lot of time to foraging and preparing food which is not realistic for most people. There were some really interesting sections about nutrition and seasonal eating relating back to our ancestral ways of consuming food. I would recommend this book to people who are interested in foraging, wild food, and the history and anthropology of food and eating. many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the gifted e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is a nice addition to the growing nature writing genre as it follows Wilde for a year as she only eats food that she forages or would have been available to our earliest ancestors.

Starting the book at the leanest part of the year adds peril to the tale at the very beginning but it is also a reminder to us all to stay in better touch with our surroundings and the natural season for food stuffs.

Wilde is an experienced forager and knows which plants and mushrooms are edible and it is important to highlight that this isn't a book to use as a guide if you are looking to start foraging.

At times I found the book to be a little 'new age' for me but overall an enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
Lovely book 
Really made me think and stop in my tracks.
Very incisive.
Thank you for writing a book that’s made me want to make a change.
Was this review helpful?
This book charts the experiences and thoughts of the author, Mo Wilde, over a year that she lived solely on food foraged from the wild. She not only describes the food in mouth-watering detail but also gives interesting comments and food for thought on current events and the current state of the world, being written from late 2020 to 2021. 
As a new forager myself, it was very interesting to learn about the many and varied sources of food and that meat had to be part of her diet in order to survive. As Mo herself says on several occasions, while there is much we can eat from the wild, it would be very quickly depleted if everyone took to this way of life. It made me very grateful to our farmers who make life so much easier and also more determined to create a much more edible garden where I easily 'forage' for food.
I found reading this book a very meditative experience and will be recommending it to friends and family.
Was this review helpful?
The Wilderness Cure is not my typical choice when it comes to reading material, but as a fervent amateur gardener with aspirations of becoming fractionally self-sufficient, I had to give in to my curiosity.

Mo writes in diary-style about her year-long experiment in which she only ate food she (or others) could gather or hunt in her local area so as to experience the seasonally changing diet once lived by early humans. The book is not an instruction manual, or a guide to what native plants and mushrooms are safe for human consumption, but rather is an honest account of a fairly extreme way of eating. Mo backs up her story with anecdotes, interesting morsels of information about ancient eating habits, and brief descriptions of the meals she put together. 

I will admit, I don't understand why this experiment had to start in winter, or why she couldn't do some preparation work to build a small cache of supplies before starting to better represent the lifestyle, but the strong contrast between seasonal food availability did make for a more engaging read, and really highlighted the scarcity of plant-based foods in the Scottish winter.

A fascinating read, but I did struggle a little with the pacing at times.
Was this review helpful?
I found this absolutely fascinating - no idea how much we can eat!  Still not sure I'd risk eating anything I wasn't absolutely sure of though, so maybe I'll look for a wild food course or something. Also very interesting that her foraging diet was so much healthier.
Was this review helpful?
This was interesting, some of the things I enjoyed and other things I flicked through, overall an enjoyable read.
Was this review helpful?
A great book with thought provoking views and lots of hints and tips and I didn’t know what to expect from it but I really enjoyed it
Was this review helpful?
I have been reading more non fiction and nature books this year and was really pleased to get the opportunity to read an early copy of this.

The idea of living only on foraged food for a year fascinated me, but this book was so much more than that. I loved how it explored Mo's relationship with others around her and the land and area she lives in.  Her local knowledge was brilliant and I learned so much about nature and foraging from reading this. 

Mo's writing is accessible and really drew me in, even as someone who had no idea about foraging and wild food.  I adored this book and didn't want to put it down.
Was this review helpful?