My guest today is Dina Falconi, author of Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. We’ll be talking about how you can identify wild edible plants, harvest and cook them, celebrating local bounty and traditional foodways. Dina is a clinical herbalist with a strong focus on food activism and nutritional healing. An avid gardener, wildcrafter, and permaculturalist, Dina has been teaching classes about the use of herbs for food, medicine, and pleasure,including wild food foraging and cooking, for more than twenty years. She produces Falcon Formulations natural body care products and Earthly Extracts medicinal tinctures. She is a founding member of the Northeast Herbal Association, a chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and an organizer of Slow Food-Hudson Valley. www.botanicalartspress.com/example-product.html

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TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Foraging & Feasting: How to Find and Eat the Wild Foods Around You

Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Dina Falconi

Date of Broadcast: November 26, 2014 (October 09, 2013)

DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world. We need to do this because there are toxic chemicals all around us in consumer products in our homes, in our bodies, outdoors when we’re walking around. In fact, there are toxic chemicals everywhere even in the north pole, even in the blood of polar bears and penguins who don’t come anywhere near toxic chemicals.

So this is something we need to know about. We need to educate ourselves about, we need to know where the toxic chemicals are and we need to learn how to live without them, what are the good practices so that more toxic chemicals don’t get out in the world.

And today, we’re going to be talking about food. My guest is Dina Falconi. She has a book called BotanicalArtsPress.com Foraging & Fiesting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. And so this is going out into the wild and getting your own food.

I had a little appetizer on that subject the other night when I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s show called Parts Unknown. And in it, he visited Copenhagen specifically to visit a restaurant called Noma that was voted three years in a row the best restaurant in the world. What they do is they forage and their whole entire menu is based on foraging.

They go out in the countryside and they also have farmers that they work with. On the farm, they don’t plant things in rows. They just put out the foods that they are wanting to cultivate along with the wild foods and that every day, it’s about just going out and seeing what’s in season and using the foods in unusual ways.

This week, if you’re listening live, this week, the show is being replayed many times on CNN. If you just go to ‘Anthony Bourdain Copenhagen’, just type that into Google, ‘Anthony Bourdain Copenhagen’, the CNN site will come up and you can see it all the times that it’s playing and you can tape it because it’s in the middle of the night now. This is well worth watching because they really talk about their philosophy on the show and why it’s important to eat locally and particularly understand and partake of the foods at the place that you live in.

And that’s what we’re going to talk about today because Dina has written a fabulous book, a beautiful, fabulous book on this very subject. Hi, Dina. Thanks for being here today.

DINA FALCONI: Hi, Debra. Thanks for having me.

DEBRA: Now, some of you may know that Dina has been on the show before. If you enjoyed this show and you’d like to hear Dina again, you can go to the archives at ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and look for her because we talked about another book that she has where it’s about making your own personal care products out of herbs and plants. Dina, I think I told you that I wasn’t able to find my copy of the book, but after the show, I found it. So I do have it. Even though I got it many years ago, I still have it on my shelf. It’s just that I move my books around. Sometimes, I can’t find it.

DINA FALCONI: Sure.

DEBRA: So I know that on the last show, you told us about your background, but I’m sure we have some new listeners today that don’t know anything about it. So why don’t you tell us about your home in upstate New York and how you got interested. Last time, you told us about how you got interested in making herbal personal care products. But why don’t you tell us today how you got interested in foraging.

DINA FALCONI: Sure! My interest comes – I would say, it’s a 30+ year interest. When I was a pre-teen, I got interested in holistic health through food and whole foods and the idea that food is our medicine. And so the foraging came out of that focus, out of, “Okay, what are powerful foods? What are foods that are more nutritious, more healthful?” and the wild foods really are that. And so foraging comes in to that picture. When anybody is really looking for optimal nutrition and health, really wild foods can play a huge role in our diets relative to that, to that point of view.

DEBRA: I think we should say a few words about how foraged foods and local, natural foods, they are – well, first of all, they’re in their natural state as nature intended. And so they’re not GMO, they’re not cultivated in terms of having some man-made variety. They’re just as nature-intended. And so I think they have a benefit in being that way.

But also, they’re the food that flourish in that particular place and we’re living in a place. And I think that just as – probably everybody has heard that if you have allergies, you can eat local honey and it will help your allergies. I think that eating local foods, particularly the indigenous ones, help your body live in that place.

