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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