Chef, cooking teacher, and master gardener Deborah Madison’s watershed cookbooks include "The Greens Cookbook," "An Onion in My Pocket," and "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone," 14 in all (and counting). She’s the Steven Spielberg of vegetarian cookbook authors. This one’s yet another masterpiece. "Vegetable Literacy" is a gorgeous volume of 10 chapters, divided by botanical family, making connections between plants that deepen understanding about their flavors and ways to cook with them. (Did you know that artichokes — along with burdock, chamomile, lettuces, salsify, and scorzonera — are part of the sunflower family?) Madison spells out species, varieties, and cultivars, with pairing suggestions, kitchen tips, and zero-waste uses for the entire plant. The best thing is, you could close your eyes, open to a random page, and want to cook. Immediately. You might already have the ingredients in your pantry or refrigerator (dried beans, smoked salt, spices, yogurt), plus whatever’s fresh from the garden or market. The recipes are both approachable and elegant.
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