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Book Review: Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook Edited by Rachel Wharton

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I grew up in Connecticut and we took trips into New York City fairly regularly. I loved the sights and it was so different from my suburban neighborhood in Connecticut. One of the things that I remember the most from our visits were the street vendors who sold food from little carts. I always thought it was so neat to get hot dogs, pretzels, and chestnuts from these vendors. The food always tasted so much better than what was on the table at home.

Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook gives you a taste of how Brooklyn lives, cooks, and eats. It pays tribute to those who feed and sustain their community by sharing fascinating profiles and more than 100 recipes, such as Backyard Egg Tacos with Oven Roasted Salsa Verde, Pickled Herring and Potato Salad with Creme Fraiche and Dill, Sheepshead Bay Fried Bluefish with Tartar Sauce, Fox’s U-Bet Egg Cream, and Tony’s Tiramisu.

This book is so much more than a cookbook. The recipes included are more than just recipes, they are stories that share a little bit about life in Brooklyn. There are stories about the contributors who created the recipes, along with ideas and tips for modifying the recipes or other things to try. Included are beautiful color photographs of either the dish, the ingredients used, local farmers, or restaurants. It’s a wonderful way to really feel like you’re visiting the area. I love being able to look inside the big city and check out some of the vendors selling their wares there.

The recipes themselves are very easy to follow, with detailed ingredients lists and step-by-step directions for preparation. Some of the recipes use ingredients that may be specific to Brooklyn, so you may need to find a few substitutions if you’re not local to the area. Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook also recommends organic and local options in many cases, so you can certainly find fresh produce or local eggs and honey in your area instead of the ones recommended in the cookbook. The cookbook also gives you the option in some recipes to include “any seasonal vegetable” so they are wonderfully versatile.

Edible Brooklyn includes some wonderful ethnic cuisines, including Szechuan, Mexican, Korean, and Polish. There are also some wonderful recipes that use wildcrafted plants including ramps and fiddlehead ferns. For those who don’t wildcraft, these can be picked up in many larger grocery stores in the produce section.

The selection of recipes included in Edible Brooklyn is enough to tempt anyone’s palette. You’ll find recipes for every season and every course. Just a few that tempted me were the roasted sweet potatoes with fried leeks and parmesan, the peanutty noodles with seasonal vegetables, and Aunt Jane’s stawberry pie, which was delicious! If you enjoy local, seasonal cooking with a taste of the big city, you need to try Edible Brooklyn: The Cookbook.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.