Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom by Deborah Madison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a beautifully written book which nicely weaves gardening and cooking anecdotes with factual information. Having read several other books which fill a similar niche I was interested to see how this one stacked up.
I really liked the writing and author's voice. However, none of the recipes appealed to me. To be fair, Madison is speaking to vegetarians whenever she writes and I am not in that group, though I do enjoy a good vegetable recipe as much as the next person. These recipes may all be quite stellar but the titles and descriptions never looked enticing. I tend to enjoy vegetable recipes coming from ethnic sources, especially Asian, and there is something about her recipes that always looks a bit forced in the way that many vegetarian cookbooks have done in the past.
I should add that there are some very basic recipes for most vegetables which anyone would enjoy, however, I have been cooking long enough that many of these are in my regular repetoire. Thus I must depend on the other recipes to make a cookbook valuable.
Chalk it up to a disconnect between Madison and me. Others with different taste will probably get a great deal out of this book, not to mention the basic vegetable family knowledge which Madison conveys. I'll stick with Nigel Slater (Tender) and Bert Greene (Greene on Greens) as well as various Asian and Middle Eastern recipes.