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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book skillfully weaves a tapestry of farm and food. It offers depth and also keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. Relating the seasons to your cooking with pictures, stories, excellent recipes and more, it effectively captures ones experience of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Most cookbooks focus on the kitchen but this one takes you back to the farm, to where your vegetable ingredients are grown and the burgeoning CSA movement from which this deeper relationship springs. What an exciting new way to look at the food we eat.

A previous reviewer seems to have missed the tie-in this book might have to Omnivores Dilemma--not only is the book not vegetarian per se (although it certainly does focus on vegetables, meat is even included in some of the recipes), but how could this book be construed for an infomercial for a farm which is part of a CSA/local movement where the previous reviewer living in California (thousands of miles away from Angelic Organics' Illinois location) is unable to even participate or purchase even one vegetable. If it is an infomercial, it must be for the vegetables themselves and the local community supported agriculture movement ([...] helps you find your own local csa farm amongst many other local products) for which this book so effectively captures the spirit.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
With the current spinach scare, modern industrial society has begun to reflect on exactly where their food originates. A DVD like Koons-Garcia's "The Future of Food" explores both the problems with our current genetically engineered food, while develing into the socio-economic issues conflicting farmers faced with the GE future; where seeds are patented or refuse to grow unless sprayed with Round-up.

Interestingly, when we enter a supermarket, rarely do we reflect on the fact that 70 percent of the produce we can purchase is, well, out of season. The distances produce travels to sate our society, to eat tomatoes in the dead of winter, provides carbon emission concerns, while again triggering the "now what kind of conditions were these vegetables produced under?" or more directly, "Are they safe to eat?"

Which is why a CSA, or community supported agriculture, has become viewed as a viable, intelligent option to our current predicament. Farmer's participate as a group, receiving a call every week to fill a specific number of orders. The farmer sees what they will have available, and only one day before being delivered, pick the said product. The farms net their produce together, fill a box with their various pickings(like figs, tomatoes, beets, squash, arugala, carrots, green onions, etc.) and then deliver them to a drop point where customers pick the boxes up. So week to week, the food the customer receives changes depending on availabilty and time of year.

Besides giving customers better produce, a CSA cuts carbon emissions because food travels on average 50 miles to 1500 miles, and obviates concerns of chemically laden, GE foods.

So the Farmer John's Cookbook's attitude, or arguably its underlying theme, becomes tied to this notion of seasonality, slow food, and CSAs; hence why the author mentions his own CSA and farm Angelic Organics(to dispel, again, an earlier review here). The recipes are quite good. They are family-style and feature enough twists to be worthwhile. More importantly, each recipe focuses on each chosen produce's strengths. Similar in many ways to Alice Waters' "Chez Pannise Vegetables."

But the true greatness of the book is in, again, its theme. It argues for seasonality, and shows the eater how much can be appreciated in the produce each season brings. The snippets of information, an amalgamation of the Farmer's Almanac and some esoteric dated Brillat-Savarin philosophizing, only further carries this notion of appreciation.

As a CSA primer, the text succeeds, becoming more of a handbook than a cookbook; place it firmly next to "One Straw Revolution."
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a food book to savor. Not your average, get-down-to-business, step 1,2,3 sort of cookbook, this is more of a food-for-the-soul book, with lots of scrumptious recipes thrown in. Originally conceived as a helpful guide for the consumer/members of Angelic Organics, a CSA farm, the book evokes a direct connection between family, food and farm. The sidebars about weather and agricultural theory, the stories and humor give the cook, even if he/she is preparing food in a high-rise in Manhattan, a feel for the origins and importance of the food being prepared. The book is about the seasons, about the work of farming, about the soil and about harvest joy. It celebrates life as viewed through the eyes of the farmer as well as the cook. Highly recommended as a provocative read as well as a cookbook.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this cookbook on the recommendation of my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture = Organic Farm Share). It was written for CSA members who regularly get large batches of in-season vegetables that they may either not know how to cook, or are getting tired of as the season wears on.
As a result, it's packed with tons of vegetable recipes that are a bit out of the ordinary.
So far, absolutely everything I've tried has come out wonderfully, and brought a surprising new flavor to my table. A word of warning: somewhere between starting and finishing each of these recipes, I also had a moment of doubt, like "oh my God, why have I done this, this will never work." The moment always passed, and the recipes worked.
Normally I read cookbooks and then go out and do my own thing, picking maybe one or two recipes to actually follow from any given book. This book is so packed with unique ideas, and has been so successful every time that I follow the directions with unaccustomed frequency.
A must for CSA shareholders, I also recommend Farmer John's cookbook for anyone who wants to add more vegetables to their life, and more life to their vegetables.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
I was truly impressed by this book. Anyone can compile recipes and call it a cookbook!

