Review By KRISTIN WALD
Before the cooking comes the growing. And before the growing comes the planting. And even before the planting comes the planning. The first U.S. edition of PLANT, COOK, EAT! from co-authors Joe Archer and Caroline Craig is a complete and child-friendly guide to the full appreciation of a delicious, healthy, plant-based meal.
Parents and caregivers know that children will often eat (or at least try!) food they’ve had a part in growing and preparing. PLANT, COOK, EAT! incorporates all this, and adds in facts and tips about each step of the process. The photographs that accompany each section are not only bright and beautiful, but instructive and clarifying. In addition, the recipes included are simple enough for even young children to follow. A true love and appreciation for plant-life comes through in Joe Archer’s descriptions, and we’d expect nothing less from the head horticulturist at London’s Kew Gardens. Caroline Craig’s recipes show a deep understanding of foods that will be both interesting and adventurous to children – but not too strange!
With sections that include which parts of plants people eat, composting, garden pests, and preparing a vegetable bed, children and their adults will have all the information necessary to start a garden of any size. Also described are methods for sowing seeds outdoors AND indoors, making the book accessible for a variety of family gardening.
The main part of the book is structured by produce like carrots, kale, garlic, tomatoes, beets, pole beans, and so on. The sections all include sowing the seeds, planting, and tips and fun facts about each type of food. This is always followed by a recipe that centers the produce as a ingredient. Some examples include cranberry bean burgers, kale pesto pasta, onion soup, and zucchini and polenta fries.
NB: Only two recipes in the book are vegan, as most include Greek yoghurt, butter, or cheeses in the recipes. A few also include bacon. However, the recipes are all easily adjusted to suit fully vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.
Plant, Cook, Eat! was provided to the reviewer by the publisher.