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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
From Scratch: Adventures in Harvesting, Hunting, Fishing, and Foraging on a Fragile Planet by father and son David and Jon Moscow is based on a TV show of the same name shot between 2018 and 2021 in numerous countries. These include Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Kenya, Croatia, Malta, Peru, Costa Rica, Italy, Finland, Iceland, and numerous states, ranging from New York to Texas and from Utah to Wyoming and Washington. David Moscow, the creator, executive producer, and host of the TV program From Scratch, describes the book as a layperson’s exploration of how food gets to our plates. Exciting and thought-provoking, the work not only regales the food lover and adventurer with tales of how food is obtained from the environment, but it is also extremely thought-provoking, with its discussion about how the dynamic forces of the world, both past and present, have impacted on the sourcing and preparation of food.
The combined efforts of David and Jon Moscow have resulted in a fascinating, moderately well-illustrated (with black-and-white photos) work depicting David Moscow’s ventures into the field, gathering food ranging from marine (including oysters, octopuses, and anchovies, among others) to land-based specialties (including chanterelle mushrooms, sheep’s heads, and deer). What comes across clearly are the different personalities with whom David strikes up a friendship along the way, ranging from a restauranteur in a South African township to a Michelin award-winning chef in Iceland. David’s encounters with wildlife are told with such enthusiasm and glee that readers cannot help but revel in his adventures, or misadventures. The scientific, ecological, historical, and political contextualization of the wildlife sprees rounds out the forays into the sometimes exotic and the often unusual. The recipes for all the dishes made in From Scratch are provided at the end of the book, so for whatever reason you choose to read this work, you are likely to savor the contents of each chapter in turn; I know I did.