On a meltingly hot summer day, your idea of relaxation might be curling up with a good book in the shade with a tall cool something or other. Sounds good to me, and it would be a cookbook. The one I’m reading now? The Roots cookbook by Diane Morgan. Roots, as in root vegetables. Not just your beloved potatoes, carrots, and beets, but parsnips, radishes, celery root, ginger, salsify, burdock, and more. Learn about new root vegetables you may have seen at the market but didn’t know what to do with. This cookbook is definitely worth buying.
Roots Cookbook: A Cookbook To Make You Love Root Vegetables
It was at a Melissa’s Produce event that I met Diane Morgan and tasted wonderful recipes from her cookbook, Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 recipes. Diane is an award-winning cookbook author, food writer and culinary instructor, so I trusted that her recipes would be good. And an entire cookbook on root vegetables? Sounded interesting.
Maybe it was Diane’s story about talking to a woman at a market who asked her about celery root that made me smile. I often find myself doing the same at markets, talking with people and helping them with what they are buying. It’s just a habit when you are passionate about cooking and helping others learn. There is a big world of interesting root vegetables beyond the staples we turn to. Roots will help widen your cooking horizons and feel confident in doing so with delicious results.
How Roots is Organized & What You Will Learn
Roots is organized into 28 chapters with each one dedicated to a different root vegetable. Each chapter starts with history and lore, varieties of the root, nutrition, availability, and how to select, then teaches you how to store them, along with basic use and preparation tips before getting into the recipes. Every recipe is clearly and beautifully written. I love recipes with a good headnote – that is the story at the top of the recipes. Writing a good headnote is an art in itself, and Diane’s provide great information and personal stories.
The author of 17 cookbooks, Diane’s recipes are really doable and approachable in an exciting way, for any cook. Root vegetables might be synonymous with fall, but Roots shows you how to incorporate root vegetables into year round service in your kitchen.
Each chapter provides numerous recipes for preparing each root vegetable. When teaching about the book and what the lightbulb moment was that inspired Roots, she mentioned celery root (aka celeriac). I love celery root but had about forgotten about it. I used to make casseroles (gratins) with it, with delicious results for the holiday. We tasted a marvelous raw celery root salad before her presentation, and I had never enjoyed it raw. It was fantastic: crisp, cool in the summer heat, using celery root, heart and leaves.
Thankfully Melissa’s gave us a box of their beautiful produce to take home and play with, and in the box was a celery root. That night, I peeled it, cut it into chunks, simmered until tender, then pureed with a little butter and Parmesan. It was incredible and my husband loved it. Diane purees hers with pear, a lovely addition.
I have many cookbooks languishing on my shelves, read but rarely cook from. Roots will not be one of those; this is one I will cook from and be inspired by. Next to try, Diane’s rutabaga hash with onions and crisp bacon. Think maybe it will become dinner, with poached eggs on top. Thanks Diane for a truly wonderful cookbook.
Quick Recap: Why You Need This Book
- To up your root vegetable game and knowledge
- To increase the variety of what you buy, cook, serve and enjoy eating
- Because it’s beautifully written, organized, and photographed; a truly usable cookbook to add to your collection
- Because the recipes are delicious!