The Bounty

Eating Wild in Idaho

By Phil Barnard

One day in 1984, my friend Jeff Thomason brought wild asparagus to my home in Ketchum. I love asparagus and these were exceptionally delicious. That gift opened a door for me to new and wonderful food sources: the fields, woods, skies, and streams of Idaho. I’m not only a food-lover but also a cook/chef who has spent most of my adult life working in restaurants, so when I left my home state of New York forty-eight years ago, I worried that losing the wide variety of fine restaurants and food markets there would be a hardship.

To a kid raised in the wilds of suburban New York, the very mention of eating off the land brought visions of indigenous people, berries, Jack London, and the smoky taste of wild hickory nuts. I had read stories of folks who fished and hunted, picked berries and other wild fruits, harvested mushrooms, acorns, and baby bullrush shoots. None of this resembled anything in my grandmother’s kitchen, and I dismissed it all as nothing more than interesting stories. And then I moved to Idaho.

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Phil Barnard

About Phil Barnard

Phil Barnard has journeyed from the three-piece-suited world of Madison Avenue to the log rafts of Alaska, from the cockpit of a USAF airplane to driving a taxi in New York City the night JFK was assassinated, from tending bar in a Playboy Club to owning and operating several restaurants and bars. He lives in Twin Falls.

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