Books | ‘Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables’ by Joshua McFadden with Martha Holmberg

Even the dearth of winter produce is celebrated in this hyper-seasonal cookbook from a farmer-chef.

Image courtesy of ARTISAN

The way an author organizes a cookbook can be the greatest tell of what’s inside. It is the story, the paradigm, the philosophy. It’s also what can make the book most useful. If cooking by what’s on the stand at the farmers market is paramount, than a book divided by the calendar makes sense.

Portland-based chef Joshua McFadden, who is credited with popularizing the kale salad craze, divides the year into micro-seasons. Summer of course gets a lot of play, three chapters in fact. But what’s important this month, are the pages dedicated to winter.

McFadden refuses to include the conciliatory platitude, instead, he writes: “the range of what’s available in the cold months is stunning.” Tips and recipes prove his point. Try winter squash raw, sliced thin and paired with brown butter, pecans and currants; batter and fry cabbage for an unexpected appetizer; turn parsnips into a cake with dates, hazelnuts and a Meyer lemon glaze; and replace tomatoes with pumpkins in a bolognese.

McFadden’s experience as a farmer is helpful, especially in decoding how and when to enjoy produce, and his suggestions for stocking a pantry marry the expertise sourcing of a professional with items a mortal can find and afford. This thick keepsake will excite cooks through cold-weather eating, and any other time of year.

(February 2018)