Hi, I’m Elka!
I’ve spent the last few decades doing all of my baking of the family’s breads, cakes, and pies in a rustic, solar-powered kitchen with a hundred year old woodstove. Standing at my porcelain sink, I gaze at a river flowing beneath ancient volcanic cliffs. Ravens preen in a nearby crag. Skunks waddle up to greet me at the compost pile. Besides baking and my usual days full of tending, I’ve been harvesting wild greens and acorns, canning preserves, and doing some teaching too. I also love to slow down for tea time, any time of day!
Recently I’ve also become a student of our handmade horno (an outdoor wood-fired bread oven made of clay) and been reveling in the joys of our (fairly) new outdoor kitchen. I love to bake, stir, chop, and wash dishes with the wind on my face and my feet on the earth. I love cooking with fire, with rain drumming on the tin roof above me! And several of the wild plants that I harvest grow only a few steps away from the stove!
For me, cooking with wild foods is not an occasional hobby, it’s an everyday part of my life. The plants and other foods I use the most grow all around me, and are mostly very common weeds. Every single week foods like stinging nettles, lamb’s quarters, dock, grape leaves, and london rocket mustard make up about half of our vegetable consumption. In the colder months, we cook with frozen, pickled and dried greens we put up whenever they’re plentiful. We try to use and shell at least a few pounds of acorns every month, and incorporate them into everything from tea to breads, butter, stir-fries, chocolate desserts and gnocchi. Read more