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Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch Hardcover – April 26, 2011


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Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch + Ripe: A Cook in the Orchard + Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607740370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607740377
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.1 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Guest Reviewer: Alice Waters on Tender
Alice Waters is the visionary chef and owner of Chez Panisse and the author of ten cookbooks, including The Art of Simple Food and In the Green Kitchen.

This lovely book is a celebration of the senses: Nigel Slater describes a carrot with such attention, tenderness, and humor that it feels like he is introducing a dear friend to his readers. He understands the perfection of a runner bean in midsummer, and explores its flavor in a way that is pure, honest, and delicious. His prose is a pleasure to read--full of life and enjoyment of the table--and the photography makes it a lush and beautiful book.

Even as he delivers a collection of elegant, simply constructed recipes, Slater also taps into the reasons we engage with food--reasons both sensory and philosophical. “The idea of planting a seed, watching it grow, then eating the result instantly does away with much of the baggage that goes hand in hand with our modern food supply,” he writes. In Tender, we have the rare insight of a cook who knows not only the kitchen, but also the garden. Slater is passionate about every moment in the process of growing, cooking, and consuming food, and he starts with the essential notion of “reading” a plate--which is to say, pondering the where and why of the food we prepare. He weaves this notion effortlessly into his chapters, whether he is discussing his favorite varieties of eggplant (which he grows in deep clay pots against his warmest wall) or sharing his love of walking around the garden on a summer night when peas are in season: “To burst a pod of peas and eat them in the dark is a sweet joy.” Tender is full of small but irresistible observations like this.

Review

New York Times Notable Cookbook of 2011

“a valentine to produce”
—Mother Jones, Favorite Cookbooks of 2011, 12/3/11

“Little about TENDER, British writer Nigel Slater’s quietly epic cookbook about preparing vegetables, feels designed for the American consumer. The author’s preoccupations are so personal, so drawn from the quotidian pleasures of tending his small garden in London, that they feel far removed from the celebrity-penned, diet-driven, ego-tripping cookbooks that dominate U.S. bestseller lists. . . . Slater, in other words, is an obsessive, but one whose obsession seems to stop in the kitchen. Slater has too much respect for all involved — the ingredient, the reader, the joy of discovery in the kitchen — to want to serve as your nanny. He’d rather play your mentor, the kind who wants you to love the messy process, not just the finished dish, which, come to think of it, you’ll love, too. These easy-to-execute dishes go down just as easy. It all makes you look forward to Slater’s second “Tender” volume, dedicated to fruits, due to arrive stateside next spring.”
—The Washington Post, 8/2/11

“Not only is Nigel Slater one of the greatest living food writers, he's also the ultimate urban gardener. His latest book, Tender, just might inspire you to tear up your lawn and get planting.”
—Bon Appétit, August 2011

“A seriously hefty and seriously engaging homage to the garden, from one of Britain’s foremost food authorities.” 
—NYTimes.com, Summer Cookbook Roundup, 6/2/11

Tender is pleasing in so many ways. For cooks it's filled with glorious vegetable-centric recipes, for gardeners it's an insightful and personal story about just how much a garden can mean, and for those who just enjoy reading about food, well, you're going to love getting acquainted with Nigel Slater.”
—Serious Eats, Cook the Book, 5/23/11

“But the crowning glory of "Tender" is Mr. Slater's own prose, even when treating of something as lowly as the autumnal cabbage—each dark-green leaf of which "somehow seems as if it will fend off our winter ills. Elephant ears of crinkled green, sparkling with dew; black plumes of cavolo nero like feathers on a funeral horse, and the dense, ice crisp flesh of red cabbage. Strong flavors indeed." Strong, yes, but also tenderly enticing, as guests at Mr. Slater's latest literary feast will discover.”
—The Wall Street Journal, Bookshelf, 4/23/11

“The best Brit you’ve never heard of. . . . Nigel Slater is who you’d get if you combined Alice Waters with Mark Bittman: a garden-to-table advocate whose goal in life is to make people love fresh produce and cooking because they are – gasp – fabulous and fun and do not have to be fussy in the slightest.”
—The Christian Science Monitor, 4/19/11

“Engagingly written and showcasing more than 200 full-color photos, this attractive and infinitely useful collection shows how to tastefully incorporate more vegetables into one's diet while providing an informative primer on gardening.”  
—Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, 3/7/11

“Nigel Slater’s Tender is a rich tale of one man’s passion for cultivating, cooking, and eating from the garden. His sensuous and delicious recipes make us want to run right into the kitchen and start cooking. But even if you never set a foot in your garden or turn on the stove, it is a great, inspiring read.”
—Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, authors of Canal House Cooking
 
“As a second-floor city-dweller with no patch of land to call my own, a glimpse into Nigel Slater’s garden sanctuary makes me ache for a small plot of good dirt, preferably just off a kitchen, to grow some of what I eat. Nigel captures the small moments—the rituals, sights, and smells—that are part of the cycle of growing, cooking, eating, and sharing, culminating in a collection of vibrant, bold yet approachable recipes. A rare treasure.”
—Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Cooking
 
