The Organic Seasonal Cookbook by Liz Franklin

Cover of The Organic Seasonal Cookbook by Liz Franklin

I don’t remember buying this cookbook. I thought, upon looking at it, that I’d bought it at Amazon right before we started this blog, during my “cookbook binge”. I figured I told myself something about the cookbook giving us more insight on how to cook “weird” food, like we might get from our CSA. I seem to be wrong, though, because Amazon usually tells me when I’ve bought something from them and it’s silent here.

So, I haven’t the foggiest. It doesn’t have a lot of emotional attachment for me, so when I started to write it up, I was stymied about what to say. Not having bought it during the “cookbook binge”, I couldn’t even jokingly talk about how silly it is to binge on cookbooks. Needless to say, I did the most rational thing I could think of.

I sat down and read it, cover to cover. It didn’t take long, as the cookbook is quite small. The back cover only says it has 60 recipes, and the forward & intro are both fairly short, with large font.

I’m not impressed with the information in the introduction. At best, it’s confusing and accidentally erroneous. The author tends to use the word “organic” as a catch all for a variety of concepts that are not synonymous. Just because something is locally produced or purchased in season does not make something “organic”. Quite frankly, there’s a feeling of “does the author actually believe what she says, or is she just saying it to put a spin on her cookbook that will help it sell?” The fact that she has “winter” recipes that call for ripe tomatoes does not help this feeling.

That said, I do appreciate the little chart that attempts to show what’s in season when. It will vary from place to place, but seems reasonably accurate. For the record, tomatoes are not in the winter section of the chart.

I also appreciate the little blurbs about what seasonal can mean in terms of what we eat on a larger scale, rather than what specific foods. It does an excellent job of setting the stage for each season. There’s also some truly lovely food photography in this book. Just looking at some of the photos makes me drool. Though, again, I wonder why the photo for the lamb leg shows some pink meat when the recipe says it will make a “well-done but still moist leg” and gives directions on how to get pinker meat…

What about the most important part, though? Well, the recipes look amazing. I really want to cook several of these recipes, and I’ve mentally bookmarked more than one for the upcoming farmers’ market in two days. The photography, as you can imagine, doesn’t hurt, but it’s not the end all of the drooling. I think there are potentially some real winners in here. If Bill didn’t dislike duck, I’d be gunning to have some duck breast next week.

So, I’m not chucking this book, despite its flaws. It will still be in the rotation, and I’m looking forward to using it. However, I’m a little irritated at the intro, and always will be.

And, for the record, I asked Bill to read the intro too. He definitely saw some conflation of issues, as I did, as well as seeing the erroneous bits I saw. However, he felt the intro was a lot stronger than I did. He felt it was a generally strong and clear argument for the benefits of eating organic and seasonally. Thus, it’s distinctly possibly I’m just too tough an audience. Check it out for yourself if you get the chance, and let me know what you think.

Number of recipes in this book: 60 (From the back cover)
Number we’ve made: 0

You can click the “organic seasonal cookbook” tag below to see everything we’ve made out of this cookbook.