I have a soft spot in my heart for fruit trees, but the feeling
is not mutual. Over the years, we've tried to plant at least
a dozen fruit trees on the property. Three have survived--two
apples and a pear. The apples blossom gorgeously, but out of
sync, and as they must cross-pollinate to bear, they bear scantily
if at all. The pear is self-pollinating and magnificent, but
every year some four-footed, feral thief makes away with all its
heavy hanging fruit just before they come to ripeness.
Nevertheless, I love tree fruit, and
books about tree fruit, of which 2011 promises to yield at least
Gorgeous: Recipes and Memories from the Orchard is a book for
the hammock. It's what you get when the author, who's a chef
and artist, also happens to be granddaughter to the owners of the
famous Nepenthe restaurant in Big Sur. The photographs are
lush and evocative, the recipes upscale-rustic and interspersed
with literary reveries.
Falling a bit later in the growing
season and due to publish in September is a book that could have
been written just for me: The Apple Lover's Cookbook, by Amy
Traverso (disclaimer: I've worked with Amy off and on, during her
tenure at Yankee Magazine). Amy's book catalogues apples in
all their glorious, heirloomed variety. But it's also a
joyous tour of apple cookery, from its savory, pork-friendly
incarnations to its infinite, sweetly baked conclusions.
Many fruit books are memoirs rather than cookbooks--fruit just
seems to have a native poetry about it that makes people want to
sit down and write. Do you have a favorite fruit book,
current or past? Do tell!