But this would be the one gardening book I would save if my house was on fire, because it has several features which make it stand out from the crowd. The most obvious are the recipes. Lots of books will tell you how to grow cardoons, but how many tell you how to eat them? Each crop has four or five suggested recipes, and they're good recipes too. Sugar-browned kohl rabi anyone? How about mushrooms in sour cream, or loganberry ice cream?
There are also several pages devoted to seasonal cooking, with recipes organised by season, and the only photos in the book (which is otherwise illustrated with beautiful colour line drawings). The photos sadly are that curious kind of 1970s food photography which always makes me lose my appetite entirely, but we'll gloss over that.
Another excellent feature is the "how many to grow?" information for each crop. Vital information which is missing in most other books. e.g.
A 20 ft row should produce about 25lb of globe beetroot or 45lb or a long rooted variety for winter use.
Then there is the Home Preserving section with detailed instructions for freezing, making jams, jellies, and chutneys, such as you could find in lots of different books. But it also describes lesser-known preservation techniques, such as how to make fruit cheeses and butters, syrups and juices, pickling, sauces, bottling, drying and salting. Most of these techniques come with lots of recipes.
There are also sections on foraging, wine making (again, with lots of recipes) and even keeping bees and poultry.
I would not be without this book. For years it was my inspiration and although I only used it to make the recipes using shop-bought ingredients I dreamed of growing all these things myself. Now I have started doing just that, it has become a handbook and a practical resource.