Henry David Thoreau —
We need the tonic of wildness.
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photos by gluttonforlife

8.3.15 Cool-Ade

There's a very particular satisfaction to be had from eating wild things. The connection to nature, the bold (if largely misguided) sense of self-sufficiency and the discovery of new flavors all add up to a deeply enriching experience. If you've never ventured into the fields and forests in search of a delicious morsel—wild blackberries! fiddleheads! oyster mushrooms!—you're missing something very primal. Fear can hold us back, but stop for a moment to ponder that. We come from nature and it is only there that we are truly in our element. Let knowledge dispel ingorance and find your way back to the wilderness. I will lure you off the beaten path with a couple of easily identified wild treats.

W.C. Fields —
I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake, which I also keep handy.
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photos by george billard

7.30.15 Raising the Bar

Last month I had a book-signing in Narrowsburg, NY. This charming village on the Delaware River is about 20 minutes north of where I live, one of the only real destination towns in my area. It's got many wonderful attractions, including a delicious restaurant, a great liquor store, a world-class women's clothing boutique and a popular home store. And then there is Maison Bergogne. Owned by Juliette Hermant, this unique antiques warehouse is a world unto itself. Juliette is French, with a rare eye for beauty and patina, and a personal charisma that knows no bounds. An accomplished painter, photographer, stylist and interior designer, all of her talents come together to make Maison Bergogne a wholly original emporium. And because I am lucky enough to call her my dear friend and collaborator, my book-signing was held in this magical place.

Standing Bear —
Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.
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iPhotos by gluttonforlife

7.28.15 Mycelium Is Better Than Yours

When the weather is rainy and the woods become damp and funky, I hear the siren song of the mushrooms. They beseech me to venture deep into the understory on a thrilling quest full of promise. A good day means they are everywhere, in so many guises—popping up alongside the path, jutting out from tree trunks, spreading on the underside of rotting logs. They are red and brown and purple and neon yellow. I've always been a good spotter, known for my eagle eye, but I chock it up to a very simple technique: I seek out anomalies in the landscape. I soften or almost blur my vision, allowing my eye to catch upon whatever sticks out as different in the vast sameness. Along this journey, I absorb the deep stillness of the trees; hear the melancholy song of the wood lark; follow old trails and trace new ones; and feel a rich peace settle over me, a profound sense of contentment to be out in the natural world, where beauty knows no bounds.

Epicurus —
The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.
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photos by gluttonforlife

7.22.15 Foreign Markets

A number of you expressed dismay when I mentioned the lack of fresh seafood in Greece, so I want to let you know that I did see a lot of beautiful fish, squid and octopus glistening on ice in the central market of Athens. I like nothing better than getting lost in one of these big foreign food markets (like this one, here and here; and this one) and Varvakios Agora did not disappoint. It was sprawling, bustling with shoppers and filled with what the locals eat every day. Worlds apart from an American grocery store, there was an intimacy—between the vendors and the buyers, between the people and the food—that was beautiful to behold. 

Henry Miller —
The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, expanded my whole being.
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photos by gluttonforlife

7.17.15 Meet Me at the Greek

In many ways, Greece was as I had imagined it. Athens was hot and bustling, with the presence of the ancients hovering everywhere. (More about that soon.) Syros, a small island next to Mykonos, was even hotter, with quaint stone streets and sun-bleached buildings against the dazzling blue of the Aegean. What I didn't expect was an almost total lack of fresh seafood. Whether it's because tourist demand exceeds the supply, or the waters are regulated due to overfishing, we saw only frozen octopus and no fresh fish on the menus. Only once, when we were on Syros, did we enjoy wild mussels and red shrimp, which were truly wonderful.  So for much of our time in Greece, we stuck to a classic that never gets old: Greek Salad.

Tagged — salad, feta, Greek salad, Greece