Synopses & Reviews
Todayand#8217;s renaissance of the backyard flock is driven by a growing desire for healthy organic ingredients, food security and animal welfareand#151;and while hunger might be and#147;the best sauce,and#8221; a dash of self-sufficiency is remarkably satisfying too. As communities from Victoria to St. Johnand#8217;s amend urban bylaws to allow backyard flocks, more and more Canadians are enjoying the pleasures and rewards of keeping hens in the garden.
In addition to tending her familyand#8217;s flock as a child, Signe Langford has kept chickens in her urban Toronto yard for almost a decade. Her book is stuffed full of practical advice on keeping the garden both gorgeous and productive and hens happy and healthy. In addition to answering questions about coop construction, year-round egg production and whether or not a rooster is really needed, she covers the best breeds for backyardsand#151;from the Canadian winter-tough Chantecler to peewee bantams to blue-egg producing Ameraucana.
A self-admitted and#147;biomass addict,and#8221; Langford explains how hens are the happiest garden helpers anyone could ever have. Give them kitchen scraps and let them visit the compost pile: theyand#8217;ll enrich and aerate the soil, all while eating as many bugs as they can get their beaks on. Langford also shares what plants should be scratched and what to sow to support the flockand#151;from edible flowers and foliage to a hensand#8217; herbal healing bed.
In the kitchen, Langford tells why coddling can be a good thing when it comes to eggs; how to salt-cure yolks and how to dash off a classic French omelette baveuse.
From Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tart to Vanilla Coeur a la Crand#232;me with Blueberry Compote, Langford includes dozens of simple and elegant recipes from her own kitchen, as well as from celebrated contributors like Vikram Vij, Laura Calder, Ted Reader and John Higgins. Illustrated with beautiful photographs, illustrations and garden plans, Happy Hens and Fresh Eggs is sure to become a favorite of avid and aspiring backyard farmers alike.
Professional cook and food writer Langford combines her love of food gardens and backyard chickens in her scattered but delightful first book. The book is a hybrid of several genres: part cookbook part memoir part how to raise backyard chickens manual and even part sketchbook. The genres for the most part blend together seamlessly and add to the unique charm of Langford's creation. A few negative family anecdotes seem out of place but they're brief and easily overlookd. The book is divided into four sections by season. Each section is then broken down into two parts the first providing advice on raising backyard chickens and on gardening with chickens in general and the second providing seasonal recipes for free range eggs. Langford's tips and tricks for chicken tending don't go into much detail but they are helpful in that they will get chicken owners and would be chicken owners thinking about a wide variety of issues that go hand in hand with urban hen keeping. Similarly some of the recipes lack specifics such as the required temperature but the wide variety will appeal to many tastes and skill levels. (May) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
About the Author
Signe Langford is a chef, Toronto food writer, and backyard chicken fanatic. Afrequent contributor to the Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Life, Canadian Living and Garden Maker, she lives in Toronto.