Friday, June 26, 2009

The Bookshelf- Wrapping It Up

Today we'll conclude this mini-series on essential books for the home food preserver's bookshelf.

Mary Ann Newcomer, who tweets as Idahogardener, reports one of her faves is the Victory Garden cookbook. I found a publication date of 1982 for this one.

Amazon's description follows:

The book grew out of a public television series called The Victory Garden, which was essentially a how-to program aimed at home gardeners, with a recipe segment thrown in. As the show's popularity grew, so did viewer demand for more recipes; eventually, Victory Garden cook Marian Morash decided that a cookbook was in order, resulting in The Victory Garden Cookbook. The book is a wonderful hybrid encyclopedia of information for both gardeners who cook and cooks who like to garden; Morash's first goal was to so entice readers with the pleasures of eating home-grown vegetables that they, too, would take up gardening--or at least shop for the freshest ingredients instead of settling for canned or frozen goods. The book, first published in 1982, has been a huge success ever since.

Organized alphabetically, The Victory Garden Cookbook includes all the vegetables Morash grows in her own garden; in addition to information about planting, growing, and harvesting the fruits of your labor, Morash gives advice about storing vegetables, converts yields into measurements (i.e., a half-pound of small Brussels sprouts equals 28-30 sprouts, while a half-pound of medium sprouts equals 12-14) and offers tips to gardenless cooks for finding the best produce. Whether you're an avid gardener, a gardener wannabe, or simply a person who loves a good vegetable dish, The Victory Garden Cookbook is guaranteed to become one of your best-loved and most-used cookbooks.

The Idaho Gardener says her copy is in tatters, but she still cooks from it. Another is the oldie, Fancy Pantry by Helen Witty

Publisher's Weekly says:

A pantry, in Witty's view, expands a cook's horizons by allowing for storage of homemade fare that is relatively free of additives and preservatives and made at far below the cost of specialty foods at gourmet groceries. That many modern homes have no pantry, or the space to build one, should be no deterrent; the author (Mrs. Witty's Monster Cookies, etc.) suggests conversion of any cool closet, a few spare shelves, a niche in a stairwell, or a kitchen corner where a lazy-susan arrangement could be installed. Once the pantry is at hand, cooks can turn their attention to the "putting up" of Witty's own delicacies (over 250 recipes are offered here). Gradually, "pantrying" can result in shelves stocked with potted meats, pates, pickles, catsups, mustards, relishes, sauces and such kickshaws as chestnuts in Cointreau syrup; almond, orange and ginger rusks; peanut noodles, sugared and spiced nuts, and fruited cordials. Illustrations not seen by PW. 57,000 first printing; first serial to Family Circle; BOMC/Cooking & Crafts Club main selection; author tour. (Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Check out Mary Ann's blog at

Karen K Acevedo continues her recommendations with three goodies:

Serving Up the Harvest: Celebrating the Goodness of Fresh Vegetables by Andrea Chesman

Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: Fresh Ideas for the Weeknight Tableby the Moosewood Collective. This is a collection of vegetarian recipes.

New Vegetarian: Bold and Beautiful Recipes for Every Occasion by Celia Brooks Brown.

That's it for this week. Hope you all have fun in the garden and in the kitchen. If you're looking to preserve some of your surplus, please check out The Complete Idiot's Guide to Preserving Food! It's coming out in 11 days and available for order now.

1 comment:

  1. An oldie but a good one I refer to often: The Settlement Cook Book by Mrs. Simon Kander (That alone should date it!) circa 1930's. Reading the recipes and termonology (spyder is a skillet) is like a walk back in time. It also contains recipes you do not find in todays reference books like plum kuchen that my grandmother used to make.


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~ I'm the author of Headwind: The Intrepid Adventures of OSS Agent Katrin Nissen. If you're a WWII buff, you'll like it here!