Hengel encourages middle-grade readers to grow and cook their own food.
A compilation of Hengel’s six books about growing and cooking with basil, carrots, green beans, leaf lettuce, potatoes and tomatoes, the formatted sections make it easy for readers to find the information they need to succeed in both growing and cooking with these foods—though it does also make for some repetition of information. Each section includes spreads about the focus plant and its variations, the conditions it needs and how to sow the seeds, its stages of growth, harvesting the plant and a Q-and-A page. These informational pages are followed by five to six recipes (minus nutritional information and sometimes the colored circles that outline the numbered steps), including Creamy Carrot Soup, Tasty Thai Noodles & Basil, Sassy Citrus Zest Beans, Sort-of Sushi Rolls, Cheddar Potato Cakes and Tomato Pie in the Sky. Three safety symbols used on the recipe pages alert chefs to sharp tools, hot materials and nuts. Extensive frontmatter includes a three-spread pictorial guide to cooking terms, three more spreads featuring an alphabetized pictorial list of ingredients (fish sauce, blue cheese and horseradish among them!), and two spreads of labeled kitchen tools. A URL directs readers to Abdo Publishing’s website for more informational websites (eHow among them) and Burpee’s online seed catalog.
Budding gardeners who love to cook will find a treasure trove of information here. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 8-13)