Galloping Gourmet host Kerr (Day-by-Day Gourmet Cookbook, 2007, etc.) offers the cautionary tale of his first kitchen garden.
Around the time Michelle Obama broke ground on the White House garden, the author was also trying his hand at the “earth-to-table process.” Kerr relates to any would-be gardeners his story of novice green-thumbing and provides a helpful “Need-to-Know” section for others to follow. He details the cultivation and cooking of 60 edible plants, the majority of which are accompanied by a handful of recipes and supplementary nutritional information. Although the author aims to inspire others to increase their daily fruit and vegetable intake, Kerr’s labor- and money-intensive trials may turn off some potential gardeners. And while he may intend the book to reach out to space-starved city-dwellers in addition to rural plotters, the author provides little useful advice for an economical and efficient urban kitchen garden. Kerr’s account of his first growing season is one of experience, not expertise, but he pulls it off with an enjoyably humorous and familiar tone. The book, however, falls short as a reference work for novices; the author often suggests reaching out to a “local knowledge expert,” leaving much of the research up to the reader, even in the important Need-to-Know list. But he does provide helpful instructions for how each fruit and vegetable should be handled once it arrives in the kitchen, whether from one’s own garden or the greenmarket down the street. A book lacking in gardening know-how but quite useful for its cooking tips.