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The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower's Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds [Hardcover]

Amy Goldman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

26 Nov 2004
Part gardening book, part "encounters with remarkable vegetables," Amy Goldman's "The Compleat Squash" unearths the personalities--yes, personalities--of the pumpkin and the squash. They are members in good standing in the horticultural hall of fame, and Goldman lovingly ponders their case histories and culinary merits both with common and uncommon varieties. She gets glorious help from award-winning photographer Victor Schrager, who brings out their eclectic beauty in more than 150 luminous color portraits. Growing, harvesting, and seed-saving instructions are included for the gardener, and for the cook a selection of recipes that show off the unique, lovely flavors of these versatile vegetables.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing (26 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579652514
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579652517
  • Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 24.1 x 30.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 729,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Stunning!!! 2 July 2009
Format:Hardcover
If you only ever buy one book on squashes, this is the one to get! Okay, so it's an american book, hence the 'incorrect' spelling of 'compleat' (spelt 'complete' in the uk), but they are experts on the subject of squashes; after all, native americans were growing squashes long before europeans arrived to pillage their land. Politics and linguistics aside however, this book is a work of art.

It is well written and no expence has been spared with the photography and it is lavishly and lovingly illustrated throughout. The author provides artistic photographs of hundreds of squashes and gives you the 'low down' on their culinary quality and other details.

Each squash has the following 'info' issued next to them:

Size:
Weight:
Rind Colour:
Flesh Colour:
Colour Rating:
Fibre:
Best Use:
Synonyms: (other names)
Seed sources: (where possible)

Most also have comments next to them containing such subjects as origins and history.

The book does not cover every squash in existence, but then you would need a book three or four times the size of this one, at least, to get them all in (assuming you devoted the same space for them per page).
To be quite frank, this book makes me drool and I wish I owned a good few acres of land to fully scratch my 'squash itch'.

It's worth mentioning though that many of the varieties are not available in the UK and you would have to order them from abroad. The states will allow the shipping of seeds to this country, but remember, you may need to give some of them extra heat by growing in a greenhouse. Fortunately, those requiring more heat are noted upon in the book and I suggest you give them as longer growing season as you can (cloches etc).
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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over, Sugar Pie: there's a new gang of pepos in town 13 Feb 2006
By A. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I knew this would be good from the moment I first saw it on the endcap display. A few years earlier, Amy Goldman had impressed me with her scrumptious homage to melons in Melons for the Passionate Grower; now she's done it again, this time for cucurbitas (summer and winter squashes, which include my favorite vegetable-the Pumpkin!).

The Compleat Squash has all of the photographic panache of MFTPG, and all the passionate style of prose besides. The vast majority of listed varieties each have an extravagant, portrait-style photo of the fruit and often an entire page of commentary to accompany it. If a species has any points of special interest that are not obvious by the picture, you can be sure Ms. Goldman will expand on them at length and with flourish. She also loves to throw in anecdotes about how and from whom she came across the original seeds, recipes, stories behind funny names, and significant historical context for certain groupings of cucurbitas. Not since Georgeanne Brennan have I read such romantic, detailed tributes to vegetables! Too bad that there are human limitations on how many different cucurbitas a person can possibly grow, catalog and photograph in two seasons; you get the definite feeling she would have liked to have included them all, but had to content herself with merely 150 heirlooms.

But while Ms. Goldman may be in love, she's not blind. Each listing is straightforward about the variety's suitability (or sometimes lack of) for table use, decorating, carving, and/or livestock feed. You also get an estimate of size, weight, rind color, flesh color, color rating (!), fiber, date of introduction, synonyms and seed sources. There is also an introductory section that lays out nicely the growing and care of cucurbitas in general. Like a good matchmaker, she makes sure you and your prospective squash are well prepared before the planting bed is ever cultivated.

It is clear that the author wants us to not only appreciate cucurbitas in theory but to grow them in fact, harvest them, handle them, use them and save their seeds for the future. These are living treasures, *heirlooms*, that will disappear forever if we don't. That's a loss for our tastebuds and for the precious genetic diversity of the planet.

Okay, enough soapboxing. Let's get our hands dirty!

-Andrea, aka merribelle
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A winter treat for a gardener 9 Jan 2007
By Joanna Cary - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is beautiful to look at, has a great deal of interesting history, useful gardening information, and some good recipes. Also it is inspirational, makes you want to source the rarer seeds and get out there with the spade. I don't know how much of this information is readily available in America, but here in Britain, where growing squash still mostly means butternut or Jack o' Lantern, the book is a revelation.

Highly recommended
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book--passionate but balanced writing 31 Aug 2006
By Zenos Paradocs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Beautiful photos. Well-researched. Passionate, but balanced assessments. Writing comes from intimate and in-depth experience. I would have liked even more technical information on growing habits, morphology, and horticultural groups, but it is a wonderful book as it stands. Highly recommended
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect pumpkin book 10 Feb 2008
By Roger Thompson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
At this time, this is the most comprehensive volume on the Cucurbita genus. A good personal narrative, coupled with sublime photography. My only quibbles are that none of the images show cut open fruit, to give a view of the flesh and cavity. Secondly, that quite a number of internationally known cultivars are not mentioned. Nevertheless, an absolute "must have" for pumpkin and squash devotee.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Resource! 30 Aug 2008
By Deborah Rochefort - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I love this book -- sometimes I think it spends more time off the bookshelf being thumbed through than resting on it. Here you have practically everything you need to grow squashes - what the squashes are best used for, some history of the various varieties, selecting seeds, growing and harvesting tips, and (extremely useful!)commercial sources of most of the seeds(many of which you can find easily online), all nicely organized by which Cucurbita species they belong to. (The growing guide to gourds is for C. pepo gourds, not Lagenaria species, and so the title is certainly appropriate growing C. pepo gourds, of which there are many) And recipes too -- so useful! Goldman is extremely helpful in pointing out the virtues and flaws of each variety for eating (though she tries some I wouldn't dare -- brave woman). The photographs are so beautiful as to be absolutely seductive -- watch out, you too will be saying to yourself 'I must grow that pumpkin/squash/gourd/whatever'. Then you too will be seeking out the seed suppliers, tenderly planting your new seeds and now in late summer, seeing them beginning to mature, turning into the fruit promised in the gorgeous photographs, murmur to yourself 'You are so beautiful, Sucrine du Berry. And Winter Luxury, you are the most elegantly lovely pumpkin I have ever seen..."
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