Review and Giveaway: "Hunt, Gather, Cook" by Hank Shaw


In The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan endeavors to create a meal solely from food he can harvest with his own two hands. As part of this experiment, he goes out with a friend to hunt boar in the wilds of Sonoma County, forage wild mushrooms and stalk the wily abalone. For Pollan, it was a journey of discovery. For Hank Shaw, it's just another day at the office.

Hank, a regular contributor to Punk Domestics,  pens the very successful blog Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook, which received James Beard nominations in 2009 and 2010. He's an avid outdoorsman, and with his past experience as both a line cook and reporter, brings a triple threat to the food world: A man who can hunt and forage his own food, make creative and compelling dishes from it, and then wrap it in eloquent prose. 

The book is an extension of that concept, albeit more specific in focus. In "Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast," Hank takes on three major topics -- foraging, fishing and hunting -- and breaks down what you need to know about each of them. Within each section, plants and animals are grouped into like subcategories, the hows and whys of finding them are explained, and each grouping is anchored with Hank's own recipes. 

Hank's premise is simple: You'd have to try pretty hard to starve in nature. Food abounds in our very surroundings, even sometimes the most urban ones, and you simply need to be armed with the information necessary to see the bounty in front of you. Wild greens, succulent berries and even unlikely candidates such as acorns and daylilies are completely edible, with a little finesse. 

The book is highly pragmatic, well positioned as a one-stop resource for the DIY foodist. But while it conveys a wealth of practical information, it is also thoroughly infused with Hank's indelible voice, affable and approachable, and never dry nor schoolmarmish. 

While not absolutely comprehensive (conspicuously absent from the foraging section are mushrooms, a topic so broad and dangerous as to require extensive special training, and not for the amateur), it's an excellent starter kit for budding foragers and hunters, and a good companion for those with at least a little experience in the field -- literally. And I know I'll be referring to it time and time again. 

I have one copy of Hank's marvelous "Hunt, Gather, Cook" to give to one lucky recipient. To qualify, simply leave a comment on this post describing an experience you've had foraging, fishing or hunting. (Be sure to enter your email so I know how to contact you if you win.) For a bonus entry, click to tweet this post. Entries will be open through midnight PDT on May 31. Go on, you know you want it. 

I've come back to foraging,

I've come back to foraging, in a sense. I was raised on a small farm - tiny, really, by today's standards. We milked cows for our main income, but we also had lots of other animals that we raised for food. We had a large garden, all of it used fresh or canned to get us through the winter. Foraging was just another part of farm life - there was wild asparagus and berries growing along roadsides, and fresh fish to be caught in the rivers and lakes. I moved out to Seattle to pursue my career, and for some time I was just the usual 'city-goer', buying all my food from the chain grocery store down the street. Thankfully, I learned that Washington has so much to offer in terms of wild, healthy, sustainable foods, and I took to foraging these things liked I'd done it my entire life. Finally, I'd come back to what I'd always enjoyed doing, what was somehow innate within me, to forage for my own survival, and to feel closer to the Earth.


We forage for apples around our neighborhood with our kids

Angler's daughter

When I was right years old, my dad taught me how to spin cast. When I was 10, he graduated me to fly fishing. Back in the 80's it probably wasn't the coolest thing for a girl to be doing, but I loved it. I spent many weeks with him on the west fork of the San Gabriel River, fishing for trout. At 14, I tried my hand at saltwater fishing and caught my first marlin (90 lbs.)off the coast of Baja. We ate all of our catches that weren't released, and that marlin ended up smoked at a local fish house. We ate smoked marlin for MONTHS after that. And I swore I never would fish for marlin ever again.

I haven't been fishing in years. My dad turns 80 this year. Might be time for a lil road trip.

Curious but scared

I want so badly to do some foraging. I live in a very urban setting but have a good sized yard where I grow garlic, blackberries, raspberries and some vegetables. I am so curious but I wouldn't know where to start. Does this author make housecalls? ;)

ok about fifteen years ago I

ok about fifteen years ago I was a very niave cook....I went Chantrelle hunting with an old salty dog who had some great spots all over the Santa Cruz Mnts.All was cool we found Candy Caps, Chantrelles and a bevy of wild ramps, herbs and ahhem and the elusive California Truffle.Ole salty dog found at the base of a Live Oak some little dark brown orbs sorta buried. He scoops them up dusts them off and tosses me one and I pop it in my mouth....Uh DEER SHIT is otherwise called California Truffles. I ate shit. I deserved it. Pass the Bourbon. That's my story and I'm stickin to it.


I've forgaged morel mushrooms for many years, but only recently started harvest cattails, desert parsley, conifer tips, dandelions....I'm addicted, and this book would be a wonderful help.


