Always with my ear to the ground for cookbooks that celebrate farm-to-table cooking, The Farm by Ian Knauer popped into my radar. There’s a narrative woven within this cookbook that brings you into Knauer’s world: days spent on the family’s Pennsylvania farm full of antidotes and recipe history. The rustic recipes stand on their own but truly come to life when you receive the full story.
The foreword gives an initial feel for the author that is both endearing and intriguing. Once the visual was placed in my mind of a wide-eyed, ambitious Ian Knauer carrying a warm goat carcass into the Condé Nast building, I was hooked. I had to know more about the cross-tester at Gourmet test kitchen who brought in a “marauding woodchuck” from his farm only to create a delicious and unconventional pâté. I knew then that The Farm would be bringing me more than just recipes to add to my arsenal. It would also bring an appreciation for the ingredients and how they came to be in my own little test kitchen.
The Farm is set into 10 chapters that follow the seasons from early spring and into winter. Each starts with another piece of the story: the new generation of Knauers bringing the Knauer Farm, of Knauertown, Pennsylvania, back to life. A chunk of the 150 recipes follows the seasonal harvest and coordinating tale. I found the recipes to be straightforward yet not simplistic. Containing only a handful of ingredients, you will not find yourself overwhelmed with a long grocery list and a daunting set of hours in the kitchen. They are all fairly quick recipes, perfect for any person who cannot afford to spend their life cooking and baking all day (i.e. parents). Inside you will find recipes running the whole gamut from breads to sides to entrees to deserts — even condiments and one particularly spectacular hard cider how-to.
While this particular cookbook caters to Pennsylvania and the surrounding NorthEast area of the United States, I did not have difficulty finding any of the ingredients listed. This can be attributed to my good fortune of living in the lush and ethnically eclectic Southern California. That said, I believe this cookbook is relevant to any home cook no matter where you live.
The stand-alone recipes make this cookbook worthy of your collection but also enjoy gorgeous photography as well. Purchase your own copy of The Farm: Rustic Recipes for a Year of Incredible Food by Ian Knauer on Amazon or win one…
A copy was provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to facilitate this review.