August 13, 2018
Eating raw and organic may be healthy for you, but one Instagram star took it a tad too far in her new cookbook, Tales from a Forager's Kitchen. Crown Publishing and Rodale recalled the cookbook by Minnesota native Johnna Holmgren, otherwise known as @foxmeetsbear on Instagram, after the book received negative feedback that cautioned on the dangers of its recipes.
Some of these recipes included eating raw morels with chocolate, adding raw elderberries to a smoothie, and using raw acorns without any proper method to remove their strong and inedible tannin flavor.
Several experts weighed in on the use of raw ingredients in the book, released in May, to Buzzfeed. According to Christopher Patton and Sherrie Hagenhoff of the Midwest Elderberry Cooperative, raw elderberries do not affect everyone, especially in small quantities, but they can have negative side effects to some people. The berries contain glycosides, which is the same chemical found in apple seeds.
The morels can also cause gastric distress, and Richard Pizarro of the Minnesota Mycological Society said, "As a general rule, no wild mushrooms should be eaten raw."
"We have personally eaten raw mushrooms and have no had negative experiences," Holmgren said in response to Buzzfeed.
Crown Publishing and Rodale released a statement that they take the concerns over the book’s foraging tips and recipes for raw ingredients “very seriously.”
“In light of our review of these concerns, and because of our dedication to wellness, Rodale Books and Johnna Holmgren have decided to discontinue the publication and promotion of the book. We are encouraging retailers to return their stock, and we are offering a full refund to consumers who have purchased the book.”
Holmgren has not responded, but all promotional material of her cookbook has been removed from her Instagram account, which has more than 130,000 followers.
Holmgren's website comes with a disclaimer, which states: "While I strive to be 100% accurate, it is solely up to the reader to ensure proper plant identification. Some wild plants are poisonous or can have serious adverse health effects. I am not a health professional, medical doctor, nor a nutritionist. It is up to the reader to verify nutritional information and health benefits with qualified professionals for all edible plants listed in this web site and any published content."