October 10, 2009

Fat of the Langdon

Langdon%20Cook%20w%20geoduck%20photos.JPGCheap shot, sorry. At 42, Langdon Cook is actually trim, with wiry russet hair and bright blue eyes. He grew up in the wealthy enclave of Greenwich, Conn., prepped at Phillips Exeter, graduated from Middlebury in Vermont. An MFA from U-Dub and a post as book editor at Amazon.com followed, a genteel, Cheever-ish career path if ever there was one. Then he came to realize that his job at Amazon wasn't really to edit books but to "sell things," so when his wife won a fellowship that involved living "off the grid" in southern Oregon, he jumped at the chance. "I'd always liked the outdoors," he says of this experience, without realizing how it would change his life completely. FOTL_cover.jpg

Without running water or electricity, Lang (as everyone calls him) learned to live off the fat of the land, and in the five years since he and his wife returned from their isolated sojourn, he's become one of our foremost foragers. He began writing essays about ferns and mushrooms, birds and berries, and, after many rewrites, has collected them into a book, Fat of the Land, just published by an offshoot of Mountaineers Books. Encouraged to start a blog to publicize the book, Lang now finds himself increasingly admired by sedentary foodies whose foraging expeditions are limited to farmers markets. "I'm surprised by the foodie angle," says the outdoorsy Lang, but it turned out that the more he foraged, the more he would cook, so the book also includes recipes. Next project: a guide to North America's regional wild foods, from morels in Michigan to ramps in West Virginia.

Langdon Cook's publicity tour includes a slide show of foraged foods, here a geoduck-hunting expedition on the Olympic Peninsula.

Posted by Ronald Holden at October 10, 2009 11:11 AM | TrackBack

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