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Thrifty Forager is an excellent book and Alys Fowler is a gem. She was charming when she featured on BBC's gardeners world but her book was a revelation. There are few occasions in life when you find someone who validates your beliefs and this was what I found in the opening chapter of Thrifty Forager. Mine was a semi agricultural up-bringing. We lived on the edge of a city surrounded by farmland that was slowly being edged out by rather posh housing estates for middle class professionals. As other kids sat in their gardens exchanging top-trumps or gossiping about soccer I spent my summers wandering the fields in search of wild apples, blackberries, sloes, wild strawberries and raspberries. I ran the hunting dogs with my father shooting for snip, pheasant and wild pigeon. In short my surroundings fed me delights that were alien to my contemporises. While turkey filled the plates of our neighbours, Christmas dinner in our house was a mixture of wild foul from nearby land roasted and stuffed with chestnuts from trees at the end of the road. I could not understand why everyone around us put no value on the free food scattered in the hedgerows around us. Later in life as I started a home and tried to populate a garden with plants to feed my fledgling family my poor wife would despair as I arrived home with elder flower trees up-rooted from a hedge or blackberry brambles. Luckily she had patience enough to indulge my habit of polluting her lovely suburban garden with wild hedgerow and delighted when it produced autumn puddings. Despite my wife's acceptance of my gardening delinquency, I never felt that the wider world was as open or appreciative and then I opened Alys Fowler's Thrifty Forager and found my own dreams and joys laid out before me. I wanted to scream affirmation when I read her thoughts on Councils planting fruit trees instead of bland ever greens. Please read this book and find in it a gateway to culinary delights that you will never find in a supermarket.

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