We spent a summer in Sebastopol when my husband and I were first married....picked wild blackberries just about every was wonderful! Now we mostly forage for nettle and other medicinal 'weeds'.

Shaggy Mane & Chanterelles

In Aspen, CO, went mushroom hunting for the first time with a well-seasoned friend skilled at finding the wild ones. We ended up with about 2 lbs total. My chef friend Alan sauteed them for us and we feasted! It was also my first time eating both of these kinds.

When I was 4 I was on a wild

When I was 4 I was on a wild blueberry hunt and had to learn how to go #2 in the woods. Still love the great outdoors 30+ years later.


I knew about Huckleberries from living in Montana, and even ventured up into the mountains to pick the lusciously morsels. Now living in Georgia, I find wild Blackberries in our own yard! Of course the area has has be ‘semi’ re-claimed from Mother Nature, you cannot ‘stop’ them from taking over portions of your yard. Just yesterday my son and I began our summer long ritual of early morning picking. He even decided this year to try one, and actually likes them. I see jelly and pies in my future and now my son wants wild blackberry granola bars. I can’t wait!

still pretty new

I can identiry dandelion green, and I went around offering to weed my neighbors' yards in order to collect enough to serve at Passover this year. When I visit my mother's nursing home, I play bridge with her and other residents. You'd think this wouldn't lead to a foraging tale, but one of the people I play bridge with was a stained glass artist who was conscripted into the Polish army in his youth, and he told stories about being isolated and without supplies and living on grasses and the occasional mushroom. Also, he was a very good bridge player.


While harvesting wild huckleberries in Washington, my friend srepped on a yellow jacket nest. He came running down the hill with the swarm after him. We both got stung on our legs but the bushes were so loaded that year that we waited til they left us alone. Which lucky for us was quite soon, and kept picking. Needless to say we really enjoyed the berry cobbler that night!


My Dad is an amateur mycologist. Before I was born, he took classes on what to look for and what to beware of with his mother-in-law, my Gram. By the time I was old enough to ramble around the Northwoods of Wisconsin, he took me on long Spring and Fall walks in the forest to look for treasures.

Even though we relocated to a more "mushroom free" zone of our state when I was in my early teens, I still have a special place in my memory for the long walks with my Dad, the smell of the woods, and the attention that must be paid to the ground lest you miss what you are looking for.


Such great times! My sister and I used to fish with my dad on the weekends, and we still do sometimes, now that we are all grown up. I look forward to sharing the same kind of memories with my children AND my dad.

Foraging with little ones

My favorite memory has to be earlier this month. With 3 kids in tow, all under 6 years old, we went hunting for dandelions and honeysuckles. The kids were beyond excited! Even my 2 year old chipped in, tossing in a leaf or two and occasionally a flower we could use. We stopped for a picnic lunch of fresh biscuits, homemade apple cider jelly and some slices of ham. We turned the "fruits" of our labor into delicious jellies and had a blast doing it.

The kids have been watching the blackberry bushes ever so closely to start our next adventure.

wild blueberries...

...on a hilltop campsite in Maine. This was probably 25 years ago; we had borrowed my grandparents' VW camper to go up to Maine. One place we stayed was on a hilltop outside Bar Harbor, and all around us were low, scrubby wild blueberries. We positively gorged ourselves on them.

Need more Confidence

I have only foraged for berries. I keep seeing things that I am "pretty sure" what they are, but afraid that I am going to find a poisonous cousin. I am hoping reading this book would help making me more comfortable dinning on nature.

Bonus Entry


Foraging, Fishing, or Hunting?!?

My experience is more indirect than direct. I use to go with my husband when he went hunting; and, I would take my kids to the fishing derby. I'm always happy to eat whatever the catch is :)
I'd love to win this book for my son-in-law. He's an avid hunter and a good cook. This would be the perfect gift for him. Thanks for the giveaway.

Japanese Knotweed

My best foraging actually happened in my tiny urban backyard. We have tons of Japanese Knotweed growing and I learned that it is a cousin of rhubarb - and can be used similarly. I have had some less successful foraging as well. You can read about that as well:


I've been trying some wild urban foraging this spring and my most successful attempt was with the japanese knot weed in my backyard! A cousin of rhubarb, this tastes very similar. Check out my blog for a less successful mushroom foraging adventure:

Been loving the quiet time of

Been loving the quiet time of fishing that I learned growing up with my brother in South Florida. I'm not great at it, but I keep trying and I enjoy it.

novice forager

In our urban neighborhood we've found some wild blackberries that we are still enjoying as jam from last year. We've also used purslane and have found some mint growing in unusual places. We are just beginning to learn about what's edible.

