Don’t Eat That: Sidewalk Foraging Gone Wrong

For the past two years, I’ve been really into gardening. And why not? It’s pretty easy, food is insanely expensive, and who the hell knows what they’ve sprayed on it by the time you shove it in your mouth. I’ve grown lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, garlic, and even chamomile. I love it. I love eating fresh organic vegetables that cost me like 1/4 of the price it would at Whole Foods (let’s be honest, you have to pledge your first born to afford to shop there). But, sometimes I get a little carried away.

I’ve noticed little chestnuts all over the ground from trees that line my street. Every day I walk Oliver through them and I think, “man, this is super wasteful also because this shit costs like 9 dollars per pound.” So, I started collecting them like I was grocery shopping on my street. On every walk, I’d shove five or so into my pockets and by the end of the week, I had an enormous bowl full. I Googled, “how to roast chestnuts,” and “how to make chestnut butter.”

Sidenote: I partially blame my father-in-law for this. For years I’ve made fun of him for his weird urban foraging, like the time he grabbed fist fulls of rosemary from a hotel vase on the Vegas Strip. Apparently, he’s rubbing off on me. 

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On my last urban foraging trek, my neighbor saw me shoving chestnuts into my pockets and he was probably like, what the fuck is that whack job doing, shoving sidewalk nuts into your sweatpants?” So, in my attempt at being normal, after I emptied my pockets at home I meandered outside to where my neighbor was now talking with another neighbor and casually asked, “you don’t mind me picking up your chestnuts, do you?”

“Not at all,” he smiled.

“If you want to take them from my lawn, go for it,” the other neighbor added, “or, if you’d like to help me harass my wife, you can step on them and really work them into the grass so she has to pop them out with a butter knife.”

“That’s just mean,” I laughed. I turned to walk away, “cool, thanks, guys. I’m gonna go roast them.”

“No, no, no!” my neighbor yelled, “you can’t eat those. They’re Horse Chestnuts and they’re not edible.”

“Seriously? I asked. “Like, gross or deadly?”

He shrugged. I thanked him and when home to google it and apparently Horse Chestnuts are useless and poisonous. I sulked for a minute, then went into the kitchen to dump out my giant mixing bowl of chestnuts into the garbage. Then I wondered, why would anyone plant shitty chestnuts instead of the edible ones? I mean, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we could like live on chestnuts. EXPENSIVE ASS CHESTNUTS.

Now I’m researching how to plant non-deadly chestnut trees because I want one in my yard. Do any of you have nut trees?

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Eat That: Sidewalk Foraging Gone Wrong

    1. M.E. Evans Post author

      Me too! As long as they’re not the deadly variety. You should totally get into gardening! We have a small yard so we use raised beds and can grow a shitload of stuff in a 4×4 space. It’s kind of amazing. And way easier than I ever thought.

      Reply

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