A popular food blogger's book become the source of intense backlash — with consequences — within the food community: Here's the tale of Tales From a Forager’s Kitchen: The Ultimate Food Guide to Evoke Curiosity & Wonderment.
The book is written by Johnna Holmgren, whose gorgeous Instagram account documents feasts made of ingredients that are found in nature. But, even though she's earned a strong following from her capacity to turn mushrooms in to magical-looking meals, Johnna herself has this disclaimer on her website: "While I strive to be 100% accurate, it is solely up to the reader to ensure proper plant identification. Some wild plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. I am not a health professional, medical doctor, nor a nutritionist. It is up to the reader to verify nutritional information and health benefits with qualified professionals for all edible plants listed in this web site and any published content."
In case you didn't catch that part about poison, let us reiterate: Foraging for plants can come with some serious side-effects if you're not experienced and 100 percent knowledgeable.
Still, Rodale published a book of recipes that included the use of raw mushrooms, elderberries, and other potentially hazardous ingredients. The backlash came on fast, with commenters on the book's Amazon page chiming in with observations like this one, from a user who identified as a forager chef: "There are a number of mistakes in this book. Foraging takes great knowledge and can make people very sick if you grab the wrong plant.”
Since the backlash came on, Rodale pulled the book from shelves as of August 10, and issued the following statement: "Rodale Books and our author Johnna Holmgren take very seriously the concerns expressed by readers regarding the preparation and cooking of recipes with raw ingredients (mushrooms and elderberries) that are contained in her recently published Tales From a Forager’s Kitchen. In light of our review of these concerns, and because of our dedication to wellness, Rodale Books and Johnna Holmgren have decided to discontinue the publication and promotion of the book. We are encouraging retailers to return their stock, and we are offering a full refund to consumers who have purchased the book.”
Consider this another reminder of the gulf between flawless Instagram and nuanced real life.
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