Earth to Table – Book Review

by Marla on February 16, 2010 · 23 comments

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*CLICK HERE FOR THE WINNER OF THIS GIVEAWAY*

There is no single way to eat or source your food. This book is about simplifying your life. Utilizing fresh, whole foods that are locally produced (or as local as possible.)  It’s about cooking them simply without expensive, hard to find ingredients. Here we learn how to let high quality, fresh as possible, affordable ingredients speak for themselves. The recipes in Earth to Table are easy to follow and the photos will make you hungry, very hungry! They are full of life & gorgeous.

Let’s work together. We need to make the effort to commit ourselves to the earth’s abundance that is right in front of us.  Together we can let flavors shine through with balance and mindfulness. Yup. Just as I always share here at Family Fresh Cooking.  Clean, fresh ingredients don’t need too much work in the kitchen to shine brightly in your mouth and energize your body.

Earth to Table: Seasonal Recipes from an Organic Farm
by Jeff Crump and Bettina Schormann
with photographs by Edward Pond

From folks like Michael Pollan on Jon Stewart & Oprah to Katie Couric’s reporting on the current state of agriculture, we are hearing constant buzz about why to choose organic, natural whole foods. Let’s add Jeff Crump and Bettina Schorman to our list of aware, highly educated, health conscious foodies. Both Jeff (executive chef) and Bettina (pastry chef) are chefs at the Ancaster Old Mill in Ontario, Canada. They are Slow Food pioneers.

Both chefs have gotten their hands dirty at a local organic farm called ManoRun Farm. In the book they share their experiences on the farm and in the kitchen. Thankfully I experienced a great part of my youth on an organic farm in the UK. There I was able to enjoy a true “Earth to Table” experience.  Fresh dairy, eggs, fruits and veggies. Agreed.  Nothin’ like it.

I talk about SuperFoods all the time.  They are essential to great, high energy health  A diet made up primarily of fresh veggies, fruit, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats are the smartest choices for our bodies and the earth.  This is what Earth to Table focuses on.  Yes, Jeff and Bettina have a farm right near the restaurant.  If we open our eyes and do a smidge of research we too can source farm fresh, local ingredients.  Most of us have access to Farmers’ Markets.

Earth to Table leads by example

Here are some points made clear throughout this book.  These are snippets of very powerful information that we can refer back to to help us make cleaner eating choices.

  • Farmers’ Markets: Fresh, in season produce, it tastes the best.  It is easy to understand what is in season while strolling through your local Farmers’ Market.  Be prepared for your visit to inspire all kids of recipes you hadn’t thought of preparing that day!
  • CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture): Help support yourself and your local farm, become a member of a CSA.  This is a way to buy directly from the farmer. Members buy shares of the seasonal crops….whatever they might be.
  • Sustainability: When out of season, produce is flown in from thousands of miles away and  forced to mature in irradiated containers en route.  This leaves a huge carbon footprint and produce that doesn’t taste good at all.  Not friendly on our bodies or the earth.
  • Flavor: I want to love my food & I want my kids to love food. It is hard to do so with an out of season apple, berry or tomato.  In season, locally grown fruits and veggies taste so much better.
  • Health: Each day we are faced with more and more news telling us how bad industrial, commercial food is for our health and our ecosystem.  We cringe at the thoughts of giving our children non-organic dairy, meats and pesticide ridden food.
  • Accessibility: Packaged frozen meals & drive thru take-out “food” might be easy to grab but they are no more economical than fresh meals made from scratch.  With all the packaging, shipping and modified ingredients these overly processed foods are harmful to our health, wallets and the earth.  Trust me, your taste buds will adapt to clean, seasonal, fresh ingredients.  You can easily access clean, farm fresh ingredients.
  • Balance: Jeff agrees that not everything we crave is locally sourced.  We all crave things that are not grown locally.  From our favorite coffee to chocolate to olive oil, these are grown across oceans.  The point is to try to find the least processed, fairly traded, cleanest ingredients we can.  Don’t feel guilty.  Have some of this and that and create a nice balance.
  • Organic: The best choice for us and our children.  Who wants to ingest pesticides and hormones.  Yuck!

Recipes to Inspire

Earth to Table has four recipe sections. Each chapter focuses on a season. From sweets to savories all the senses are well covered. The recipes are creative, but very doable by the home chef. A few examples include:

Spotlights and How-To’s:

Also included are sections of clear, well illustrated ways to enhance your clean eating lifestyle.

How To’s: Foraging, Canning and Preserving, Farmers’ Markets, Planning an Herb Garden

Spotlights: Compost, Seafood, Dairy, Meat

Chef and Farmer Profiles

Jeff and Bettina are well established chefs with great farmer and chef friends.  Each profiled person is worthy of a foodie, activist, mindful citizen award!

*All of the above photos in this post are credited to Earth to Table

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks so much for your entries. It was an autographed copy of Earth to Table.

PS……

There is only one thing I hesitate to agree with in this book.  Autumn & Winter.   My favorite seasons by far.  (Sorry to my farmer friends, I know this isn’t the most financially stable time.)

Jeff states “We may enjoy each of the seasons, but none provoke the same giddy excitement as spring.  (No one throws on a sweater in September and sighs, “Thank goodness it’s autumn!.”

