Book Review: "The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook"

"The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook" by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch serves up 120 recipes for fresh garden produce.


| June 11, 2013



Four Season Farm Gardeners Cookbook Cover

Instead of starting with a recipe and a list of ingredients to buy, “a gardener-cook does it backwards,” writes author Barbara Damrosch in the kitchen half of this book. That approach shapes the fun recipes in this stellar new resource for gardeners who also love to cook.


Cover Courtesy Workman Press

For a couple of organic horticulture professionals, Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch had the most romantic meeting imaginable: in the late Helen Nearing’s greenhouse in Maine. Coleman, whose farm was nearby, was tying up his neighbor’s tomatoes. Damrosch was looking for land to grow crops, and was visiting the iconic Nearing, who with her husband, Scott, led last century’s back-to-the-land movement.

“So I got a wonderful husband and a farm, all at once,” says Damrosch. She and Coleman have been growing beautiful gardens together — and writing about them — ever since. Their new book, The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook (Workman, 2013) contains the best of their expertise. The photos, mostly taken by Damrosch, are beautiful and inspirational.

Instead of starting with a recipe and a list of ingredients to buy, “a gardener-cook does it backwards,” writes Damrosch in the kitchen half of this book. “The garden provides a list of ingredients, inspires the recipe, and collaborates on the menu. It’s more interactive. It’s more fun.”

And because gardeners are often busy tending their crops and eating VERY locally and seasonally, these recipes are simple and modular. “You could apply the same recipe to whatever is in season,” says Damrosch. Recipes are arranged in sections according to type of dish: appetizers, salads, stir-fries, omelets, soups, quiches and fruit custards, adaptable to whatever’s ripe and ready to be picked.

Unlike other “cooking from the garden” books, this one is both basic and adventurous, and has recipes for some less commonly grown ingredients like Peruvian potatoes, mâche, fennel, kohlrabi, and artichokes (yes, it is possible to grow artichokes in Maine). Also, there’s a whole chapter on cooking greens, those nutritional powerhouses everyone could eat more of.

 





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