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Book Roundup Wednesday: Eating Local and Organic

Posted Jun 09 2010 12:01pm

Book review Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week, we're recommending books about finding and preparing healthy, local, organic food.

Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods (by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, $30, Wiley, April 2010): Edible Publications produces food magazines all over the country, each of which promotes the joys of eating from a particular region. Here, the Edible Communities co-founders profile North America’s “local food heroes” and celebrate the bounty found everywhere from Allegheny, Pennsylvania, to Yakima, Washington. The last third of the book is dedicated to recipes (by season, natch) accompanied by some of the most mouthwatering photos we’ve ever seen. If any book is going to convince you that the local food revolution is upon us, this is it.

Homemade Living: Canning & Preserving With Ashley English (by Ashley English, $20, Lark Books, April 2010): If you’ve ever wanted to hop on the preserving bandwagon but were intimidated by the process, this is the book for you. You'll learn that canning is easy and generates delicious and nutritious results, plus you'll know exactly what goes into your food – no questionable ingredients here. Also included is information about required supplies, methods, and tips for getting started or troubleshooting. We’re always impressed by effective and aesthetically pleasing photos, so it helps that the book is filled with fun shots that excellently illustrate canning techniques.

Living Vegan for Dummies (by Alexandra Jamieson, $20, Wiley, Dec. 2009): Author Alexandra Jamieson is a vegan chef and holistic nutrition expert. As her book's name suggests, it's a detailed and practical guide for cutting animal products from your diet. While there aren’t any photos to show how Jamieson's tasty-sounding recipes ought to look after you prepare them, the book includes some dishes (plus food storage, nutrition, and even cross-diet dating advice) that even the staunchest meat eater can enjoy.

Anna Getty’s Easy Green Organic (by Anna Getty, $25, Chronicle Books, Apr. 2010): Though mainly a cookbook, this tome begins by explaining why and how to choose healthy, organic foods and how to “green your kitchen” by banishing toxic products. The creative recipes call for fresh ingredients and look easy and delicious, though we prefer that cookbooks provide approximate preparation and cook times, which this one omits. As summer approaches, we’re eager to try Getty’s recipes for zucchini salad with pinenuts and parmesan, followed by a dessert of mini-strawberry rhubarb crumble.

Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce: A Guide to Easy-to-Make Dishes with Fresh Organic Fruits and Vegetables (by Cathy Thomas, $30, Wiley, April 2010): Published by a national produce distributor, this is essentially an alphabet book of the most common fruits and vegetables, making it easy for consumers to learn about varieties, storage, preparation, and nutrition. Plus, the author associates several (primarily vegetarian) recipes with each piece of produce, making it simple to eat fresh and in season.

-- Sophie Matson
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