Seasonal Cookbook Makes Meal Planning Simple

fruitveg.jpgWe’ve talked a lot about eating seasonally, for the taste, health, and environmental benefits. However, if you’re not a gardener or new to shopping the farmers’ markets, you might be unsure what’s available. For careful menu planners, this can be difficult. Wouldn’t it be easier if a cookbook was organized by season, offering recipes using produce commonly available during each of the four seasons?

Then my mom bought me Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert’s Simply in Season for Christmas this year. The concept seemed so logical, I couldn’t believe I didn’t already posses a cookbook organized by season. In fact, there are a few other seasonally-organized cookbooks, but my mom picked this up while they were on vacation this summer, knowing it would be right up my alley. She was right. This vegetarian/vegan-friendly tome is packed with recipes that are easy enough for most home cooks, even beginners, and look (and taste!) downright tasty. Right now, I’m planning both the Lemon Asparagus pasta and the Spring Quiche Trio for upcoming meals, and I’m positively salivating for June’s strawberries, so I can make the Strawberry Brunch Souffle

Simply in Season is more than just a collection of recipes. It’s a wonderful starting point for anyone looking to eat more slow foods or cook using local, seasonal produce, and a reliable reference for more experienced cooks. The book has extensive informative section on various fruits and vegetables, their uses, nutrients, storage methods, and preparation suggestions. Each season’s section (including the “all seasons” section, contains recipes for every course, and most of the recipe pages contain blurbs at the end of each page–cooking tips, information on agriculture, poetry, or interesting quotes on food. These added touches–the above and beyond the recipes–make this book one of my favorites on the shelf. My very favorite of these touches is the “Invitation to Action” at the end of each season–action to eat in a more healthful, sustainable way and convince others to do the same.

Simply In Season is commissioned by the Mennonite Central Committee, retails for $20.99,and can be purchased at the MCC’s website.

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About the Author

A former high school teacher, I'm currently a part-time writer/full-time doctoral student at the University of St. Thomas in the Twin Cities, studying leadership in education from a critical pedagogy perspective along with public policy. On the green side, I'm interested in local food and agriculture (Iowa girl, born and raised), sustainability education, DIY projects, and grassroots activism. I'm slowly turning my South City, St Louis home into an urban farmstead. On the hoping-to-be-greener side, I love reading, yoga, soccer, music, backpacking, knitting, pop culture and trivia, my Tuesday Night Dinner Club, traveling, Guitar Hero, dive bars, and sitting on front porches with my husband and a cold beer. I came to Green Options via a post on Sustainablog,working the St Louis angle to get Jeff to let me in. I have a personal blog chronicling (what else?) life in South St. Louis. Follow me on Twitter!
  • I second the recommendation for this cookbook! I’ve had it for a little over two years now and absolutely love it. There’s one recipe in particular that I make at least every couple of weeks — I think it’s called Strawberry Oven Pancake, but I always make a savory version substituting whatever fresh veggies I have on hand for the fruit. yum!

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