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

4.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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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)
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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: 8.3 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 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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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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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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is truly an amazing encyclopedia of every kind of produce imaginable. I gave this book to my daughter who enjoys cooking, but is challenged when she cannot locate the ingredients. Due to the illustrations and verbal descriptions, she was like a kid in a candy store when it arrived.
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