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Food for thought
on 13 March 2011
I have around 30 gardening books I've picked up over the years. Maybe 5 or so regularly come off the shelf. Another 9 or 10 will make an occasional contribution and the rest are rarely consulted, except on occasion for inspiration. Gardening being a slow process it'll be a while before I can tell which category this one will fall into but probably the intermediate one is favourite.
The author attempts to combine the gardening fork with the culinary one and that's been done before by the likes of Monty Don and Bob Flowerdew . This contribution is decidedly aimed at the upmarket gardener with a strong interest in cooking, or perhaps the the upmarket cook with a mild interest in gardening.
The author makes a fair point in that many of us fall into the trap of growing the same vegetables every year and there must be more than me who have carefully nurtured a cauliflower to deliver it proudly to the kitchen only for it to have a brief visit to the fridge before being returned to the compost heap. He strongly argues for growing only produce that's expensive to buy. (I suspect it may also be expensive to grow too. We are given websites but little indication of the cost of Egyptian walking onions and the like.)
The recipes look like all recipes to me. Very nicely presented, (I'm getting hungry just writing this) and completely beyond my skill base, although to be fair that's pretty low. There is an attempt to convey the gardening basics in the form of a page on sowing, composting etc, but this is primarily a cooking book, e.g. there is no mention of crop rotation.
Overall it's a beautifully presented book which may well inspire me to have a go at new crops. A beginner gardener will need more than this and don't give it to anyone with kids, they'll never have the time. It could be a result for Mother's day though.