EAT WILD | A new time to discover wild food and connections
What a strange time we live in right now. A sort of in-between moment of neither here nor there. It is fascinating to see how our everyday over the past year and a half has had to adapt to ever changing restrictions and every time we feel like we are headed in the right direction we seem to take a step back. While it has no doubt been a challenging time, there have also been some pretty profound positives to the limitations we have had to live with. The fact that we have been limited to our direct surroundings more has seen us explore and see our wild spaces so much more than ever before and many facets of our every day lives have changes within this too.
Our gardens and nature have become everything from our gyms to our libraries, relaxation spaces, wellness sources and even our kitchens and dining rooms. It’s with this in mind that this month we decided to explore how we eat now.
The pandemic has undoubtedly had an impact in our cultural experience of eating and fascinatingly this has seen a huge shift towards wild eating”
Suddenly, outdoor dining is now no longer a luxury reserved for garden cafes but rather a new necessity, bringing a huge rise in availability of high quality take -away food with a wild connection. We have had fish and chips on the walls in Kellybegs, snacked on scallops from a box in Kerry and eaten on steps, lawns, under canopies and umbrellas in the rain all across Ireland and the world.
With the new demand for outdoor eating, new experiences have become available and this has been a really exciting shift in perspective. For chef Chad Byrne who runs recently launched ‘The Hungry Donkey’ in Kerry tells w|ė MAGAZINE that this time has been a huge re-thinking process for him as a chef. Finding himself out of work due to the pandemic he tells me that his cooking has become far more creative during this time and his new venture has seen him connect with nature more. One of the benefits of this crazy time is that he has learned to slow down and really appreciate the important things.
This has been the case for so many of us across the world. It’s been a time when we had a pause to re-evaluate what really matters much more. Family, friends, wild nature. Where before we may have rushed out the door, now we have a new perspective on values.
In our interview with marine biologist and award winning chef Finn Ni Fhaolain she points out that now that we’re all at home making the majority of our meals, we’re getting a way better understanding of what we consume and what we waste. She adds that
“We’ve also got more time and are being exposed to more documentaries and information about how what we eat affects our environment and I think that’s a great thing, people are becoming more aware.”
Often awareness comes from pause and this pandemic has certainly given us- and nature- pause. It has also changed how we consume. Our hunger for wild dining has never been stronger and for many of us eating outdoors has been a wonderful way of connecting with friends or in the strictest lockdowns, just connecting with wildlife and nature.
Seasonality and Locality
Freshness and seasonality have also moved to the foreground much more and the connection with our earth has become so much more prominent- both from a psychological and mental health perspective as well as from a sourcing of food point of view. We are hearing more and more that the message many prominent chefs are promoting in using seasonal produce and sourcing local, is finally trickling down to everybody. Farmers’s markets are one of the safest and freshest places to source produce in the time we live in and makes it easy to source local and seasonally.
Connections to the Soil
There is nothing like growing your own produce and the pandemic has seen a huge shift in the value we place on growing our own food. Even in the smallest gardens we grew something. Window boxes of herbs, pots of tomatoes, climbers for vertical peas or beans. The connection and satisfaction of growing something in your own soil which can be eaten straight off the plant was- and still is more than ever- the perfect antidote to the restrictions which we are experiencing in this time. There is a sense of balance and control in this.
The feeling of not having to buy something which has been flown around the world but rather something which is so pure and joyful which you’ve nurtured from seedling to plate”
Foraged Recipe Inspiration
We are delighted that the amazing Chef Eddie Atwell of Eccles Hotel in West Cork created a very special recipe for w|ė MAGAZINE this month which is a study in wild perfection. The bold simplicity of creating a wild salad which used everything he had at hand – chickweed, wall pennyworth, bittercress , broad bean leaves, 3 corner leek, kale flowers, sweet violet flowers and more showed how creative you can get using your wild. Check out the RECIPE here for Eddie’s A great mix and balance of greens that pack a punch.
w|ė MAGAZINE is my new online wild based lifestyle magazine which brings monthly stories, knowledge and recommendations to you, all based on a wild and beautiful approach. w|ė will explore and celebrate topics which resonate with people, to bring an awareness to current issues we face in our shared wild spaces and to connect with like-minded people globally.
There will be interviews with inspiring creatives- designers, architects, chefs, writers, psychologists, doctors, and wild thinkers, creators and dreamers. Through gardens, food, wellness, health and inspiring stories for wild living, we will also link to courses in wild design and lifestyle and have exciting news soon on creative collaborations with incredible wild inspired people and brands.
Join w|ė to celebrate a wild and beautiful lifestyle in our everyday.