Thursday, January 7, 2010

05. Cooking from the Garden

Kitchen Garden Tip #5: Mastering the art of cooking and gardening requires reading cookbooks that offer more than just recipes and digging deep into garden books that offer more than just pretty pictures...and then there is always more to learn.

For many years, I have been writing recipes for the seed catalog, The Cook's Garden that I co-founded in 1985, which resulted in my cookbook, From the Cook's Garden published in 2003 by HarperCollins. The book is no longer in print, so those of you who have a copy hold onto it! Illustrated by Mary Azarian, I am certain that admirers of her work have purchased the cookbook as much for the color woodcuts as for my recipes. Writing recipes is not as simple as filling out a little card to give to friends, yet requires precise measuring, analytical tasting, testing again and again, and then finally writing up the formula in a way that is easy to follow. Learning to cook is built on a solid foundation of knowing the basics: soups, salad dressing, bread baking and how to prepare meats and fish, and then letting go to be inspired by the ingredients. The same is true for gardening, once you know how to blend healthy soil, sow seeds and cultivate plants, it evolves into an activity that yields rewards that go beyond the feast of good food.

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