the first day of the earth walk primitive skills apprenticeship was relatively uneventful.
most of the day was spent with introductions. instructors Karen and Frank told us about their history, experience, areas of expertise and a general overview of what to expect from the course. we were each asked to introduce ourselves to everyone else and tell a little bit about ourselves and what had brought us to the earthwalk apprenticeship.
for me, in day to day encounters, explaining the motives for wanting to be involved in something like the earthwalk apprenticeship seems to take a lot of long conversations. with people who dont know me very well i often feel like i am being humored. soft smiles and nods. the occasional "right on man". some people can be downright condescending. among my friends i endure a lot of jokes about loin cloths and killing animals with my bare hands. all in good humor of course and nothing taken personally. i mean, what are friends good for if not busting your chops. but, it is refreshing to be in a room full of people who are interested in the same things you are and dont need to have it explained to them. they get it and they are just as excited as you are to learn how to make fire rubbing sticks together. or killing an animal with bare hands.....
but what made the first day remarkable and worth discussing was that it wrapped up with a meal of such quality and proportion that calling it a feast would be an understatement. it fed 11 people to bursting and was constructed almost entirely of food caught or harvested by the instructors in the wild. a few fish dishes, a stew, salads, acorn muffins, pickled bull kelp, wait pickled what?!
unless you have eaten a meal of wild edibles you can not imagine the flavors. this was a meal of ingredients that you cant get in the super market and even if you could there was a degree of "freshness" that i have only experience in a few very small farmers markets. i would say it was exotic if it werent for the fact that all these ingredients, as unique and delicious as they were, are found for the most part, within driving distance of the instructors house. these types of ingredients are found within driving distance of MOST peoples houses. throw in a small garden and, im sorry, why do i need to go to the grocery store?
besides being a function of Karen's giving, benevolent nature, this meal was intended to drive home a critical point: the fact that this is what is possible with wild edibles and primitive crafting. sure, if you are lost in the woods wild edibles might not be so gourmet but that is beside the point. with the application of some culinary skill the wilds offer food that is far from any sacrifices of palatability.
(apologies for the poor quality of the photo. it was taken with my phone and i wont make that mistake again.)