Wild New Tastes for the New Year

The Jay Heritage Center hosted its second Hort Lunch, but its inaugural tasting with famed forager Tama Matsuoka Wong on Friday, January 20. Tama is the creator of Meadows and More; she and her team select and harvest delicious ingredients found in the wild for some of Manhattan’s hottest chefs like Eddy Leroux, Daniel Boulud and Mario Batali. At the same time this former corporate attorney turned weed eater is educating the public about identifying invasive species and how to live a more sustainable lifestyle by adding them to our diets.
Tama’s program drew an enthusiastic audience of diverse people with the same shared interest in treating their palates to foods that are healthier and higher in nutrients but above all tasty. Everyone was receptive to Tama’s message that “Simplicity and whole foods are the new luxury: plucked from the earth, shared with friends.” Tama explained how foraging helps us reconnect with our past and how as a country of immigrants we have forgotten the foods and recipes of our heritage. For example knotweed which is considered an invasive weed in New York is a delicacy known as Itadori in Japan. Similarly, wild greens like dandelions and nettle are called preboggion in Italy and regularly stuffed into ravioli. These are recipes we can enjoy in our own kitchens as well.
Guests raved about Tama’s presentation. They sampled a fresh baked wild mushroom pizzetta from a recipe in her book Foraged Flavor while sipping whole leaf nettle and sumac teas. There are more sensational tastes to come! Tama will return to the Jay Heritage Center in Rye this spring for an invasive species identification workshop and garlic mustard pull party! See more photos in New York Social Diary 
Photos by Cutty McGill