Try It: The Art of Real Food


I’m crazy about a new cookbook called “The Art of Real Food,” written by Joanne Neft, with recipes developed by chef Laura Kenny. This is a follow-up to the duo’s first cookbook, “Placer County Real Food from Farmers Markets,” which was a resounding success.

Neft is the former director of the Placer County Agriculture Marketing Program and founder of both the Placer Mountain Mandarin Festival and the Foothill Farmers’ Market, and a passionate advocate of healthy, seasonal eating.  A talented team of local artists contributed to the book, which is filled with drool-inducing photographs by Keith Sutter and stunning illustrations of fruits and vegetables by Paula Amerine. Nationally-recognized sculptor (and co-founder of both the ARTS build­ing in Auburn and the Auburn Art Walk) Anthony Maki Gill created an entire set of unique clay dishes for the project.

Chapters are organized by the season and a crop one would likely find at that time of year (for example – “January 15: Broccoli; June 25; Nectarines; October 29: Winter Squash); and the book also offers some great extra info, like the chart entitled “Don’t overdo it!” which instructs readers on the ideal internal temperature for grassfed and pastured meats. Not-to-miss recipes include the creamy fruit pops (page 179) and the summer squash gratin (page 151).