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Not for the faint-hearted, The Gardener's Table requires a commitment to vegetables that starts in an ecologically balanced garden and then proceeds to the table as the fruits of one's labor. Committed cooks who want to understand how their kitchen can interact with the seasons will find that this guide's most compelling revelation is the ancient, long-forgotten understanding that flavor starts in the soil. Opening chapters explain in detail composting, seasonal variation, and ecologically responsible fertilizing and planting methods, while recipe sidebars and pantry suggestions remind the reader that, yes, this is a cookbook too--albeit one whose primary focus is to teach the cook how to be a gardener as well. Once upon a time, these two skills were inextricably related, but all an enlightened cook of today need remember is that if one begins with the best ingredients, 90 percent of the flavor has already been achieved. --Sumi Hahn Almquist
The natural link between kitchen gardening and cooking is seamlessly conveyed by Merrill, who directs the horticultural department at Cabrillo College, and Ortiz, who wrote the award-winning The Village Baker: Classic Regional Breads from Europe and America. Assuming nothing, they start with basic instructions for designing a garden and outfitting a proper kitchen. Organic methodsAfor building the soil, starting and growing vegetables, and controlling pestsAdominate the book, but the authors also include instructions for using fresh produce and recipes for condiments, stock, and vegetable dishes. Finally, a "Grow-It & Cook-It Compendium" conveniently lists vegetables by plant family, culinary uses, botanical name, detailed growing information, and harvesting and storage tips. This book isn't as extensive as Anna Pavord's classic, The New Kitchen Garden (DK, 1996), which includes fruit and herb information, but it's still a good general guide. Recommended for public libraries.ABonnie Poquette, Shorewood P.L, WI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.