The wild side is probably somewhere in your neighborhood. Gather plants as you walk and cook them up for dinner. Don’t worry that most of them are weeds. Don’t criticize until your tasted them.

I drew these botanical illustrations for Carolyn Niethammer’s recent book Cooking the Wild Southwest. It’s actually an updated and rewritten version of her previous nook, The Tumbleweed Gourmet. I liked that old title because these humblest of weeds can provide the most delicious and exotic flavors in the hands of a creative cook. Besides that, they are nutritious. You could live like our ancestors did, hunting and gathering, with an occasional trip to the grocery store.

I opted for a sketchbook style for these, to encourage the feeling of going out and exploring for edible plants, while keeping notes and making sketches.

Here is a few of the 29 drawings.

Wild amaranth plant
Wild amaranth

 

Barrel cactus illustration
Barrel cactus (Don't eat the cactus, just the fruit!)Chiltepine: the original wild chile plantWhole cholla plant showing budsCholla flower buds
Chiltepine: the original wild chile plant
Chiltepine: the original wild chile plant
Whole cholla plant
Whole cholla plant showing buds
Cholla flower buds
Juniper tree and berries
Juniper tree and berries
Piñon pine tree
Piñon pine tree
Piñon pine nuts
Piñon pine nuts
Mesquite tree beans
Mesquite tree beans
Lambsquarters
Lambsquarters
Mexican Oregano
Mexican Oregano

 

Piñon pine nuts

 

 

 

Juniper berries

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