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Eat the state

Three cookbooks fresh from Florida: "Field to Feast," "The Ravenous Pig" and "My Key West Kitchen"



Field to Feast: Recipes Celebrating Florida Farmers, Chefs and Artisans
A hugely impressive endeavor, this book surveys 75 farms and food producers and a couple of dozen chefs, traveling the length and breadth of the state to bring readers a comprehensive locavore manual. Pam Brandon and Katie Farmand, of Edible Orlando, and Heather McPherson (food editor at the Orlando Sentinel) have achieved culinary-lit greatness with this volume of roughly a hundred recipes and interviews, all created with Floridian produce and products. If you live and cook in Florida, there's no reason you shouldn't buy this book immediately. (University Press of Florida, 312 pages)

The Ravenous Pig: Seasons of Florida
James and Julie Petrakis have the Midas touch, able to spin even a simple cheese biscuit into gold – as evinced by the success of their ground-breaking Winter Park gastropub, the Ravenous Pig, and the smash debut of their newest venture, Cask & Larder (see page 19). In this handsome self-published cookbook, their love of local products and people shines through in dozens of recipes and stories from the Pig, captured and shaped by Orlando writer Bob Morris. (And yes, the famous gruyère biscuits are here.) Some of the techniques may be challenging for novices, but the flavor combos will inspire any cook. Available at or at their restaurants. (Story Farm, 256 pages)

My Key West Kitchen: Recipes and Stories
Norman Van Aken is a Beat poet manqué. Like many chefs, his creativity could have spilled in any direction; happily for a generation of Floridian eaters, he ended up at the stove, but his romantic soul finds expression in his books, most recently My Key West Kitchen, a swashbuckling batch of bad-boy anecdotes disguised as a cookbook. This is one of those cookbooks suitable even for non-cooks; any food lover or armchair traveler will enjoy cruising through its pages, stuffed as they are with Key West history, vintage photos and postcards, and rambling headnotes. (Kyle Books, 192 pages)


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