Land and Sea will feature foragers this Sunday.
Not surprising, as we embrace our roots and delight in the inspirations of local ingredients to see that wild food foraging is on the upswing. But long before “locavore” became part of our foodie vernacular, the good folks at Trout Point Lodge were doing foraging up right.
One of my favourite cookbooks of all time, the Trout Point Lodge cookbook (Random House, 2004) has a section devoted to Wild Foods, celebrating the gifts of field and stream with innovative recipes like Lime-Grilled Cattail Root and Bullrush Blinis.
Back in 2004, I reviewed this cookbook for the Coast, and here is part of what I wrote:
Trout Point Lodge, one of Nova Scotia’s best kept secrets, is an exclusive retreat and cooking school located at the juncture of the Tusket and Napier Rivers, northeast of Yarmouth. Daniel G. Abel, Charles Leary and Vaughn Perret, celebrated owners of New Orlean’s Chicory Farm, had taken a trip to Nova Scotia to find their Acadian culinary roots and were so impressed by the rural wilderness, they built the lodge. The Trout Point Lodge Cookbook (Random House) is a culmination of the history and recipes surrounding the lodge; the cuisine the owners call “New World Creole.” The book is incredible—the beautiful photography really captures the rustic feel of the lodge and dishes prepared. Recipes feature local produce, seafood and game, and are well laid-out and easy to follow. A section on gathering less common local ingredients such as sea beans and bulrushes is particularly interesting. Dishes like finnan haddie jambalaya combine local flavour with Acadian cousin Cajun cuisine, with great success. Smoked fish is integral in Nova Scotia cuisine, and at Trout Point the chefs smoke their own. Instructions for smoking your own seafood are included; although building a smoker is not practical for many of us, it’s interesting to know the details of the process. I especially like the bread section, with detailed instructions on kneading and yeast; I tried the rosemary ciabatta and was quite pleased with the results. In fact, I enjoyed all of the trial recipes, and I’m sure this book will quickly become dog-eared as I find some new favourites. The Trout Point Lodge Cookbook is not only a lovely collection of recipes; it’s a fascinating look into a corner of Nova Scotia’s culinary history. If you’re looking for a special gift for the cook in your life, this book is it.
Almost a decade later, it’s apparent that while the Lodge is no longer a secret (accolades too numerous to mention), everything else I wrote holds true: the book has become a dog-eared favourite as I predicted, the dishes are still fabulous, and it’s become more relevant than ever.