Ruffage is a cookbook you can curl up with and read. An homage to vegetables written from a farmer’s perspective—Abra Berens is farmer-chef at Granor Farms in Three Oaks, Michigan— it reveals nuanced understanding of all the work that brings a simple vegetable to your plate.
Chapters are organized alphabetically by vegetable and preceded with a brief essay or anecdote followed by instructions for buying and storing the produce. Every chapter consists of recipes for at least two ways to cook or prepare the vegetable along with variations on each, illustrating how to craft new dishes out of similar concepts.
Those bored or underwhelmed with an effort to eat more vegetables will certainly find dishes to excite and inspire such as asparagus with smoked whitefish, pea shoots, and mushrooms; smoky eggplant pasta with pounded walnut relish, mozzarella, and basil; or braised sunchokes with almonds, cream, sherry, parsley, and duck breast.
Berens’ voice is at once genuine, friendly, and funny, which is refreshing, especially as she dives into the very real anxieties that arise while trying to be a conscientious eater in the increasingly complex world of food politics. But, she concedes, food is meant to be pleasurable, so enjoy a Shamrock Shake while preparing a menu rich with local, seasonal, and organic produce.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.