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4.7 out of 5 stars
Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2002
Perfect if you're a gardener and have gluts every now and then - look up the veg in question and there you have 10-20 recipes on average. She also gives basic info on choosing, including varieties in some cases, and basic recipes too. Her Fruit book is equally excellent.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2006
Jane Grigson was one of the leading cookery writers of her generation with some similarity to the writing talents of the great Elizabeth David, in that her books combine superb writing with impeccable research.

The hardback edition/1991 of Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book is a 618 page alphabetical guide to selecting and cooking vegetables, with everything from artichokes to yams.
Tempting recipes from all over the world bring out the flavour and texture of each vegetable and turn the most modest ingredients into delightful dishes.

This invaluable reference includes an introduction, and appendices, entitled:

* Cutting Up Vegetables
* Steaming and Blanching Vegetables
* Stocks
* Savoury Butters
* Sauces
* Stuffings
* Batters

and finishes with a concise index, an Introduction to the American edition, a glossary and a table of equivalent weights and measures. In between are all the vegetables you can think of, and on pages 322/323 is a copy of 'John Evelyn's Salad Calendar'.

Bearing in mind that this is a book from the early 90s, glossy colour reproduction was not yet the 'in-thing' in cookery writing. Strangely, however, the subtle black and white illustrations, by Yvonne Skargon, at the top of each vegetable section are all that is required in this, a timeless kitchen bookshelf classic.

As 'The Scotsman' declares on the rear cover:

'The best cookbooks stimulate your imagination so that the freshest flavours come across as tempting as if they were on a plate in front of you. This is that kind of book.'

From the vegetable gardener's point of view, this book is an invaluable reference for those days when you just have one or two too many pounds (can you say that these days?!) of eg home-grown tomatoes and the novelty factor has worn off a month ago!
Just refer to the vegetable and find a variety of recipes to inspire a new way of presenting the superfluous veg, e.g. 'Tomato and Mussel Soup', 'Tomato Tart (1) or (2)', 'Tomato Mousse', 'Game with Tomato and Chocolate Sauce' , 'Shaker Tomato Custard' or 'Robin McDouall`s Tomato Ice Cream`!
How about 'Lettuce Soup', 'a good recipe for outside lettuce leaves' or 'Braised Lettuce' if you have 'a glut of firm, well-flavoured cabbage or cos lettuces'?
In addition, check out the pumpkin recipes for what to do with the leftovers at Hallowe'en!

A 'potato' is not just a 'potato'!
In the 24 page chapter entitled 'Potatoes', is a section on 'Potato Varieties and Their Uses', splitting them into Main-Crop All-Rounders, Floury, Mashed, Potato Cakes etc, Baked, Boiled, Irish Stew, Salad and Frying.
There at the top is 'Golden Wonder' - and, I do wonder what did happen to the crisp of the same name?
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48 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2002
Really, you can't call this a cookbook. It's a reference book, a work of scholarship that also contains a collection of wonderful recipes.
Jane Grigson was one of the great foodie writers, up there in the pantheon with Elizabeth David and M. F. K. Fisher. Her books combine superb writing with impeccably researched information. If you just want to know the history of the cabbage, she'll tell you. On the other hand, if somebody has just presented you with a couple of kilos of chokos, she'll bale you out.
And I am pleased to report that Jane Grigson hated swedes, so there can be no questioning her culinary judgment...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2012
I have had a copy of this book for years, and bought this for my friend. It may be dated in some ways but if you love your veges, grow your own, it is a wonderful book to dip in and out of for really interesting recipe ideas for veges and meat.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2014
[First, please note that this is not a vegetarian cookbook. Don't buy it if you're vegetarian, this is not what this book is for. Some of the recipes have meat in. Nor is it a photo-licious coffee-table book. It is not meant to be. Please don't whinge about this in your review, you have been told.]

This is a fabulous, detailed book on how to buy and prepare vegetables, alphabetically from Artichoke to Yam, and each section includes a few recipes where that vegetable is central. It dates back to the seventies, but is old-fashioned in the most glorious way: it is not glossy, has no shiny photos, just pen-and-ink drawings of the veg - it is a great guide to what to DO with that thing you just bought off a market stall on impulse, or which just arrived in the veg box! How to judge when it is ripe / fresh enough, which bits to trim and wash, and how to cook it (or whether you can eat it raw). In addition to the example recipes after each vegetable section, Jane Grigson also describes in general terms what ingredients suit the vegetable well, to inspire developing your own recipes, and for the more unusual (or less-found-in-supermarket) vegetables she often gives suggestions like, "A number of celery and fennel recipes may also be adapted for cardoons...". There is a separate appendix at the back on sauces in general, and a great index. I am already more adventurous in exploring the offerings at my local farmers' market!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2014
Would be five stars, but Penguin put this new edition in a dismal, grey cover. Jane Grigson continued the Elizabeth David crusade of brightening up British eating and this book is fantastic, an essential for the cook. It is especially useful when you are pondering what to do with whatever veg you have got, as it covers a vast range , in alphabetical order. Great for a gardener faced with an unexpected harvest...or when that gardener has given you a big bag of veg!
I bought this as my old copy was disintegrating with use...but it had a beautiful , charming, cover illustration. Let's hope Penguin comes up with something better next time...this book deserves it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2014
Much more than a recipe book it is a delight to use either as a guide to a specific vegetable or just to dip into and read to gain an insight into the history and use of vegetable world wide. A real pleasure.
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50 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 1999
Jane Grigson's books are always well written wonderfully erudite and full of great recipes. She is the rare food writer who even if he recipe looks a little strange can be entirely trusted without having to have been tested five thousand times by a gang of television assistants A la Delia.
Buy it and all her work. They are as great to have on the bedside table as the cookshelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2013
A wide ranging book that finds uses for probably every vegetable the cook is likely to use. Well worth referring to. One of my favorite cook books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lists all vegetables: interesting ideas for cooking vegetables: essential addition to my cooking books,
a must for all serious cooks.
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