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Thorough, easy to use and nearly indispensable

  • Jul 7, 2006
While this well-organized encyclopedic reference and cookbook covers meat and poultry as well as produce, it's the fruits and vegetables that get organics guru Cox's most loving attention.

Each section - vegetables, fruits, nuts and grains, herbs and spices, meats, dairy and eggs and kitchen staples (oils, flour, sweeteners) - is organized alphabetically. Each entry follows a format which includes a brief history, a nutritional profile and comparison with non-organics, various types and varieties, seasonality, what to look for (and avoid), preparation, cooking tips and recipes.

The "what to look for" comments are especially illuminating as Cox explains what weather and time do and how you can spot the signs. Recipes (250) come from a variety of sources and Cox also includes general tips about what techniques and ingredients suit each food. Sidebars throughout share personal anecdotes and gardening experiences.

In addition to providing new information about ordinary garden-variety produce, he includes those you see in the grocery but aren't sure about - like jicama or passion fruit - those you might not recognize if you did see them, like medlars or crosnes, and even those Cox himself has never tasted or seen like the mangosteen, reputedly the most delicious fruit in the world. You'll also find a list of edible flowers.

Easy to use, this is a must-have, particularly for anyone interested in getting their families to eat more vegetables - quality being the first essential.

--Portsmouth Herald

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Lynn Harnett ()
I love to read, always have, and have been writing reviews for more years than I care to say. Early on, i realized there are more books than there is time to read, so I read only books I like and mostly … more
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About this book


Cox (Cellaring Wine), a veteran organic gardener, provides an encyclopedic guide to organic ingredients from fruits and vegetables to meats and dairy products, plus "kitchen staples" like coffee, bouillon and flour. Unlike most reference books, his is filled with personal touches: sidebars like "My Favorite Cherries" and "Keep an Eye Out for Black Walnuts" tell about Cox's encounters with foods, and even within the technical portions of the entries—which give information on nutrition, seasonality, storage, preparation and so on, as well as brief, fascinating histories of a food's cultivation—Cox often takes a personal approach. There are recipes using nearly every ingredient, most prepared simply to highlight a particular flavor, as in potent Rosemary Pesto, but others incorporate a food into heartier fare, like Caraway-Infused Pork. Though Cox's frequent pauses to extol organic food's virtues are of the preaching-to-the-choir variety, his abundant, knowledgeable advice on how to find and use the best products, and his presentation of special varieties of the ingredients make this a helpful resource for shoppers who are both bewildered and excited by the offerings in an ever-expanding field. Color photos not seen byPW.(Apr.)
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ISBN-10: 0471445789
ISBN-13: 978-0471445784
Author: Jeff Cox
Genre: Home & Garden, Cooking, Food & Wine
Publisher: Wiley
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