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Happy 100 Birthday Euell Gibbons

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Happy 100 Birthday Euell Gibbons

Post  westie42 on 9/9/2011, 1:11 am

GIBBONS, EUELL THEOPHILUS (1911–1975)
Euell Gibbons, naturalist and television personality, son of Ely (Eli) Joseph and Laura (Bowers) Gibbons, was born into a Baptist family at Clarksville, Texas, on September 8, 1911. The three Gibbons boys and their sister learned about wild foods from their mother. Gibbons concocted menus and wrote about foraging. In 1922 the family moved to a New Mexico farmstead. Euell provisioned them by foraging, hunting, and trapping whenever his father was away. At fifteen he left home, working towards California and the Pacific Northwest, where, by 1933, he lived in bum camps, foraged, and did manual labor. While in the army, 1934–36, he married Anna Swanson (on September 12, 1935); they had two sons. Gibbons joined the Communist party sometime during the 1930s but left it about 1940 and later called himself a "left-wing Democrat." In Hawaii during World War II he worked in a shipyard. With the war over, Gibbons, a divorcé and conscientious objector, turned to beachcombing. He completed high school and attended the University of Hawaii from 1947 to 1950; he earned money by composing crossword puzzles in Hawaiian.
On December 17, 1949, he married Freda Fryer. They taught on Maui until 1953, joined the Quakers, and then left Hawaii and taught at various schools in the eastern and midwestern United States. In 1953–54 they taught at a New Jersey Quaker school before moving to a midwestern cooperative community. In 1955, while employed at Pendle Hill School near Philadelphia, Gibbons began writing about edible plants. Freda promised to support them while he wrote full-time, and they moved nearby to Tanguy Homesteads. Gibbons had written verse and short stories; now he completed a novel, but his editors advised him, "Take the novel out. Leave the wild food in." He did so, and McKay published Stalking the Wild Asparagus in 1962, after which Gibbons was established as the master of his field.
In 1963 the Gibbonses moved to a farm named "It Wonders Me" at Troxelville, Pennsylvania. Gibbons wrote six more books "lauding nature's harvests" and taught foraging. With a voice something like that of Will Rogers, Gibbons became famous doing Grape-Nuts television commercials. He helped mold environmental thought, condemned wastefulness and reliance upon technology, and urged life in harmony with nature like that attributed to American Indians. Susquehanna University awarded him an honorary degree in 1972. Gibbons died in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, on December 29, 1975, of arteriosclerosis.
Born in Texas in 1911, Euell Theophilus Gibbons learned about wild foods from his mother. At 15, Euell traveled west to California where, by 1933, he lived in bum camps, foraged and performed manual labor. After joining the Marine Corps Reserve, Euell met his then-wife, Anna Swanson, and fathered two sons.

He worked in a shipyard while stationed in Hawaii during World War II. After the war, and a divorce, he became a conscientious objector and turned to beachcombing. It was during this time he completed high school and attended the University of Hawaii, where he met his second wife, Freda Fryer, of Philadelphia, and earned money by composing crossword puzzles in Hawaiian.

They moved to Philadelphia when Freda promised to support them while he wrote full time about edible plants. In 1962, "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" was published. A year later, the Gibbonses moved to a farm near Troxelville, which they named "It Wonders Me." Gibbons wrote six more books about nature's harvests, taught foraging and, during summer, a survival course at Outward Bound, an outdoor living school for teenagers. 

He once said that he considered himself a conservationist as much as a natural food lover. As he received more literary renown, Gibbons became somewhat of a celebrity. Standing well over 6 feet tall, a Bob Hope nose, plenty of wavy hair and the kind of sharp features that caricaturists love, he made appearances on the "Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson, "Sonny and Cher," and with Bob Hope, and with a voice compared to Will Rogers, Gibbons became famously known for his television commercials for Post Grape Nuts cereal where his catch-phrase "Ever eaten a pine tree?" began.

He had a great sense of humor. At one point, to everyone's surprise, he began eating a wooden plaque awarded him on the "Sonny and Cher" show. The plaque was really a prop made out of wafer cookies. Bob Hope's one-liner "Euell Gibbons' house is the only house with two Christmas trees … one to decorate and one for Christmas dinner." He led a colorful life as a cowboy, farmer, hobo, author, carpenter, school teacher, boat builder and beachcomber. 

Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove awarded Gibbons an honorary doctorate in 1972. Gibbons died at his home on Dec. 29, 1975, at age 65 of an aortic aneurysm, a complication of Marfan Syndrome. On Sept. 8 of this year, Euell would have been 100 years old.
In his career as an author, Euell Gibbons published nine books:
1. Stalking the Wild Asparagus (1962)
2. Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop (1964)
3. Stalking the Healthful Herbs (1966)
4. Stalking the Good Life (1966)
5. Beachcomber's Handbook (1967)
6. A Wild Way To Eat (1967) for the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School
7. Stalking the Faraway Places (1973)
8. Feast on a Diabetic Diet (unknown publication date)
9. Handbook of Wild Edible Plants
Sorry but I had trouble getting this posted on his birthday the 8th because I got busy making a cup of pine needle tea

westie42

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Tastes just like wild hickory nuts

Post  Nicola on 9/9/2011, 8:57 pm

Thank you so much Westie, for posting this! thanks
I feel like I should have a bowl of Grape-Nuts for breakfast tomorrow, in his honor, 'cause I don't think I can fit in a foraging expedition (and knowing nothing about it, I'd prob'ly poison myself if I did). I just checked the library, and put a I.L.L. hold on "Stalking...Asparagus"
(Where'd you find the info on his life?)
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Nicola

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Re: Happy 100 Birthday Euell Gibbons

Post  westie42 on 9/10/2011, 2:04 am

Nicola: I just Googled it a while back then selected the best picture and this info. Unfortunately being busy caused me to not keep ahead of the game at posting this the evening before his birthday. I think it was from a grave finders site. On page 276 of Euell’s book "Stalking the Healthful Herbs” is a chart that shows just how exceedingly more healthful the nutrient contents of many weeds are than most of our common garden crops are. As a kid in the 50s and 60s this kind of stuff gave me a huge high (no pun intended) now in retirement I am rekindeling my interest in foraging and surprisengly I feel at least as satisfied with random grazing occasionally as a regular meal. In a short block or so walk near my back yard I can easily find 6-8 items to eat. My goal is to grow the numbers of items I am comfortable with eating and to incorporate more of it into my diet thru out the year. Inter library loan should be able to get most of his work although truthfully several of the newer books by John Kallas or Samuel Thayer mite make better reference material, Euells are a lot of fun to read though.

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Euell Gibbons -- Wild Foods Guru

Post  Lorisue on 9/14/2011, 7:39 am

I found this post looking for something regarding the late Wild Foods Guru, Euell Gibbons and found someone had posted his bio on his birthday as Sept. 8th. However, in researching him I noticed two different dates on Wikipedia. I know this response is long, but I feel it has intersting information that folks might appreciate.

This
year marks the 44th Annual Wildfoods weekend that began when Edelene Wood
invited Euell Gibbons to be the first speaker in the late 60s after she devleoped a program to
connect the people served by her employer, the Monongahela Power
Company, and the natural world. She came up with a monthly series of
visiting writers who discussed nature and the year ended with wild
foods author, Euell Gibbons, being the last speaker over a dinner of
wild foods which he prepared.



That
worked out so well they decided to offer an extended weekend program
the next year at North Bend State Park to try to fill the park's new
lodge and that was the
beginning of the nation's longest running wild foods event.




This year on September 17th at 4 pm people around the nation are joining with people attending the Wild Foods social hour by celebrating the 100th anniversary of Euell Gibbons by having a cup of dandelion tea. Anyone out there who would like to join this tea sipping ceremony may by having a cup of tea (preferably wild) at this time.

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Re: Happy 100 Birthday Euell Gibbons

Post  westie42 on 9/16/2011, 1:28 am

I chose to not look at Wiki for my resource so it is interesting to see your point on the birthdate conflict. On further review that is the only site I can find that shows other than Sept 8 and wiki shows both dates in the same page, wonder how that came about. My pine needle tea was surprisingly smooth and tasty, better than many even some herbal teas and I plan on making it a frequent beverage. Have you priced organic herbal teas lately. Some pines can be toxic but those pines with five needles in the cluster are all ok to consume from. Other needle groupings can be either ok or not according to the type of pine tree. There is a really fine instructional and informative youtube on pine needle tea preparation and brewing here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrSqva1Y9Bg . Hope some of you try it. Don’t use ponderosa pine, any hemlock or yew tree or bush. Pine cone nuts are better than you mite think. Get a young unopened cone and fire it up some causing it to open a bit that way the seeds will still be there and fresh, again avoid using from the non true pines. Stick with white pine or something with 5 needles per cluster.

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Re: Happy 100 Birthday Euell Gibbons

Post  westie42 on 9/16/2011, 2:17 am

As a follow up it needs to be said that a few things can kill you, a few things can cause organ damage others will just give stomach or bowel discomfort, pregnant women and young children need to observe certain warnings. Many things have a prime season, some even have a safe season and a not safe season. The troublesome ingredient in some plants will cook or boil away making it safe but again read up well before trying it. The key to safety is being well read from several different reliable expert references question everything then make a few dry runs at foraging until you and someone else feel comfortable with what you are looking at. Then enjoy the abundance of free healthful tasty wild foods. Start with just one item and slowly and confidently grow your list. I suspect I could in my area grow my list from the present 10 or so to at least 50 enjoyable healthful wild food items. Some will get a trial seeding in my next years SFG because they are that good and healthful.

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Re: Happy 100 Birthday Euell Gibbons

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