Recently I was perusing the cookbook section of a used bookstore (cookbooks are my kryptonite) which had a really nice used cookbook section. At this point in my life I have a LOT of cookbooks, so when I buy a new one it has to either be of historic interest (I love OLD cookbooks) or something a bit unusual. This book fits in the unusual category. Originally published in the late 70’s–the version I picked up–with a couple of reprints, this book is for the person who is overwhelmed with a particular vegetable and looking for new ways to use some up.
That fits just about anyone I’ve ever known who has had a garden!
Author: Lois M Buttons & Laura G Myers
Publication Date: 1979 with a couple of reprints through 1991
List Price: Used approx. $4 on Amazon (actually $.01 plus $3.99 shipping used)
Length: 278 pages (not including index)
Frugal, Sustainable or Prepared? This book falls in the frugal/prepared category since it provides ways to cook garden produce.
Description: This is a cookbook for the gardener, CSA member or person who chronically overbuys vegetables a the farmers market or store. If you are tired of preparing your vegetables in the same couple of ways, this book can give you a bunch of new ideas. It’s easy to navigate because each vegetable has it’s own chapter. Now I won’t say that every recipe in the book is incredibly creative, or that all the recipes use tons of the vegetable you are looking to use up. . . but it’s a cookbook to put in your arsenal so that you use the food you have effectively.
This book has a basic intro for the “why” of creating the book, a page on basic vegetable cooking information and then launches into 22 chapters on individual vegetables wrapping up with an “everything and anything” chapter.
Each chapter starts out with some general info on the vegetable, brief growing/harvesting directions, a section called “The Basics”, fresh storage directions, how to freeze, how to cook and complementary herbs to use with it.
“The Basics” is an interesting informational section I haven’t seen in other gardening/cookbooks. It covers how many vegetables it takes to make a pound both in the raw state and prepared, how many servings in a pound, the nutritional value of the vegetable (calories/carbohydrates/protein and possible vitamins), and the yield for a row of the plants. For example here is the listing for chard:
1 pound=1 large bunch=16 medium leaves=4 cups raw=1 cup cooked
1 cup cooked (3.5 ounces)=35 calories, 6 grams carbohydrates, 3.5 grams protein, twice the recommended daily vitamin A, the daily vitamin C, and many minerals
10 foot row = 10 plants
The individual recipes are arranged in a way that I found a bit strange. The ingredients are listed on the right side and then directions are interspersed along the right where each ingredient is used. All recipes include how many it serves, and some include a short explanation or additional directions. Here is another example from the “Chard” section to show what I mean:
GARLIC CREAMED CHARD Serves 6
This dish may be prepared ahead, placed in a casserole, covered and chilled. Then bake uncovered in a 375 oven for 20-30 minutes
4 cups chopped and cooked
1 large onion, chopped Saute until soft. Add chard. Saute 1 minute
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream Stir in over low heat. Heat well, but do not boil.
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Add 1/2 of cheese. Season and sprinkle rest of cheese on top.
salt and pepper
Note that there are no photos of the finished recipes. This is an informative book, not a gorgeous coffee table worthy, drool inducing photograph type cookbook.
What makes this book different from others on the topic?
Who will most benefit from this book? Anyone with a vegetable garden, a CSA membership or who regularly buys too much at the Farmers Market because it “looks good” and then gets home and can’t figure out what to do with it.
I recommend this book, especially if you don’t have anything else like it on your shelf. I still favor the Victory Garden Cookbook–but that’s harder to find and more expensive used when you do.