This author in my opinion is very passionate about the earth, vegetables and very healthy eating.I enjoy using the recipes..They are not the "average" boil and serve recipes. I liked the anecdotes,pictures and the descriptions..an added plus.The handling,storage and usage is a nice reminder to us all. One outstanding feature of this book is how the author separates the vegetables into seasonal crops.

This is a MUST book for any kitchen!!!!!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful cookbook. In addition to the many recipes contributed by the shareholders and cooks at Angelic Organics, an Illinois CSA farm, this book also is a good resource for harvesting, preserving, and storing vegetables and herbs. Unlike traditional cookbooks, there are amusing stories, humorous sidebars, beautiful pictures, and information on the philosophy used in raising the vegetables. For those who care about eating for good health, this book should definitely be part of their kitchen library.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This cookbook has helped us make full use of our weekly crop from our local CSA. Love the Chocolate Beet cake. Hard to get my kids to eat beets but they eat this cake up like crazy.
Fun stuff!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I purchased both this cookbook and Simply in Season Expanded Edition (World Community Cookbook) when my husband and I couldn't think of any new ways to cook our CSA veggies (particularly cabbage and beets). I'm giving this book 4 stars and Simply in Season 5 stars because this one is less simply organized, but I really think they complement each other -- Simply in Season has fruit recipes, whereas Farmer John's has more inventive vegetable recipes.

Likes: A good variety of recipes. In particular, the chapters on beets and cucumber were more inspiring than those in Simply in Season. Many root vegetables (celeriac, turnip) are also treated more extensively. Recipes are sorted by the major vegetable used, so you can flip through a section to try to use up your large quantity of X. We haven't made many recipes yet, but the ones we have made were good. Also, the book includes lists of 'partners' for each vegetable -- spices, dairy products, fresh herbs, nuts ... -- if you are someone who likes to be inventive rather than following other people's recipes each time, or just want to roast or steam your veggies and then dress them up with flavors. Along with the 'partners' lists are basics of storage, handling, and cooking each vegetable.

Neutral: This book only covers vegetables, and our CSA provides fruit. However, we usually find it easy to consume the fruit plain or as cobbler/ice-cream.

Dislikes: Vegetables are alphabetical within three seasons, so it is hard to find your vegetable section without using the index. The index doesn't give the page number of the main section on a given veggie, just the pages for individual recipes, which are sometimes filed under another main vegetable.
In addition, the Rudolf Steiner philosophy/biology (anthroposophy) sections strike me as junk. So I just don't read them, thereby losing a few dozen pages of book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Aside from two cucumber recipes that I felt were a little off-target, every recipe I've tried from this book has been great! I like to cook, and this is the cookbook I use the most. The cauliflower pie is to die for! (It's a lot of work, though.)My mom was raving about the marinated roasted red peppers. The pear-and-caramelized-leek salad is very elegant. Lots of simple, every-day ideas for ways to eat your veggies and make it delicious, along with some fancier, more complicated ideas to impress guests with (e.g. cauliflower pie). This is a great cookbook for vegetarians and meat-eaters, novice cooks and experienced chefs, and anyone who loves vegetables already, or who hates them because they've only had them presented in boring, mushy, overcooked ways and wants to be reconciled. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2009
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I very much enjoyed and enjoy the book. It's written very clearly and gives a good understanding for organic growing. After subscribing a few months ago to delivery of organic vegetables the book was very helpful also in getting to know many new green vegetables, which I hadn't known before. The book also contains very good drawings of the different vegetables, it contains good and easy to make receipees and is written with a refreshing sense of humour.
Gabriella Jakubowicz
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