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Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch [Anglais] [Relié]

Nigel Slater
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Extrait

There is a moment in late April, somewhere between the end of the plum blossom and the height of the apple, just as the Holly Blue butterflies start to appear in the garden, that the early asparagus turns up at the farmers’ market. Tied in bunches of just six or ten, these first green and mauve spears of Asparagus officinalis are sometimes presented in a burlap-lined wicker basket, as if to endorse their fragility and their expense. Their points tightly closed, a faint, gray bloom of youth still apparent on their stems, it would take a will stronger than mine not to buy.
 
The older I get, the more interested I become in the shoots that the Persians called asparag, and in Pershore, the heart of the old British asparagus trade, they still call “sparrow-grass.” The farms around Kent and Suffolk sell it from open sheds an egg’s throw from the field in which it has been grown, and where I have been known to bring it back by the armful when it’s cheap enough. You see the occasional row on an allotment, but the plants take up the most space of any vegetable and require vigilant picking and careful transport home. “Grass,” as it is so often known by greengrocers and farmers alike, remains expensive for a reason.
 
Life is full of small rituals, and never more so than in my kitchen. The first asparagus of the year is boiled within minutes of my walking through the door with it, butter is carefully melted so that it is soft and formless but not yet liquid, then I eat it with the sort of reverence I usually reserve for mulberries or a piece of exquisite sashimi. It is almost impossible not to respect those first spears of the year.
 
The short, six-week season starts in late April, and once it is up and running, the price drops and the bundles get fatter. I could have it every day—in a salad with cold salmon, stirred into a frugal rice pilaf, chopped and stirred into the custard filling of a tart, or grilled and served with lemon juice and grated pecorino. I might get tired of its side effects—it contains methyl mercaptan, which makes most people’s pee stink—but its flavor is the strongest sign yet that summer has started.
 
By mid-June all but a few stragglers have gone, and the farmers rest their ancient plants till next spring.
 
 
 
Asparagus in the garden
 
There are days when I covet my neighbors’ untended, overgrown garden. It’s a haven for the foxes whose earth stretches far under the “lawn,” on which they lie sprawled in the sun, six at a time. The land would make a much-needed overflow for my own vegetable patch.
 
In celebration of the luxury of more space, my first planting would be asparagus, one of the few vegetables I have yet to grow for myself. The crowns, as the root-balls are known, take up a considerable amount of room, far more than I can afford to offer them in my own tiny garden. You can raise plants from seed, if you are capable of waiting three years for them to gather strength before your first pick. Most people buy two- or even three-year-old crowns instead. They are usually delivered in late spring, wrapped in newspaper, a mass of dangling, spiderlike roots sporting a short stalk or two. You dig them in—they thrive on sandy soil and sunshine—planting them in deep, manure-lined trenches under a generous 4 inches (10cm) of soil, and then you must pamper them with seaweed and more manure and ply them generously with drink.
 
As a thank you, they will send up occasional spears from late April to midsummer. Picking stimulates growth, but it is unwise to pick for too long. The farmers around my childhood home in Worcestershire would never harvest for more than six weeks for fear of exhausting the plants. Leaving a few late arrivals to develop into feathery fronds—the sort a bridegroom attaches to a buttonhole carnation—will help to restore the crown. Resting fields in growing areas can be spotted in late summer by tall fronds dotted with carmine berries, waving in the breeze.
 
Asparagus needs to be cut, never pulled, and you should slice as near to the crown as possible. The temptation to pick every last spear should be avoided. I have seen growers lowering their bundles into buckets of water after cutting to keep the ends moist. Dried up, they will find few takers.
 
 
 
Asparagus in the kitchen
 
There are two types of asparagus of interest, three if you count the fat “jumbo” spears, whose flavor is rarely as impressive as their size: the thin “sprue,” finer than a pencil, and the thicker spears for picking up with our fingers. Sprue is my favorite size for working into a salad with samphire, melted butter, and grated lemon. Being supple, it tangles elegantly round your fork.
 
The thicker spears are most tender at their flowering point, less so at the thick end where the stalk has been cut from the plant. You can often eat the entire spear, and a tough end is no real hardship—it acts as something to hold while we suck butter off the tastiest bits. Some people prefer to trim their “grass,” whittling the white end to a point with a paring knife or peeler.
 
Get the spears to the pot as quickly as you can. They lose their moisture and sweetness by the hour. If you have to store them (I often buy three bunches at once at the Sunday farmers’ market), stand them in a bowl of water like a bunch of flowers.
 
