In her latest cookbook, Deborah Madison, America's leading authority on vegetarian cooking and author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, reveals the surprising relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs within the same botanical families, and how understanding these connections can help home cooks see everyday vegetables in new light.
For over three decades, Deborah Madison has been at the vanguard of the vegetarian cooking movement, authoring classic books on the subject and emboldening millions of readers to cook simple, elegant, plant-based food.
This groundbreaking new cookbook is Madison’s crowning achievement: a celebration of the diversity of the plant kingdom, and an exploration of the fascinating relationships between vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, and familiar wild plants within the same botanical families.
Destined to become the new standard reference for cooking vegetables, Vegetable Literacy shows cooks that, because of their shared characteristics, vegetables within the same family can be used interchangeably in cooking. It presents an entirely new way of looking at vegetables, drawing on Madison’s deep knowledge of cooking, gardening, and botany. For example, knowing that dill, chervil, cumin, parsley, coriander, anise, lovage, and caraway come from the umbellifer family makes it clear why they’re such good matches for carrots, also a member of that family. With more than 300 classic and exquisitely simple recipes, Madison brings this wealth of information together in dishes that highlight a world of complementary flavors. Griddled Artichokes with Tarragon Mayonnaise, Tomato Soup and Cilantro with Black Quinoa, Tuscan Kale Salad with Slivered Brussels Sprouts and Sesame Dressing, Kohlrabi Slaw with Frizzy Mustard Greens, and Fresh Peas with Sage on Baked Ricotta showcase combinations that are simultaneously familiar and revelatory.
Inspiring improvisation in the kitchen and curiosity in the garden, Vegetable Literacy—an unparalleled look at culinary vegetables and plants—will forever change the way we eat and cook.
About the Author
DEBORAH MADISON is the author of eleven cookbooks and is well known for her simple, seasonal, vegetable-based cooking. She got her start in the San Francisco Bay Area at Chez Panisse before opening Greens, and has lived in New Mexico for the last twenty years. In addition to writing and teaching, she has served on the boards of Slow Food International Biodiversiy Committee, the Seed Savers Exchange, and the Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance, among others. She is actively involved in issues of biodiversity, gardening, and sustainable agriculture.
“I have always marveled at Deborah Madison’s deep knowledge of vegetables and her original creations, which taste just as delicious as they sound. Vegetable Literacy is her latest tour de force, a massive well of knowledge that makes you want to read and learn as well as cook. A fine achievement and a real inspiration for me.”
—Yotam Ottolenghi, author of Plenty and Jerusalem
“I have long been a fan of both Deborah’s vibrant food and her many thorough, thoughtful cookbooks. In Vegetable Literacy she offers, with abundant warmth and generosity, observations from years of garden-to-table cooking. Filled with fascinating botanical notes and inspired recipes that really explore vegetables from the ground up—it is a pleasure to read. The writing is beautiful and the lessons are astutely down to earth.”
—David Tanis, author of Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys
“Deborah Madison has taken vegetables to a whole new level. You’ll want to know what she knows—about botany, family pairings, and companion flavors on the plate. In cooking, Madison excels, but she’s also a natural with observation in the garden. Her passion is palpable, her scholarship tops, and her prose exquisite.”
—Amy P. Goldman, PhD, author of The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table
“The are few people equipped with the curiosity, skill, and eye for observation required to construct a volume of this size and scope—and Deborah does it masterfully. Vegetable Literacy will shift the way both home and professional cooks think about the relationship between ingredients, and vegetables in particular. Using this book has felt like a missing puzzle piece snapping into place—inspiring, intimate, informative, and beautifully illustrated.”
—Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Every Day
“For those of us who love vegetables, Deborah Madison gives not only practical tips for buying them, but also a bounty of diverse recipes. This is a monumental cookbook from a gifted writer and one of the best cooks of our time.”
—David Lebovitz, author of Ready for Dessert and The Sweet Life in Paris
“In Vegetable Literacy, Deborah Madison elegantly folds together a joy of gardening, a fascination for botanical kinship, and an expansive knowledge of fine and simple cooking. This book is a nutrient-dense treasure.”
—Wendy Johnson, author of Gardening at Dragon’s Gate: a Work in the Wild and Cultivated World
“In her most exciting and innovative book to date, Deborah Madison shows us how the botany in our gardens can inform and guide our preparation and cooking of meals that will both delight and nourish us all. Come directly from the garden to the kitchen with Deborah, and you will never observe or use vegetables in an uninspired way again. This book feeds our imaginations and souls with more insights per page than any cookbook I know.”
—Gary Paul Nabhan, ethnobotanist and author of Coming Home to Eat and Desert Terroir