DINA FALCONI: Mm-hmmm… that’s definitely possible. And also, to add to that, just thinking about the nutrient content and the phytochemical constituents — for example, if you look at dandelion, which is the weed that is the bane of so many different lawns and agricultural situations, this particular weed is so nutritious and has so much to offer in terms of therapeutic value that as a food, it’s a super food.

So not only the idea that it helps you to eat locally and to adapt to the ecosystem that’s also there, but just from a more even chemical point of view, if you just look and analyze the nutrient content of a dandelion leaf compared to lettuce that most people are eating, it’s got maybe 50-fold nutrient content on certain vitamins and minerals.

So just on a really basic level, nutritional level, there’s this package out there. And then the issue of bioavailability, how we can digest it since it hasn’t been tampered with. So it’s the way that nature – like you were saying, the way that nature has it on its own. We haven’t affected the germ plasma or hybridized it in any way (at least not that we know of). It’s just doing its own thing. So we’re eating something the way that nature is offering.

And we’ve co-evolved with plants and so often times, we can absorb the nutrients from these foods more than something that we’ve cultivated. So not only the content being higher, but that it’s in a package that is more familiar historically.

DEBRA: Yeah, I think that nature as a whole is designed to work together. All the parts are designed to nourish each other.

DINA FALCONI: Mm-hmmm… exactly.

DEBRA: And if we go directly to nature, we’ll get the nourishment that we need and all the elements beyond vitamins and minerals that may be in those plants. When we start doing some more man-made things, the more we affect the plant or the animal, the lesser of that direct nature contact that we have. I think it’s that aliveness factor that is in the native plants that really gives us something that cultivated plants don’t.

So I’m in 100% agreement with you of forage plants being super foods and having factors that we can’t maybe even understand, but are so valuable to our well-being.

DINA FALCONI: Definitely. I think that’s for sure. I mean, for example, the dandelion is a good thing to think about where it stimulates digestive functions, so it helps us digest our food. So things in the dandelion – not just the nutrients, but the other factors that are in dandelion like you’re saying that we may not even know what they are.

Dandelion has been used to help stimulate digestion for centuries. It’s used as a liver supportive herb, so you have what’s called the liver tonic in your food. [Inaudible 00:09:55] is actually historical, official medicine, but it’s actually a food-like medicine. So we’re bringing in the therapeutic qualities as we eat more.

In our culture, we sort of separated medicine from food and when you go back to the idea that food is your medicine and the wild plants really exhibit those qualities, they are foods and medicines. The dandelion is a great example because if you work with the dandelion, if you eat it, make tea out of it, you really benefit from the liver tonic properties as well as the nutritional content.

DEBRA: We need to take a break, but we’ll be right back. We’re speaking with Dina Falconi today. She’s the author of BotanicalArtsPress.com Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio and we’ll be right back.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Dina Falconi. She is the author of BotanicalArtsPress.com Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. And this is really an amazing book. I wish I had this many, many years ago. When I lived in northern California, just north of San Francisco, we had a lot of edible plants and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, but I knew which ones were edible.

And there was actually quite a number of people where I live who were very interested in going out and foraging the plants and eating them and identifying them and helping other people learn them.

Here where I live in Florida, there’s just virtually none of that going on. It’s been really difficult for me to find out what are the local plants that I can eat and which ones are poisonous.
Some of the features of the book is first of all, it’s an absolutely gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous book that you could put on your coffee table, but I would like people to actually use it as a cookbook. But it was illustrated by a botanical illustrator and so the illustrations of the edible plants are like old botanical illustrations, all in color and all the parts. They tell you what time of year they’re in bloom and you get to see the roots and the leaves and the flowers. It’s just such a resource in that way.

And as I’m glancing through it, I see a lot of plants that we used to have in California – well, they still have them in California. I’m just not there – like red clover used to grow on the side of the street that I lived on because I lived out in the forest. It’s just a delight to look at this and have all these recipes.

And one of the things I love about your recipes is that most of them are master recipes that give away to do something an then ideas on how to make variations , which is exactly how I think. I never think in terms of “How can I make one recipe?” I think in terms of “How can I put some ingredients together? And then how can I make variations?” And so once you learn the technique of things, then it makes it a lot easier to cook I think and that’s just what you did in this book. So bravo, bravo, bravo.

DINA FALCONI: Thank you. Yeah.

DEBRA: Well, let’s go back to talking about dandelion for a minute because that’s something I think that probably anyone in any part of the country could just go out in their front yard and find. Doesn’t it grow everywhere practically?