We can safely ignore the more far-fetched ways to boil asparagus, which range, in case you have a fancy to try, from standing them upright in a pan with their feet supported by new potatoes to cradling them over the water in a kitchen towel like a baby in swaddling clothes. Well intentioned, but unnecessary. Just lower the bundle of stalks tenderly into a shallow pan of merrily boiling water. If they are too long, let the points rest on the edge of the pan, where they will steam while the thicker ends tenderize in the water. They are good grilled over charcoal too, where the smokiness they take on makes up for the very slight lessening in juiciness. And they can be baked in aluminum foil or parchment paper with butter, a few sprigs of tarragon or chervil, and some moisture in the form of white wine or water so that they effectively steam in the sealed parcel.
 
Once we have tired of boiled asparagus and melted butter, the spears make a deeply herbaceous soup or a mild, rather soporific tart and marry well with pancetta or soft-boiled eggs. A few in a salad will make it feel extravagant, even if the only other ingredients are new potatoes, oil, lemon juice, and parsley. My all-time favorite asparagus lunch is one where a small, parchment-colored soft cheese is allowed to melt lazily over freshly boiled spears. The warm cheese oozing from its bloomy crust makes an impromptu sauce.
 
 
 
Seasoning your asparagus
 
Butter  Melted, for dressing lightly cooked spears.
 
Lemon juice  An underused seasoning for buttered asparagus. Particularly good where Parmesan is involved.
 
Tomato  A fresh tomato sauce, made by roasting small tomatoes, crushing them with a fork, then stirring in olive oil, crushed garlic, and a splash of red wine vinegar.
 
Parmesan  Finely grated over buttered spears or used to form a crust on a gratin of asparagus and cream.
 
Bacon  Toss a pan of bacon or pancetta snippets and its hot fat over freshly cooked spears.
 
Cheese  Soft, grassy cheeses, especially the richer cow’s milk varieties.
 
Eggs  As a filling for a tart, or simply soft boiled, as a natural cup of golden sauce in which to dip lightly cooked spears.
 
And ...
 
Weed your asparagus bed by hand. A hoe may damage emerging shoots.
 
Despite not providing a harvest for the first three years, a crown can remain prolific for twenty years or more. I have heard of them even older.
 
I was taught how to pick asparagus by a grower in Evesham. He showed me how to push the soil gently away from the lower part of the stalk with your fingers to reveal the end, which you then cut as close as possible to the crown, taking care not to cut into it.
 
This vegetable loses its sweetness by the hour. Anything that has traveled from overseas is likely to disappoint.
 
Avoid cooking asparagus in aluminium pans. It can taint the spears.
 
Roll lightly cooked spears in thinly sliced ham, lay them in a shallow dish, cover with a cheese sauce, and a heavy dusting of Parmesan and bake until bubbling.
 
 
 
A pilaf of asparagus, fava beans, and mint
 
Asparagus is something you feel the need to gorge on, rather than finding the odd bit lurking almost apologetically in a salad or main course. The exceptions are a risotto—for which you will find a recipe in Appetite—and a simple rice pilaf. The gentle flavor of asparagus doesn’t take well to spices, but a little cinnamon or cardamom used in a buttery pilaf offers a mild, though warmly seasoned base for when we have only a small number of spears at our disposal.
 
enough for 2
 
fava beans, shelled – a couple of handfuls
thin asparagus spears – 12
white basmati rice – 2/3 cup (120g)
butter – 4 tablespoons (50g)
bay leaves – 3
green cardamom pods – 6, very lightly crushed
black peppercorns – 6
a cinnamon stick
cloves – 2 or 3, but no more
cumin seeds – a small pinch
thyme – a couple of sprigs
green onions – 4 thin ones
parsley – 3 or 4 sprigs
 
to accompany the pilaf
chopped mint – 2 tablespoons
olive oil – 2 tablespoons
yogurt – 3/4 cup (200g)
 
Cook the fava beans in deep, lightly salted boiling water for four minutes, until almost tender, then drain. Trim the asparagus and cut it into short lengths. Boil or steam for three minutes, then drain.Wash the rice three times in cold water, moving the grains around with your fingers. Cover with warm water, add a teaspoon of salt, and set aside for a good hour.
 
Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the bay leaves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, and sprigs of thyme. Stir them in the butter for a minute or two, until the fragrance wafts up. Drain the rice and add it to the warmed spices. Cover with about 1/4 inch (1cm) of water and bring to a boil. Season with salt, cover, and decrease the heat to simmer. Finely slice the green onions. Chop the parsley.
 
