Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans

Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America’s Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans

Harvest to Heat (The Taunton Press, 2010) is a beautifully photographed collection of recipes by top chefs in the country that highlight the unique contributions of artisans and farmers, and their high-quality products. Firmly rooted in the farm to table movement, the slow food featured here is definitely worth the wait.

There are wonderful stories to tell behind the scenes of food that is grown locally and responsibly. As the authors, Darryl Estrine and Kelly Kochendorfer, put it: “We fell in love with the artisans in this book because they are brilliant, cool, passionate, and have a strong belief in what they are doing.” For example, the reader learns about Thanksgiving Farm which is a 350-acre farm that both feeds and educates the residents of the Center for Discovery. The Center for Discovery is the home of 350 special needs children and adults ranging in age from 5 to 21.

Recipes are featured, showing both the name of the restaurant chefs who created them and the artisans who supply the ingredients. Also featured are the photographs, with profiles of the farmers or artisans. My very favorite profile was of rancher Keith Martin of Elysian Fields Farm. He “talks to his lambs on a regular basis.” In this wholistic view, “Keith wants to see the respect and care that he gives to his animals continued as they go into our kitchens and onto our plates. ‘The animal gives itself up for the highest-quality product it can be,’ he says, so we should carry this forward by treating it with the reverence it deserves.”

As part of my own personal gratitude practice, I try to remember all the work of the people – and animals – that go into even a simple chore like supermarket shopping. This book reminded me of the interconnectedness of us all. Oh, and the food? Looks fantastic! Categorized into starters, salads, soups, main courses, sides and desserts, the book opens with a blue cheese tartine (“just a fancy French name for an open sandwich”) and gets better from there. A caveat: slow food is going to mean taking your time making these recipes too. The ingredient lists are often extensive and one recipe I have earmarked, the Smoky Pork and Apple Soup with Mustard which is described as a hearty cold-weather soup, is going to take 3 ½ hours just to make the stock alone. No sloppy fast food here: even the mac and cheese has lobster in it. A very attractive coffee table-style book that I won’t mind getting dirty in the kitchen.

-review by Diane Saarinen

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