Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch
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Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,205 ratings  ·  60 reviews
A comprehensive, deeply personal, and visually stunning guide to growing and cooking vegetables from Britain’s foremost food writer, with more than 400 recipes and extensive gardening notes.

In the tradition of Roast Chicken and Other Stories comes Tender, a passionate guide to savoring the best the garden has to offer. An instant classic when it was first published in the...more
Hardcover, 624 pages
Published April 26th 2011 by Ten Speed Press (first published September 17th 2009)
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Yuki
Sep 14, 2011 Yuki rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Yuki by: NPR; Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food
...There is the "do-it-and-dust-it" cook, who does it purely to get something on the table with which to fill the belly, and then there is the one who takes delight in unfolding a cabbage leaf by leaf, rubbing his or her hands over the rough skin of a russet apple, or sniffing a freshly cut lemon. The person who finds satisfaction in choosing the right knife and picking the right pot, who enjoys the scent of ingredients and the feel of food in his or her hands. Chopping, slicing, stirring, tasti...more
Mickey
This is food porn at its finest. I just about drooled on every page of this book. Slater's writing is vivid and I could easily visualise both his garden and the dishes he made from its bounty.
Cathy Smith
I've always been riveted by Nigel Slater's prose about cooking. I've loved his earlier cookbooks like Appetite and his Guardian column. He brings a unique combination of pragmatic instruction and lyrical and sensual writing. I believe there is no food writer like him. He is one of the first --and best --to avoid exact recipes and instead to write about the experience of cooking any given dish, as well as the experience of eating the result. (I do see Slater's influence in the focused, energetic...more
Clare
The two volumes of tender (one for fruit and one for veg) aren't just recipe books, they give basic instructions on how to grow different varieties. It hadn't even occurred to me that I could mail-order seeds. I know, I know! I am the least green fingered person I know, but these books make even me want to do something - like grow tomatoes on the windowsill in pots!

You can sit and read Nigel's descriptions of aubergines or apples and it makes your breath catch. He harnesses every single sense on...more
Liz
Last year I was given two British cookbooks (The Vegetarian Option and Plenty) for Christmas, and with the addition of Tender, I'm wondering if British chefs are all the same. Like the other two, this book has absolutely gorgeous food-lust photography and is written in a distinctive part self-deprecating, part snooty know-it-all voice. This book is ostensibly about vegetables, but unlike the other two is not constrained by being purely veg. All three books share a common recipe technique: slice...more
Richard Cytowic
One of those quirky books I'm never sure about until I plunge into its pages, much like plunging my freshly-picked yellow beans into the pot at a roiling boil. Funny, and with beautiful photos. Of course, if you're dabbling in your own garden——or merely fantasizing about such——then another dimension sets in. A good read indeed.
RH Walters
Due back at the library before I could finish, but as with Slater's other books, the prose and manner are incomparable. For cooking beets, "cook until flesh is easily pierced, as one would a vampire." A lot of his recipes call for cream and bacon, but as he frequently mentions the rainy weather, I forgive him.
Sabriel
The prose was a huge turn off. I have cooked from his Food Diaries before and that went quite well, so bought both volumes online without reading up on them too much. I find his tone incredibly patronizing, for example when he talks about apples he never gives an introduction to different heritage varieties so a novice might be able to follow what is going on and what category an apple is in, but he just throws around names and more names, seemingly just to show that he knows more apple varietie...more
Elizabeth
One of the most beautiful books I have ever owned. Every vegetable is treated with the utmost respect from growing to harvesting to preparing...to eating. A must for the vegetable lover and for those who aren't quite sure about veggies yet. Gorgeous!
Philippa
Makes me want a patch of my own, quite desperately. Love Nigel Slater's writing, as always - it's as delicious as the food he cooks.
Rebecca
I loved the first two Nigel Slater books I read/cooked from, but this just didn't feel quite as brilliant to me... It could be because, as a student, I don't have a garden and so half the waxing lyrical about the joy of growing your own was lost on me and my central London room. It could also be that my tastes just aren't as sophisticated as Nigel's, with his apparent love of having meals that totally focus on one veg (don't get me wrong, I love my veg, but not really in the way he is eating it...more
Julie Davis
Nigel Slater transformed his back yard into a garden. Not a fantastic, provide everything he eats garden ... but the sort of garden that someone who doesn't mind some failure does. And, of course, someone who likes to cook and eat. So we reap the benefit of his observations about gardening overall and then specifically about all sorts of vegetables. With recipes.

I like Slater's informal style and also his honesty about personal quirks. For example, he is determined to be organic and yet frustrat...more
Jennifer Parks
Nigel Slater is an iconic food personality in the UK. From what I understand, he’s a bit like the British version of Julia Child. I picked up a copy of his cookbook Tender, A Cook and His Vegetable Patch a couple summers ago at the Strand in NYC. It’s a thick volume on growing and cooking vegetables, which each vegetable given it’s own little chapter. I’m not much of a gardener, and our soil and weather conditions here in the States are different that those in the UK, so in my case, the gardenin...more
Dan
This is an odd vegetable book. It's one man's story of his relationship to growing vegetables and cooking them. As such, despite its main subject matter, in some ways, it's not a book about vegetables, but about the life of a gardener and cook. The author definitely has his prejudices, and various vegetables are dismissed out of hand as either too difficult to grow in a home garden, or simply not vegetables that he likes to eat. He's also got a very old-fashioned British perspective on what cons...more
Norma
I was wooed by the introduction. Enticed by the marriage of gardening book and cook book. But about half way thru I was done. I haven't tried any of the recipes but I do like that they are more like outlines because I will never be able to get the amazing cheeses and other interesting ingredients where I live. And I realized that no matter how beautiful the description, beets will still just taste like dirt to me!
Tim
too pretentious for my tastes. each chapter - of which they are organized by vegetable, which i can appreciate - begins with a diary about growing the organic seeds you got from your friend/seed hawks, then continues with ten ingredients that mix well as seasonings (chervil, mustard seed, anchovy, gin), how to pick from your city garden, all the varietals available (none at your local supermarket), and how waiting more than a day after eating freshly picked vegetables ruins their flavors (who ea...more
Deb
Nigel Slater's passion for his garden and for the vegetable-centric dishes that come from it are combined with hundreds of delectable recipes in this large, beautiful book. This one has been sitting beside my bed for a while now and has many sticky tabs marking the recipes I want to try. The writing is beautiful and it makes a great reference for cooking vegetables. I look forward to Ripe, his companion book on fruits to be released here in April.


