Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: Fine Cooking In Season

The Editors and Contributors of Fine Cooking Magazine have written an amazing book, Fine Cooking in Season. I am reluctant to call it a “cookbook” because it is so much more than just recipes. Included in this beautifully photographed book are instructions for how to select, store, prepare, use and preserve produce.

It is always best to use fresh produce, but often what is available at the market is not fresh. It has been picked, packed, trucked, shipped, warehoused and finally displayed with special lighting and temperature controls to tempt you into buying it “fresh.” The good cook needs to be schooled about what is in season right now, in this location. Buying fresh and local is the key to excellent dining.

There are a number of interesting trivia, such as how white asparagus is grown and whether it is worth the extra expense. What are ramps and why would you look for them? How is the heat level of varieties of chilies measured and which ones are the hottest?

The recipes in this book will make your mouth water. They are categorized by season, beginning with spring, so start with the current season when browsing the recipes. There is a recipe for every meal, from breakfast to midnight snack, all carefully tested to use produce at its peak of freshness.

I have tried a few of the recipes but it would take an entire year to cover the book. Hmmm. I may try that. Based on the recipes that I have tried, the Fine Cooking chefs have done an admirable job of developing and testing these delicious dishes. One of the outcomes of reading this book is a desire to grow vegetables and fruits that I have not tried in my garden before.  Next year: definitely more berries!
The Suburban Farmer Awards Fine Cooking in Season
Five Fresh Broccoli Spears!

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