Local Food Albuquerque
New books are coming out all the time, so check out the latest offerings. These are some which, for me, have stood the test of time. A few are out of print, but still readily available from used-book sources.
GENERAL FOOD-RELATED ISSUES:
Journalist Michael Pollan is one of the best and most readable writers hammering away at this subject. The Omnivore's Dilemma is the single best book that I know of for introducing people to the ins and outs of various kinds of meat production, and why it matters what you buy. An older book of his, The Botany of Desire, has a section on genetically modified potatoes that should be required reading for anyone interested in the GMO issue. The current title, In Defense of Food, is well worth reading. I also encourage a visit to his website to read his letter to our presedent-elect on food issues, "Farmer in chief."
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and not so wild) Places. Steve Brill with Evelyn Dean. Fairly comprehensive, and some good advice for cooking.Contains a few errors, but nothing that will harm you.
Stalking the Wild Asparagus Euell Gibbons. For sheer love of his subject, Gibbons still can't be beat. See the section on daylilies for a comprehensive guide to eating all parts of this plant. The illustrations are poor, but these days all you have to do is search "images" on Google for the plant of interest.
The Kitchen Garden. Sylvia Thompson. Especially useful for the unusual vegetables that she discusses, and the way she combines ornamental and vegetable gardening. Ms. Thompson also gardened in a hot, dry climate, and much of her advice works well for us here.
In the French Kitchen Garden. Georgeanne Brennan. A highly readable and practical guide to utilizing a little space to provide a steady supply of food.
SQUARE FOOT GARDENING. Mel Bartholemew. A classic on growing food in small spaces. Be sure to get the newest, organic edition.
This listing is largely limited to books that concentrate on vegetables, although the recipes aren't necessarily vegetarian.
Mediterranean Grains and Greens. Paula Wolfert. The most wonderful book that I know of on the subject of coking and eating greens. If you'd like to get more greens into your diet, buy it. Then buy all Ms. Wolfert's books, especially those with "Mediterranean" in the title. They're all terrific.
Vegetables From Amaranth to Zucchini. Elizabeth Schneider. Ms. Schneider decided to omit many of the most common vegetables, but the more unusual ones are all here. Good advice and good recipes.
From Asparagus to Zucchini. Madison Area Community-supported Agriculture Coalition. Good guide to produce, packed full of recipes.
Vegetables. James Peterson. Mostly classic French, but some delightful surprises. Arranged by type of dish rather than by vegetable. Everything from this book that I have cooked has turned out well.
Vegetable Love. Barbara Kafka. Puzzlingly arranged, and great for pleasure reading but the arrangement makes it difficult to find recipes efficiently. The recipes tend to be good, though.
Jeremiah Tower Cooks! Jeremiah Tower. Some of the best vegetable (and other) recipes that I've usd are in this book, and it's well worth seeking out. See Tower's recipe for Montpelier butter under "herbs" on the recipe page. This book doesn't concentrate on vegetables, but I included it beause the recipes are so good and you might never come across it if you don't seek it out.
Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book and Jane Grigson's Fruit Book. Both by Jane Grigson, of course. Thorough information, and recipes that respect the innate flavors of good produce. Classics, and well worth owning.
Simple French Food. Richard Olney. This is a book that you should read straight through if you haven't already. It's a great food classic, and the discussion of the logic of improvisational cooking is the best that I've ever read. I know of entire large flashy books on this subject that don't have nearly as much to teach you. Also study the section on herbs. A must-read.