Friday, April 19, 2013

Anthropologie + Foraging = Food for Thought

A big chunk of wheatgrass (left) and tasty soup made from foraged greens (right)

Mugwort, Garlic Mustard, Bergamot and other pesky plants take center stage at Anthropologie, Rockefeller Center Thursday evening as part of the store's Earth Day, Our Way activities. As the audience sips on fennel and sumac mocktails, former lawyer, professional forger and 2013 James Beard Award nominee Tama Matsuoka Wong explains the anthropology behind the art of foraged flavors. What better backdrop than Anthropologie's makeshift kitchen--complete with hand towels and rustic decor--to introduce new benefits from common plants!

Former lawyer and professional forager Tama Matsuoka Wong introduces the audience to the fabulous finds from her backyard

Like clothes, edible weeds and wildflowers have a seasonal reach. And even in the most urban of areas, the availability of foraged flora is surprising. Similar to how clothes reflect a native style and incorporate various resources in manufacture (cotton, etc.), weeds can be traced to indigenous roots--some where they are more culinary than troublesome. Part of the correlation between clothes and Wong's edible elements lies in the ability of the beholder to put together something spectacular--whether a stunning 'look' or a gourmet meal--from what's available. Just as an aside: I love the aprons at Anthro and am going to integrate one in an upcoming summer look--think I can pull it off?!
Tastings by Le Bee Fin chef, Steve Eckerd included radish and deviled eggs

Tama shares that she actively began foraging after returning to New Jersey from years abroad in big cities such as Hong Kong and Tokyo. By chance, she formed a relationship with Chef Eddy LeRoux of Daniel (the flagship restaurant of Daniel Boulud) and became a principal supplier of fresh ingredients by way of her backyard. Foraged FlavorTama's collaborative masterpiece with Eddy LeRoux, acquaints readers with the basics of uncovering--and using--fabulous finds right from their own backyards. At the end of the presentation, a tasting of fresh bites flavored with foraged plants is available to encourage interest in the book and on the subject. Wow! I never thought weeds could be so tasty!

Fennel infused mocktails--Better than I expected!


  1. Sounds like a fun event! Great pics!

    1. Thanks! It was definitely interesting to see how things commonly found in the "nature" around the town I grew up in (in NJ) were deliciously edible!


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