In the past the home kitchen provided a family with all its medicines and cosmetics as well as its food, wine, pickles and preserves. Our ancestors were resourceful and imaginative and very much in tune with nature; this book recaptures their harmonious, sustainable way of life by setting down for the modern reader all that knowledge and lore. There are recipes for soups, sauces, main dishes, salads, pickles, jams, sorbets, as well as teas, syrups and lotions. Edible Wild Plants & Herbs is both a cookbook and field guide to the identification and use of foodstuffs from the wild. The book is exquisitely and lavishly illustrated with detailed full-colour paintings by Christabel King, chief botanical artist at Kew Gardens. They show in detail every plant and herb listed, and range from dandelion and sorrel to sea beet and samphire. There are almost 400 recipes covering nearly 100 different plant varieties and the illustrations, drawn from life by one of the countrys leading botanical artists, show the edible parts of the plants at their peak time for picking. In addition there is a calendar indicating what plants to look for at each season of the year, information on where the plants are found and how to identify them.
Pamela Michael was born and brought up in London, but during the Second World War she worked on a Cornish farm, which inspired her with a lasting love of the country. At the end of the war she married Maurice Michael, the translator and literary agent and after another spell in London, they escaped to Sussex and finally to Cornwall. Painstaking research, tasting and testing went into the development of the recipes for both recipes and potions, many of which came from the old herbals and early cookbooks, which Pamela adapted for the modern cook. Twenty-five years on from the original publication of this book she has revised and rewritten much of the text and added many new recipes to bring it right up to date for the 21st century reader. Christabel King has worked as a botanical artist at Kew Gardens since 1975 making illustrations for Curtis's Botanical Magazine. In 1986 she began to teach classes in botanical illustration at Capel Manor College, Enfield, now located at their centre at Gunnersbury Park, Ealing, and since 1990 she has tutored scholarship students from Brazil studying at Kew under the Margaret Mee Fellowship scheme. Her work is mainly in watercolour and there are over 200 examples held in the Library collections at Kew.