After five minutes, remove the lid and gently fold in the asparagus, fava beans, green onions, and parsley. Replace the lid and continue cooking for five or six minutes, until the rice is tender but has some bite to it. All the water should have been absorbed. Leave, with the lid on but the heat off, for two or three minutes. Remove the lid, add a tablespoon of butter if you wish, check the seasoning, and fluff gently with a fork. Serve with the yogurt sauce below.
 
To accompany the pilaf
 
Stir 2 tablespoons of chopped mint, a little salt, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil into 3/4 cup (200g) thick, but not strained, yogurt. You could add a small clove of crushed garlic too. Spoon over the pilaf at the table.
 
 
 
Warm asparagus, melted cheese
 
I have used Taleggio, Camembert, and English Tunworth from Hampshire as an impromptu “sauce” for warm asparagus with great success. A very soft blue would work as well.
 
enough for 2
 
thick, juicy asparagus spears – 24
a little olive oil or melted butter
soft, ripe cheeses such as St. Marcellin or any of the above – 2
 
Bring a deep pan of lightly salted water to a boil. Trim any woody ends from the asparagus and lower the spears gently into the water as soon as it is boiling. Cook for four or five minutes, until tender enough to bend. Lift the spears out with a slotted spoon and lower them into a shallow baking dish. Brush them lightly with olive oil or melted butter.
 
Preheat the broiler. Slice the cheese thickly—smaller whole cheeses can simply be sliced in half horizontally—and lay them over the top of the spears. Place under a hot broiler for four or five minutes till the cheese melts. Eat immediately, while the cheese is still runny.
 
 
 
A tart of asparagus and tarragon
 
I retain a soft spot for canned asparagus. Not as something to eat with my fingers (it is considerably softer than fresh asparagus, and rather too giving), but as something with which to flavor a quiche. The canned stuff seems to permeate the custard more effectively than the fresh. This may belong to the law that makes canned apricots better in a frangipane tart than fresh ones, or simply be misplaced nostalgia. I once made a living from making asparagus quiche, it’s something very dear to my heart. Still, fresh is good too.
 
enough for 6
 
for the pastry
butter – 7 tablespoons (90g)
all-purpose flour – 11/4 cups (150g)
an egg yolk
 
 
for the filling
medium-thick asparagus spears – 12
heavy cream – 11/4 cups (284ml)
eggs – 2
tarragon – the leaves of 4 or 5 bushy sprigs
grated pecorino or Parmesan – 3 tablespoons
 
Cut the butter into small chunks and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolk and enough water to make a firm dough. You will find you need about a tablespoon of water or even less.
 
Roll the dough out to fit a 9-inch (22cm) tart pan (life will be easier when you come to cut the tart if you have a pan with a removable bottom), pressing the pastry right into the corners. Prick the pastry base with a fork, then refrigerate it for a good twenty minutes. Don’t be tempted to miss out this step; the chilling will stop the pastry shrinking in the oven. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake blind for twelve to fifteen minutes, until the pastry is pale golden and dry to the touch.
 
Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C). Bring a large pan of water to a boil, drop in the asparagus, and let it simmer for seven or eight minutes or so, until it is quite tender. It will receive more cooking later but you want it to be thoroughly soft after its time in the oven, as its texture will barely change later under the custard.
 
Put the cream in a pitcher or bowl and beat in the eggs gently with a fork. Coarsely chop the tarragon and add that to the cream with a seasoning of salt and black pepper. Slice the asparagus into short lengths, removing any tough ends. Scatter it over the partly baked pastry shell, then pour in the cream and egg mixture and scatter the cheese over the surface. Bake for about forty minutes, until the filling is golden and set. Serve warm.

Revue de presse

New York Times Notable Cookbook of 2011

“a valentine to produce”
—Mother Jones, Favorite Cookbooks of 2011, 12/3/11

“Little about TENDER, British writer Nigel Slater’s quietly epic cookbook about preparing vegetables, feels designed for the American consumer. The author’s preoccupations are so personal, so drawn from the quotidian pleasures of tending his small garden in London, that they feel far removed from the celebrity-penned, diet-driven, ego-tripping cookbooks that dominate U.S. bestseller lists. . . . Slater, in other words, is an obsessive, but one whose obsession seems to stop in the kitchen. Slater has too much respect for all involved — the ingredient, the reader, the joy of discovery in the kitchen — to want to serve as your nanny. He’d rather play your mentor, the kind who wants you to love the messy process, not just the finished dish, which, come to think of it, you’ll love, too. These easy-to-execute dishes go down just as easy. It all makes you look forward to Slater’s second “Tender” volume, dedicated to fruits, due to arrive stateside next spring.”
—The Washington Post, 8/2/11