Foraging on a Rails to Trails line

This sounds like a neat read!
We used to forage wild berries along the Rails to Trails trail behind our house in western WA state. The babysitter started it all by taking my daughter for walks and letting her eat her fill. They'd come back covered in juice. :-)
Now we live in another area and the dandelions are the main thing I can forage - but I was in a wildlife park recently and I must confess that I was hardpressed to not snag a bunch of their fiddleheads and nettles.

I recently took my one

I recently took my one and-a-half year old ramping in the Berkshires. He squealed and squirmed, but loved the dirt and was fascinated by all the deep red trillium growing with the ramps. We pulled two huge sacks full of ramps for pickling. At the end of it all, I came up with a great idea for a t-shirt: "Your parents took you to an amusement park?!? My mom took me rampin!"

Our First Year

We always foraged for blackberries, but this year was our first year really taking it seriously. We started with huckleberries and then an awesome friend took us out mushroom foraging and we found even more huckleberries. We've gone out several times since for mushrooms, but realize that going with someone that knows the area is much better. And this year my husband also got his hunting license and his first ever hunting trip got a an 18lb tom turkey!

My best foraging memories are

My best foraging memories are the wild blackberries of Northern California. Our fingers and lips would be stained purple by them time we filled our buckets and we'd take them home to be canned and made into cobbler by my mom and grandma. I really miss that. The wild blackberries here in West Virginia are seedy and bitter.


Ah, morels in eastern WV when I was a kid! Best thing ever. Then later, lamb's quarters--"spinachier than spinach," as my friend Stacey said. Staved off starvation in early spring in northern Florida one year by, along with some gardening, harvesting roadside chickweed, and sorrel from my yard. Good times! Sort of.

Mussels from the Rode Island

Mussels from the Rode Island coast. My dad would meet us after work and we'd pick them and cook them right there on the beach in a pot of Narragansett beer.

Ah, mussels from the Rhode

Ah, mussels from the Rhode Island coast. My dad would meet us at the beach after work and we'd cook them right there in a pot with beer.

Lawn Forager

I love foraging from my bio-diverse lawn: dandelion greens, chive patches, and mint that spreads everywhere.

My favorite memories are of

My favorite memories are of fishing for trout in Donner Lake, or fishing in the sea off the pier in Santa Cruz. As I got older, crabbing was also fun in Pacifica, CA! Thanks for the giveaway!!

Foraging in the real Florida

I've lived in Florida almost all of my life, so wild fruits have always been available. There's nothing like hiking a few miles and stopping under the shade of a big orange or grapefruit tree to enjoy one of their gifts :)


As a young farm girl I learned all about eating "fresh" food. I couldn't believe what the "town" kids were eating!
I have unending graditude for what this earth provides for me. The trout stream, the berries,the chicken coop and my harvest from the garden. Life is good!

Love to Forage!

When I was living in Serbia, we picked wild strawberries, raspberries along the roads, blueberries on the mountains, and chanterelles in the woods. I cannot wait to learn where to find the foraging mecca here in SoCal. In the meantime, I just "forage" in my neighbors' yards, when I see a poor fruit tree overburdened, with the branches sagging:)

Pollan, not Pollen

Please.. so embarrassing

Pollan, not Pollen

Please... so embarrassing...


... my inner autocorrect took the wrong path. Fixed!

it's such a sad tale

when I was about 8, I went out on indian lake in the Adirondacks with my brother to go fishing on a camping trip. we sat in the canoe with our fishing poles and waited for hours (in the rain). I finally got a tug and was so excited, I reeled it in....... it was the worlds smallest fish. this tiny little thing, I don't even know what it was. but it had swallowed the hook and my brother had no idea what to do with it. So we brought it back to the camp site, and my step dad decided that even though small we would cook it. and he whacked it on a rock, and gutted the thing and everyone had a little piece. it tasted horrible.

besides plant foraging that's my only animal hunting story. I could benefit from someone who actually knows how to hunt and gather :)

it's such a sad tale

when I was about 8, I went out on indian lake in the Adirondacks with my brother to go fishing on a camping trip. we sat in the canoe with our fishing poles and waited for hours (in the rain). I finally got a tug and was so excited, I reeled it in....... it was the worlds smallest fish. this tiny little thing, I don't even know what it was. but it had swallowed the hook and my brother had no idea what to do with it. So we brought it back to the camp site, and my step dad decided that even though small we would cook it. and he whacked it on a rock, and gutted the thing and everyone had a little piece. it tasted horrible.

besides plant foraging that's my only animal hunting story. I could benefit from someone who actually knows how to hunt and gather :)

I follow Hank on FB. However,

I follow Hank on FB. However, I can't say that I've had a hunting/foraging experience. I went fishing as a child once, but it was catch and release. We didn't eat anything we caught. I would love to take up fishing.

