I picked up these two lovely coffee table books in the quaint town of Point Reyes Station, California. If there is a town one can call organic, and where people buy local, it’s Point Reyes. Even Prince Charles traveled from England to Point Reyes to study organic farming practices. My daughter Kristina and I were browsing the Farmer’s Market in front of Toby’s Feed Barn last month. After purchasing some fresh produce and other items including baklava made locally, we went into Toby’s, the local favorite. I have never gone into Toby’s and walked out empty-handed. I love their cookbooks. They are big, beautiful, and full of great recipes.
Even though “locavore” sounds like some kind of newly discovered dinosaur, it simply refers to those who buy items from local producers. Many people prefer to source their food from within a 100-to 300-mile radius of where they reside. Locavores choose locally grown products largely for taste, higher nutritional values, environmentalism, and to feel a connection with the person who grew them. Most people probably have read of the organic and local movements around the globe, which many believe to be a healthier approach to life. If you are a locavore, then you will love this book. In Organic Marin, you will read how Marin County, California is considered the birthplace of, and standard bearer of American organic farming. It is a fascinating explanation of the philosophies of esteemed organic farmers, who share their passion for local food, along with some incredibly wonderful recipes.
Eating Local is an equally amazing cookbook. It provides year-round tips for storing, preparing, and preserving the best of all the four seasons. Along with breath-taking photography, the book offers 150 recipes that are comforting, yet contemporary. How about trying zucchini bread with candied ginger, grilled pork chops with bourbon-basted grilled peaches, or feta cheese flatbread with radishes and spring herbs. Since my daughters and I are partial to anything with kale, I turned to the index to see what was listed. First thing I found was crispy kale chips. We have been making a version of these for months now. Kale leaves are tossed with olive oil, slowly roasted in the oven until crispy, and sprinkled with sea salt. They are better than eating potato chips! The chips crackle when you eat them, then the deliciousness dissolves on your tongue. No matter how many batches we make, it’s never enough.
These cookbooks are going to be on my favorite list for years to come. Preparing delicious, flavorful foods is a powerful way to bring people together, and to taste the best that the earth has to offer.