by Sybil PrattNovember, 2005
The object of our culinary affection
If Barbara Kafka, influential author of many fine cookbooks, were to respond to Elizabeth Barrett Browning's immortal line, "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways," she'd probably start with artichokes and count her way down to zucchini. That's because the object of her affection is the world of vegetables, and Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks is her culinary love letter to leeks and lettuces, pak choy and parsnips, beans, bamboo shoots and beyond. A Kafka cookbook is always inventive, thorough and filled with her passion for cooking, and Vegetable Love is no exception. It's big (more than 700 pages), bountiful (750 original recipes), and has an all-inclusive "Cook's Guide" for buying, storing and preparing all the vegetables and herbs used. Though her primary focus is veggies, Kafka cooks with butter and cream and uses meat, chicken, shellfish and fish in many recipes. It's hard to find a recipe that doesn't make you want to rush into the kitchen and the range of recipes is fantastic (I guess it's obvious that I really like this book) from Risotto with Radicchio and Vermouth, Duck Breast with Rhubarb Sauce, Eggplant and Chickpea Fritters, Parsnip Flan to Thanksgiving Squash Muffins and gingery Carrot Sorbet. This is unconditional love at its tastiest vegetables never had it so good!