When I look back on my life as an eater, a few moments stand out as game-changers. Begging my parents to take me to Canlis for my 16th birthday. My first eye-openingly fresh, multi-course dinner at Sooke Harbour House on Vancouver Island in the early ’80s. Columbia City Farmers Market's launch just steps from my home, in 1998.
And receiving from a fine friend Deborah Madison’s extraordinary volume, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, in 2001.
Madison started at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, then opened the vegetarian groundbreaker, Greens, in San Francisco—along the way writing 14 cookbooks. Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is the one that taught a country how to take vegetables seriously as cuisine, with 1,400 recipes and a section for every vegetable, artichokes to winter squash. Even after all these years it remains one of the holiest of holy books for chefs of all persuasions. I have never been a vegetarian, but can confidently say that no cookbook has taught me more about the mechanics, the necessity, and the sheer pleasure of a plant-heavy diet.
Madison’s latest book, In My Kitchen, came out last month. To celebrate, she’ll be in Seattle on Wednesday, May 3 to cook at Matt Dillon’s garden-ringed Corson Building in Georgetown. For $98, you’ll get a three-course vegetarian lunch with wine and a signed copy of her book—a deal at twice the price...if only to thank her.