Culture

10 Questions With Famous Food Forager Evan Strusinski

Culture

10 Questions With Famous Food Forager Evan Strusinski

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Off-the-grid food forager Evan Strusinski courses through the woods to find ingredients for luminary chefs like David Chang and Mario Batali. He’s a wealth of knowledge about everything from berries to bitter greens—but first you have to find him.

What beast is most predatory?
Overzealous landowners.

What is the food equivalent of a feral cat?
A potato. The scraps, tossed into the compost, sprout again and make new potatoes.

What is the meat equivalent of Kevin Bacon in Wild Things?
You don’t expect me to actually watch that movie, do you? Let’s just say, it’s bacon.

What mushroom is most barbaric?
Ophiocordyceps sinensis. This fungus is an endoparasitoid, making its home on the bodies of living insects and arthropods. It’s known in Tibet as the “caterpillar fungus” and is considered medicinal.

What is the non-food equivalent of Szechuan peppercorn?
There are no equivalents. The closest we come are decorative plastic peppercorns made in a factory in Sichuan Province, China.

What berries are most evocative of the Girls Gone Wild series?
Autumn olive berries. Landscapers plant them because they look nice, but they are tenacious, uncontrollable, and invasive. The shrubs spread uncontrollably. What was once a harmless idea seems unfortunate in retrospect. The berries themselves, however, are very tasty.

If Lindsay Lohan were a weed, what kind would she be?
Ms. Lohan has been made spectacle enough. What about the weeds who sensationalize her?

What herb is best to consume while listening to Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”?
Wormwood, a noted ingredient in absinthe.

What root can’t be tamed?
Dandelions. Long live the nuisance that disrupts the English lawn!

What does the wild taste like?
Raw onions. Eating them can make the heart race.

Photo by Maxime Guyon.