By Susie Middleton
The Taunton Press, $28
A former chief editor of this magazine, Susie Middleton is an amazing cook, and her many recipes published in Fine Cooking are always reader (and staff) favorites. The 125 recipes for salads, soups, side dishes, main courses, and desserts that she presents in Fresh From The Farm feature the vegetables and fruits she grows on her Martha's Vineyard farm, and are organized by the growing season. But Susie is also a gifted writer, and beyond the recipes, this book offers the story of how she left the corporate world and her New York City suburb for a new life, which included falling in love with Roy, a carpenter on the island. Her story runs down the outside margins of the pages in skinny columns that literally frame the book and compel you to keep reading. Much of it focuses on what it takes to work a farm and run a farm stand--lots of hard, dirty work and a sense of humor, apparently. Turn to the back of the book, and you'll find Roy's designs for a farm stand, a chicken coop, a seed-starting shelving rack, and a raised bed with hoops. If that, plus recipes like grill-roasted fingerling potatoes with fresh corn vinaigrette, doesn't make you want to run out and start tilling the soil, the gorgeous photos of the farm, the animals, and Susie's creations most certainly will. Or, at the very least, they'll get you to pull over the next time you come upon a farm stand like Susie's.
Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski