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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Calabasas

Group Gathers for Really Old-Time Traditional Feast

November 22, 1998|SUE FOX

To a civilization bred on the fare of Ralphs and Vons supermarkets, Hilla Futterman's 1,000-year-old recipes are something of a novelty.

Centuries after most humans abandoned their hunting and gathering ways, Futterman is still hiking through the Santa Monica Mountains, picking berries and tugging up the roots of edible wild plants. She teaches classes at Pierce College Extension and Los Angeles City College on identifying and preparing such plants, and every November she throws a "wild food" Thanksgiving dinner featuring some of the dishes once served by the Chumash.

"You're much more self-sufficient when you can feed yourself, instead of having to work to make money to buy food," Futterman said. "There's a feeling of exhilaration and independence when you can go out and feed yourself."

On Saturday, the naturalist and some of her students trooped into Grape Arbor Park for the 22nd annual Futterman feast, which included a cornucopia of acorn hash, black walnuts, watercress salad and cactus pad salsa. The group swilled sugarbush punch and rose-hip tea, digging into toyon apple pie for dessert.

"She brings a lot of history to it," said Lisa Cortes, a Pierce student. "There's a respect that she imparts, and I really like that. A lot of what goes on today is all taking, and not very thankful."

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