“Not only is Nigel Slater one of the greatest living food writers, he's also the ultimate urban gardener. His latest book, Tender, just might inspire you to tear up your lawn and get planting.”
—Bon Appétit, August 2011

“A seriously hefty and seriously engaging homage to the garden, from one of Britain’s foremost food authorities.” 
—NYTimes.com, Summer Cookbook Roundup, 6/2/11

Tender is pleasing in so many ways. For cooks it's filled with glorious vegetable-centric recipes, for gardeners it's an insightful and personal story about just how much a garden can mean, and for those who just enjoy reading about food, well, you're going to love getting acquainted with Nigel Slater.”
—Serious Eats, Cook the Book, 5/23/11

“But the crowning glory of "Tender" is Mr. Slater's own prose, even when treating of something as lowly as the autumnal cabbage—each dark-green leaf of which "somehow seems as if it will fend off our winter ills. Elephant ears of crinkled green, sparkling with dew; black plumes of cavolo nero like feathers on a funeral horse, and the dense, ice crisp flesh of red cabbage. Strong flavors indeed." Strong, yes, but also tenderly enticing, as guests at Mr. Slater's latest literary feast will discover.”
—The Wall Street Journal, Bookshelf, 4/23/11

“The best Brit you’ve never heard of. . . . Nigel Slater is who you’d get if you combined Alice Waters with Mark Bittman: a garden-to-table advocate whose goal in life is to make people love fresh produce and cooking because they are – gasp – fabulous and fun and do not have to be fussy in the slightest.”
—The Christian Science Monitor, 4/19/11

“Engagingly written and showcasing more than 200 full-color photos, this attractive and infinitely useful collection shows how to tastefully incorporate more vegetables into one's diet while providing an informative primer on gardening.”  
—Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, 3/7/11

“Nigel Slater’s Tender is a rich tale of one man’s passion for cultivating, cooking, and eating from the garden. His sensuous and delicious recipes make us want to run right into the kitchen and start cooking. But even if you never set a foot in your garden or turn on the stove, it is a great, inspiring read.”
—Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton, authors of Canal House Cooking
 
“As a second-floor city-dweller with no patch of land to call my own, a glimpse into Nigel Slater’s garden sanctuary makes me ache for a small plot of good dirt, preferably just off a kitchen, to grow some of what I eat. Nigel captures the small moments—the rituals, sights, and smells—that are part of the cycle of growing, cooking, eating, and sharing, culminating in a collection of vibrant, bold yet approachable recipes. A rare treasure.”
—Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Cooking
 
“A home garden isn’t just the best source of the ultimately fresh. It’s also the place where scent, smell, and touch vie with taste to inspire and shape our culinary imagination. Nigel Slater, a food writer too little known in this country, has a unique ability to convey this magical play of the senses, and what happens when we let it permeate our cooking. The imaginative, often inspired dishes that result are a revelation. Tender deserves pride of place on any vegetable lover’s shelf.”
—John Thorne, author of Outlaw Cook
 
“Nigel Slater is my kind of cook. His gently passionate garden-to-kitchen approach shows respect for the beauty of simple ingredients. He celebrates the sweetness of a roasted onion, the thrill of a ripe berry, and the real pleasure of a good salad.”
—David Tanis, author of Heart of the Artichoke

Détails sur le produit

  • Relié: 624 pages
  • Editeur : Ten Speed Press (26 avril 2011)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1607740370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607740377
  • Dimensions du produit: 24,4 x 17,9 x 5,3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 131.150 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
  • Table des matières complète
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Millefois merci Nigel ! 8 mars 2014
Par C.Dupouy
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Super livre. Je suis déjà fan de Nigel Slater et ce livre est un delice. On se promene dans son jardin et un peu dans sa vie...se lit comme les nouvelles .....avec en bonus des infos sur le potager ..... des descriptives droles, emouvants, et très beau...... les recettes parfois très simple (gendre 'pourquoi je n'ai pas pensé à ça') .... parfois plus complexe mais jamais difficile ou long à realiser. J'ai beaucoup apprecié les photos aussi ..... très naturelle ...... certainement pas fait en studio .... vos plats resemble vraiment à la photo ..... très bon pour la morale aussi !!!!!
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Amazon.com: 4.7 étoiles sur 5  39 commentaires
40 internautes sur 41 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A perfect all around savory cookbook 4 mai 2011
Par K. Gill - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Tender confirms all the reasons I think Nigel Slater's work is fantastic. His writing is excellent, his recipes are diverse and simple. The photography in his books captures the mood of the ingredients, dishes, and meals perfectly. His food is really the kind that you'd put together for yourself or friends dropping by-- nothing pretentious, few ingredients, great satisfaction. I used to think the Kitchen Diaries was the jewel in his crown, but now Tender has moved in alongside it. Can't wait for Tender II-- the Fruit!

