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Monday, July 23, 2018

* FOOD BOOK OF THE MONTH! : Berkeley Bowl Cookbook

THE BERKELEY BOWL COOKBOOK (Parallax Press, 2018, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-941529-96-6 $34.95 USD hardcovers) is by Laura McLively, an RD and food writer based in Oakland. She created a blog, "My Berkeley Bowl" about cooking with unusual fruits and veggies. So here she has an equivalent print version of recipes inspired by the produce of a major California food market, the Berkeley Bowl, which specializes in rare fruits and veggies principally from Latin America and Asia. And no, the title name does not refer to the current trend towards food bowl layering, although of course, you could make bowl dishes from the Berkeley Bowl produce, as in "Berkeley Bowl bowl". Log-rollers include Deborah Madison. The photos are very useful in identifying produce, and many come from off the shelf so we have a price indication as well. There are 1200 varieties of fruits and veggies here, an awesome number to those of us in the North. Much of the food is grown in California, and its location is in a former bowling alley (ah yes, that "bowl" word again). There is a brief historu of the market and then some Kitchen Notes before the recipes. It's alla arranged by physical shape: leaves, flowers-seeds-pods, spores and succulents, stems, roots and tubers, savoury fruits, and sweet fruits. At the end, she's got some seasonal menus with page references, and some ingredient key photos. These foods may be difficult to find outside of large metropolitan areas, but you should begin by looking into Asian or Latin American markets or farmers' markets that specialize in heirloom varieties (the owners of Berkeley Bowl are of Japanese descent). The book could have been improved if it also used metric in the recipes, or at least had a metric conversion chart.
Audience and level of use: collectors of unusual cookbooks, vegetarians.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: moqua pisto with fried egg; chayot pozole; bunuelos de yuca; burdock root pizza; guava with cotija and honey; breakfast pea shoots and polenta; shiso limeade; toasted salad savoy with pears and goat cheese; summer salad with rau ram chimichurri.
The downside to this book: I really wanted some metric measurements for the rest of the world (ROW).
The upside to this book: it is important because of her recipe contributions for exotic fruit and veggies.
Quality/Price Rating: 91

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