Food blogger slammed online for including 'dangerous' recipes in her new cookbook

Food blogger slammed online for including 'dangerous' recipes in her new cookbook

Although I'm not the most social (or even likeable) person, I can say with absolute certainty that I've never met a food blogger in my life. They have to exist, right? I read about food bloggers all the time on the internet, and I have it on pretty good experience that food is a pretty good thing to write about, but nope. Never met one.

From I can tell, though, it seems quite fun. New recipes, weird food and the like; but from time to time, people will be people, and criticise you for some of your more outlandish ideas. We've just seen a food baker come under some heavy fire for her hyper-realistic cakes, but is Johnna Holmgren's cookbook recipe better or worse? We'll let you decide.

Here's Johnna Holmgren, on her Instagram account, FoxMeetsBear.

She lives out in the Minnesota woods with her husband Max and their three daughters. Living out in the woods is pretty... out there, to say the least, and her feed is pretty made up of dinner parties, children portraits, and other artistic representations of what it's like to live in the woods.

Now, as a food writer, I'd imagine one of Johnna's goals in life would be to write a book, and as of May this year, it's an aspiration that Johnna has managed to live up to. Inspired by her life out in the Minnesota flora, Tales from a Forager's Kitchen is pretty much the paper version of Johnna's Instagram feed, and it's got 80 recipes out there for you to enjoy, based on what you can discover out there in the forest.

But if you go on Amazon, all you'll see is reviews urging potential food lovers not to buy this book. "As a foraging chef I have to go with a big old NO on this one. I really wanted to like this book but I simply can’t," says one. "I have a foraging bakery. As a botanist turned Sourdough baker I will tell you there are a number of mistakes in this book."

So what's this disgruntled reviewer talking about? Now, one of Johnna's recipes involves using raw morel mushrooms. We've talked about morel mushrooms before, and while they're not illegal, they can leave you decidedly out of whack if you're not careful. Writing in the Funghi Mag, Pathologist Denis R Benjamin wrote about as much.

"The toxicity of raw morels is well known and documented. It is generally an acute gastrointestinal syndrome with bloating, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Not everyone is equally affected, but enough so that no one should eat raw morels. And some unfortunates suffer similar effects even when the mushrooms are cooked."

In response, people have been leaving Johnna's book one-star reviews in an attempt to ward people away from the potentially dangerous recipes. For her part, Johnna placed blame for any ill-effects at the feet of the reader, saying:

"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."

All well and good, but the purpose of a cookbook is that the meals enclosed are meant to be edible... right? I don't know.