“Vegetable Literacy” by Deborah Madison has quickly become my go-to reference when I want to explore a familiar or unusual produce item. I like it so much that I'm making it a Friday Link.
The full name of the book, Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes, gives a better picture of what the author has created.
Madison takes her years of expertise in vegetarian topics, divides the veggie world into twelve families, and then provides background, recipes, and kitchen and garden tips for each family member. She makes you look at the offerings at your local market in a new way.
Speaking of local markets, I decidead to buy the Kindle version of Vegetable Literacy. That allows me to call up a recipe on my phone when I'm shopping to be sure I have what I need to make it. Or, if I want to know what I might do with some parsnips or fennel, I can search for those and even have tips on buying them.
Great photography is always a bonus in a cookbook or reference book and this one has wonderful photos spinkled among its pages. The photos are by the Canal House team, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton.
This time of year, when many readers are looking for gift ideas, this book would make a great present for many people on your list. Anyone who loves to cook or collect cookbooks would treasure this edition. Even someone like me who has far too many cookbooks considers this a major reference, must-have.
It's an ideal gift for a vegetrian or someone who has to feed a vegetarian or anyone who needs to add more vegetables to their diet to get their 5-per-day!
Deborah Madison has been my mentor on vegetarian cooking. I have well-worn copies of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2013 Penny & Ed Cherubino
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