Eating Local: The Cookbook Inspired by America's Farmers
In the visually stunning yet practical cookbook Eating Local, author Janet Fletcher and the kitchen experts at Sur La Table not only show you how to use more fresh ingredients in your everyday cooking, they also bring you closer to the family farms where the ingredients are grown and to the idealistic people who grow them. With 150 recipes featuring a wide range of fresh ingredients, Eating Local also highlights 10 community-supported agriculture projects around the country. These progressive farms provide inspiration for all who want to cook more wholesome meals using ingredients from their own foodshed.
Editors’ note: Due to “technical difficulties,” aka scheduling snafus (no fault at all of the C&B&R Featured Cooks Chris & Karen), this review had to be postponed. So no, there’ s most likely no longer two feet of snow at Chris & Karen’s house. But you may still have snow on the ground if you’re sitting somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Or if you’re one of our readers in the Southern Hemisphere. Snow or no snow, if you’re looking to summer, then you’re in luck, because that’s what this cookbook is all about: cooking summer’s bounty. And for Chris & Karen: no more waiting required!
C&B&R Featured Cooks Chris & Karen, the peche:
Eating Local was a challenge to review, not because it isn’t wonderful (it is), but because the ground outside is currently covered with two feet of snow. And this book has us dreaming for spring. And summer. We’d gladly take the waning days of fall at this point. But this book gives hope for warmer days and flavor-jammed locally farmed food.
The photos in the book grabbed us first. Sara Remington’s photo work here is perfection, daring you not to cook the recipes. They are impossible to resist. While there are some shots of the final dishes, most recipes begin with a single shot of the main ingredient, putting the focus on the food and the people who raised it.
The stories of farmers are sprinkled throughout and, as reported by Janet Fletcher, are compelling reads, delving into what drives the farmers out into the fields and pastures. Fletcher steers clear of easy sentimentality, sharing the triumphs and the day-to-day challenges of managing a small farm or CSA. If we have one criticism of the book, it is that we would have liked a few more of these stories. They are that good.
And finally, there are the recipes. Reading the cookbook inspired by America’s farmers feels like walking around our local farmers market. The book is divided into three main categories: vegetables, fruits, and poultry, meat, and eggs (the last three bundled into a single category). Each grouping is then organized alphabetically by main ingredient (arugula, asparagus, avocado, and so on). What makes this work so well is that we can go to the market, see what catches our eyes, and rest comfortably that Eating Local will have a recipe for us. We are hoping that watermelon radishes pop up in the summer at our market just so we can try the “Shaved Watermelon Radishes, Watercress, and Fennel” recipe.
The book has already received quite a workout from us, and there’s still snow on the ground. We know we are going to return to it again and again as the weather heats up and our local farmers return to their fields. Really, we barely can wait.
If you’re ready to dig in to the cookbook inspired by America’s farmers and start eating local, we think you’ll enjoy this recipe for beet greens and stems with whipped feta.