Synopses & Reviews
Critics greeted Russ Parsons' first book, How to Read a French Fry, with raves. The New York Times praised it for its affable voice and intellectual clarity; Julia Child lauded it for its deep factual information. Now in How to Pick a Peach, Parsons takes on one of the hottest food topics today. Good cooking starts with the right ingredients, and nowhere is that more true than with produce. Should we refrigerate that peach? How do we cook that artichoke? And what are those different varieties of pears? Most of us aren't sure. Parsons helps the cook sort through the produce in the market by illuminating the issues surrounding it, revealing intriguing facts about vegetables and fruits in individual profiles about them, and providing instructions on how to choose, store, and prepare these items. Whether explaining why basil, citrus, tomatoes, and potatoes should never be refrigerated, describing how Dutch farmers revolutionized the tomato business in America, exploring organic farming and its effect on flavor, or giving tips on how to recognize a ripe melon, How to Pick a Peach is Parsons at his peak.
"Eat locally, eat seasonally.” A simple slogan that is backed up by science and by taste. The farther away from the market something is grown, the longer it must spend getting to us, and what eventually arrives will be less than satisfying. Although we can enjoy a bounty of produce year-round -- apples in June, tomatoes in December, peaches in January -- most of it is lacking in flavor. In order to select wisely, we need to know more. Where and how was the head of lettuce grown? When was it picked and how was it stored? How do you tell if a melon is really ripe? Which corn is sweeter, white or yellow?
Russ Parsons provides the answers to these questions and many others in this indispensable guide to common fruits and vegetables, from asparagus to zucchini. He offers valuable tips on selecting, storing, and preparing produce, along with one hundred delicious recipes. Parsons delivers an entertaining and informative reading experience that is guaranteed to help put better food on the table.
About the Author
RUSS PARSONS is the food and wine columnist of the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of the best-selling How to Read a French Fry, a winner of multiple James Beard Awards for his journalism, and the recipient of the IACP/Bert Greene Award for distinguished writing. He lives in California, which produces more than half of the fruits and vegetables grown in this country. He has been writing about food and agriculture for more than twenty years.
Table of Contents
The Vegetables and Fruits Alphabetically xi
The Recipes by Category xiii
Introduction 1 The Plant Designers: Factories in the Field 21 Spring Artichokes 35 Asparagus 47 Onions, Leeks and Garlic 59 Peas and Fava Beans 74 Salad Greens 86 Strawberries 101 Big Farmers, Small Farmers: The Cost of Compromise 113
Summer Corn 129 Cucumbers 140 Eggplants 146 Green Beans 154 Summer Squash 160 Tomatoes 169 Cherries 181 Grapes 190 Melons 198 Peaches and Nectarines 209 Plums 218 Growers and Global Competition: Reinventing the Tomato 223
Fall Broccoli and Cauliflower 235 Mushrooms 248 Peppers 256 Winter Squash 267 Apples 279 Pears, Asian Pears and Quinces 288 Persimmons and Figs 304 Market Corrections: The Return of the Small Farmer 311
Winter Cabbages and Brussels Sprouts 321 Cooking Greens 330 Potatoes 339 Root Vegetables 349 Lemons and Limes 364 Mandarins (Tangerines), Grapefruits and Pummelos 376 Oranges 384