I like to read. A lot. So I thought it was time to share with you all some of the books that I find particularly useful or interesting! I’m starting with one of my very favorite cookbooks!
Title: The Victory Garden Cookbook
Author: Marian Morash
List Price: This book is out of print-in 1988 it was $17.95, I’ve seen it used online from $20 to $74. . .
Length: 372 pages
Frugal, Sustainable or Prepared? This book could be useful in all three categories as it deals with cooking vegetables from your garden!
Description: Are you familiar with the great PBS Show “The Victory Garden”? It is the oldest gardening show on TV in the US, starting in 1975, and it still airs on PBS! The very first producer of the show was Russel Morash and this book is written by his wife, Marian Morash, a classically trained french chef.
Organizational Notes: This book is arranged into 38 chapters each one for a specific vegetable. The vegetables covered are asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, fennel, greens, Jerusalem artichokes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, okra, onion family, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, salad greens, salsify, spinach, squash (summer), squash (winter), sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, tomatoes, turnips & rutabagas, and mixed vegetables.
The chapters begin with an easy to read, informative and conversational style description by the author of the vegetable and basics on how to grow, harvest and use it. Each chapter then has a “special information” box which gives you “at a glance” type bullet information-things like expected yields, storage/preserving, hints, and ways to use leftovers.
Next the chapter will cover all the various methods of cooking the vegetable-for example how to steam it, how to braise it, how to bake it-and various ways to “finish” the simply prepared vegetable.
Finally the chapter will list several pages of recipes that feature the vegetable-from the mundane to the unexpected.
The 38 vegetable chapters are followed by an appendix that includes information on growing and using the “essential herbs” and basic recipes for items such as sauces, batters, and pastries.
What makes this book different from others on the topic?
Most cookbooks are arranged by course and include only specific recipes. What I love about The Victory Garden Cookbook is the way that it is arranged by vegetable and includes a variety of techniques and tips, not just specific recipes. This is especially helpful for the typical summer “garden glut” where you are harvesting large amounts of a single crop and need new ways to prepare it.
Before I had this book I never realized that you could de-seed & saute cucumber–maybe not the way I’d want to eat it all the time, but a great way to add an unusual side dish to a meal when the cukes are prolific and you can’t stand another salad, crudite tray or pickle! Similarly it never would have occurred to me that you could either saute or braise radishes, transforming them from a salad garnish to an real vegetable!
Who will most benefit from this book?
Anyone who has a garden or a CSA share would benefit from this book. Because even the used versions are pretty pricey now (which ought to tell you how well regarded it is!) I highly recommend that you check your local library system and see if they have a copy for you to look through before you buy it. (PS–although the widget below shows a high price, you can find this book on Amazon through that link as a used book for under $5 before shipping.
I highly recommend this book!