Seed to Plate, Soil to Sky: Modern Plant-Based Recipes Using Native American Ingredients
Lois Ellen Frank. Hachette Go, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-306-82729-7
Each chapter of this sophisticated debut from Santa Fe chef and catering company owner Frank, whose Diné business partner, Walter Whitewater, serves here as adviser, is dedicated to one of the “magic eight” plants “that native peoples gave to the world”: beans, cacao, chiles, corn, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, and vanilla. Chapter introductions are thorough and edifying, and Frank successfully pairs history and tradition with straightforward recipes that incorporate modern conveniences such as vegan butter. While there are classic dishes, including “three sisters” stew with corn, beans, and squash, and frybread cooked without fat in a cast-iron skillet, many options innovate further, including eggless pasta made with blue cornmeal and a pumpkin pie with arrowroot-thickened filling in a pine nut and pecan crust. The occasional vegan standard feels like filler, such as an heirloom tomato salad with balsamic dressing, but the majority of the recipes are exciting and clever: a butternut squash puree incorporates apple and coconut milk; black beans are simmered with chipotles and chocolate; and sweet potatoes are used to make masa for tamales with no added fat—an outgrowth of work the author does to combat diabetes. Thoughtful and informative, this is a strong addition to a long underpublished category.Agent: Leigh Eisenman, Wolf Literary. (Aug.)
This review has been updated with further information.
Reviewed on: 07/19/2023