DINA FALCONI: It grows everywhere. It’s absolutely one of the most ubiquitous weeds in the world and I think a great, great gift that most people aren’t appreciating, but rather opposite it and for not good reasons. It’s something that is a gift that we can all benefit from, so yeah, the dandelions.

DEBRA: Well, let’s just kind of start at the beginning about foraging dandelions. The first thing is that you would want to go pick some, but what are some guidelines about picking them? You wouldn’t want to pick them if you’ve sprayed pesticides all over your lawn.

DINA FALCONI: Right! I’m really encouraging people to not use herbicide, not use pesticides. Really, really, really, that’s one of the things that part of this – the theme of the book is to encourage people to meet the weeds that grow in their lawns and appreciate what’s actually showing up rather than trying to eradicate them and just have grass. So it’s the excitement around, “What’s actually coming into our lives here? On their own, what’s wild and how can we learn what those gifts are and how can we use them for food for medicine?” or just to observe.

So the dandelion comes into the lawn and aggravates all the lawn keepers, but rather than approach it from, “Oh, no! We need just grass? What’s in the grass besides grass and how can we utilize those plants?” So those you’re going to find dandelion there.

And one thing also is you do want to – you want to know where you’re picking. Try to pick from a relatively clean place. That’s something you have to assess based on where you are, so looking at habitat.

And then another thing too for listeners is we really don’t want anyone to be eating anything that they’re not 100% sure of. So when you’re just beginning, it’s good to just use to eyes to observe. It’s a language. It’s learning a new language, to key out plants. It’s very easy, but it just takes practice.

So part of the fun is to just be observers or to take some plant walks. The book is a wonderful resource and it will send people along on that journey of keying plants out properly. But I always say please do not eat anything that you don’t know.

So having said that…

DEBRA: I totally agree. One thing that I’ve done only recently (because the technology wasn’t available before), I’m carrying around my cellphone anyway and I don’t know a cellphone that doesn’t have a camera in it nowadays. So what I’ve been doing is just taking photos of different plants that I don’t know that look like they’re weeds. And then they can come back and look at those and go online and try to identify them or send the photos off to some place that may be able to help me identify them.

DINA FALCONI: Absolutely.

DEBRA: That’s been a way for me. And then, it has a date on it, so I know what season it is.

DINA FALCONI: That’s right.

DEBRA: And it is just a process of getting to know your place and what the gifts are.

DINA FALCONI: …committing some time to studying, not in a sort of boring, studious way, but in a curious way. So you’re going out there and you’re engaging with your curious. You’re watching and you’re taking photos or you’re drawing and you’re just practicing observation, your skills of observation.

DEBRA: Right!

DINA FALCONI: And then all of a sudden, things really come to life. And so you can then with confidence after some time know your plants and learn which ones are food, which ones are medicine, how to prepare them. And that’s the point of this book, it’s the gift of that. The plant pages are laid out, so they take you through observing the plant in its entire life cycle. So you’re seeing it in all the different stages and also what part at what time of year – what part you would use, how you would use it. So you can then go right from the ‘plant maps’ I call them and then it takes you to the recipe section and plug it right into a recipe.

But then like you said, it’s not limited to that plant. So you can plug different plants into different recipes. So it’s a literacy. The goals for writing the book were creating more food literacy and excitement also around plant literacy. So people are learning plants, wild plants and understanding how to cook from that perspective, but it doesn’t stop there.

DEBRA: Well, I think you certainly accomplished that. I am very excited after seeing your book to get back to learning my plants. I’m learning that literacy and especially after also seeing on TV what the restaurant Noma is doing and their excitement about really learning their plants and as you said, through all their different forms in different parts of the seasons.
We need to take a break, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio and we’ll be back with Dina Falconi talking about foraging and feasting.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And today, my guest is Dina Falconi, author of BotanicalArtsPress.com Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook. You can see this book at BotanicalArtsPress.com. It’s a fabulous book and well worth having. Wherever you live, it will give you ideas about how to find your plants, your local plants and what to do with them even if the list in the book doesn’t exactly line up with what you have locally because plants are different everywhere you go.

Dina, I want to talk a lot about the recipes, but I have a question for you first and that is when we were talking earlier about plants in the lawn. Now, I know that in certain areas, they want you to mow your lawn all the time. I would like to just let my lawn grow and see what grows. Around the edges of my lawn, I have different things coming up and I can see what there is. But what if somebody would want to turn their whole, entire lawn area into a wild food paradise?

DINA FALCONI: That’s exactly what I think everyone should do.

