Cook This Book – Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow
Welcome back to Cook This Book the blog series that review titles from our awesome book section. Yes, we have a book section! Nestled right in our Body Care department, it’s brimming with titles covering all your health and wellness needs.
Be sure to check it out! And this month, in honour of all the dads out there we are featuring the perfect outdoor companion – Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow – The Green Man’s Guide to Living & Eating Sustainably All Year Round by Randy Shore.
This is not your average cookbook. It’s an ode to the seasons, a manifesto on sustainability, a guide to edible gardening, and a story about one man’s effort to get better connected to his food. It’s a go-to guide for aspiring gardeners, local food enthusiasts, and just a nice read on a Saturday afternoon – hammock anyone?
Randy Shore is the author of “The Green Man” column in the Vancouver Sun. His column features recipes, gardening advice, craft beer news, and information about the security of our food system. In Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow Randy shares wisdom and practical tips from the five years he spent teaching himself how to grow food and use it to prepare meals for his family year round. Right from the beginning pages of this book you’ll get a sense that Randy is a cool, likeable guy. While he moved away from the city to live on an acre of land, he doesn’t presume you can or should. In his effort to educate and motivate others to live more sustainably he resists the temptation to get preachy. However, he has a clear mission to prove that unplugging and getting back in touch with the earth, our food supply and each other is not only necessary but also possible and pleasurable.
Randy’s self awareness as a writer is refreshing – he knows he’s painting an idyllic picture and he does so on purpose – as a means of motivating us to get up and start growing. He’s on a mission and as a reader you will happily get swept up in it.
…”My move was dramatic, but yours doesn’t have to be. You can take small but still important steps toward a more fulfilled, flavorful life without selling your house or leaving the city. The best thing that I do each day is walk through my yard looking for dinner. Even in the rain, it’s more fulfilling than commuting, talking to my boss, or answering email. It slows me down, quiets my mind, and gets me focused on what I’m going to cook and eat that night. If I want to, I can look for what might be ripe and ready for tomorrow too. Or I can make that tomorrow’s adventure. I have a large garden, but that is not a prerequisite for deliberate eating. You can do the same thing at a farmer’s market or by looking over pots of fresh herbs on your apartment balcony. You can reconnect with food, with the land, and with your family by choosing, cooking, and eating food together. If this sounds a bit fanciful and poetic, it’s no accident. Poetry is meant to make you feel – and I think that eating food that you have grown yourself and cooked simply but with care, will make you feel nourished and happy and connected. Even if all you grow is parsley in a pot on your windowsill…”(Introduction, page 9)
Randy’s enthusiasm is heartening rather than patronizing. He encourages readers to use whatever resources are available – be it a windowsill, balcony, or backyard. And with seasonal recipes readers can, if nothing else, think seasonally when they grocery shop and prepare meals.
The recipes in Eat What You Grow, Grow What You Eat are arranged seasonally and feature ingredients grown and preserved all year round. The recipe list is substantial and worldly. Ethnic specialties like Chiang Mai Noodles, Saag Paneer and Lamb & Spinach Kebabs are featured as well as North American classics like Strawberry Rhubarb Pie and Broiled Sockeye Salmon with Herbs and Dill Potato Salad. Regardless of how green your thumbs are, this cookbook is bound to produce some fantastic family feasts.
Kate McMurray, Certified Holistic Nutritionist