Veggie Tales and Vegetable Literacy

Don't just eat your vegetables; hear food writers Deborah Madison and Diane Morgan dish on the botanical and historical lore of the great vegetable families April 24.

By Kristin Belz April 2, 2013

Two grand dames of vegetables are getting together April 24 to share veggie tales: cookbook writer and vegetarian cooking expert Deborah Madison will be visiting with Portland food writer Diane Morgan at a free talk and book signing at the Ace Hotel. Madison is touring to promote her new book, Vegetable Literacy.

Morgan is the prolific writer whose seventeenth (and latest) book, Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes, came out last year. Madison is no slouch either; her best known book is the classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which had its tenth anniversary edition published in 2007.

Madison describes Vegetable Literacy as a cookbook (with about 300 recipes), but one that’s “centered on 12 plant families and how they meet in the kitchen...Mostly it’s about connecting the dots between botany and the garden and the cook.” She's done some deep research, and relates what she's unearthed about the world of vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs in an engaging, approachable style.

Avowed veggie nerds (who might that be?) will eat up. Vegetable skeptics will find it eye-opening (and thus palate piquing?). For instance, potatoes are part of the “Nightshade Family,"  a.k.a., "The Sun Lovers – Solanaceae” – along with belladonna (deadly nightshade), eggplants, peppers and chiles, petunias, and tomatoes, to name just a few in her chapter on this particular branch of the veggie family tree. The recipes play up the family resemblances, capitalizing on harmony. Sounds like a lesson we may want to apply to our own families!

What: Vegetable Literacy conversation and book signing
(Books will be available for sale from Powell's)
Where: The Cleaners at Ace Hotel
403 SW 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
When: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 6-8 pm


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