DEBRA: Me too! Me too, but do you have any suggestions on how to transition from having lawn into doing that?

DINA FALCONI: Sure, so you want to create it with a sense of aesthetics. So you can have walking paths. You can perhaps put a statue somewhere. Create it so that it’s intentional. So there’s the sense of brackets around it and placements. So that’s my specialty, basically, wild gardens because I want all of the wild things to grow, but I also want it to look like a beautiful place to walk into.

DEBRA: Yes, yes.

DINA FALCONI: So you want to have your really designated walking paths and then the areas that are wild. And you can choose to plant some things as well that are edible that can hold the space. Maybe a couple of fruiting bushes or a small fruit tree, like a dwarf fruit tree. And then under that, you can allow a lot of the different weeds to grow like chickweed and violet.

So you’re creating this edible landscape that you will also put in maybe a couple of cultivated items, but you’re really allowing the wild.

And you as the tenderer of that landscape can shape it. It isn’t like everything has to be crazy-looking. You can clip it back. You can make it look attractive, so that it’s intentional. And then people will have curiosity and want to walk into it rather than it looks sort of like a neglected zone, which is also I feel lovely. Personally, I’m attracted to those. But if you’re in a township where that’s of concern, then you have to work with a little bit more of an aesthetic approach, but you can still really encourage the lamb’s quarters, the chickweeds and the dandelions and all of that, but you shape it in a way that makes a viewer feel that they’re in a cared for place.

DEBRA: Yes, I like that idea. And also, you could just take a certain area. You wouldn’t have to do all your lawn at once especially if you need to heal your lawn. If it’s had pesticides on it, you might want to stop using pesticides and do some things to decontaminate your soil or whatever and set aside an area that’s now going to be the ‘wild area’ and maybe put marigolds or something around the edges so that it has some attractiveness, but you’re allowing that particular area to go back to nature.

Can’t you also buy – I guess they would be considered seeds for native plants?

DINA FALCONI: You can buy seeds for native seeds. This particular approach that I’m talking about though is to really – yes, absolutely. You can put native plants in. But really, it’s to open your eyes to what actually exists already where you live.

DEBRA: Right.

DINA FALCONI: So they’re not always native. They’re actually invasives. And part of the book is – how would I say it kind of popping up or seen the virtues in the invasive species and learning about them and how…

DEBRA: Tell us something about that because I know there’s been arguments. Where I used to live in California, I lived in a rural area where there is actually a habitat and they were invasive plants. And so people were constantly ripping out the invasives. But there’s also the argument for the fact that if something blows in and starts growing there, well that’s the natural thing to have happen. So tell us your viewpoint about that.

DINA FALCONI: Well, I’m thinking along the lines of – for example, we have garlic mustard here in the northeast. It’s considered an invasive. A lot of people are really preoccupied with removing it. And so my thinking is it’s actually a really tasty edible. You can use the roots, the leaves, the seeds. It’s featured in the book. It’s one of our pages. Two of the pages are to garlic mustard.

And so the idea is to learn about the invasive species and what their benefits are and then within your ecosystem, understanding how it can play a role there. So maybe you don’t let it go crazy, but you appreciate its uses and you eat it as a way of controlling it. You know about it.

DEBRA: Exactly! I love that idea because while you were talking, I was just sitting here thinking where people could see it as being invasive and rip it out and just put it in a pile, you take it to the dump or whatever or they could say, “This is invasive, but it has all these uses, then let’s put it to use. And then it will be controlled.”

DINA FALCONI: Absolutely, exactly.

DEBRA: In the south, we have something – kudzu or something…

DINA FALCONI: Yeah, it’s actually honoring or being curious to learn what presents itself and then understanding, “Okay, this is invasive, I see. How is it used? Oh! Well, you know what? This is an amazing pesto. This is an amazing salad. This makes horse radish. This is all garlic mustard. The seeds are used for making mustard condiment.”
So here we have an invasive species. Everyone is really angry at it. I’m not saying to let it take over the world…

DEBRA: No.

DINA FALCONI: …but that it’s arrived and so I’m glad to have it and I’ll be looking forward to make pesto for this book signing event I need to do this weekend at the Green Market, New York City. I want to find my garlic mustard. I don’t want it eradicated, but I don’t want it to take over my golden field patch.

So that’s the concern. Where you live, how does it relate to what you have and how do you control it? So I don’t want it to take over everything, but I really want it. And so learning about how they grow, which is part of the book’s theme (to understand the growth of a plant and how it reproduces), so you can control it or you can allow it to spread depending upon what your needs are within your ecosystem, your landscape, that kind of thing.

