An Onion in My Pocket: My Life with Vegetables (Paperback)
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As a groundbreaking chef and beloved cookbook author, