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TikTok star shares the lost art of foraging, and the videos of what she eats are eye-opening

Alexis Nikole Nelson shares foraging videos with her millions of TikTok fans.

We live in a unique time in human history, when most of us have absolutely no idea how we would feed ourselves if we didn't have grocery stores or restaurants to rely on. Sure, some of us know how to garden and some people know how to farm, but most of us would either starve or kill ourselves eating something poisonous if we were left to our own devices to find food in the wild.

Sad, but true.

The art of foraging is totally unfamiliar to most of us, but there's a lot we can learn from those who do it. Alexis Nikole Nelson has made her TikTok channel an educational—and entertaining—exploration of the abundance that's all around us, if we know what to look for.

Nelson has gained a following of millions, making and sharing videos in which she reveals various wild plants and fungi she forages and how she eats them. And it is wild.


Ever heard of curly dock crackers? Or curly dock at all? Maybe you have, but I'd venture to guess most of us haven't. But now we have, and now I want some.

@alexisnikole

WE LOVE A FREE SNACK #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #curlydock

Nelson's knowledge is vast. She grew up with parents who were outdoorsy and started learning about wild, edible plants at a young age. She forages in her own yard, in parks and in the woods, where she finds all different kinds of mushrooms.

"It's like Disney World, but full of plants and much cheaper food," Nelson told NPR. "You walk in and you see this very vibrant ecosystem that we are a part of. And there's something so fulfilling about it, right? You're just like, I pulled this out of the ground, and now it's sustaining me! So I look into natural spaces and I just see wonder."

Each of her videos is fascinating, full of free food finds from the forest. And they're entertaining as heck.

@alexisnikole

🐔🌳!!! #LearnOnTikTok #TikTokPartner #foraging

"Don't die!" she always jokes at the end of her videos. It's a real warning, as eating wild plants and fungi can be a risky business if you don't know what you're doing.

@alexisnikole

My first time cooking the tender new growth of Resinous Polypore and it SMACKS!! #foraging #resinouspolypore

But there are plenty of books on wild edible plants that can help you distinguish between perfectly edible and deadly poisonous, and Nelson often explains the difference between certain lookalikes.

Nelson is a vegan, but she managed to make some "acorn bacon" that actually looks like bacon.

@alexisnikole

ACORN BACON 🥓 🐿 #foraging #acornbacon

Apparently it doesn't taste like bacon, though. C'est la vie.

Kelp is used in lots of cuisines around the world, but it's not super clear how it gets from beach to brunch. Nelson shares some insights as she makes kelp chips.

@alexisnikole

SEAWEED WEEK ep2: Kelp Chips! 🌊#LearnOnTikTok #TikTokPartner #Seaweedweek

Nelson's bio says she's a "Black forager" and she says that distinction matters.

"Any time you are moving through a space that is not yours, the color of your skin can very easily come into play," she told Kitchn. She said she gets a lot more questions like "Where are you gathering? Whose land are you on? Is that a park?" than her white, male foraging counterparts. "I also get my knowledge questioned a whole lot more," she said.

In one of her videos, she explained more about why it's important for her as a Black woman to be sharing her foraging experiences, from the history of trespass laws to the fear of lynching in outdoor spaces to the fact that she knows what it feels like to be the only person of color involved in an activity.

@alexisnikole

Reply to @morganw425 (please don’t go being mean to the commenter, sweet beans ❤️ I said my piece and I think the conversation can close with that)

Highly recommend following @AlexisNikole on TikTok. You'll definitely learn something new and have a lot of fun learning it.

@alexisnikole

Now is the best time for rose hips imo!! 🌹 They get sweeter and softer as winter goes on!

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Democracy

Appalachian mom's speech on Kentucky's proposed abortion ban is a must-hear for everyone

Danielle Kirk is speaking up for those often overlooked in our cultural debates.

Canva, courtesy of Danielle Kirk

Appalachian mom gives passionate speech.

Many people felt a gut punch when the Supreme Court issued its decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the decades-old Roe v. Wade decision that protected a woman's right to an abortion. However, for some this was a call to action.

Danielle Kirk, 27, a mom of two and an activist on TikTok, used her voice in an attempt to educate the people that make decisions in her small town. Kirk lives in Kentucky where a trigger law came into effect immediately after Roe v. Wade was overturned. Being a former foster child, she knew she had to say something. Kirk spoke exclusively with Upworthy about why she decided to speak up.

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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