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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over, Sugar Pie: there's a new gang of pepos in town, February 13, 2006
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This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
I knew this would be good from the moment I first saw it on the endcap display. A few years earlier, Amy Goldman had impressed me with her scrumptious homage to melons in Melons for the Passionate Grower; now she's done it again, this time for cucurbitas (summer and winter squashes, which include my favorite vegetable-the Pumpkin!).

The Compleat Squash has all of the photographic panache of MFTPG, and all the passionate style of prose besides. The vast majority of listed varieties each have an extravagant, portrait-style photo of the fruit and often an entire page of commentary to accompany it. If a species has any points of special interest that are not obvious by the picture, you can be sure Ms. Goldman will expand on them at length and with flourish. She also loves to throw in anecdotes about how and from whom she came across the original seeds, recipes, stories behind funny names, and significant historical context for certain groupings of cucurbitas. Not since Georgeanne Brennan have I read such romantic, detailed tributes to vegetables! Too bad that there are human limitations on how many different cucurbitas a person can possibly grow, catalog and photograph in two seasons; you get the definite feeling she would have liked to have included them all, but had to content herself with merely 150 heirlooms.

But while Ms. Goldman may be in love, she's not blind. Each listing is straightforward about the variety's suitability (or sometimes lack of) for table use, decorating, carving, and/or livestock feed. You also get an estimate of size, weight, rind color, flesh color, color rating (!), fiber, date of introduction, synonyms and seed sources. There is also an introductory section that lays out nicely the growing and care of cucurbitas in general. Like a good matchmaker, she makes sure you and your prospective squash are well prepared before the planting bed is ever cultivated.

It is clear that the author wants us to not only appreciate cucurbitas in theory but to grow them in fact, harvest them, handle them, use them and save their seeds for the future. These are living treasures, *heirlooms*, that will disappear forever if we don't. That's a loss for our tastebuds and for the precious genetic diversity of the planet.

Okay, enough soapboxing. Let's get our hands dirty!

-Andrea, aka merribelle
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A winter treat for a gardener, January 9, 2007
This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
This book is beautiful to look at, has a great deal of interesting history, useful gardening information, and some good recipes. Also it is inspirational, makes you want to source the rarer seeds and get out there with the spade. I don't know how much of this information is readily available in America, but here in Britain, where growing squash still mostly means butternut or Jack o' Lantern, the book is a revelation.

Highly recommended
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book--passionate but balanced writing, August 30, 2006
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This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
Beautiful photos. Well-researched. Passionate, but balanced assessments. Writing comes from intimate and in-depth experience. I would have liked even more technical information on growing habits, morphology, and horticultural groups, but it is a wonderful book as it stands. Highly recommended
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect pumpkin book, February 9, 2008
By 
Roger Thompson (Panay Bay , Philippines) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
At this time, this is the most comprehensive volume on the Cucurbita genus. A good personal narrative, coupled with sublime photography. My only quibbles are that none of the images show cut open fruit, to give a view of the flesh and cavity. Secondly, that quite a number of internationally known cultivars are not mentioned. Nevertheless, an absolute "must have" for pumpkin and squash devotee.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Resource!, August 29, 2008
This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
I love this book -- sometimes I think it spends more time off the bookshelf being thumbed through than resting on it. Here you have practically everything you need to grow squashes - what the squashes are best used for, some history of the various varieties, selecting seeds, growing and harvesting tips, and (extremely useful!)commercial sources of most of the seeds(many of which you can find easily online), all nicely organized by which Cucurbita species they belong to. (The growing guide to gourds is for C. pepo gourds, not Lagenaria species, and so the title is certainly appropriate growing C. pepo gourds, of which there are many) And recipes too -- so useful! Goldman is extremely helpful in pointing out the virtues and flaws of each variety for eating (though she tries some I wouldn't dare -- brave woman). The photographs are so beautiful as to be absolutely seductive -- watch out, you too will be saying to yourself 'I must grow that pumpkin/squash/gourd/whatever'. Then you too will be seeking out the seed suppliers, tenderly planting your new seeds and now in late summer, seeing them beginning to mature, turning into the fruit promised in the gorgeous photographs, murmur to yourself 'You are so beautiful, Sucrine du Berry. And Winter Luxury, you are the most elegantly lovely pumpkin I have ever seen..."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Book, March 2, 2009
By 
Donna Richeson (Pescadero, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
If you are fascinated with winter squashes -- looking at them, growing them or preparing them for dinner, this is a really wonderful book. As a budding gardener and avid cook, I have become increasingly interested in winter squashes. It is so satisfying to grow them and cook with them -- also just to admire their gorgeousness. While reading about squashes in various places, nothing even comes close to the beauty of this book and the wonderful descriptions that help you recognize the qualities of each squash. After seriously reading it three times, I then went to the seed companies online because I will plant several of these squashes this summer. It's a great book for dreamers and gardeners and cooks.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only Pumpkin Bible, January 11, 2007
This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
This is a very visually attractive book, with superb photographs, but this is not just for the coffee table. For the devotee who grows pumpkins, all the information needed is there, down to conditions and seed sources for an amazing selection of varieties. For the cook, there are some unusual recipes, but also the eating quality of each type of pumpkin. Essential,this. Some are delicious, others vile. Lots of historical and other info & stories too. Pumpkins are my passion. I grew them, I eat them and now I paint them. It was great to get this book and know there are other squash nutters out there.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is it an art book or is it a garden book?, September 25, 2009
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This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
Or perhaps it actually succeeds in being both. In a large and growing personal garden library, this is one of my favorite books. I turn to it again and again. First of all, the photographs are just amazing, managing to combine exquisite beauty with accurate representation of each particular squash. And how very unique many of the squashes do appear to be! However it is in the text that Amy Goldman's book really shines. The information is presented in a clear, easy-to-access format, yet the language is beguiling. I defy any gardener and food lover to read this book and not instantly want to track down half a dozen heirloom varieties to grow. They will be able to do just that, because the author lists see sources for all the varieties she includes.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've Never Seen Such Glorious Squashes., May 29, 2009
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
This book started it all for me. I love squashes and this is the book to read. It has all kinds of squash like some of my favorites are Marina Di Chioggia and Fordhook. If you order this book, DO NOT send it back. This book is highly recomended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Must Have, February 2, 2011
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This review is from: The Compleat Squash (Hardcover)
Another great book for market growers and people interested in heirloom produce. I loved this book! Read it in one sitting.
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The Compleat Squash
The Compleat Squash by Victor Schrager (Hardcover - October 15, 2004)
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