Always in Season

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Always in Season

Americans spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about what we're eating. And if we're not eating like we "should" we often carry a lot of guilt to the table with us. These cookbooks and memoirs encourage healthy eating to be joyful and indulgent, connecting us to both good taste and to the earth. The cookbooks range from easy, family friendly meals to more complicated gourmet fare, but they all focus on eating in season. By doing this the food is fresher, grown nearby and more likely to support a local farmer. 

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
This book reflects Kingsolver's family experiment of eating locally for a year. She makes the argument that eating what is fresh and close by is not a hardship or sacrifice, but allows each of us to eat better, more delicious food. An attitude of joy and gratefulness is cultivated, rather than one of guilt and deprivation. This book ties together the experience of growing food and cooking and consuming it. At the end of almost every chapter covering a month in the family's life on their farm, there are easy to make recipes. This is a great starter book if you're uncertain how to make the transition to eating more seasonally or if it's feeling like too much of a chore.

Fresh Food Fast: Delicious, Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under an Hour by Peter Berley and Melissa Clark
This cookbook is organized by season with about a dozen meals for each, plus some wonderful desserts. Each meal has two or three recipes which compliment each other. One of the best things about this cookbook is that while the recipes can be made separately, the book also tells you how to time it so they finish at the same time, a feat that is often a struggle. Full of nice pictures, this is a good cookbook for weekend cooking as often recipes will take about the hour allotted in the title. Sometimes a few of the ingredients are hard to find, but if you shop at a large grocery store that has a good international section, you'll probably be able to find everything you need.

Easy, Delicious Home Cooking: 250 Recipes for Every Season and Occasion edited by Allie Lewis Clapp, Lygeia Grace, and Candy Gianetti
Published by the magazine Real Simple, this cookbook has seasonal recipes for appetizers, main courses, sides and desserts. Most of the recipes take between 15 and 40 minutes to make, so this cookbook is a good go-to pretty much any time. I also find it useful that within each season the recipes are divided into poultry, beef, pork, pasta and vegetarian entrees, which makes it easy to choose what to make if you have someone with dietary restrictions eating with you. The food is modern and fresh, with a lot of variety.

In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits by Sarah Raven
Unlike most of the other seasonal cookbooks out there which divide the year into the traditional four seasons, Raven creates six periods of two months each. This makes some sense, if you think about how different March produce is from June produce, though it's all "spring." Focused on fruits and vegetables, this cookbook pulls from a variety of world cuisines, which means there will be something in it for everyone.

Tender: a Cook and His Vegetable Patch by Nigel Slater
This book is more like Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in that it is also part memoir and focuses on the whole process, garden to table. The great addition to this book, however, are the beautiful pictures of the author's garden and prepared food. There are a great number of recipes for a large variety of produce. This is a book for people who really enjoy cooking and taking time to do it well.