Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening With Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom, With Over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes

Front Cover
Ten Speed Press, 2013 - Cooking - 405 pages
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.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - allriledup -

*disclaimer* I haven't read this book from cover to cover. For me, it falls into a reference category and as such is a treasure-trove of information and ideas. It is organized by the 12 major plant ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dooney - LibraryThing

Excellent cookbook that groups vegetables by family and discusses the ways they work together. The book is interesting to read, and assumes some experience and intelligence in the reader. It is not ... Read full review


Introduction A Few Notes about Ingredients
Square Stems and Fragrant Leaves Labiatae or Lamiaceae
Some Rough Stuff from Out of Doors
Three Strong Personalities Polygonaceae
The Sometimes Difficult Crucifers Brassicaceae or cruciferae
The Sun Lowers Solanaceae
Edible Weeds Leaves and Seeds
Mortar and pestle Garlic
The sensual Squashes Melons and Gourds cucurbiaceae
wintersquash Puree with Tahini
Criddled ScalopSquash
Grains and Cereals Poaceae formerly Gramineae
oat Croats
Corn off and on the

Onions and Asparagus Liliaceae
Caramelized sweet Onions
Young Leeks with Oranges

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2013)

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.

Bibliographic information