Here's a link to his A Rich Root and Cheese Soup...more
Sydney Young
This book is a gorgeous and comprehensive review of twenty-nine vegetables that can be grown in a small space. It appeals to my gardener / cook's heart, and I am so glad that I bought the hardcover edition.

My husband/cook was happy to try out the Hungary-inspired Stew recipe, and when he did we were highly entertained by these directions:

“Bring everything to an enthusiastic simmer . . . “ and

“Bake, unpestered, for a good hour and a half.”

I can't wait to spring another recipe on him, and am onl...more
Marie Jose Nieuwkoop
Beautifully organized cookbook when in need of something different en not too difficult to cook.
Like "The Silver Spoon" only this time it's just vegetables.

Leslie
I enjoyed Nigel Slater's "Tender: Volume I: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch." It was a great start-of-fall cozy read. The recipes are approachable and easily adaptable to be vegetarian (but maybe not vegan - I personally like real cheese too much). He includes lots of suggestions for flavor pairings with herbs, spices, etc. The photos are very "organic" and beautiful. Overall, I wouldn't say it is a "must have," either for the gardening aspects or the cooking aspects, but it is a nicely done comb...more
Millicent
That was disappointing. I expected more from a book that is recommended alongside Yotam Ottolenghi's marvelous book on vegetarian cooking 'Plenty'.
Gail
Mar 22, 2012 Gail rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of veggies and/or gardening
Recommended to Gail by: cookbook club
Shelves: cookbooks, to-buy
Great book! I like his style of writing. His recipes are a little heavy on the cream, blue cheese and anchovies and seems to really like boiling things, but it is a very appealing approach to British cooking. The gardening tips probably aren't very helpful for those in the States, but it really makes you want to get out there and try gardening yourself. Nevertheless, it is a must read if you love veggies and/or gardening.
Sophie
Wonderful recipes as ever from St Nigel. Delicious writing and I've used Nigel's suggestions for what grows well *and* tastes good for this year's seed buying.

Tender is fabulous book for the seasonal grower and eater to dip into through the year and as such I think will turn out to be one of those books that grows on you.

Note: though this book is vegetable-centric, the recipes are not all vegetarian
Manritas
Super lovely to read. It is as much about gardening as about the food.
Beka
Nigel Slater has a beautiful style of writing that makes you hungry and eager to cook. Unfortunately this book is filled with so much of it that I didn't really have the time to appreciate it. I basically just flipped through and looked at the recipes. This (and it's other 2 companions, I imagine) would be great reference books for cooks who are looking to start their own gardens to cook from.
Marjorie Elwood
I enjoyed the author's descriptions of vegetables and his attempts to cook with what he has grown in his back yard. He is clearly in love with produce and his recipes are fairly simple, relying on high-quality ingredients. I tried two of them: one was sublime (a tart of asparagus and tarragon) and one was dry and too sweet (carrot cake). I'd try more....
Jodi
Sep 23, 2011 Jodi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: food
Lovely and inspiring book. Organized alphabetically by vegetable, this book is fun to peruse, and the photos are gorgeous. Each vegetable is described with the author's personal notes on growing, selecting varieties, and use in the kitchen. Recipes are included as well, although it's worth mentioning that they are often meat-based.
Nancy
I enjoy reading creative writing about food. This is a beautiful book; artful, interesting and appetizing photos of food and plants. This book crosses genres in that it is a cookbook, gardening wisdom, and a very passionate and poetic diary of an accomplished gardener and chef. The voice is so strong I can hear his lovely English accent!
Sira
Absolutely the most beautiful photos of vegetables I have ever seen. Great recipes, in alphabetical order by vegetable. The language is perhaps a little bit flowery, but I think it's inspiring to think of what Slater was able to grow in a tiny London garden.
Ratforce
Since you’re interested in both cooking and gardening, you may find this book’s combination of the two compelling. The author, a British chef and food writer, shares tips on vegetable gardening and delicious recipes to build around your harvest.
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Nigel Slater is a British food writer, journalist and broadcaster. He has written a column for The Observer Magazine for seventeen years and is the principal writer for the Observer Food Monthly supplement. Prior to this, Slater was food writer for Marie Claire for five years. He also serves as art director for his books.

Although best known for uncomplicated, comfort food recipes presented in earl...more
More about Nigel Slater...
Toast Appetite The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen with Nigel Slater Real Fast Food Nigel Slater's Real Food

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“Pamper a tomato, overfeed it, overwater it and you will get a Paris Hilton of a tomato.” 3 likes
“...I have become more interested than ever in the effect of a diet higher in 'greens' than it is in meat - both in terms of my own wellbeing and, more recently, those implications that go beyond me and those for whom I cook.” 2 likes
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