I just received a review copy of Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch, Nigel Slater's new book about growing and cooking vegetables in his London garden (the book was published in the UK last year and arrives at U.S. bookstores in May). Slater is one of the best narrative food writers. He can write evocatively about an ingredient -- and a memory of eating said ingredient -- without veering into cloying territory, the bane of so much food writing.
The 600+ page book is divided into chapters devoted to 29 individual vegetables, from asparagus to zucchini. Each chapter includes an essay on growing the plant in focus and one on using it in the kitchen, plus recipes. You could read the book right through just for the essays, or focus on a chapter here and there when looking for cooking ideas. As spring ever so slowly comes into its own this year, I've just begun to think about what to grow in my own square foot patch. I'm looking forward to diving into Tender for some much-needed inspiration.
Available for pre-order for $22.74 at amazon.com.