Jean Ann Pollard, Author, Peter Garrett, Notes by with Peter Garrett. Burford $18.95 (338p) ISBN 978-1-58080-087-7

This environmentally friendly growing guide/vegetable pop-history/cookbook conducts a leisurely tour of the Simply Grande Gardens in Winslow, Maine, "which consist of 1 acre of well-loved and -tilled land where the husband-and-wife team of gardener-hydrogeologist... Garrett and artist-writer... Pollard plant and harvest delicious vegetables for 15 families... every year." Readers will learn where to buy the best asparagus seeds and how to grow them ("An asparagus bed could be your pride and joy till you're old and toothless"); how to contain mint and oregano using an old car tire; and how to prepare lamb's-quarters and make dandelion wine. Organized by season, the book nonetheless proceeds somewhat haphazardly; nutritional information, for instance, is provided only for some vegetables (peas and endive, yes; grape leaves, arugula and celery, no). Pollard (The New Maine Cooking) and Garrett want dinner to resume its importance in people's lives. Heavy on superstitions, the book passes on acclaimed nutrition writer Jean Carper's hypothesis that hot paprika is a natural painkiller and playfully suggests that antifertility agents in peas are responsible for Tibet's low population growth. Drawing directly from other books like Richardson's Wild Edible Plants of New England and James Trager's Food Chronology, this book will not add much new information to an extensive library. However, unusual recipes such as Sauteed Daylily Buds and Milkweed in Whole-Wheat Beer Tempura will delight dedicated gardeners, chefs and organic produce enthusiasts, as will the thorough bibliography. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 05/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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