Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cookbook Review: Vineyard Harvest by Tina Miller

As far as the Massachusetts Islands go, there are generally two kinds of people: Martha's Vineyard people and Nantucket people. I am a Nantucket person. There is magic for me there, and it's where I can relax. It's difficult for me to explain why, but mostly it has to do with the island's light, small size and general quiet compared to her larger sister. Not that Nantucket doesn't get busy, just that it's never as busy as Martha's Vineyard.

Preferring one over the other also doesn't mean I don't visit nor enjoy Martha's Vineyard, I do. There's a lot to experience and see there, and certainly plenty of good food. That's one of the reasons I initially purchased "Vineyard Harvest" by island Chef Tina Miller.

Featuring more than one hundred recipes that span a "year of good food on Martha's Vineyard" and colorfully splashed with the photography of Vineyard native Alison Shaw, Vineyard Harvest is an excellent and beautiful cookbook. It's well written and the background information really gives the reader a sense of the island, its people and the local flavor and cuisine. There's plenty of information regarding a host of details including a detailed explanation of Chef Tina Miller's favorite ingredients and kitchen implements. Something I found both insightful and uselful.

The recipes are excellent and their presentation and explanation will get anyone through most dishes. Of particular interest and influence to me were the recipes for "Vineyard Bouillabaisse", "Succotash Chowder", "Road House Gingerbread with Dark Rum Sauce" and several others. The bouillabaisse recipe alone has taken me in a few directions and is the basis for several recent and favorite personal recipes.

Vineyard Harvest is one of those cookbooks that transcends its genre and becomes something a little more than a cookbook. It is a unique look at the people, places and beauty that are Martha's Vineyard and it tells its story around a common thread of good people, native ingredients and great food. Nice job Chef Tina Miller! Fantastic photos Alison Shaw!

Cookbook Review: Vineyard Harvest by Tina Miller

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