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Book Review: P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes From the Garden

P. Allen Smith's Seasonal Recipes From the Garden

by P. Allen Smith


256 pages

Clarkson Potter, December 2010

List price: $32.50

I love cookbooks. I also love kitchen gadgets. Pots and pans excite me. Specialty serving dishes catch my eye. But there's one problem. I don't like to cook. I never have. Oh, I can cook and when I do it, people say it's really good and I have a few specialties. But I'm always a little irritated that just when I cook a meal one day, don't you know, we have to eat the next day, and the day after that!

So while I was excited to receive my copy of Allen's new cookbook, and sat right down to browse through it, salivating as I read the recipes, my usual thoughts went through my head. Cooking. Unless I was planning on becoming Allen's neighbor and hoping to be invited for dinner now and then, I was going to have to make these delicious-looking dishes myself.

But you know what? The closer I looked at the recipes, the more I was inspired to actually try them. There are over 120 recipes, some from Allen's family, some from friends, and some from chefs of restaurants where he first enjoyed them. Each recipe is accompanied by tips, trivia and anecdotes and the book wraps it up by giving concise helpful information about what to grow and how to grow it. Grouped by season, the recipes make use of the garden's coffers at the time the ingredients are ripening. Now really, what's better than taking your grocery list to the garden to get what you need for your next meal?

One of the best things about the recipes in this cookbook are that they are down-home cooking, yet they're versatile enough to be served at fine dinners. Many of them are easily adapted to your own tastes, too. The Chilled Pea Soup with Bacon and Whipped Cream could just as easily be served warm.

Chilled Pea Soup with Bacon and Whipped Cream

Image copyrighted by Ben Fink

There's something else that this book has inspired me to do, and that's to try things that I haven't particularly liked to eat in the past. I don't share Allen's love of radishes, but the Radish Top Pasta recipe looks delicious! Maybe I'll decide I like radishes after all.

P. Allen Smith is a popular television personality and a bestselling author as well as one of America’s best-known garden designers and lifestyle contributors. Host of the weekly public television show P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home, the syndicated television program P. Allen Smith Gardens, and gardening reports on The Weather Channel, he also makes regular appearances on The TodayShow. He recently launched a new public television series, P. Allen Smith'sGarden to Table, which is based on the book in this review.

Read more garden book reviews

Read Kylee Baumle’s blog, Our Little Acre