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This week [it was Labor Day week] we said adios to Ice Cream Month and started talking about local and seasonal home cooking. Here's a quick rundown of three of my favorite cookbooks that focus on this kind of cooking, plus two knockout narrative books to read outside the kitchen.
The just-released Organic Marin: Recipes From Farm To Table is a gorgeous volume of recipes and stories from the county north of San Francisco known for its organic, local eating. The recipes were contributed by local Bay Area chefs. Proceeds benefit a local school lunch program, but if you want a chance at winning one, we'll be giving away five copies two weeks from now on the 18th.
Amelia Saltzman's The Santa Monica Farmers' Market Cookbook is a drop-dead gorgeous collection of recipes and stories from one of the greatest Farmers' Markets I've ever been to, and the one I grew up on. This market is a model, and Saltzman's book speaks not only to those lucky enough to live in this virtually year-round cornucopia, but even those of us who (sob) have to limit their bountiful market months to May through October.
Deborah Madison was an early pioneer in the promotion local and seasonal cooking. Her Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America's Farmers Markets is the result of her visiting over 100 markets nationwide, so there is something in here for all of us, from the frosty north to the sultry south. It just came out in paperback earlier this year.
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto is the latest Michael Pollan book to get you thinking about what and how you eat. It's a good one with which to start each new season by reading a bit here, a bit there.
Giving Good Weight, particularly the essay "Brigade de Cuisine," is an absolute inspiration. While not a cookbook, I still recommend it as part of a self-study of eating and cooking locally and seasonally. McPhee is an absolutely delightful tour guide through the cooking experience of an anonymous chef who attempts to cook from the land just a few miles outside of New York City. Sit in the bookstore and read it, check it out from the library, or add it to your shelf but make sure to lend it out to friends, liberally.
Last Week's Posted Email: From The Email: An Ode to Prune & Armagnac Ice Cream