ROOTS: Both the edible and ancestral variety

Just in time for winter comes this delectable collection of root vegetable recipes from Portland cookbook author Diane Morgan. The award-winning writer has assembled a comprehensive guide to these hearty vegetables that nourish our bodies and souls. Inspired by the cooking of her Jewish grandparents, she forges connections between her heritage and the cuisines of Latin America and Asia.

Morgan’s cookbook opens with a vignette about finding “scary-looking” roots at the Portland Farmers’ Market. After coming away with a basket of celery root and burdock, she is compelled to demystify the “underworld of roots.” Morgan then explores both sweet and savory presentations of over two dozen kinds of root vegetables. She showcases common specimens like potatoes, carrots, and beets as well as the more obscure galangal, malanga, crosne and scorzonera. The author also includes recipes for roots that are used as seasonings, such as ginger, turmeric, wasabi and horseradish. (Interestingly, Morgan’s grandfather grew his own horseradish and prepared it for Passover.)

The book includes a glossary of basic botanical terms as well as a brief history of the consumption of roots. Recipes are organized by vegetable. Each new section begins with information about the history, varieties, nutrition, availability, storage and basic preparation of the ingredient. Morgan concentrates on plants with edible underground parts that come from roots, stems or leaf bases. She excludes edible bulbs such as onions and garlic, as they would be outside the scope of her book.

For more information visit www.dianemorgancooks.com.

 

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