Raymond Sokolov applies to vegetables the original concept of his book The Cook's Canon: 101 Classic Recipes Everyone Should Know, fusing imaginative recipes with a wealth of food lore. His more than forty years' experience as a cookbook author and food historian provides a wealth of background for vegetable recipes from around the world, from traditional American (succotash) to Chinese (Sichuan dry-fried green beans) as well as French (spinach gratin with Mornay sauce) and Italian (pasta e fagioli alla pordenonese).
All the recipes are high points of the culinary imagination, great dishes in which vegetables are the featured ingredient. This is not a vegetarian cookbook. Many of the recipes include meat, but keep the vegetables at center stage.
For each vegetable discussed and each recipe, Sokolov provides historical and cultural background, with wit and insight, based on his wide reading in food history and his training as a classicist.