Nigel Slater is well known and loved in the UK. I have for years saved clippings of his recipes from the Guardian, where I was first introduced to his work. His recipes just seem so intuitive and easy. Nothing is about measuring really, it's all about what tastes good. Working through his recipes, you realize what cooking is all about-- marrying flavors to fit your palate. So you don't really have a sense that if you don't follow the recipe to a T, it won't come out. You know that you'll be happy to sit down with a plate of food you pulled together from what you had, just the way great home cooking should be.

You'll clutch this book close to your heart, and want to share its beauty and perfection with everyone you know who loves food!
31 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A unique perspective 11 juillet 2012
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This is an odd vegetable book. It's one man's story of his relationship to growing vegetables and cooking them. As such, despite its main subject matter, in some ways, it's not a book about vegetables, but about the life of a gardener and cook. The author definitely has his prejudices, and various vegetables are dismissed out of hand as either too difficult to grow in a home garden, or simply not vegetables that he likes to eat. He's also got a very old-fashioned British perspective on what constitutes a meal, and while I realize that the book was not intended as a vegetarian or vegan cookbook, by midway through and from that point on I found myself despairing of encountering a recipe that didn't involve butter, cream, cheese, bacon or sausages in one form or another and, in quantity, oft-times more than the vegetable. Anything to cover up the taste it seemed - and in some cases he was upfront about that, one that stood out was a comment that amounted to, "no one would eat eggplant for its taste". A similar curse was laid upon the humble cauliflower. So, overall, an interesting book to read, more so probably if you're a gardener than if you're looking for cooking tips or recipes.
32 internautes sur 36 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Engaging, Gem of a Book 11 août 2011
Par Mary Lou Heiss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Tender: A cook and his vegetable patch Ten Speed Press 2011 )is the latest book by Nigel Slater, author of The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater, and Toast; The Story of a Boy's Hunger . He is one of my favorite English food writers. In fact, I am always drawn to English food writers (Elizabeth David, Jane Grigson, Tamasin Day Lewis) because of their reassuring tone and engaging, conversational voice.

These writers view food through a different lens than other food writers. To them, food and cooking is not static, or a black and white formulaic topic, but a subject so beguiling that it merits thoughtful consideration. The best of the lot don't just teach us how to cook but share with us their vision about food and cooking: they muse, debate, decide, select, and present us with situations that gives us the confidence to realize that, yes, I can cook like this, too. This approach shows us that after one has learned the basics of good cooking, that the need to follow recipes exactly-to-the-letter is less valuable than learning to develop one's instincts in the kitchen.

Nigel Slater's writing is very welcoming. For him, the process of selecting the foods and ingredients at market, and ready-ing himself to cook, and the steps involved in constructing and then cooking the dish are an important part of his engagement with the food. I think that under his influence, all cooks can find some area in the kitchen that they could pay more attention to.

His voice is personal, and spoken in an intimate and joyful way from writer to reader, cook to cook. His musings consider numerous variables: he wants the reader to find these details as important as he does. For example, from the March 7th notation in The Kitchen Diaries he writes: "I have no idea what I had in mind when I bought the two lamb chops that are now sitting on the kitchen worktop. Actually they are leg steaks and there's enough for two. Whatever it was, the flash of inspiration must have got lost on the way home. In the fridge are mixed salad leaves - arugula, baby spinach, and some baby chard - and a bunch of mint. I might be able to rescue a few leaves from the bunch of basil that has got to close to the back of the fridge and burned on the ice. There is also the unusual stuff in the fridge and cupboards. I put the chops into a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of light soy sauce and a crushed garlic clove and let then sit for twenty minutes. I get the broiler hot and chick the chops on it, a couple of minutes on each side. Whilst the meat is cooking, I toss the salad leaves into a bowl. Then I knock up a dressing consisting of a couple of small, hot red chili peppers, finely chopped, the juice of half a ripe lime, a tablespoon of dark soy, a handful of shredded mint leaves and a wee bit of sugar. I slice the lamb into pencil-thin strips, and while it is still hot, toss it with the salad and dressing, then divide it between two plates. The mixture of sizzling meat, mellow, salty soy and sharp lime juice is startling, especially with the green leaves that have softened slightly where they have touched the lamb. The few juices left on our plates are stunning, and we mop them up with crispy white rolls."

