Friday, December 25, 2009

A is for Apples, V is for Vegetable Love

Two days before Christmas a package arrived on my doorstep and it wasn't a gift. The manuscript and proofs of my book had arrived for me to proofread and complete the index. Merry Christmas!

I marveled over the layout, gazing at the photo that might be the cover. A simple farm--I love it! Authors rarely have any control over book covers, but it this is it. But it was only a black and white image. I want to see it in color. I glanced at the proofs and the work ahead right before the holiday dampened my enthusiasm just a bit. Slogging through the index from amaranth to zucchini, listing and cross listing--well, it didn't really sound stimulating, in a story-telling way.

All I could remember about indexing was that my last index was detail oriented and seemed to take forever. Questions suddenly surfaced. Do I list places like Corvallis, Rogue River and Bellingham. Answer: Yes. Do I spell out "See also" in italics like the Timber Press author guide? No, but underline each "see also." My questions continued until the staff took off for the holiday. I puzzled over the pages the manuscript being different from the proof, so which was correct? The proofs only came by hard copy.

When I spent much of the morning on apples, Irealized you can get the important points of a book by counting the number of times a word appears within the pages. Apples are an important Northwest crop, apple juice and apple cider also appear in lots of Northwest recipes. The first (beekeepers and bees) and second farm profile (Apple growers) reaffirm the importance of apples.

I must say, sweat equity and selling my soul for just about nothing may have paid off this time.

Since it seemed such a grind (and right before the holiday) searching for nouns all day, I rewarded myself at the end of the day by getting out my newest cookbook: Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka.

I had ordered this book as a holiday gift to myself. And the minute I opened it, I fell in love with it. So many recipes and so much detail. On the front of the book is a lifetime achievement award from the James Beard Foundation, and inside over 600 pages all about vegetables! From the unusual lotus root and hearts of palm to everyday potatoes, this book is a dream come true for vegetable enthusiasts everywhere. I bet you could even find something to please a meat-and-potatoes cousin from Kansas or Nebraska.

My favorite vegetable of the season, celery root lists these intriguing recipes:

  • Celery Root Salad

  • Celery Root, Smoked Mozzarella and Prosciutto Salad

  • Celery Root Remoulade

  • Cream of Celery Root Soup

  • Pureed Celery Root with Apples

  • Celery Root Puree

  • Gratin of Celery Root

It's as though this book was written for farmers' market shoppers everywhere. You buy something bring it home and have a number of options, all in this one book. A bonus is most of the recipes are vegetarian and many can be transformed into vegan versions. I love the uniqueness of recipes like Beet Ice Cream. She turns the vegetable world upside down! On the same page, Kafka writes, "While beets may seem to be odd for dessert--they are certainly unusual--a little reflection will remind us that sugar beets are grown for extracting sugar. Ordinary beets are still very sweet and their color is spectacular." I'd never really thought about it but they are the color of garnets and the way they sparkle cry out for dessert.

Vegetable Love isn't just a cookbook. it's an invitation to the wide world of vegetables and as we peruse the recipes our ideas about vegetables are transformed. Reading Vegetable Love is a great gift to myself at the end of the day looking for apples to zucchinis.


Cynthia Bertelsen said...

Hi Debra,

Very nice blog! In another life, I used to index books, including cookbooks. I even wrote an article about cookbook indexing ---

Good luck! And congratulations on the book!

ddzeller said...

Loved the article! Thanks so much for sending the link.