Apr 082010
 

Fruit Desserts.Madison

Six years ago Deborah Madison started working on a cookbook she called “Desserts for the Pastry Impaired.”

“Pastry chefs are exacting people who have a deep sense about measurement and clean aprons,” she explains. “Cooking is more intuitive, more relaxed, with more opportunities to taste and adjust.” She wanted to write a less rigid book about desserts.

As she wrote the book, the focus gradually changed to fruit, a natural for someone with a bent towards produce. “When you’re working on a book it talks to you in different ways over time,” she says. Apparently it talked to the editor in a different way too. Madison found out her editor regarded her title as a placeholder. “That kind of changed things,” Deborah admits good-naturedly.

She was already three years into the project when it shifted, but that was fine. Seasonal Fruit Desserts: From Orchard, Farm, and Market stayed “in the background, although I was always working on it.” 

Here’s what she was doing in the foreground. She wrote three other cookbooks: What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 RecipesVegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen; and Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.

No stranger to working on challenging projects in tandem, Deb had opened a restaurant during the Continue reading »

Mar 292010
 

2009-08-27-JustFoodI like a little controversy and contention. It makes the comments on this blog more interesting. James E. McWillams, author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get it Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, has the same idea.

A historian and former fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University, McWilliams argues that the concept of food miles (how far food travels to get to your supermarket shelves)  is flawed and makes little progress toward the ultimate goal of sustainable production. Read his New York Times Op-Ed piece for a sample of his thinking.

Those are fighting words here in the politically-correct San Francisco Bay Area. But in the book, he argues “there’s a complex story to tell about food and the distance it travels,” and he delves into his research with gusto.

McWillliams also explains why organic food is not Continue reading »