Gourmet's Fresh: From the Farmers Market to Your Kitchen

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9780375503412: Gourmet's Fresh: From the Farmers Market to Your Kitchen
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One of America's leading cooking magazines introduces two hundred recipes, many never before published, that feature seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, and organic foods from the local farmer's market, along with eighteen seasonal menus, cooking advice and suggestions, and tips on shopping. 10,000 first printing.

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The scent of ripe strawberries filled the air. Bees hummed. Off in the distance we could see the corn, blowing gently in the wind. Alice Waters stood with her feet in the dirt and her face in the sun. Taking a deep breath she said, ³All I really want is a restaurant where you give people good bread and good wine and good olive oil and then you lead them to a wonderful garden and say,         There it is        help yourselves.¹²

That was more than 20 years ago, and it seemed like a ridiculous dream.  In those days most salads were made of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes had no taste, and if you wanted a decent strawberry you had to grow your own.

These days it seems a lot less absurd: Gardens are sprouting all over America. Great tomatoes and good strawberries have never been so easy to find. Who do we have to thank for this?

A number of people. The first great American food revolution began with the teachers. The most important was certainly Julia Child who taught us the technical skills required to create a great cuisine while urging us to have the courage to cook. But an even more important lesson was yet to come. For once we had mastered the techniques of soufflés and sautés, we uncovered the most important secret of cooking: Every great meal begins with great products.

Once they realized this, young chefs like Alice Waters set out to do something about it. No longer satisfied with old fish that had not seen the water for weeks and hard peaches bred for their ability to travel without bruising, they took the obvious next step. They created networks of producers, who would plant gardens, raise animals, and go foraging and fishing just for them. It wasn¹t easy; I know because when I wrote an article about the incipient farm movement in 1980 one of Alice¹s
suppliers told me he thought she was nuts. ³I¹m growing baby vegetables for her,² he said, ³but I don¹t understand why she wants those little ones when she could have big ones for less money.²

Crazy or not, the movement grew. And its impact was profound. Because once we had
those wonderful ingredients, we realized that they wanted nothing more than to be left alone. Chefs who had worshipped at the altar of haute cuisine began learning the lessons of the Mediter-ranean. They began to simplify, to let the great ingredients speak for themselves. Our tastes changed. And then the movement came home.

It started very slowly, but farmers soon found that cooks in cities all over America were eager to buy the wonderful fruits and vegetables they were tasting in restaurants. The farmers planted more and brought the surplus to farmers markets. Little by little the movement grew. The
result? Today there are few large American cities that do not have a farmers market.

This is a book for people who love those markets. For people who are happy to wander through
the streets of their cities and come upon places where the air smells of peaches and corn and farmers sell fruits and vegetables they pulled from the dirt only hours earlier. It is, above
all, a book for people who understand that good products demand only one thing of
a cook: Respect.

Because great produce makes so few demands, many of our recipes are fast and easy. Lori¹s Heirloom Tomato Salad (opposite) is simply dressed with garlic-oil, which allows the sweet taste of the tomatoes to come shining through.

Some recipes, such as Parsley Spätzle, suggest new uses for familiar foods. Others feature some of the out of the ordinary fruits and vegetables, like tatsoi, purslane, and persimmons, that are starting to turn up in the markets. And because fruits and vegetables that were bred
for flavor instead of longevity are a new experience for many of us, we have sprinkled information on buying, storing, and preparing produce through-out the book.

We also offer a collection of seasonal menus. After all, cooking from the farmers market means following the seasons and it may change the way you eat. It may also change the way you shop, because dropping in at the farmers market is a very different experience than a trip to the
supermarket. It is always unpredictable.

Flip through Gourmet¹s Fresh to find ideas before you set off for the market. Think of it as a beginning, a blueprint for your meals. Should you arrive to discover better or more interesting fruits and vegetables than you had anticipated, buy them; Gourmet¹s Fresh will help you revise
the recipe when you get home.

Because in the end, one of the nicest things about shopping at the farmers market is that
you never know what you will find. A market is a lot like a garden: There is always a surprise.

Ruth Reichl
Editor-in-Chief

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