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Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple idea brilliantly crafted, 4 Jan. 2011
This review is from: A Taste of the Unexpected (Hardcover)
The basic tenet of this book is a forehead-smackingly simple one; none of us, bar the extremely fortunate and well-to-do, are ever going to be entirely self sufficient and as such we may as well acknowledge that we are going to have to add to our own crops from elsewhere. As such, Mark Diacono easily reasons that instead of growing the usual veg patch staples(carrots, spuds, cabbage, spinach and the like) that are both prevalent and cheap in markets (either farmers or super) that we should, instead, turn our green fingers to the plants and trees that are expensive to buy (asparagus for example), difficult to source (Mulberries anyone?) or both (Jerusalem artichokes).
The simplictic brilliance of this notion could have led to some smug laurel-resting but Diacono has really taken this idea and run with it giving chapters on fruit trees, nuts, soft fruit, herbs and spices, beans and greens, leaves and flowers, and buried treasure (a homage to the ignored roots of the world). Each chapter contains between four and eight examples of its kind with growing advice and rather yummy looking recipes for each plant.
Fantastically detailed and wonderfully researched as it is, the book's major plus point is just how wonderfully readable it is. One could, and i did, genuinely enjoy this book as a cover to cover read.
Fabulous as the book is (and it is) could one really agree with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's front cover ascertion that 'This is a book that will change what you grow, cook and eat forever'? I don't know about forever but I am just about to do my seed and plant ordering for my (meagre-ish) veg patch and I'm not ordering potatoes, onions or spinach, cabbage, sprouts or peas. I will, however, plant cardoons, jerusalem artichokes, Japanese wineberries, borlotti beans and salsify among others.
Will it change my life? I doubt it, but my dinners will almost certainly taste better, and that's a damn good start.
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