Chef John Folse’s cookbook “Can You Dig It: Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Vegetable Cookery,” is an ode to vegetables and Louisiana’s love affair with gardening.
Readers can expect to find chapters on the swamp floor pantry, root vegetables, leafy greens, off the vine, grains, exotics and more. Recipes focus on vegetables as the primary ingredient in appetizers, soups, salads, sides, entrées, breads, desserts and even drinks.
While some veggies are delicious straight from the ground, Folse took great care to include an array of cooking methods for each vegetable included, all bringing out different flavors and textures. “Historically, vegetables have been the unsung heroes of the food world,” Folse said. “In ‘Can You Dig It’ vegetables are elevated to culinary masterpieces worthy of center-of-the-plate prestige. We’ve given the phrase ‘eat your vegetables’ a whole new taste!”
“Can You Dig It” is nearly 950 pages in length with more than 600 vegetable-focused recipes. The cookbook begins with a look to the past by co-author Michaela York. The history of agriculture is told from ancient man and biblical perspectives; there are discussions of farming in antiquity including Egypt, Greece and Rome; gardens of the Middle Ages and Renaissance are explored; as well as the discovery of America and vegetables’ influence on population and power through the Columbian Exchange. The history section culminates in an overview of Louisiana’s deep roots in agriculture, with particular focus on the farming methods of the seven nations that make up Louisiana culture and cuisine.