Please share with us your highlights of local, seasonal food in 2008--the products, producers, farmers' markets and CSAs; ways of growing, preparing, or preserving food; chefs and restaurants, cookbooks, and the like. You can leave your remarks in the "Comments" section below, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , and I'll put your comments in digest form. Let me know if it's okay to use your name, and tell me where you're from. Doesn't matter where you're from, by the way. We're eager to hear from local, seasonal food fanatics from across the country and around the world.
I'll be putting together my list, which will probably take a few installments to do it justice. One of my favorite cookbooks of the year is shown above, Beyond Nose to Tail, by Fergus Henderson , who runs the acclaimed St John restaurant in London. The book is a treat to page through, beautifully designed and illustrated with wonderful photographs. The recipes are straightforward, allowing plenty of leeway for individual expression in their realization.
And though Henderson is famous for putting all parts of the pig into play in the kitchen, this book goes, well, beyond the trotters and snouts and ears and tails, beyond the abattoir entirely. In fact, of the three recipes I've prepared from it so far, two have been vegetarian--Welsh rarebit, a dish I've always wanted to try, and a salad of shredded raw beets, red cabbage, and red onions with creme fraiche. I'll post a fuller book report in future.
Meantime, please do tell us about your favorite local food experiences of 2008. We wish you many more, and all the best, in the year to come.
p.s.~In the upper left corner of the photo is one of my favorite breakfasts of the year, a remnant of Mary's Breton butter cake, kouign amann, made with our best local butter from the Hope Creamery in Hope, Minnesota.
Text and photos copyright 2008 by Brett Laidlaw