When The Greens Cookbook came out in l986, I went on a cross-country media tour. I was dismayed to find that the rest of the country was not like California.
Humbled by what I saw, or didn’t see, in the way of produce, I decided to make an experiment of my life. I moved to Flagstaff, Arizona, a small town without much in the way of good food. (It is changing. There’s now a short-season farmers’ market there.) I taught classes in my home, and then started to write (and cook) as a home cook, not as a chef.
My challenges were several: to create high-flavor recipes that could be prepared in a reasonable amount of time (suitable for families) from limited local resources (like Flagstaff’s), and to figure out ways to source better ingredients than those offered by the supermarket. I still wanted to have the same bright flavors I had discovered with The Greens Cookbook, but without the reliance on ingredients or a restaurant staff.
The Savory Way is entirely vegetable-based, but I was reluctant to call it vegetarian, because I like to think that everyone eats vegetables, not just vegetarians. And I like to think of food as inclusive, not exclusive. Nonetheless, while I was on tour, a man ran up to me and said “I saw you on TV. Your recipes look just wonderful, but unfortunately, I’m not a vegetarian!” I guess you can’t win for losing.
Writing about flavor can challenge even the most practiced wordsmiths.
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