“A home garden isn’t just the best source of the ultimately fresh. It’s also the place where scent, smell, and touch vie with taste to inspire and shape our culinary imagination. Nigel Slater, a food writer too little known in this country, has a unique ability to convey this magical play of the senses, and what happens when we let it permeate our cooking. The imaginative, often inspired dishes that result are a revelation. Tender deserves pride of place on any vegetable lover’s shelf.”
—John Thorne, author of Outlaw Cook
 
“Nigel Slater is my kind of cook. His gently passionate garden-to-kitchen approach shows respect for the beauty of simple ingredients. He celebrates the sweetness of a roasted onion, the thrill of a ripe berry, and the real pleasure of a good salad.”
—David Tanis, author of Heart of the Artichoke

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I gave the book as a gift and I am happy with the book!
Vanessa
I like reading it in small bits at the bedside because it is more than a book of recipes featuring vegetables.
R. Owen
I love this man!- his writing, his recipes, the book layout, the non-shiny photos, the paper... great!
readsalot in mn.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By K. Gill on May 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Tender confirms all the reasons I think Nigel Slater's work is fantastic. His writing is excellent, his recipes are diverse and simple. The photography in his books captures the mood of the ingredients, dishes, and meals perfectly. His food is really the kind that you'd put together for yourself or friends dropping by-- nothing pretentious, few ingredients, great satisfaction. I used to think the Kitchen Diaries was the jewel in his crown, but now Tender has moved in alongside it. Can't wait for Tender II-- the Fruit!

Nigel Slater is well known and loved in the UK. I have for years saved clippings of his recipes from the Guardian, where I was first introduced to his work. His recipes just seem so intuitive and easy. Nothing is about measuring really, it's all about what tastes good. Working through his recipes, you realize what cooking is all about-- marrying flavors to fit your palate. So you don't really have a sense that if you don't follow the recipe to a T, it won't come out. You know that you'll be happy to sit down with a plate of food you pulled together from what you had, just the way great home cooking should be.

You'll clutch this book close to your heart, and want to share its beauty and perfection with everyone you know who loves food!
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an odd vegetable book. It's one man's story of his relationship to growing vegetables and cooking them. As such, despite its main subject matter, in some ways, it's not a book about vegetables, but about the life of a gardener and cook. The author definitely has his prejudices, and various vegetables are dismissed out of hand as either too difficult to grow in a home garden, or simply not vegetables that he likes to eat. He's also got a very old-fashioned British perspective on what constitutes a meal, and while I realize that the book was not intended as a vegetarian or vegan cookbook, by midway through and from that point on I found myself despairing of encountering a recipe that didn't involve butter, cream, cheese, bacon or sausages in one form or another and, in quantity, oft-times more than the vegetable. Anything to cover up the taste it seemed - and in some cases he was upfront about that, one that stood out was a comment that amounted to, "no one would eat eggplant for its taste". A similar curse was laid upon the humble cauliflower. So, overall, an interesting book to read, more so probably if you're a gardener than if you're looking for cooking tips or recipes.
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32 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lou Heiss on August 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tender: A cook and his vegetable patch Ten Speed Press 2011 )is the latest book by Nigel Slater, author of The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater, and Toast; The Story of a Boy's Hunger . He is one of my favorite English food writers. In fact, I am always drawn to English food writers (Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson, Tamasin Day Lewis) because of their reassuring tone and engaging, conversational voice.

These writers view food through a different lens than other food writers. To them, food and cooking is not static, or a black and white formulaic topic, but a subject so beguiling that it merits thoughtful consideration. The best of the lot don't just teach us how to cook but share with us their vision about food and cooking: they muse, debate, decide, select, and present us with situations that gives us the confidence to realize that, yes, I can cook like this, too. This approach shows us that after one has learned the basics of good cooking, that the need to follow recipes exactly-to-the-letter is less valuable than learning to develop one's instincts in the kitchen.

Nigel Slater's writing is very welcoming. For him, the process of selecting the foods and ingredients at market, and ready-ing himself to cook, and the steps involved in constructing and then cooking the dish are an important part of his engagement with the food. I think that under his influence, all cooks can find some area in the kitchen that they could pay more attention to.

His voice is personal, and spoken in an intimate and joyful way from writer to reader, cook to cook. His musings consider numerous variables: he wants the reader to find these details as important as he does.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Tran on April 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just got my "Tender vol 1" book by Slater today in the mail. What a lovely book with many beautiful pictures and stories. I have 4 of Slater books and loved them all. Easy recipes, easy to follow instructions, and always interesting reading. Love his writing style and his British humor. Most of the ingredients is easy to find in the US supermarkert. His cooking is very simple and straight forward (very important on most weeknight after work). I marked alot of recipes to cook from this book. Will update my review. I'm going to order "Real Food" by the same author soon.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Dejager on August 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a treasure for any cook but particularly for those that grow their own vegetables or visit the Farmers Market regularly. Starting with a list of the author's favorite seeds for each plant, an in-depth article about that particular beet or bean or kale, followed by some innovative recipes that taste as good as they sound makes this cookbook a great resource. I have done 5 recipes so far and all are stellar! This is at the top of my gift giving list this year!
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