I picked up my old copy of Fields of Greens off my bookshelf. This was a very popular cookbook back in the early ’90s. No, I’m not kidding. I remember the early ’90s and I remember how popular this cookbook was. Copyright, 1993. It’s a vegetarian cookbook that kind of got swept away during the Atkins and Food Network revolution of the mid and late ’90s, where everything was about meat. Why? I don’t know. At least now the trend is going back to vegetarianism or at least to organic, non-factory farmed meat. At least I hope that’s the trend. I am not a vegetarian. I became one a while back while dating one, but decided it was a strange way to go about life. I don’t think humans are particularly meant to be either meat eaters or vegetarians — we can adapt to any type of diet. We absolutely need vegetables and fruit. That much we know. Meat is probably something we don’t really need, but it is a good source of lean protein. Other than the pure pleasure of it, there is probably no good reason to eat things like fatty meats, sausages and the like.
In my ideal world, I would have the occasional free range, grass fed beef, and free range chicken. I try to now buy organic whenever possible, but that’s only because my finances allow me to do it on occasion. If I am broke, however, I just won’t eat meat at all. I have no problem eating mostly vegetables, legumes and meat substitutes. No problem at all.
My new temptation, though, is to cook my through the Field of Greens of cookbook for the hell of it. I don’t know if I can actually pull this off, or whether it will be just another distraction until my mind turns to something else, but I thought it would be a great way to learn how to be a better vegetarian cook and how to put the focus more on vegetables.
The Field of Greens cookbook is divided into salads (leafy greens and beans & grains, and marinated vegetables), soups, pasta & risotto, pizza, curried and stews, gratins, tarts, fritters, and savory cakes, turnovers, filo, and tortillas, and companion dishes: warm vegetables, beans and grains. There are frittatas, omelets and scrambled eggs, sandwiches, breads, sauces, morning breads and pancakes, and desserts. Finally, chutneys, relishes and condiments round out the list.
The one big drawback from my ‘93 edition is that there are no pictures to accompany these recipes. It is unfortunate for me because I am such a beginner as a cook and food photographer – I have a LOT to learn. The cookbook doesn’t appear to have been updated to include photos, which, again, sucks. But let’s see if I can actually manage to cook even one recipe. If so, I promise to put up the best possible photos I can. I have no good lighting by my stove so I don’t know if it’s even possible.
Let’s file this under: wild hair.
By thy way, my copy is splattered with something. There are little liquid scars all over the pages. And only page has been dog-eared as a placeholder. A recipe for North African Vegetable Stew. Did I make it? I have no memory. I do know that I might have been daunted by the spice requirements, which included freshly ground cinnamon and saffron threads.
Some of the recipes that catch my eye now:
Chinese Noodle Salad with Citrus and Spicy Peanuts
Polenta Bakes with Artichokes, Tomatoes, and Olives
Fall Risotto with Chanterelles and Late Harvest Tomatoes
Summer Beans with Cherry Tomatoes and Tarragon
Late Summer Salad – Figs and Melon with Orange Vinaigrette