Book Review: From Seed to Skillet

From Seed to Skillet
A Guide to Growing, Tending, Harvesting and Cooking Up Fresh, Healthy Food to Share with People You Love
by Jimmy Williams and Susan Heeger

176 pages
Chronicle Books, 2010
List price: $30.00

With so many books being published about edible gardening, I can’t help but wonder how well any one of them is doing in the sales department. Each must bring something a little different to the table or they all start to be just one more edible gardening book. It can be overwhelming.

But there really are that many unique takes on the veggie gardening trend in our country today. And there really are that many good books on the subject for gardeners to choose from. Here’s another one.

From Seed to Skillet has the basics that all good gardening books should have – simple instructions on basic gardening, several ideas for garden design, suggestions for what to plant, and what to do with it when it’s all grown up. But what this one has that sets it apart is its cultural flavor.

Jimmy Williams learned about gardening from his Grandma Eloise, who grew up in a Gullah community in South Carolina. Friends and neighbors were descendants of Caribbean slaves and by the time you get to the back of the book and all that’s left is the eatin’, you’ll be able to share in the reason they grew their own food.

Jimmy includes recipes for dishes that I’ve never even heard of, but look and sound absolutely delicious. I can’t wait to try the sweet potato biscuits.

Jimmy Williams is an urban farmer and landscape designer who oversees his growing grounds, plants edible gardens for clients, and dispenses cultivation and cooking tips, plus vegetable, herb, and fruit seedlings, at three Los Angeles farmers’ markets. He grows and sells heirloom tomatoes from seeds that have been passed down from his great-great-great-grandmother, who carried them in her pocket on a slave ship.

Susan Heeger
is a long-time magazine and newspaper feature writer with a specialty in garden, design, home, lifestyle, and food stories. A contributing editor for Coastal Living and Martha Stewart Living, where she served as staff writer for several years, she also co-wrote The Gardens of California, which was published by Clarkson Potter. She has written extensively on edible gardening for publications ranging from The Los Angeles Times Magazine to Country Living and Whole Living. She lives in Los Angeles.

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