By Deborah Madison
This reissue of Madison's 2002 classic is a culinary event. Madison, a pioneer in the local food movement who made her name as the inaugural chef of the influential San Francisco restaurant, Greens, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has won myriad awards, including three from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. Now renowned as a cookbook author, Madison has packed this volume -- one of nine she has written -- with delectable recipes that are illustrated with drawings by her husband, Patrick McFarlin, and photographs by Laurie Smith. Indeed, the pictures of fruits and vegetables are so luscious-looking, you'll want to plunge your hands into the pages and gobble them up.
The book is organized seasonally, so picking up a copy this month would be perfect timing. You can start with Madison's simple, elegant recipes for early greens, asparagus, and new peas; work your way through her preparations for the last of the cool-season vegetables, including kale and turnips; move on to summer's crops, such as tomatoes, corn, beans, berries, and tree fruit; before coming to fall's squash and tubers.
Along the way, savor Madison's eloquent, personable prose, as she extols her favorite markets and most admired farmers around the country. As much as the book is about good food, it's also about the pride we can take in supporting the healthy rural communities that produce the ingredients we all enjoy. -- Stephanie Woodard