Synopses & Reviews
From Michael Pollan to locavores, Whole Foods to farmers' markets, today cooks and foodies alike are paying more attention than ever before to the history of the food they bring into their kitchens—and especially to vegetables. Whether it’s an heirloom tomato, curled cabbage, or succulent squash, from a farmers' market or a backyard plot, the humble vegetable offers more than just nutrition—it also represents a link with long tradition of farming and gardening, nurturing and breeding.
In this charming new book, those veggies finally get their due. In capsule biographies of eleven different vegetables—artichokes, beans, chard, cabbage, cardoons, carrots, chili peppers, Jerusalem artichokes, peas, pumpkins, and tomatoes—Evelyne Bloch-Dano explores the world of vegetables in all its facets, from science and agriculture to history, culture, and, of course, cooking. From the importance of peppers in early international trade to the most recent findings in genetics, from the cultural cachet of cabbage to Proust’s devotion to beef-and-carrot stew, to the surprising array of vegetables that preceded the pumpkin as the avatar of All Hallow’s Eve, Bloch-Dano takes readers on a dazzling tour of the fascinating stories behind our daily repasts.
Spicing her cornucopia with an eye for anecdote and a ready wit, Bloch-Dano has created a feast that’s sure to satisfy gardeners, chefs, and eaters alike.
"Bloch-Dano displays here erudite command of culinary history with both literary and historical anecdotes. . . . Digesting the contents of this little book yields a trove of trivia with which to impress shoppers and vendors alike at the farmers' market."
"This allusive, impressionistic, quintessentially French tour of the kitchen garden takes us from aphrodisiac artichokes to Zola's gritty market stalls, with many a literary and gustatory detour. Lazy summers in grandmother's garden, the frenzy for fresh winter peas that gripped the court at Versailles in 1660, the global travels of the chili pepper, the contested history of Cinderellas pumpkin--it's all here, and it's all fun."
"From Grandma's vegetable garden to our childhood tables, from personal memories--yes, members of the pumpkin family are also Proustian madeleines--to the origins of vegetables and to the way they have been cooked throughout the ages and on different continents, from the healing cabbage to the aphrodisiacal artichoke, we feast upon so much new information and upon how we can benefit from it."
"A book that Colette would have adored, one that gives vegetables back their original flavor, that restores the parsnip or the cardoon, leads us through the kitchen garden into a child-like thrill of literature, and celebrates the democracy of pleasure." on the French edition
"A lovely book that makes you feel at once hungry for these plants and satiated by the knowledge you just reaped about them."
"Quirky . . . entertaining. . . . Bloch-Dano's book confirms that we are what we eat, and that vegetables, like Bloch-Dano's gardens, are firmly rooted in the realm of imagination."
“This is a wonderfully evocative and indeed mouthwatering celebration of vegetables and the joys of gardening. . . . Bloch-Dano takes 10 vegetables, from the carrot and the cabbage to the pumpkin and the pea, and explores their history, drawing on literature, art, language, geography, genetics and horticulture. She even throws in some recipes. There are many delightful details. The artichoke was Freud's favourite plant, apparently reminding him of tearing up a book as a child. On parsnips, she cites Samuel Beckett: ‘I like parsnips because they taste like violets, and violets because they smell like parsnips. Bloch-Dano says ‘gardens are rooted in the realm of the imagination. So too are vegetables, as her slight but rich book shows.”
andquot;Will keep gardeners and cooks fully engaged through the dark of winter.andquot;
The rise of the slow food movement and the return to home gardens mean cooks are donning gardening gloves as often as oven mitts. Modern cooking is heading back to its roots, with home cooks embracing local ingredients and down-to-earth recipes. With more and more of us discovering the delight of preparing and eating freshly harvested food, Vegetables for the Gourmet Gardener
is the indispensable guide to what to grow, cook, and eat.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; A feast for the eyes and the table, this user-friendly resource traverses the realms of both the garden and the kitchen, addressing the cultivation, storage, and preparation of nearly seventy useful vegetables. Practical growing tips, fascinating histories, nutritional information, and classic recipes appear alongside botanical illustrations drawn from the Royal Horticultural Societyand#8217;s cherished collection. With both familiar varieties and novel options, Vegetables for the Gourmet Gardener will inspire you to create a world of new shapes, colors, and tastes.
About the Author
is the author of many books, including Madame Proust: A Biography
, which is also published by the University of Chicago Press.
Teresa Lavender Fagan is a freelance translator living in Chicago; she has translated numerous books for the University of Chicago Press and other publishers.
Table of Contents
Introduction: From Grandmas Garden to the Université populaire du goût
A LITTLE HISTORY
Good to Eat, Good to Think About
A Matter of Taste
SOME VEGETABLE HISTORIES
The Cardoon and the Artichoke
The Jerusalem Artichoke
The Chili Pepper
A Biographer of Vegetables, by Michel Onfray