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Melissa's Great Book of Produce: Everything You Need to Know about Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Hardcover – February 27, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764571877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764571879
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Thomas, food editor at the Orange County Register, along with the proprietors of Melissa's World Variety Produce, a major distributor of specialty fruits and vegetables, has created a comprehensive—but not overwhelming—manual that explains how to find, store, prepare and serve fruits, from Asian pear to yuzu, and vegetables, from artichoke to yu choy sum. Brilliant color photos render the food tantalizing and make it easy for readers to identify the produce piled high in their grocery store's aisles. Thomas explains the differences between varieties of grapes, mushrooms, onions and peas (check for scent, heft, texture and hue) and provides a primer on the exotic horned melon, with recipes for using it in margaritas, on ice cream and in salad dressing. Her tone is affable and knowledgeable ("Basically, quince look like squatty pears"), and her recipes are creative yet not too complicated. A glossary of "gizmos" includes instructions for segmenting citrus and using other tools. This is an excellent resource and valuable tool for cooks experienced and amateur; the only improvement might be a pocket-sized edition for easy toting to the grocery store. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Thomas, food editor at the Orange County Register, along with the proprietors of Melissa's World Variety Produce, a major distributor of specialty fruits and vegetables, has created a comprehensive—but not overwhelming—manual that explains how to find, store, prepare and serve fruits, from Asian pear to yuzu, and vegetables, from artichoke to yu choy sum. Brilliant color photos render the food tantalizing and make it easy for readers to identify the produce piled high in their grocery store's aisles. Thomas explains the differences between varieties of grapes, mushrooms, onions and peas (check for scent, heft, texture and hue) and provides a primer on the exotic horned melon, with recipes for using it in margaritas, on ice cream and in salad dressing. Her tone is affable and knowledgeable ("Basically, quince look like squatty pears"), and her recipes are creative yet not too complicated. A glossary of "gizmos" includes instructions for segmenting citrus and using other tools. This is an excellent resource and valuable tool for cooks experienced and amateur; the only improvement might be a pocket-sized edition for easy toting to the grocery store. (Mar.) (Publishers Weekly, January 2, 2006)

More About the Author

Part of the fun of cooking and entertaining is creating delectable dishes without spending hours in the kitchen. That's been the focal point Cathy Thomas' cooking classes and award-winning newspaper features for over two decades.
Her quick-to-prepare recipes show off her full-flavored style, using fresh fruits and vegetables to their best advantage.
Cathy is the Food Columnist at the Orange County Register. She won the first place award as the best food columnist in the nation from the Association of Food Journalists (in the large newspaper division).
She is the author of "50 Best Plants on the Planet" (Chronicle, $29). The colorful book showcases the fifty most nutrient dense fruits and vegetables in 150 delicious recipes. She has also written "Melissa's Great Book of Produce" (Wiley, $29.95) and "Melissa's Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce (Wiley, $29.95).
"Fruits and vegetables are sexy," said superstar chef Jose Andres on "60 Minutes," adding how with produce the flavors develop in the mouth. With each chew, he said, the flavor changes and gets more interesting.
Yes, Cathy agrees.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
The photographs are gorgeous!
Icommunicate
A wonderful book for the kitchen or the couch, Melissa's Great Book of Produce will surely expand your knowledge and, most likely, your appetite.
Douglas E. Welch
The typography and look of the book is probably one of the nicest on my shelves.
Bill Barrett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 71 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
`melissa's great book of produce' by Cathy Thomas is named after the produce wholesaler, Melissa's, who is best known, at least on the east coast, by their displays of dried fruits, vegetables, and spices in your local megamart produce section. Ms. Thomas is not an employee of Melissa's, but she received a great bit of assistance from the Melissa principals in writing the book.

For starters, the author set herself up for heavier than necessary criticism by subtitling the book, `Everything you need to know about fresh fruits and vegetables', because the book clearly does not have EVERYTHING you need to know. This is mostly because the book is oriented toward the casual user rather than the person wishing to use the book as a reference source.

