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BOOKS: Lane Morgan’s revised winter cookbook offers plenty for spring

Mar 3rd, 2011 | Category: Books

by Jessica Harbert

When preparing to cook a recipe calling for ingredients such as radicchio, escarole and gobo, would you even know where to begin? I sure wouldn’t. Local Whatcom resident Lane Morgan’s Winter Harvest Cookbook guides readers through cooking in the winter season commonly thought to be less fruitful in the fresh produce department.

“I don’t buy things out of season,” Morgan said. “The vegetables cost so much and don’t taste as good.”

Many Whatcom County residents are preparing for the start of spring, but regardless of what point of transition the season is currently experiencing, this cookbook has plenty to offer. Although March isn’t a fabulous time to garden, Morgan said, there are the plants that made it through the winter season which will be delicious, including leeks, kale and corn salad, to name a few that could have successfully over wintered. The next few months will be a great time for greens, leeks, garlic and sorrel as well as Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, Morgan said.

A few particular recipes to note for their timeliness around the end of winter include cream of nettle soup (pg. 74), leek and olive pizza (pg. 117) and sorrel and leek bake (pg. 130), Morgan recommended. The produce list in the front of the book is wildly helpful in identifying the not-so-common winter vegetables, along with illustrations to guide the reader.

Since the first edition was released in 1990, Morgan moved from her homestead on five acres in the county with her own farm animals and plenty of space for a bountiful garden and she now lives in Bellingham, with a limited amount of garden space. The personal transition made it interesting to work on revising the cookbook, with limited resources like others who live in town with smaller gardening areas. In working on the revised edition of the cookbook, Morgan said it was good to look through the entire book again, and adapt recipes where it was necessary.

“There is so much more interest in eating locally and seasonally now,” Morgan said. “There is still good stuff in there, and a good message to eat well for ourselves and sustainability.”

The second edition also has some new recipes, nearly a third of the cookbook in fact, and pays more attention to particular diet restrictions, such as vegan and vegetarian, although Morgan said she doesn’t claim to be an expert.

“It was fun to go back and play around with the book,” Morgan said. “I felt pretty good about the original.”

With no professional culinary training or restaurant experience, Morgan has always been an avid gardener and loved to cook. Friend Binda Colebrook was an inspiration for the first edition, Morgan said, as she asked Morgan to help edit her Wintering Gardening book, about winter gardening in the maritime Northwest, which led Morgan’s garden to produce a plentiful amount of winter vegetables each year. After spending five years editing books, Morgan began teaching English and journalism at Nooksack High School.

In revising the book, Morgan said she hoped its time had come in an era where it was more relevant and would reach a wider audience, along with doing her part towards sustainability.
“And I could even make a little money,” Morgan said.

The first printing of the second edition distributed 7,000 copies, anywhere from Village Books in Fairhaven to Costco. And there is already talk of a second printing, Morgan said.
“Some of it is the flavor of the moment,” Morgan said. “And it is certainly cheap thrills, and we can all use those. It’s also satisfying, tasty and fun.”

Check out Morgan’s food blog at http://nwlocalfoods.blogspot.com/ for more info about Morgan’s cooking and any revisions/corrections regarding the second edition of the cookbook.

Jessica Harbert is a freelance writer in Bellingham.

One Comment to “BOOKS: Lane Morgan’s revised winter cookbook offers plenty for spring”

  1. regan robinson says:

    Hi
    Just a heads up that Lane’s new book (and older ones) are available at your local libraries in Whatcom County and that Lane will be speaking at the Sumas Library on April 20 at 6:30 pm,
    free and open to the public.
    thank you

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