From: , Organic Consumers Association, More from this Affiliate
Published November 17, 2008 08:17 AM

Grist Magazine on Cookbooks and Seasonal Eating

Dear Umbra,

I am trying to eat local foods within the seasons, but most of my cookbooks include ingredients from multiple seasons in a single recipe. Can you offer any cookbooks or advice for finding more seasonal recipes?

Yours locally (and in season or preserved), Katie Somerville, Mass.

Dearest Katie,

Good for you -- and good for you. Isn't it too bad Gristmahanukwanzakah comes after Thanksgiving? Cookbooks make great gifts, but we need them in advance. I feel thanksgiving for the library, where we can test drive before committing to a wish list.


The eat-local notion has settled into full-on movement status, which means there are blogs, websites, how-to guides, maps, and ... cookbooks. It's important to also remember that in the days before refrigerated trucks, container freight, and canned food, all cookbooks were fairly local -- which means the classics are still useful. No kitchen should be without a few cookbooks of simply prepared, traditional foods, whether that is the Joy of Cooking, The Silver Spoon, or any book from a culture with a climate similar to yours (the Larousse Gastronomique is the French cooking bible, which is encyclopedic and would be useful if only French cuisine were "simple").

The cookbooks I use most, down here in the Grist CSA-supplied basement kitchen, are Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Alice Waters'The Art of Simple Food, the Joy (aka "What would Irma and Marion do?"), and now Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Bittman's previous book, How to Cook Everything, is out in a new edition, just in time for the winter cooking blitz. These books work because they show the basics but also give tips for expanding recipes. And though they suit those who like to shop based on a recipe, they also work well when you need recipes that work with certain ingredients.

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