Raymond Sokolov applies to vegetables the original concept of his book THE COOK'S CANON: 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know, fusing imaginative recipes with a wealth of food lore. His more than 40 years' experience as a cookbook author and food historian provide a wealth of background for vegetable recipes from around the world, from traditional American (succotash) to Chinese (Sichuan spicy tofu) as well as French (Spinach Mornay) and Italian (Pasta e faglioli).
All the recipes are high points of the culinary imagination, great dishes in which vegetables are the featured ingredient. This is not a vegetarian cookbook. Many of the recipes include meat, but with the vegetables at center stage.
For each vegetable discussed and each recipe, Sokolov provides historical and cultural background with many witty comments based on his wide reading in food history and his training as a classicist.
CHEZ PANISSE VEGETABLES by Waters, Harper, 1996, $35, 0060171472 (113,914cc, isis)
VEGETABLES by Peterson, Morrow, 1998, $35, 0688146589 (27,191cc, isis)