What were you going to say?

DEBRA: Well, I wanted to just say that by us understanding these plants, we can control so that they don’t become invasive, that they become invasive because we’re not partaking of their gifts. We’re just letting them go and not gift to us. That’s what makes a plant invasive.

DINA FALCONI: I mean, I’m also a believer – I mean, I understand. I want to protect habitats and I want to have diversity and that’s for sure something as a plant person. But at the same time, so many of the plants were invasive, are invasive are so useful. So I don’t want to shut them out at all. There’s a gift.

DEBRA: I agree with you. We have to take another break. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio. My guest today is Dina Falconi, author of BotanicalArtsPress.com Foraging & Feasting. We’ll be right back after this to talk more about wild foods and how you can use them and enjoy them.

= COMMERCIAL BREAK =

DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Dina Falconi, author of BotanicalArtsPress.com Foraging & Feasting. You can find this book at BotanicalArtsPress.com. It’s just an amazing book. There’s so much information in here. Right now, I’m looking at a page. There’s seasonal harvest charts, so you can look up for the plants in the book, exactly when to harvest it. And then there’s a chart with culinary uses.

So Dina, let’s talk about your recipes. Which one is your favorite recipe?

DINA FALCONI: I knew you were going to ask that and I can’t say, I love too many of them. It’s definitely – well, I recently made the fruit mousse pie, which is made with a raw press crust and a raw raspberry puree. It’s just delicious and divine. That’s really like class – you know, people love it, the class that I’m teaching.

DEBRA: Well, just describe that more, what it’s like and how to make it.

DINA FALCONI: Describe that more?

DEBRA: Yeah, just so people can get an idea of the kind of recipes that you have.

DINA FALCONI: That’s an all raw pie, but you are soaking and drying the nuts or seeds that you choose to use in the crust. That day, I made it with a pumpkin seed soaked and dried crust with coconut, dried coconut and apricots, dried apricots. And so those are ground together into a fine kind of a meal. And then you press that into your pie crust [inaudible 00:40:18]. And then you are heating up just gently some of the fruit puree. And then you are – I’m being distracted, I’m sorry. Okay, and then you’re getting a good grass-feed beef gelatin and that’s what you’re using to stiffen it to give it a kind of a body. So it’s like an old world jello.

And you’re using a little maple syrup, a little bit of honey to sweeten it. That’s just put into the refrigerator and it solidifies in about two or three hours. You have this very elegant, full flavored all-natural pie.

DEBRA: Mmmm… that sounds really good.

DINA FALCONI: It’s so good. It’s so good. I mean, I have other delicious recipes. I really love the wild greens, the wild amaranth, leaves, the lamb’s quarter. Those are really tasty pot herbs. That’s a term that we use for plants you put into a pot and cook. But really, those plants can be sautéed, steamed, turned into soups, made into quiches or into casseroles. I love the dishes that features something like that, the amaranths, greens. They’re just delicious.

Even just with a little bit of water, you cook them and then drain any residual water, adding either your choice of a good cold pressed olive oil or good grass-fed butter, a pinch of salt, lemon juice or good vinegar, it is divine. Just simple greens. Wild greens has so much good flavor.

Let’s see what else to say? I mean, this book is not vegetarian although it celebrates the fruits and vegetables. There is a small section called the ‘Animal Kingdom Entrees’. And there is in there the cottage pie, which is just lovely. You’re making a topping with mashed potatoes and burdock root. That’s topping a grass-fed beef base that has wild bergamot and different herbs that are seasoning the meat part and that’s baked. It’s a kind of a shepherd’s pie. It’s called cottage pie.

DEBRA: So it sounds like you’re taking some familiar recipes like shepherd’s pie that people would know, but you’re then adding the local ingredients that you’re finding.

DINA FALCONI: Well, you’ve got it. These are classic recipes. So there’s 100 recipes and they’re classic recipes. You’ll recognize them, but they are celebrating or integrating the wild plants into those classic recipes.

So you have gratins and quiches and soups. There’s a whole beverage section. Actually, a really I think wonderful beverage section, which seems to be lacking in most cookbooks. So I’ excited about that.

And so you have these basic master recipes that are templates that you’ll find in the Art of French Cooking and The Joy of Cooking and classic cookbooks. But they’re pulled out of there and they’re turned into whole food versions. So really, I try to use all the recipes contain the most natural ingredients that we can find and use, the most helpful without sacrificing deliciousness (I mean, because the recipes are really delicious), but also looking for that healthful and therapeutic, medicinal quality that food should have so that it actually nourishes us, but it’s also delicious.

