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Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference: 500 Recipes, 275 Photographs Hardcover – December 18, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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  • Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: The Essential Reference: 500 Recipes, 275 Photographs
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  • Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables: A Commonsense Guide
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  • Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select, and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable at the Market
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Elizabeth Schneider's Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables set a standard for exact yet lively investigation. Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini follows in her earlier book's footsteps to create a compelling guide to 350 common and exotic vegetables. This seed-to-table exploration does more, however. In addition to its usefulness as a reference work (vegetables are, for example, listed by their market, botanical, and common names), the book offers 500 up-to-the-minute recipes--such as Shredded Yellow Squash with Garlic Chives and Baked Sweet Potato-Apple Puree with Horseradish--valuable advice on seasonality and selection, multiple-method cooking instructions, and color photos of all the entries that make market identification a breeze.

Interested in amaranth? Find its entry and discover, first, the magenta-veined plant's common aliases (among them, the Caribbean callaloo, the Indian bhaji, and the Korean namul); an engaging vegetable biography that distills information from many fields (for example, the Greeks thought amaranth immortal); information on selection, storage, and preparation (use the vegetable's tiniest leaves for salads; steam, braise, or sauté the larger "with garlic, shallots, tomato dice, and a touch of chilies"); and full-dress recipes (such as Garlicky Sauté of Amaranth and Tomatoes, Cuban Style). A final section, called Pros Propose, offers recipe sketches from cooking experts, like Paula Wolfert's Amaranth and Sheep's Milk Cheese. This lucid organizational scheme, common to all the entries, and Schneider's expert handling of it, promote a full yet relaxed familiarization with the selected vegetables. This is one of those few books that most cooks will want, as well as need, to own. --Arthur Boehm

Review

“It’s a book that should lead the pack for a long, long time.” (Ann Hodgman, Gourmet)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 777 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Cookbooks; 1 edition (December 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688152600
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688152604
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #645,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Esther Schindler TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The idea of buying a $60 cookbook (however much discounted) makes me gasp. At that price, it had better be awesome.
Fortunately, Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini delivers... and then some.
If you're interested in non-mundane foods, particularly "ethnic" foods, then you've probably had the same experience I have. You find an odd looking vegetable in the grocery store, and are intruigued. You pick it up, and contemplate bringing it home. And then you realize that you have absolutely *no* idea what you'd do with one of these (other than think, "I'm sure I read about bitter melons or chayote *some*place). So you sadly put the veggie back on the shelf, feeling as though you've missed out.
VfAtZ is a perfect answer to this dilemma. In this fat book (you could squash a *huge* spider with this tome), the author goes through all the "interesting" veggies with a predictable and welcome formula. There's a clear photo of the item, usually with some indication of size and with a "cutaway" so you know what the thing looks like once you chop it open. The author explains what the vegetable is (genus and all that jazz); where it came from (i.e. originally from South America, but now most popular in Asia); the varieties you can expect to find and the differences between them. I very much appreciate her clear instructions about choosing the vegetable in the market (i.e. heavy for its size, and no black marks on it), and the "basic" method of cooking (boiling, steaming, etc.) There's always at least a few recipes that highlight the essential tomatillo-ness or chayote-hood or whatever, plus a "Pros Propose" section where she gives you recipes from chefs and other cookbooks.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing. Each vegetable's entry includes: the latin name, varieties and species, color photographs, history, how to select, how to store, how to prepare -- including quotes from outside experts. Next, there are a few well-chosen recipes. Following that are detailed descriptions of dishes that Schneider collected by interviewing a wide range of the best chefs. Throughout, Schneider is informative, interesting, opinionated and frank -- if a vegetable's a dud, she'll say so. It's a great read -- but don't plan on carrying this 800 page, large format book on the train with you, unless you've got a backpack or cart.
My only quibble is that I want more! Schnieder doesn't include the best known vegetables -- tomatoes, peppers, etc., since she feels there is plenty of information elsewhere. I'd also love a taxinomic chart showing major families and relationships. And it would be great if the book had a key, so that you could find the identity of a vegetable using its description. But these are very minor omissions, and the book is quite large enough as it is.
This book is a magnum opus of the vegetable kingdom -- we can only hope that Shneider will be writing on future books about fruits and grains.
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Format: Hardcover
I've had a copy of Elizabeth Schneider's "Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables" for about three years and refer to it quite often. Flipping through that book, I note page markings for arugula, cilantro, spaghetti squash, mangoes, radish sprouts, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, tomatillos and others. When published in 1986, these items were "curiosities." Schneider's book is recognized today as a classic that influenced cooks and the produce market. Now, 15 years later, Schneider has produced an updated version of the 1986 book. In "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini," she has dropped the fruits and winnowed out the veggies. Cilantro and other "spice" type veggies are not in the new book. Sprouts, squash, and other single items in the old book are now presented within generic headings. There is lots of new material. The format and presentation of the new book-with large heavy weight glossy paper, 275 good photos, 500 meat and meatless recipes and 220 more pages-is as elegant as the old book is text bookish. The 1996 reprint of "Uncommon Fruits" ...; "Vegetables" goes for twice that! If I had neither and wanted a vegetable reference book, I'd go "Vegetables," price notwithstanding. Schneider has been writing for 30 years, "Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini" is likely her magnum opus. It is a 2001 nominee for a James Beard Foundation book award.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just received this book yesterday and it is AWESOME! It is exactly what I hoped it would be; a pictorial reference to help me identify unusual produce and give me a leg up on how to prepare it. It is more like a text book or encyclopedia than anything else. And it will make a great coffee table book too! I've had it one day and already loaned it out! One warning, though -- as a vegetarian buying a book on vegetables, I was surprised to find that many (but not all by any means) recipes included meat ingredients. This is a minor detraction in my book. Enjoy this FUN book!
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Format: Hardcover
This book has excellent information on less common vegetables. However, if you are interested in similar information on vegetables that are used on a daily basis, this is not the book for you. Some of the common vegetables missing from this book are tomatoes, corn, spinach, bell peppers, broccoli, celery, and garlic.
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