To evaluate whether this book contains `EVERYTHING' you need to know, I compared it to the most authoritative popular book on vegetables, Elizabeth Schneider's `Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini'. The very first thing you notice, looking at the entries for `A' is that while Ms. Thomas covers but two main vegetable names, Ms. Schneider covers seven. One may not miss the entries for Amaranth, Arracacha, or Arrowhead, but we are certain to be put out by the absence of entries for Asparagus or Arugula! Since I agree with Ms. Thomas' organization by division into fruit and vegetable by use rather than by strict botanical classification, I did check in the fruits section for `asparagus' and `arugula', but neither were there either. What is even odder, neither were in the index either, and I looked for both `arugula' and `rocket', the Brits' name for the peppery herb.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bill Barrett on April 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Visually, this book is impeccable. The food stylist, graphic designer, and photographer have done a fantastic job of showing the fruits and vegetables in an appealing and stimulating way, sliced and angled just so. The typography and look of the book is probably one of the nicest on my shelves. But it's not just a good coffee table book. Most importantly, it contains enough detailed information on a quite impressive range of fruits and vegetables that it has quickly become my favorite reference book for fruits and vegetables. I can't say enough how thoroughly enjoyable the book is to look at and learn from. And my favorite part is when the author describes how a particular item tastes: for example, a feijoa has a "sweet-tart taste blending pineapple, citrus and purple grapes." The next day I hunted down a feijoa and enjoyed that sweet-tart taste! I have since personally vowed to try every fruit and vegetable in the book that I haven't yet eaten. It may be a challenge to find them all, but of course, as the book implies in its title, melissas.com is one place I can look for them.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dee Long on April 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Move over, apples & bananas! This is a book whose time has come -- just a decade ago, produce departments offered 200 items --today they have more than 500 fresh produce items and the authors of this handsome book have been instrumental in bringing many exotic items into the mainstream. We especially like the buying and preparation suggestions! Melissa's Great Book of Produce will inspire you to incorporate the more adventuresome fruits and vegetables into your daily meals.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Douglas E. Welch on April 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A geek in one thing, a geek in all things, I guess and here is a book for all the gardening and food geeks out there. I came acorss those book while trolling the sorting shelves at my local library. It is one of the best finds I have made in a while.

Melissa's Great Book of Produce: Everything you need to know about fresh fruits and vegetables is a information-filled and gorgeously photographed tome on produce both familiar and strange. For each piece of produce you get information on buying, storage use and even a few recipes along the way. There are some items in here I have never heard of before and it is great to get information on those I have heard of, but never encountered.

A wonderful book for the kitchen or the couch, Melissa's Great Book of Produce will surely expand your knowledge and, most likely, your appetite.

Highly Recommended
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steven Smith on February 27, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Wow - - first time I have seen a book with information about so many varieties of produce... there has got to be information on over 500 fruits and veggies and I didn't even know there were that many produce items! Information include season, selection, storeage, useage, serving suggestions and some recipes too! A vegetarian's bible I would say!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By L. Williams on January 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book has tons of information! I work in an upscale grocery store where we carry a lot of the product that is in this book. I can read up on a particular product and know when it is available, how to pick out good product and even find a recipe or two. Thanks!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judy Bart Kancigor on August 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
From The Orange County Register/Fullerton News Tribune
October 5, 2006

by Judy Bart Kancigor, author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family

You're shopping for produce and spot this spiny magenta...what? Christmas ornament? You're curious, but what on earth is it? For a moment your hand hovers as you gauge your own adventurous spirit. But do you buy it soft or firm? peel it? cook it? eat it raw? So instead you buy plums. Again.

"The appearance of dragon fruit is downright surreal," writes Cathy Thomas, the Register's food editor and award-winning author of "Melissa's Great Book of Produce: Everything you need to know about fresh fruits and vegetables" (Wiley), a gloriously photographed, comprehensive guide down the produce aisles. With Thomas at the helm, each fruit, from Asian pear to yuzu, and each vegetable, from artichoke to yu choy sum, begs to be discovered, its perfume inhaled and, yes, tasted.

Dragon fruit "has eye-popping magenta skin, dotted with bright lime-green spines" and "tastes like a marriage between kiwi and pineapple," she promises. Indeed it does, as I discovered recently at a book signing and reception held in the gardens of the Long Beach Museum of Art. Robert Schueller, marketing guru for Melissa's World Variety Produce, Inc., the largest distributor of specialty produce and foods in the U.S., selected a dragon fruit from the exotic fruit buffet - a riot of color like an artist's palette - and cut into it to reveal its purplish-pink flesh.

So what do you do with it?
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