Two-Book Review: Any Size, Anywhere Edible Gardening & Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook

With fall coming on, it’s time to crack open a new gardening book or two. I recently finished reading these new additions to my library and wanted to share my findings:

First, William Moss’ Any Size, Anywhere Edible Gardening, which focuses on growing in containers, community gardens, and in small spaces. Moss’ personality comes through in the book, and his lyrical narration really gives the reader a sense of the rich, cultural gardening experience he had growing up in South Carolina. It is reflected in the section of helpful plant profiles for common vegetables, where he includes okra, sweet potatoes, and field greens (a colloquialism we don’t really use here in California). It’s charming.

The book is aimed toward beginning gardeners, and I think it fits the bill. Experienced gardeners won’t glean a lot from the book because the information is general, as many garden books are constrained to do in order to be universal. As a garden book author myself, I understand the battle, trying to give specific information without losing half the country’s readership or pointing fingers at any specific products. It’s a fine line.

If you obsess about growing tomatoes, you’ll be happy to know that at least 50 pages of this 200 page book are dedicated to just that. Moss also includes vegetable suggestions for small spaces and containers. It’s a fine book to curl up with over winter, or give to your favorite apartment dweller this holiday season.

Next, The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook by Jere and Emilee Gettle with Adeena Sussman. I was gifted with an advance copy at the Heirloom Expo 2012, and as soon as I got home, I pored through this book with sticky tabs in hand. The introduction gives you a peek behind the scenes at Baker Creek, and offers general information about canning and preserving the harvest. The recipes (hats off to Adeena Sussman) look straight forward and easy to make.

The recipe section appears to be organized in alphabetical order by vegetable, but there are a few pages that had me scratching my head, wondering why a particular recipe fell in line where it did. The index, a cookbook’s most important feature IMHO, does exactly what it’s supposed to do–guide you toward recipes featuring the veggie you just harvested out of the garden.

Despite the fact that I abhor the taste of coconut in all its forms (okay, coconut water is growing on me), I still found myself willing to set my distaste aside and tagged practically every page to try out. If the Gettles and Sussman can mask the flavor of coconut well enough, I’m sold. The book made me willing to try, so that must count for something.

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