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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Ideas for veggie use outlined in book

At the height of tomato season, only one cookbook is getting me through the countless pints of cherry tomatoes and pounds of ripe heirlooms: “Tender.”

British food writer Nigel Slater dug up his lawn in urban London, planted a garden and wrote “Tender,” a cookbook that celebrates vegetables – from asparagus to zucchini – in well over 400 delicious recipes.

But it’s not just a cookbook broken into chapters by vegetables, though; it’s a coffee table book rich with artful photographs of Slater’s garden, the produce and the dishes he’s created. A delicate and, at times, humorous memoir of Slater’s journey as a gardener, cook and vegetable convert. It’s also a reference book chockfull of logical and helpful gardening and kitchen tips. Because of all it is and can do, I guarantee this is one book every food lover should own.

While the recipes might be a bit too narrative and intuitive for some cooks, the simplicity of dishes such as Beans and Cheese or Moutabal (an eggplant dip) are perfect for beginning cooks and pertinent reminders for advanced ones. However, with a breadth of difficulty levels, advanced cooks can be challenged while emerging cooks have more than enough opportunities to cut their teeth on Slater’s recipes.

Those with dietary considerations will find many vegan, vegetarian naturally gluten-free and wild game recipes useful for weeknight dinners and brilliant for dinner parties.

Slater’s careful consideration of the seasons, his deep reverence for food and his commitment to a sustainable food system all shine through each chapter’s introduction and the recipes he chooses to include such as “a Chicken Lunch for a Searingly Hot Summer’s Day” or “a Stew of Oxtail and Onions for a Cold Night.”

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. The only way to judge a cookbook is by the success you have with the recipes. And I’ve had quite a bit of success. Even though I wasn’t completely won over by “A Green Soup for a Summer’s Day,” which calls for peas and lettuce directing one to bring the ingredients to a simmer then blending it into an electric green puree, I make other recipes from “Tender” weekly, such as my two present favorites, Baked Tomatoes with Cheese and Thyme with Chicken Broth, Pork and Kale.

Quite frankly, I feel as though I’ve been living – happily – in “Tender.” I honor the beginning of each season as I move from the Peppers chapter into the Turnips, one and I relish the distinct flavors of each vegetable as I navigate between vegetarian dishes and those that include meat.

When I’m not cooking from “Tender,” I read it like a novel. Slater’s language is stunning. Consider this passage from the introduction to Brussels Sprouts: “I wake to a deep, eerie silence, the vegetables sleeping under layers of heavy snowfall, my yew hedges and climbing roses turned into a scene from Narnia. It’s the rosehips that make my heart melt, plump amber and scarlet baubles still visible beneath the powdery snow.”

Because of Slater’s “Tender,” in these fleeting moments of sun and heat, I crave winter and dream of sitting down to A Rich Dish of Sprouts and Cheese for a Very Cold Night. No doubt during the winter months will Slater have me longing for the fresh tomatoes of summer. “Tender” truly is a book for all seasons , and for all cooks.

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