A love-letter to the unexpected delights (and occasional despair) of so-called “first-hand food”—meals we grow, forage, fish, or even hunt from the world around us. To Boldly Grow is “part memoir, part how-to guide and wholly delightful” (Washington Post). Journalist and self-proclaimed “crappy gardener” Tamar Haspel is on a mission: to show us that raising or gathering our own food is not as hard as it’s often made out to be. When she and her husband move from Manhattan to two acres on Cape Cod, they decide to adopt a more active approach to their diet: raising chickens, growing tomatoes, even foraging for mushrooms and hunting their own meat. They have more ambition than practical know-how, but that’s not about to stop them from trying…even if sometimes their reach exceeds their (often muddy) grasp.
With “first-hand food” as her guiding principle, Haspel embarks on a grand experiment to stop relying on experts to teach her the ropes (after all, they can make anything grow), and start using her own ingenuity and creativity. Some of her experiments are a rousing success (refining her own sea salt). Others are a spectacular failure (the turkey plucker engineered from an old washing machine). Filled with practical tips and hard-won wisdom, To Boldly Grow allows us to journey alongside Haspel as she goes from cluelessness to competence, learning to scrounge dinner from the landscape around her and discovering that a direct connection to what we eat can utterly change the way we think about our food—and ourselves.