The Berk­shires Farm Table Cook­book: 125 Home-Grown Recipes from the New Eng­land Hills

  • Review
By – March 2, 2021

The region in west­ern Mass­a­chu­setts known as the Berk­shires is famous for win­ter sports, sum­mer cul­tur­al activ­i­ties — and local agri­cul­ture, which is the inspi­ra­tion for this beau­ti­ful cook­book. The authors, expe­ri­enced food pro­fes­sion­als who have a home there, enjoy food and cook­ing and appre­ci­ate the val­ue of using fresh, organ­ic, local ingre­di­ents to pre­pare meals. In their intro­duc­tion, they dis­cuss the dif­fer­ence between foods raised in a com­mer­cial fac­to­ry envi­ron­ment and those pro­duced on small farms and sold locally.

The 125 recipes pre­sent­ed in this book are inspired by these local ingre­di­ents. Beau­ti­ful col­or pho­tographs and the sto­ries of the farm­ers who grew the foods used in the prepa­ra­tions accom­pa­ny the recipes. The book is divid­ed into chap­ters on break­fast (recipes include Bal­sam­ic Stone Fruit over Yogurt, Hawthorne Val­ley Farm Camp oat­meal), soups (Chilled Mel­on Mint Soup, Veg­etable Nabe with Kale), veg­eta­bles (Brus­sels Sprouts with Smoked-Almond But­ter, Savory Beet Latkes), sand­wich­es, piz­za, and savory pies (Tem­peh Reuben, Leek Tarts with Chèvre), pas­ta, grains, and beans (Mush­room Ragout over Pas­ta, Rice, or Polen­ta; Bean Chili), poul­try and fish (Gar­lic Chick­en, Crispy-Skin Salmon), meat (Lamb Ragu, Braised Beef Shanks with Egg­plant and Scar­let Run­ner Beans), and breads and desserts ( Warm Cran­ber­ry Cob­bler, Blue­ber­ry Pie). The recipes are not kosher- there are sev­er­al pork recipes in the meat sec­tion and oth­ers that call for sausages of var­i­ous types. Cre­ative kosher cooks can eas­i­ly adapt them with sub­sti­tute meats and non-dairy short­en­ing instead of but­ter where nec­es­sary. The inter­views with farm­ers pro­vide insight and inspi­ra­tion to adapt a more sus­tain­able and eco friend­ly lifestyle.

This is a love­ly addi­tion to any cook’s collection.

Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

Discussion Questions