Saturday, March 30, 2013
The Four Season Farm Gardener's Cookbook: From the Garden to the Table in 120 Recipes by Barbara Damrosch & Eliot Coleman
Having been a vegetarian for years, a big supporter of growing most of what you eat, and the local food movement, I was really looking forward to this latest effort from Damrosch & Coleman, two of the foremost authorities on organic gardening and sustainable living. And it does not disappoint. It's two books in one. The first part of the book is devoted to actually growing what you eat, with easy to follow instructions for growing everything from the best tomatoes to berries for a pie. It covers the basics of preparing your soil, composting, etc. The second half of the book is a cookbook with 120 recipes to use all those lovely fruits and vegetables your labor will be providing. And as they say, eating doesn't get any more local than your own backyard. To me, the first couple of paragraphs in their book say it all:
"The day has begun to cool, so we reach for the sun-warmed shirts we'd shed earlier when we began cultivating the garden. The beds now look clean and tidy, the earth a dark background against which the plants stand out in rich colors. The deep green of the spinach and the bluish cast of the broccoli leaves tell us we've fed these plants well, and that they'll feed us well in return. We pull up some carrots for supper, pick a few cucumbers, dig a handful or two of potatoes, and add a head of lettuce and fresh herbs to the basket. Standing up, we stretch our backs, feeling a pleasant kind of tiredness. After washing up we fix a simple meal, much of it harvested moments before, still alive and flavorful. We feel like the luckiest people on earth.
Does this sound romantic? If so, it's only because people seldom feed themselves from their gardens anymore. Yet for much of human history, it was the normal way to live. It was something everyone needed to know how to do. Then, in the twentieth century, gardening turned into a hobby."
Run, don't walk, to your local library and check this out or to your local bookstore and purchase it for your own bookshelf. You won't be sorry.