Fresh: Seasonal Recipes Made with Local Foods.
Contains Photos, Index
Joan A. Lovisek, Ph.D., is a consulting anthropologist and
ethnohistorian in British Columbia.
The principal author of this recipe book is John Bishop, chef and owner of Bishop’s Restaurant in Vancouver. The book falls somewhere in the middle of the latest genre of natural or local foods advocated by Alice Waters (Chez Panisse) or the 100-mile diet, in which only ingredients from within 100 miles should be consumed. The book has some photographs of the recipes, but there are a lot of photographs of farming scenes, fruits and vegetables, and tractors. The book appears to promote one farm in particular, which appears to provide Bishop with much of his produce. Peppered throughout the book are entreaties about the importance of the sustainable farming and avoiding wasteful practices.
While the focus of the book is fresh local B.C. ingredients, the emphasis is on seafood and nuts (hazelnuts). Bishop, unlike other chefs who share the same interest in local ingredients, does not go as far as replacing regular white flour with more healthy substitutes, nor does he refrain from using other refined ingredients like sugar. The emphasis is focused on a single fresh principal ingredient rather than the entire ingredient list. The recipes are arranged in the book by season, starting with spring appetizers, soup and salad, entrees, side dishes, and dessert. The fall recipes are dominated by pickling and preserving. Although cooks of good quality food will find inspiration in the variety of recipes and range of difficulty offered in this book, some recipes, despite their “fresh” name like “Chicken Breasts with Fresh Bread Crumb and Lemon,” appear rather pedestrian. There are a lot of old favourites, like bread pudding, which has been jazzed up with pears, chocolate, and raisins, and Bishop’s soda bread, which adds a new twist by incorporating pumpkin seeds and oatmeal. The vegetarian shepherd’s pie made with lentils, however, has stiff competition from Delia Smith’s fine recipe.