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Book Reviews

by Kennedy Hassett

by Wildman Steve Brill
Harvard Common Press, 2002. 500 pgs., $29.95 (hardback)

To say that this book moves beyond regular culinary fare is a serious understatement. This is a breakthrough in the world of cooking guides– a true ancestral adventure. When was the last time you went foraging as a happy hour activity before dining? Foraging may well become a new pastime and survival skill reinvented. And you get 500 delicious healthy recipes.
Wildman Steve Brill has searched the forests and hillsides for willing participants to add to an otherwise tame food soiree. Now there's an idea– have a wild foods soiree! Sounds fun– and so is perusing this big book. You read about gathering, preparing and cooking all types of natural foods, plus adaptations and seasonings– all from an environmentally sensitive perspective. The book is divided into seasonal sections to make the harvesting easy. One of my favorites is Thai Pumpkin Soup. The Baked Chicken Mushrooms were quite different for me, never having heard of a chicken mushroom. The recipes are truly unusual– a spark for your kitchen and imagination.
Steve Brill also authored Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and not so wild) Places and has created a wildfood website: www.wildmanstevebrill.com, and a video series, Foraging With the "Wildman."

By Deepak Chopra, MD and David Simon, MD
Three Rivers Press, 2000, 260 pgs., $14.95
This is a masterpiece of practical and professional information on herbs, with background from Ayurvedic medicine from two of the top guns in alternative health and well being. It is a fascinating read, well put together and well referenced. Anyone can find something here, from the herbal entrepreneur or practitioner to the highly skeptical allopathic devotee.
The section on the 40 herbs used at the Chopra center is impressive. You will find botanical and phytochemical information, practical uses, precautions and scientific information on the specific herbs. You can also refer to specific ailments or appropriateness for body type. This is a finely tuned guide. The abundant bibliography will transport enthusiasts to heaven! This book is true to Ayurvedic medicine and contains quintessential Chopra and Simon wisdom– it is a journey to deep well being, not just physical health. A must for your library, whether you have traversed herbal topography extensively, or are just setting foot for the first time.
Deepak Chopra, MD is founder of The Chopra Center in La Jolla, California and an internationally distinguished author and healer, being one of the first to bring Ayurvedic Medicine to America. David Simon, MD is the medical director at the center.

MYSTICAL DOGS: Animals as Guides to Our Inner Life
By Jean Houston, Ph.D.
Inner Ocean Publishing, 2002, 206 pgs., $19.95 (hardcover) www.jeanhouston.com www.innerocean.com
Once again Jean Houston weaves together a matrix of possibilities, this time through heartwarming stories about those blessed four-leggeds– dogs– or gods as you may see them by the end of the book! Before I got far into chapter 1, I was laughing, tearing up and feeling awe of the gentle creatures that have graced my life, remapping my status on the Mystical Path. By page 9, I was deeply involved in this poignant, joyful book that beautifully illustrates each step of the mystical life through the lives of canine friends and guides.
One of the purveyors of grace in the book is Chickie, a welsh corgi/bearded collie mix, who opens the door for a great awakening. She is followed by Champ, then Titan– a great mastiff imbued with the essence of love. The Airedales bring voices and visions, Zingua and other guides and partners ultimately lead to unitive consciousness.
Each chapter is a multi-sensory experience of wisdom and delight, waves of emotion and deep waters of the psyche. The stories will remain with you, illuminating and entertaining, creating a soul connection with all creatures and things. Enjoy this gem with your companion by your side.
Jean Houston is an internationally known author, teacher, researcher and evocateur of the possible. She is cofounder of The Foundation for Mind Research with her husband Robert Masters. She has written 18 books, including the best-selling Possible Human, A Mythic Life and The Search for the Beloved. For information on upcoming programs contact www.jeanhouston.com

Kennedy Hassett, MA, is a licensed Heartmath trainer and Mindbody practitioner specializing in stress medicine. She works with individuals and businesses across the US. Reach her at ckennedyh@msn.com or (206) 364-4842.