We know they are good for us but who would have thought the humble squash could be such a thing of beauty. In Compleat Squash author Amy Goldman showcases 150 different specimens of squash – the most extensive collection ever complied – all grown in her own garden and then prepared for eating in her own kitchen. The result is a literal feast of the best-flavored, most beautiful and most historic squashes of the world.
The author introduces us to her passion for this vegetable with this gem, ” I’d like coin a new term: cucurbitacean (kyoo-kur-bitase-en), a person who regards pumpkins or squashes with deep, often rapturous love”.
Amy is a highly accomplished and avid organic gardener in New York State who works to preserve the agricultural heritage and genetic diversity of the world’s fruits and vegetables and has appeared on Martha Stewart Living as a ’ vegetable rights activist’. While growing her blue ribbon zucchinis and pumpkins she inadvertently fell in love with heirloom vegetables – treasures from the past.
The book begins with a section titled ‘Growing Miracles’. Here’s the straight forward, how-to information with practical advice on how to grow, harvest, save seeds and pollinate squash. The ‘Glorious Squashes section is a stunning pictorial of both edible and non-edible squashes, here is where food, art and gardening truly meet. The featured squashes each stand alone against a stark background showcasing their imperfections, colour, characteristic form and sculptural beauty.
From the humble to the magnificent, the these natural wonders are organized by species with a bit of history, description, specifications, origins and growing and cooking particulars. Some favorites are the Australian Blue Group, Banana Group, Hubbard Group and Canada Crookneck. Of the Mammoth, those biggest of fruits of the earth, the World Pumpkin Confederation has offered $100,000 to anyone in any corner of the world with a pumpkin weighing more than fifteen hundred pounds.
While the book thus far showcases both edible and non-edible squashes, the recipe section, aptly titled Rare Flavors, brings us more familiar squashes and singles out those diverse squashes that are grown for the table. The recipes showcase both the diversity of squash and its reputation as good soul-satisfying food, with recipes from soups to main courses with a few desserts. The author offers up her list of absolute favorite eating squashes – Buttercup; Jack Be Little; Pike’s Peak, Triamble and Vegetable Spaghetti get the nod.
“What a book! It’s gorgeous, inspiring, truly awsome and practical with its know-how aspect for kitchen and garden.” – Deborah Madison, author
“What a beautiful book this is a gorgeous addition to any gardener’s library. Amy Goldman knows more about squash than the Jolly Green Giant.” Bette Midler, actress
Categories - Gardening, Wild Food, Vegetarian, Vegetable