Fishigng & Foraging

My 16' alum boat on Kootenay Lake is my favorite fishing memory! Being on the water is sacred! Catching anything or not! Best day was 5 kokanees in 15 minutes! I saw the osprey fishing and ran out! Picked Wild blueberries up the meadow until a big bear scared us away! Foraged for lambs lettuce, stinging nettles and watercress in the Fraser Valley! I am a First Nations adoptee trying to learn the traditional ways and culture! Someday I shall hunt elk!! I have feasted on monkey, wild boar, smoked deer,toucan, woodpecker, squirrel, parrots and catfish in the heart of the amazon jungle! And here in BC,I have tasted wild bear, moose, elk, deer, caribou, salmon, crab, ooligans, sea urchins; been clam digging; harvested oysters...Food culture is so much of my history! I want to learn from Hank's book!!

Childhood foraging!

Before I ever knew of what trendy ramps were or all the spring onion and garlic glory that hits the farmer's markets, I discovered wild onions in my backyard in NC. As a kid, I would smell the onion stink in spring, find the wild green shoots and rip them out of the ground. I don't think my parents were as into my child foraging, but I always tried to get them to cook them!

Last summer, Dennis, my

Last summer, Dennis, my partner, took me to the Outer Banks for his family's annual summer trip. Year after year his family makes the road trip from Ohio, where he is from, to North Carolina to spend a week lounging and enjoying the sun and sand in the Outer Banks. I have met his family before over the Holidays but it was my first time to join them for this annual family tradition. It was my first time, too, to go crabbing for blue crabs. With a makeshift crab rig and 2-inch thick pieces of mullet and chicken for bait, we fished for blue crabs in the Oregon Inlet, in the exact same spot where Dennis and his dad crabbed many years ago when Dennis was still small. I will not forget that summer at the Outer Banks. It was magical.

Growing up fishing

My father and grandfathers were no hunters or gatherers but I did grow up fishing - A LOT. Every weekend I was out on the Saratoga Lake docs or parts of the Erie Canal from a very young age. I wrote a story in 1st grade about how I caught "Olde Moe" (with the help of my grandfather) the biggest fish I had caught to date. The fish hangs proudly above my grandfather's recliner. I graduated to fly fishing in high school and have since not looked back. Now that I was a 2 year old son, my father & I are excited to take him out with a some worms & a bobber. Memories that last a lifetime.

I have foraged for stinging

I have foraged for stinging nettles in the middle of Los Angeles, to fishing in small streams as a child, and learning to hunt and process venison from my father in Wisconsin. I'd say I've got all the bases covered. I since have gone on further in the culinary world and love the insights and wisdom Hank Shaw brings.

Porcinis in the woods

Last summer I went foraging for porcinis with my cousin's Italian husband in the woods in Germany. I've been mushroom hunting a few times locally over the years, but only for chanterelles as I must admit I don't know much about mushrooms and am petrified of all the misidentification poisoning stories you hear. Anyhow, off we went into the woods, and even though there weren't that many and they were elusive under all the low cover, I ended up having a really good eye and finding the most mushrooms. My cousin in-law was thrilled, and said I was his good luck token. Despite the thrill of the hunt though, my boyfriend and I weren't too confident in his local knowledge and were really nervous about eating our hard-earned fungi because in Germany there is a poisonous look-alike for porcinis. After much research and discussion (and the fact the cousin in-law had eaten some a couple days previously) we went for it and enjoyed a delicious mushroom meal - with pasta, of course!

(Tweeted this from SF Swappers also for bonus entry!)

Alone with no food.

When I was sixteen, I went to Outward Bound, a transforming experience on many levels. Near the end, we were all left alone for three days and nights for our "solo," a time for reflection, solitude and self-preservation. All I had for those three days were the blueberries that grew all around my little camp site. Nothing else. When I was hungry, I turned to those blueberries, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I had no spices, sugar or pie crusts to enhance their journey into my belly. Those blueberries lifted me up in so many ways. Now I am a locavore, a farmers market lover and a vegan. I like to think those blueberries set me on that path!

I've foraged for swamp

I've foraged for swamp cabbage (hearts of palm to ya'll) but I have a friend up north who is driving me crazy with this talk of fiddlehead ferns. I WANT SOME!

Early morning mushrooming

One of my favourite childhood memories is being waken up by my grandmother before sunrise and going portobello mushroom collecting on the horse meadows - I grew up on a farm and 90% of what we ate we grew and raised ourselves.

I loved those early mornings, grandma pointing out birds, stars and whatever else of her wisdom she chose to share. We always returned hom with a basket full of mushrooms, ready to be turned into breakfast.

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