Except for me and few others.  There are a few of us folks who get a bit sad when the days become longer and the sun shines hotter.  We exist, rare birds indeed!  There is nothing more invigorating than when I put on my sweater, open the door and a crisp chill hits my face.  That sensation arouses all my senses.  In the cooler months I feel most alive.  Everything in my world is amplified, all my senses are stimulated.  I love the food, warm clothes, sports, snow & constant hot cocoa for fuel!

In the OC I don’t get my full dose of winter.  That is why I am off to Telluride, CO any chance I get.  My Telluride mountains are in their full glory in the winter and they make me smile, always.  Yes, Jeff I embrace all the seasons with vigor.  But I love that sweater and the chill!

Purchase the Book

You can visit the Family Fresh Cooking AMAZON store to purchase a copy of this book or take your chances of winning one at my giveaway!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria February 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Come to Utah if you want your dose of winter. I am sick of it:) Great book and post. Lots of great info like always. I can’t wait to check this one out!

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2 Ian February 16, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Can’t say I’m surprised that you liked the book! I can’t recommend it highly enough, and the restaurant is wonderful.

By the way, I think that autumn is terrific too…

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3 CookiePie February 16, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Fabulous review!! That sounds like one essential, amazing book.

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4 Kristen @ Change of Pace February 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Even if I don’t win the book I’ll have to buy it… I love the concept and never knew there was a book out there like that! :)

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5 sophia February 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Excellent review! I love how detailed and clear you are. I want to do a lot of what you’ve mentioned, such as the CSA, but I’m still a college student with limited budget…I hope to be able to do my part sometime soon though!

Oh, and this week’s BSI: http://www.natalieskillercuisine.com/2010/02/chocolate-sugar-cookies-and-bsi.html

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6 Katherine February 17, 2010 at 7:49 am

Looks like a wonderful book with a wealth of information. I’m always eager to learn more.

We are so over the cold here too. My chilren have been out of school on snow days since last Wednesday…I’m dreaming of beautiful dogwood blossoms!

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7 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather February 17, 2010 at 12:31 pm

This book sounds amazing, especially those sweet potato gnocchi!

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8 sweetlife February 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Great review, sounds like a wonderful book!!

sweetlife

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9 Jamey February 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm

This cookbook sounds great. Thanks for the review. As a mom, foodie, and dietitian I recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading.
PS the No Bake Peanut Butter Cookies are awesome

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10 Kajal - Aapplemint February 18, 2010 at 5:40 am

The book really looks fabulous.

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11 Jess February 18, 2010 at 6:43 am

The book sounds wonderful! I get lost in books like that – the photography and recipes are amazing! Your review is great : ) I recently found your blog and am REALLY enjoying it!

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12 Jennifer February 18, 2010 at 7:50 am

What a great review! This book sounds like a MUST have!!!

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13 rebecca February 18, 2010 at 11:46 am

sounds like a great book, love the write and pictures yummy

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14 Naomi (onefitfoodie) February 18, 2010 at 11:52 am

thank you for the sundried tomato hummus suggestion! I love sundried tomaterrssss

that book looks and sounds amazing, thank you for the heads up on the giveaway!

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15 Nicole, RD February 18, 2010 at 1:32 pm

I love your review of this book. I often feel preachy or snobbish when boasting the benefits of organic and local, and you explained perfectly to meet your needs with what you’re working with. This book sounds right up my alley and I want to win! Checking out the giveaway page now!!

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16 Gelareh @ Nutritious Foodie February 19, 2010 at 5:24 am

great review of the book. I always try to cook with vegetables that are available in the season.. I am still trying to locate a CSA close to us.

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17 FoodFitnessFreshair February 19, 2010 at 5:46 am

The title alone practically has me sold. I take part in growing a huge organic garden, and I’m almost always revolving my meals around it. Fresh food and vibrant produce is wonderful! I also love when cookbooks provide pictures. The recipes you mention sound great…I’d like to try the sweet potato gnocchi!

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18 Faith February 20, 2010 at 10:02 am

Once again, a fabulous review Marla! I love this food philosophy — eating seasonally is such a great way to get the best taste and most nutrients out of your food. And like you mentioned, it really does simplify everything since you’re using fresh ingredients and basically just highlighting their flavors. And I agree, autumn is actually my favorite season too! I love the crisp air and chilly nights after a hot summer. And I think there’s almost something magical about it, especially with all the anticipation of the winter ahead and the upcoming holidays!

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19 Biz February 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I joined a CSA last year and was thoroughly disappointed – it ended up being $25 a week, and the first few weeks I hardly got anything, and every week I got kohlrabi, which I tried several different ways to cook, but never became a fan. I am sticking to my farmer’s market then I can get what I want.

Gorgeous pics! :D

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20 Simply Life February 24, 2010 at 5:48 am

great giveaway and review!

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21 Rose February 24, 2010 at 9:06 am

I will have to check this book out! This is a topic I am absolutely passionate about educating others on. Making responsible food choices impacts your body, your society, economy and planet!

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22 Stella February 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

This looks extra delicious-I love cauliflower soup. I have some organic cauliflower in the fridge, so I’m bookmarking this. Thanks

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23 Stella February 26, 2010 at 6:29 am

Oops, just realized I commented under the wrong post earlier, but I would love to read this book. I’m going to our local, organic market tomorrow morning. It is expensive, but I’ve figured out which foods are more affordable and they are all so good and dense with nutrition. Oh, and I really like your blog-very interesting and informative.

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