I know, two book reviews in a row. I usually don’t put book reviews up here (I save them for a writer’s blog of which I am a part of) unless the book is of relevance to this audience (usually chicken related.)
In this particular case, the book is CSA related and it’s the romantic (don’t worry the only dirty part is when she gets her hands dirty from the vegetables) story of a young woman whose idea of a good dinner is defrosting a “frozen block of food” and an organic farmer whose goal it is to teach her about healthy living.
It’s a great story, it teaches you about CSAs and vegetables and you learn to cook right along with the main character, Sophia, using the recipes relevant to the story. I’m going to make sure that all my kids read this one and you’d be doing yourself a great and healthy service by checking this one out yourself.
I love me a good parody. So when I found out about Linda Watson’s Fifty Weeks of Green (a turn of phrase from the 50 Shades of Grey) I simply had to check it out (look, the tie on the cover is actually a farmer’s suspenders! – brilliant)
Linda Watson writes about food. She’s the founder of Cook for Good (my go-to website for great farmer market and seasonal recipes) and if you don’t have her book: Wildly Affordable Organic – Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet All on $5 a Day or Less, then you are doing yourself a great disservice. I purchased the book to help me with this review and already I’ve incorporated some of her money and time saving tips into our family’s menus and food buying habits.
So really, why am I talking about a food writer on this blog? It’s because Linda has a mission. Her goal is to teach.
Notice that I didn’t say preach, I said teach. Big difference.
Fifty Weeks of Green is the story of a woman – Sophia, a farmer – Roger, and a CSA. It’s clever, cute, and incredibly informative. In her writing, Linda clearly has fun, she includes passages like this delicious one:
I gasp as I meet his eyes. He’s no kid, just built like one. His short black hair streaked silver at the temples. Smile lines show he’s fifty-something but had a good time getting there. His deep green eyes hold mine a little longer than is comfortable, but maybe he’s just worried that I’ll sue him.
Somehow Linda takes you under her wing and with statements from her characters like: “Cooking is life, Sugar. Like eating and love , she gets you, the reader to learn all about CSAs and organic vegetables without realizing it. She subtly and entertainingly moves her main character- Sophia (who has lived on frozen blocks of food for years) into the world of fresh vegetables and cooking.
In the first meeting, the farmer mentions that Sophia, who is new to a CSA, should start off with a salad fixed with Honey mustard dressing. Included is that recipe along with a discussion of why it shouldn’t be kept in a “reactive” container (the vinegar will leach out the metal.) And this is how the book continues, you read a great story (it really is well written unlike a certain, ahem, other 50 … book) and you learn.
You learn to cook by the recipes, and you learn by the action of the story.
Linda makes sure to include interesting bits like: Sophia has a Talking Heads coffee mug that makes her ask David Byrne’s big question again “How did I get here?” and there are all kinds of current references to things like Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga.
Oh and did I tell you she teaches in this book?
There are books that are read for sheer pleasure and there are books that are read for information.
How delightful it is when you find a book that skillfully combines the two. In short, I absolutely ate this book up.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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