“Plants are tricky. Many are edible, but one false mouthful and you’re dead,” writes Suzanne Collins in The Hunger Games (2008), a book I liked instantly because the protagonists of the impoverished District Twelve are foraging wild food from day one. Katniss and Gale make it their regular mission to sneak into the forbidden forest, collecting plants and hunting for food, both to sell and to nourish their families.
And, just like in The Hunger Games, I think I, too, might eat well if society as we know it ceases to exist. Well—plants, in any case. I’d probably have to turn Gregg into a hunter if we were really going to make it, and that could be a hard sell.
But anyway, just in case you one day need to know which plants in The Hunger Games make sense to eat and which do not, here’s a 1,200 word diatribe on the subject—just be sure to read it before your internet goes up in flames.
The Woods at the Edge of the Seam
In the woods, Katniss and Gale gather and eat wild strawberries, dandelions, blackberries, greens, nuts, wild plums, and soft, inner pine bark. All of these are true wild edibles, though “greens” and “nuts” don’t give us much to go on. In her mother’s wild medicinal book, Katniss also finds notes on wild onions and pokeweed—of which the former is delicious but has toxic lookalikes (Seebeck, 1998) and the latter has edible young shoots only, while its other parts are potentially deadly (Brill, 1994). Read the rest of this entry