The Classic Vegetable Cookbook by Ruth Spear

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The Classic Vegetable Cookbook

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Ruth Spear, author of a previous book called COOKING FISH AND SHELLFISH (Doubleday & Company, 1980), has adopted the encyclopedic design, including everything that the aspiring vegetable cook needs to know about buying, cooking, serving, and storing vegetables. CLASSIC VEGETABLE COOKBOOK indexes artichokes to zucchini with easy-to-prepare (“foolproof,” Spear says) recipes. She also flavors her vegetables with occasional zesty historical asides. For example, she reports that the Romans favored asparagus and celery. Supplementing the recipes (“Japanese eggplant salad,” for example) are tips on preparation and cooking procedure.

Following the vegetable index is a section of recipes for mixed vegetables, some with meat, poultry, and fish supplying flavoring roles. Spear’s book is easy to access and would be a useful basic reference for cooks charged with raising the vegetable content of their meals. Readers whose interest in vegetable cookery is stimulated by the ideas and advice presented in THE CLASSIC VEGETABLE COOKBOOK may want to follow up with other ideas for vegetable cookery. A good choice would be Nancy B. Katz’s THE MOSTLY VEGETABLE MENU COOKBOOK (Grosset & Dunlap, 1982).