And so yes, the idea was to take templates of recipes that I use, that one would use and then integrate the wild into that or if you don’t have wild, then yes, replace the lamb’s quarter with Swiss chard or spinach.

Also, the fun of the cookbook is to play with a little bit of pushing the edge with flavors. So it’s playing with ice creams and seeing how far you can go with an ice cream flavor like a lemon bomb peach ice cream or sacred basil ice cream.

Also, doing things like condiments, making different ketchups with elderberries or with black currants.

DEBRA: Yeah, that sounds so good.

DINA FALCONI: Yeah, it’s really – yeah.

DEBRA: One of the things that I’ve learned about cooking – I started cooking when I was sick. I’ve been cooking for a long time and I’ve gone through many, many stages about cooking. And one of the things that I’ve learned is that there basic foods. One of the things that I eat a lot of is organic chicken. It’s just an easy way to get that organic protein there. But you can get tired of eating chicken day in and day out and people are always looking for ways, “What can I do with chicken?”

But the thing that is so wonderful about cooking is that you can make so many sauces and relishes and salsas and condiments, all these condiments. You can just take that basic thing, like you were saying, ketchup and instead of making it out of tomato, you can make it out of something else and you can put in different spices and things. And you start putting these little home-made sauces that are seasonal and local on your chicken and you’re not eating the same chicken every night.

DINA FALCONI: That’s right. You can slice that chicken that you roasted onto a beautiful wild salad. You can use it as a taco filling. You can use it in your sandwich. You can have it with a blueberry chutney and it’s not the same chicken.

DEBRA: Boy, that sounds really good. I make a lot of chutney because I love that sweet and tangy flavor and the heat in it. Whatever is the fresh fruit of the season, I make chutney out of it and it always just taste different.

I mean, we’re coming up on pomegranate chutney season. I love that.

DINA FALCONI: Mmmm… mmmm… absolutely.

DEBRA: I make cranberry chutney. Sometimes, I put the pomegranate in with the cranberries and make chutney. I make cooked chutney, but I also make raw chutney. I just take all those same chutney things that you would put in a cooked chutney and I put it in a bowl and just eat it raw. It’s fabulous, fabulous.

There are so many things that we can do with these foods if we just apply our creativity and start and learning what these different foods have to offer. Whether they’re foods that we grow or foods that we forage or foods that we buy, learning the food and what its gifts are and how to pair it with other things and learning those basic master recipes I think is the key to cooking, to knowing how to cook.

It’s not about following a new recipe every day. It’s about knowing how to cook.

DINA FALCONI: And part of the layout of the recipe section is so that you really feel confident about a technique, so you are held really tightly. Your hands are held through the process, but then your creativity is also allowed to flow. So it’s not like, “Here you go, throw this together.” It’s actually step-by-step and now you’re ready to go, “Here, these are the options” and it goes on and on. So it’s that dance where you’re getting really good instruction and you’re being held and then you’re also given the strength to kind of fly and go with the techniques and see, “Well, where can you go with it with creativity? What’s in season? What can you do with that particular fruit or vegetable or meat or grain” or whatever like that, yeah.

It’s a celebrating of flavors. It’s kind of the thing too with the raw foods. You really can play with the food. I think that’s where Noma comes in. They’re really pushing the edge on food.

DEBRA: They really are. And in addition, if you haven’t seen the show, I really encourage you to see it. And everybody listening, it’s so fascinating because in addition to the restaurant, they have what I can only call a ‘food laboratory’ where they do science experiments about food. They ferment them, they dry them. They are just, say, take a food and they say, “What are all the things we can do it?”

And that’s just what I do. That’s my basic question. “Here are the foods that I can eat, the ones that make me healthy, the ones that are local to my place, the ones that I can get organic. And now, what do I do with them?” It’s a creative adventure. Your book certainly is a worthy tool to help people do that.

So we’ve come to the end of our time, Dina.

DINA FALCONI: Well, thanks for having me again.

DEBRA: Well, thank you. And I’m going to be really cooking out of this book very soon. Best of luck with it. You can go to BotanicalArtsPress.com to get her book.
I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. You’ve been listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. If you’ve enjoyed today’s show, you can go and listen to it again because everything is archived. You can go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and all the archives shows are there. There’s more than a hundred of them now. I’ll be back tomorrow with another one, Toxic Free Talk Radio. Thank you.