Having recently finished founder of the Idler Society, Tom Hodgkinson’s medieval manifesto: How To Be Free, The Three Hungry Boys’ new book: How To Catch, Trap, Forage And Generally Blag Your Way To Survival In The Wild, made an excellent complement. Not only can I now be free and give up full-time work (thank you Tom) but I can dine on spear-gun-caught fish (line-caught is so passé), make my own butter, smoke a mackerel, skin a rabbit, make mayonnaise, build a shelter to sleep in and swim naked (no lessons needed there thank you).
The three dashing chancers who make up the 3HB – Thom, Trevor and Tim – came together under the lenses of the C4 crew after an email to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall along the lines of:
We are die-hard fans of yours and have all your DVDs. Thom, Trevor and myself are all very handy and we want a cheap holiday, pimping out our knowledge of wildlife in return for food. Thom can catch a tuna in a puddle. I’ve been naked in a house you once stayed in. Trevor will be on the tele soon. We need a bit of money, equipment and gear and we’d like to make a program about it. It should take about a month.
Yours Sincerely, Tim Creswell.
I have edited a little (apologies boys) but the cheeky charm worked and Hugh did indeed take them under the River Cottage/Keo wing and they have now produced their second program, due to appear on our TVs this Sunday, 15 January at 7pm.
The 2011 summer mission was to travel from River Cottage HQ in Axminster to Land’s End using only renewable energy to recharge their wheels: a converted milk float known as Daisy, donated by Hugh. The time? Five weeks. The budget? Absolutely nothing. The deal? To have lots of fun.
Trevor reveals some of the highlights and (occasional) lowlights of the trip in a tweet-sized Twinterview (ahem):
worst moment would be when we and daisy ran out of food and fuel trying to get over holden hill just outside exeter. We’d eaten nothing
that day and we all felt very weak, Thom had to get into bed while we limped over the hill. A very low point.
best moment would be the RAF survival lessons on perranporth, waking up to an empty beach after surviving the night!
best meal would be final dinner of lobster, polgoon cornish black cider and venison overlooking sennen cove
best place in Cornwall?? For me it’s always Trevone but on this trip Kynance cove and Asparagus island were outstanding
the most interesting food producer is a hard one, I think we need to publish a long list of everyone who makes the fantastic produce in the
SW, we have a soft spot for Polgoon and their cracking alva and cornish black, the manuka tea from tregothan and the meat from the
dartmoor farmers. Too many to choose from!!
How To Catch, Trap, Forage, And Generally Blag Your Way To Survival In The Wild is a compendium on surviving such a challenge, but where Ray Mears walks into the sunset alone in khaki, the boys work as a collective, drawing on the people who already live off the land, as well as pooling and bartering their own skills. It reads as a sort of Beano for grown-ups, but in place of the free kazoo you get pictures, information and diagrams; it’s Famous Five for real, complete with gin cocktails instead of ginger beer and nothing like the testosterone-driven James May’s Man Lab (phewee).
With chapters on key aspects of the environment: River, Rocks, Sea, Woods and Fields, Urban and Campsite – this is the book to take with you into the big wide open. Sleep under the stars, flick the pages and learn how to build the perfect camp fire, shuck oysters, gut and fillet fish, do crabs and lobsters and select the right mushrooms. Find out what WWOOFING is and why everyone should be doing it and learn about the simple pleasure of drinking tea.
The Three Hungry Boys throw you headfirst (and occasionally naked) into life itself. Take their advice literally and live like Christopher McCandless but with your mates and without the nasty ending or take from it what you want and loosen the clutches of materialism a little. And what better way to start than by making your very own butter:
The Three Hungry Boys’ recipe for Making Butter From D0uble Cream and Elbow Grease
Ingredients: makes about 250g butter
500ml double cream
half teaspoon salt
a large jar with a tight-fitting lid
Pour the cream into a large jar making sure it is not more then a third full. Close the jar as tightly as possible and shake as hard as you can.
Continue shaking until a large ball forms in liquid. The liquid is buttermilk. Drain the buttermilk to use later into a bowl and remove the yellow butter ball.
Squeeze the ball tightly in your hands to expel excess buttermilk then rinse under COLD water to help firm it and wash buttermilk from the surface.
Before putting it in the fridge, add the salt. Place in a ramekin and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.