Celebrating local foods, purveyors

This cookbook provides the much needed back story behind many of the foods we enjoy.

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"Edible" by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian (Bill Hogan/Tribune photo)

Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian (Wiley, $29.95)

What it is: With interest growing in where our food comes from, the scope of cookbooks is broadening from the kitchen to encompass supermarket aisles, garden beds, pastureland and fishing trawlers. This book introduces you to a number of people who provide us with food, along with recipes that emphasize seasonal, local fare.

Praise and quibbles: Ryder and Topalian are co-founders of Edible Communities Publications, a network of regional food magazines across the United States and Canada focusing on farmers, fisherfolk, chefs and others in the food community. You learn about these people, and the regions they come from, in the first section of the book, which is called "Edible Stories." The second half, "Edible Recipes" offers 80 regional recipes grouped by the seasons. An appendix lists all the Edible Communities magazines with contact information for the key players at each. The book is handsomely designed with easy-to-read recipes, pithy profiles of the players and vivid color photography.

Why you'll like it: This cookbook provides the much-needed back story behind many of the foods we enjoy. Learning about what other people have done around the country to build up their local food systems provides us all with the inspiration, hopefully, to do something in our communities. The recipes serve as a delicious reward.
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