soil & soul
I recently made a reference to lots of good reading - a trend which has thankfully continued. Lately, my mind and reading table have been occupied with books about food, both eating and growing. This week I digested Scott Chaskey's This Common Ground, an ode to organic farming by an experienced farmer, a talented poet and a patient man. Chaskey charts the benefits to soul and soil and in this description of the seasons on Quail Hill Farm CSA in Amagansett, NY which he ran for many years. My subway reading has been Waverley Root's The Food of France. Root's book, which is arranged as a travelogue of sorts, loudly celebrates the local forces which create cuisine (geography, politics, culture, etc.). Originally published in 1958, the book was claiming the importance of terroir for food and and wine long before organic farming was a necessary reaction to the despoilation of our farmland by "modern farming methods". Compiled three decades later, Andries de Groot's collection of essays, In Search of the Perfect Meal echoes many of Root's ideas about the important of location in formation of cuisine. Samantha was wonderful enough to get me two books of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall - The massive and thorough River Cottage Meat Book, and his seasonally based farm cookbook, The River Cottage Year. I've only begun to cook from the River Cottage Year, trying the lettuce risotto, rhubarb trifle, and a few others, all to great satisfaction. I'm slowly plodding through the Meat Book in the hot weather, hoping for the fall, when the idea of a few hours over a hot stove won't seem so difficult.