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The Sustainable Kitchen
Passionate Cooking Inspired by Farms, Forests and Oceans
By Stu Stein
New Society Publishers
ISBN 086571505X
Reviewed by Erin Tompkins

The Sustainable Kitchen is about passionate cooking inspired by farms, forests, and oceans. This 231-page book contains gourmet recipes that support the use of seasonal meats and produce for all recipes, and the authors encourage shopping at local markets for the best and freshest produce. The authors' central idea is that farmers and the natural seasons should dictate what is for dinner rather than the latest gourmet fad.

The Sustainable Kitchen is written by Stu Stein, with help from Mary Hinds and Judith H. Dern. Stein and Hinds are executive chefs at the Peerless Restaurant in Ashland, Oregon. Both are award-winning chefs, and restaurateurs who firmly believe in slowly savoring dinner.

This book is best suited for advanced chefs - the recipes are not your typical, easy-to-make meals. With gourmet delights such as Weathervane Sea Scallops in a Citrus Marinade with Swiss Chard and Dill-Caviar Cream, and Hot Smoked Salmon Salad with Horseradish-Mustard Dressing, this book is for adults only. Recipes for soups, salads, appetizers, entrees and desserts are included.

The recipes in this book look delicious, and each has clear instructions on preparation. There are pictures of each dish, though they are mostly in black and white, which can make it difficult to emulate the final product. Users of this book should also know that they may encounter problems when trying to find some necessary ingredients for these recipes, as many of them are readily available in the state of Oregon, but perhaps not elsewhere.

While I like the idea of cooking as an art and as a sustainable practice, the authors have only used a portion of the definition of "sustainability". While the use of local and seasonal foods, grown organically, is generally regarded as a sustainable practice, the authors fail to take into account other aspects of the term. I would have liked to have seen a mention of composting, local fair labor practices, and electricity usage, for example, indicating that there is more to sustainability than purchasing your produce from a local market.

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