Civil Eats: 34 Noteworthy Food and Farming Books for the Summer of 2021

The Perennial Kitchen is a cookbook that manages to be both universal and forward-looking.

Recipes and resources connect thoughtfully grown, gathered, and prepared ingredients to a healthy future—for food, farming, and humankindThe Perennial Kitchen is a cookbook that manages to be both universal and forward-looking. It lauds local farms and includes detailed instructions for those interested in learning how to bake bread, make stock, roast a chicken, and preserve fresh fruit. But author Beth Dooley wants to do more than help her readers master the basics; she also wants to introduce them to regenerative agriculture, a set of practices used to improve soil health, restore rural ecosystems, and capture carbon to help reverse climate change. The recipes and stories highlight regenerative farmers in the Midwest—a region usually associated with corn and soy monocultures—and ingredients grown on farms that use minimum tillage, cover crops, and managed grazing, among other regenerative practices. Dooley, who has authored or co-authored more than a dozen cookbooks, including a James Beard Award winner, advocates eating more perennials such as hazelnuts and berries because they don’t require tilling or replanting. She also gives special attention and multiple recipes to the new perennial wheat variety Kernza, an ingredient with big environmental benefits. And her recipes also champion artisan grains—from older wheat varieties such as emmer, spelt, and kamut to oats, barley, rye, and sorghum—as well as heritage beans, perennial vegetables, and pastured meats. The recipes are accompanied by cooking tips, resources for finding regenerative ingredients, and earthy photographs that will make you want to immediately put down the book and start cooking.

Article in Civil Eats.