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When Tracey Medeiros invited us to review her new cookbook, The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook, it was easy to say "YES!" We already own two of Medeiros's earlier Vermont-based cookbooks, Dishing up Vermont and The Vermont Farm to Table Cookbook. These books, taken together, offer a great glimpse into the farm-to-table style that has come to characterize a "Vermont Style" of cooking that we love. Each one collects recipes from around our beautiful state, highlighting not only the food itself but the farmers, chefs, and businesses who make this food possible.
The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook builds on that tradition, offering "125 Organic and Farm-to-Fork Recipes from the Green Mountain State" as well as profiles of the real people who make these recipes possible. New to this book are the addition of food producers like Ben & Jerry's and Benito's Hot Sauce to the list of outstanding farmers and restaurants who contributed recipes.
For Medeiros, the "non-GMO" theme to this book is closely tied to her other books that focused on organic, locally-produced food. She is drawn to the people who are part of this book "because of their universal devotion to their communities and the state of Vermont," she told us. "They are concerned about the health of our planet and its inhabitants, and are doing all that they can to connect consumers to healthy food, while also caring for the soil in which it is grown."
Mederios values the idea of knowing where the food that she feeds her family comes from and what it contains, a core value that has made Vermont a leader in the non-GMO movement.
She also partnered with Rural Vermont, a grassroots nonprofit that aims to ensure that farmers have a voice in public policies that effect them, in producing this cookbook. Rural Vermont was a founding member of the "Vermont Right to Know GMO Coalition" that helped to pass Vermont's GMO Food Labeling Law in 2014.
While the GMO movement has it's detractors, we cannot argue with the core value at play in this cookbook - you can make amazing, delicious food with ingredients that are safely produced in a way that is healthy for your family and good for the earth.
The recipes included in this book range from full-scale fancy meals to easy-to-make salads and side dishes, and all of them have been contributed by people who produced or grew the ingredients to make them taste delicious.
Like Medeiros' earlier books, all of the recipes feature locally-produced ingredients, but you don't have to live in Vermont to replicate the results. These ingredients are simple, whole, unprocessed, and organic. That said, if you have a sweet spot for Vermont and its farmers and food, you will find this book a pleasing dive into that culture.
Pictured above are three of the recipes we tried - Moroccan Carrot Salad, Spinach and Smoked Chicken Gratin, and Maple Pudding. We tried various others across multiple categories - salads, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. We found the recipes easy to follow and not overly complicated, even if the title sounded decadent! These were great recipes to mix things up after being in a "recipe rut" for a little while.
A couple of the recipes needed a little bit of tweaking - a little more cooking time or a bit more seasoning, but that was rare and mostly about personal preference. As long as you feel relatively comfortable cooking you won't find fault with most of these recipes.
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We love The Vermont Non-GMO Cookbook. Not just because it has great recipes, but because the recipes tell a story - about Vermont's love for local and healthy food, about knowing where your food comes from, and about the amazing people who make it possible.
Likewise, it was exciting to pick up this cookbook in the Spring, as we anticipate gardening season and can browse the recipes for things we can make with ingredients grown right at our Homestead. We were able to use our honey, our neighbor's maple syrup, our emerging rhubarb, and the last of our homegrown potatoes just for starters!
The photos and stories in this book are also beautifully-presented, making the mouthwatering recipes hard to pass up. This also makes this book an outstanding choice for a gift for any food-lover or even someone who is just learning to cook.
In short, this book is being added to our list of great cookbooks - not just for homesteaders, but for anyone who wants to make beautiful healthy food and is looking for new ideas.
And we couldn't agree with Medeiros more when she says, "What we eat affects our health and the world around us. The legacy we leave our children will be determined by how we care for our agricultural system."