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Simply in Season

Food writers celebrate the simple pleasures of eating locally

By Samantha Rideout

Simply in Season
By Mary Beth Lind and
Cathleen Hockman-Wert
(Herald Press) $26.10

At the Jean-Talon farmers market in Montreal, vendors sell fresh produce in intimidating heaps. I’ve often visited and felt slightly overwhelmed: what could I possibly do with so many corncobs or so much zucchini? But recently I went armed with the cookbook Simply in Season, so the corn teamed up with cilantro, red pepper and some tomatoes for a tart salad. The leftovers went into a plum tomato pie. It all tasted so fresh that I leaned back after eating and thought, “I forgot that food could be so good.”

Simply in Season contains a lot of tasty ways to cook up local produce; however, it is first and foremost a book about ethical eating. “We have become distant from our food, and not just in terms of geography,” the introduction says. “Who grows our food? What are their lives like? How is the soil cultivated and prepared for the next year? How are the animals treated? Each food purchase we make is like a vote for the way we want food to be produced — and for the world in which we want to live.”

Simply in Season also argues that eating locally is a spiritual experience. The authors celebrate simple pleasures like pulling vegetables out of a garden or strengthening one’s body with healthy food.

Of course, the same food isn’t grown everywhere, and Simply in Season leaves out a lot of local delicacies like Saskatoon berries or Maritime fiddleheads. Luckily, many of the recipes are flexible enough to leave room for cooks to add in whatever goodies are heaping up at their local farmers market.

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