April 17, 2008
Summer Garden Cooking Inspired
By Sonoma Author in 2 New Books
Guest posting by Janet Fletcher
Anybody who loves fruits and vegetables as much as Jeff Cox clearly does is, for me, a kindred spirit. Cox, a prolific writer, has spent his distinguished professional career promoting organic gardening, wine appreciation and good cooking, all passions I share. For those of us who believe that good eating begins with a home garden—or, lacking that, a local farmer’s market—Cox’s two new books, The Organic Cook’s Bible and The Organic Food Shopper’s Guide (both from John Wiley & Sons), reinforce our prejudices. Like him, I’m persuaded that varieties matter (nothing beats an O’Henry peach), that the season should steer the menu, and that fresh produce offers endless inspiration.
A Sonoma County resident and longtime restaurant critic for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Cox spent much of his early career at Organic Gardening magazine. Organic food was a fringe movement then; today’s shoppers have many more organic choices, and Cox’s new books give readers the tools to make the most of them.
Whether you grow your own produce or buy it, you’ll appreciate his tips on the best-tasting varieties and his world view in the kitchen. Cox’s homestyle recipes—more than 250 in the Bible—could persuade even novice cooks to venture beyond their produce comfort zone. And when your garden rains zucchini this summer, Cox’s angel hair pasta with summer squash, anchovies and capers might make you reluctant to share any of the harvest.
At 500-plus pages, the Bible ($40) is a hefty reference book for the kitchen library. The paperback Shopper’s Guide ($14.95), a condensed version of the big book, is the one you will lug to the market with you. With either book, you’ll find your produce world expanding. And for the sake of your health and the planet’s, that’s all to the good.