Gurnard first on menu for office worker gone feral

20:22, Jan 28 2013
tdn gurnard stand
Matt is hoping his first Wild Appetite meal will be pan fried gurnard.

I've allowed myself a bag of flour, a shaker of salt and a bottle of cooking oil. All other sustenance for the next 12 days will depend on what Taranaki can provide.

Should all go to plan the first meal of Wild Appetite will be a breakfast of pan-fried gurnard caught off a Mokau cliff top with Steve McEwen of Stratford.

"It's going off up here," he said last night. "I was going to put a long line out when you got here but I think we'll just go straight to the cliffs."

After the cliffs the idea is to move down to the river mouth and target some kahawai. Often underrated, kahawai are one of the tastiest fish and if you bleed it well and cook it right you can fool seafood namby pambies into enjoying it by calling it snapper.

I'll be getting some of those as well.

Suspicious types always say you shouldn't count your chickens before they hatch but with the water around the coast now close to bath-warm, even an idiot can catch a meal with little trouble. Fish are everywhere!


And fish are just the start. Over the next 12 days I hope to find, catch or hunt some of the abundant food out there that is yours to take, should you want it. This is not a quest for mere calorific survival. I want to prosper and expect my tastebuds to start earning their keep.

They'll put the hard yards in savouring wild pork chops, slow cooked river bank goat, weird looking mushrooms, dark purple blackberries, milk straight from the cow, lemon juiced gurnard fillets and wild spinach so close to the ocean it's flecked white with salt spray.

I don't expect it to be all that easy. It's not an exaggeration to say I have strayed so far from my hunter gatherer roots as to be unrecognisable to my ancestors. Sure I can catch a fish and grow a lettuce but 95 per cent of the food I eat still comes from the shop.

Now there is nothing wrong with that. Without shops we'd all still be living in caves with barely time to decorate because we're so busy hunting for food or sleeping from exhaustion.

So I support shops. It's just I would like to see how long this office worker could go without them.

Tomorrow: Urenui Pig Hunt with Ray Potroz.

Taranaki Daily News