Review of Susan Musgrave’s A Taste of Haida Gwaii

Haida Gwaii Food Gathering and Feasting

At 374 pages, A taste of Haida Gwaii, food gathering and feasting at the edge of the world  by Susan Musgrave is a hefty, heavy book. It’s a book for reading and enjoying that will make you want to book a trip soon to Haida Gwaii. It has a helpful map of the islands in the front, an index in the back and suggestions for further reading. Musgrave’s writing is highly enjoyable, funny and colourful. It introduces us to many places, characters, and foods of the islands supported by gorgeous photographs throughout.

Musgrave owns and operates Copper Beech Guest House on Haida Gwaii and the recipes included in this book are tested and served there. The book contains eight chapters, each of which includes many tips on foods and cooking and a variety of recipes from Scrambled Eggs on Toast to Smoked Salmon with Spruce Tips, Garlic Scapes and Chevre (easy to difficult). There is extensive use of local foods in recipes, with an emphasis on foraging, seafood and game, cooking from scratch, making your own sourdough starter, etc.

We are unlikely to reach for the heaviest, thickest cook book on the shelf when we plan our everyday meals but we are likely to reach for this one if we want to play with some unique local foods such as Wild Rose Petal Syrup, Pickled Sea Asparagus, Devil’s Club Stirfry, Elderflower Cordial, Salmonberry Jelly, or Cloudberry Moonlight Cream. The book is an excellent introduction to Haida Gwaii and its food culture. It’s a very enjoyable read.

Musgrave, Susan (2015). A taste of Haida Gwaii, food gathering and feasting at the edge of the world. Vancouver: Whitecap.   ISBN: 978-1-77050-216-1

 

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