Eating Wildly

Eating Wildly 011814

1st Prize in the 2015 M.F.K. Fisher Awards (Books)

Library Journal‘s “Best Books of 2014” (Memoir)

Goodreads Choice Award 2014 Semifinalist (Food & Cookbooks)

The Joys of Foraging

A food memoir about being raised in Flushing, NY by a single mother and loving Chinese grandparents, Eating Wildly (Simon & Schuster 2014), reveals how foraging and the DIY-food movement helped the author (the former NY Times Urban Forager) to reconcile with her past and taught her important lessons in self-reliance. After a series of personal losses, Ava immerses herself in places like Prospect and Central Parks—discovering delectable mushrooms, mulberries, and even saving a swarm of wild honeybees, as well as meeting fellow foragers, along the way. As the seasons turn, she starts to see the world as a place of abundance and beauty, where everything is interconnected and interdependent, and timing is key. (Includes recipes).

Praise for Eating Wildly

“In this instructive and often charming book, Chin, who wrote the Urban Forager blog for The New York Times, explores uncultivated tracts of land — from Prospect Park in Brooklyn and Central Park in Manhattan to the perimeter of a shopping mall near a housing complex in Boulder, Colo. — in search of physical and emotional sustenance. The offspring of a mercurial single mother and grandparents who formed her adventurous palate in early childhood (by age 4 she was eating snails in black bean sauce), Chin finds herself lonely and single at 39, determined not to settle for Mr. Wrong but uncertain how to create a satisfying life on her own. She finds the answer in her “foraging eyes,” a way of adjusting her gaze to perceive what’s actually in the landscape rather than what she hopes to find…Studded with instructions for everything from identifying edible plants (“Wood sorrel really did resemble small shamrocks, and taking a bite was a bright and lemony relief”) to preparing a wild foods brunch (with a tasting menu that includes day lilies, garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed and dandelions), “Eating Wildly” should inspire readers to grab a box cutter and some baggies and head for the nearest park.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A delectable feast of the heart.”
Kirkus Reviews

“[Chin’s] poignantly candid memoir illustrates that one sometimes has to veer from the beaten path to find what one needs in life and in love.”
—Carol Haggas, Booklist

“From the first pages of Chin’s memoir-with-recipes, you’ll be rooting for her as she roots for wild edibles in NYC.”
MORE magazine

“Chin’s memoir is the story of finding when you’ve stopped looking so hard and offers practical advice for foragers of all experience levels.”

—”starred” review in Library Journal

“Chin’s affectionate rummaging through the fields and forests of her life yields some tasty dishes.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Chin’s story is as much about her personal journey as it is about the food, a pot-boiling mix of narrative and instruction. Sharply revealing, and, at times, uncomfortably honest, the book throws wide a window into a fascinating New York — nee, American — story, that’s thrillingly voyeuristic to read and unbearably human.”

—The Village Voice

“You’ll root for Ava Chin from page one of her winsome memoir. Loves lost, herbs, mushrooms, and vegetation of all sorts found, and then how loveelusive and rarefollows suit like a ‘patch of violets’ among the weeds. Her story is not only about where to look for love and forage for edibles, but rather about how to keep your heart wide open while doing so.”
—Monique Truong, bestselling author of Bitter in the Mouth The Book of Salt

“Like the Metaphysical poets, Ava Chin finds the world in a weed, making us hungry for mysteries, edible and otherwise. So spare and careful is her prose, one at first is unaware of how moving and instructive her foraging excursions are. But by the time this quiet, enchanting memoir ends, and she has unearthed not only exotic foods but much of love and life as well, we realize a heightened taste for everything.”
—Roger Rosenblatt, bestselling author of Making Toast and The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood

“EATING WILDLY is a pithy, elegant memoir that takes the reader into the urban wilderness and the thorny complexities of family and love. Ava Chin is a warm-hearted, intelligent, and trustworthy guide to hidden treasures and hard-won finds, whether a trove of oyster mushrooms, a backyard mulberry tree, or compassion and forgiveness.”
Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award-winning author of The Great Man and Blue Plate Special

From Booklist

“Growing up in a broken home has its challenges, one of the most difficult being that many children of divorce are given no choice but to adapt silently to dramatic domestic changes over which they have no control. Many adults in their twenties and thirties were raised on divorce, and this brave and insightful collection of essays gives them a long-awaited platform. Each essay is unique in its tone and setting, but many common themes run throughout the book: the family’s inability to talk openly about the divorce, the shuffling back and forth between parents’ homes, and frustrations of living with stepparents. Many of the essays are quite well written; James Browning’s “Mac” stunningly shows the complexity of stepfather and stepson relationships, and in “Wherever You Want,” Douglas Goetsch’s stark and disconnected style amplifies the loneliness of growing up with emotionally unavailable parents. Those who grew up in broken homes will find themselves nodding and discovering familiar scenes, feelings, and disjointed family dynamics.” By Michelle Kaske


“These emotional stories capture painful lessons and bittersweet memories-the legacy of young adults, themselves now of marrying age.” — O: The Oprah Magazine, November 2002

“Within the pages of Split there is…resilience and hope.” — L.A. Times, November 2002