Most helpful positive review
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Inspiring, Elegant, Unique and Refreshing
on November 1, 2013
Here's a cookbook that will have you planning your spring garden, even if that means filling pots with mint, basil and chives. Alice Waters' new cookbook had me longing for spring and the chance to plant lettuce and greens by the back door, something that I haven't done in fifteen years but may do next April, thanks to this book. Alice Waters may be a "legendary" cook, but she hasn't lost her enthusiasm for the way fresh food smells and tastes when you pull it from the ground in your own back yard.
The Art of Simple Food II is filled with elegant simple ways to use greens and other relatively easy to grow vegetables and fruits. The book follows the seasons starting with the tender greens of early spring through the fruits and nuts of fall, right up to preserving and home canning. While there are some meat, fish and poultry dishes, the emphasis is on vegetables. If you have thought of starting a kitchen garden, or even just growing some rosemary on a windowsill, you will probably enjoy this book.
First the sell. This book doesn't pressure you to eat more vegetables, it makes them sound so delicious you find yourself longing for salad or a plate of Sweet and Hot Green Cabbage, Parsley and Anchovy Sauce or Tokyo Turnip Pickles.
Next comes the push. Waters would like you to grow your own vegetables . Fortunately, she knows that not everybody is up for a plowing up the backyard. Start small, she advises. Plant herbs, plant some greens. She gives advice on things that confuse most novices such as the soil to use in pots. Then she gets serious and explains composting, plant food. She goes from the very simple to subjects that few home gardeners touch such as cover crops.
Personally, I'm on the lazy end of the scale but I have to admit that I know she's right. Lettuce really is a breeze to grow, at least in the Southeast U.S. before the hot weather hits. On the other hand, Waters' cheery optimism when describing growing seasons' outside of California seemed a bit pat to me but maybe I'm not committed enough.
This is an interesting book to buy if you want a kitchen garden or even if you don't. I may plant that lettuce next spring, but I'll be glad I have the recipes even when my garden vegetables come from the farmers market.