This is not a traditional recipe but it shows us that thinking about food and how to combine simple ingredients at hand easily creates a tasty dish that shows off the main element of the dish - the lamb. It is the personal voice, spoken in an intimate and joyful way from writer to reader, cook to cook, which makes the reader pay attention to details they failed to notice before. He never mentions that the food is good - we know it is because of the words he chooses to describe the lusciousness of the moment. The casual mention of the greens that have softened slightly where they have touched the lamb is but a tiny detail, yet it is a significant one, noticed and appreciate by a passionate and observant eater.

Slater has (and shares) a deeply-rooted connection to things `real' that drives his relationship with food. His books ( as well those of other English, Irish and Scottish writers ) contain a lot of detail, and they have a special way of discussing the `this and that' kitchen topic - be it butchery, cheese choices, seasonal fruits, etc, that includes the reader in the discourse and process. It is as if we are guests in their kitchen and are privy to some of their private thoughts and kitchen notes. It's a bit more right- side of the brain, subjective thinking and writing rather than left-side of the brain, objectivity.

We are given lots of explanations, too, in casual discourse, because details are important to these writers. Information might be about where the meat came from, how the animal was slaughtered, what farm raised it, the pros and cons of which vegetables to consider using in a seasonal vegetable casserole, the merits of different varieties of heirloom beans, the glories of farmhouse cider, old-time farming techniques, etc. All of this matters and is fodder for discussion and consideration.

Tender: A Cook and his vegetable patch has a different focus but is equally compelling. It is the kind of book that makes me want to mess about in my garden and then cook whatever there is that is ready to be picked on that day. Digging about like that in the vegetable garden yields seasonal food at it's freshest and most flavorful; those with the confidence to put it all together in a tasty dish for dinner that evening have really learned to savor the moments when vegetables are at their seasonal best.

Listen to what he says in the introduction to Tender: " Vegetables beckon and intrigue me in a way no fish or piece of meat ever could. The beauty of a single lettuce, its inner leaves tight and crisp, the outer ones opened up like those of a cottage garden rose; the glowing saffron flesh of a cracked pumpkin; the curling tendrils of a pea plant; a bunch of long, white-tipped radishes; a bag of assorted tomatoes in shades of scarlet, green, and orange is something I like to take time over."

I think the key to his genius is in the last sentence:`......is something I like to take time over'. His gift to us is his vision and his sensibilities, and the ability that he has to convey his thoughts in lovely prose. He makes us stop, slow-down and want to look, feel, taste and appreciate our food and foodstuffs for their unique qualities. His words are every bit as savory as his recipes, and I think he belongs in the same category of food writer as MFK Fisher and Elizabeth David.

This is a stolen snippet that appears on Nigel Slaters website: "Author, columnist and broadcaster, he remains very much an amateur cook. Nigel is not a chef and has no restaurant or commercial connections. His food is understated, handcrafted home cooking that is easy to accomplish and without a trace of what he affectionately calls `celebrity cheffery'. He is not fond of fussy food and prefers simple suppers made with care and thought. He believes that making something good to eat for your self or for others can lift the spirits in the way little else can."

I for one will always have a place on my bookshelf for more of his books.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 tender vol. 1 29 avril 2011
Par Suzanne Tran - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Just got my "Tender vol 1" book by Slater today in the mail. What a lovely book with many beautiful pictures and stories. I have 4 of Slater books and loved them all. Easy recipes, easy to follow instructions, and always interesting reading. Love his writing style and his British humor. Most of the ingredients is easy to find in the US supermarkert. His cooking is very simple and straight forward (very important on most weeknight after work). I marked alot of recipes to cook from this book. Will update my review. I'm going to order "Real Food" by the same author soon.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tender 15 août 2011
Par D. Dejager - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This book is a treasure for any cook but particularly for those that grow their own vegetables or visit the Farmers Market regularly. Starting with a list of the author's favorite seeds for each plant, an in-depth article about that particular beet or bean or kale, followed by some innovative recipes that taste as good as they sound makes this cookbook a great resource. I have done 5 recipes so far and all are stellar! This is at the top of my gift giving list this year!
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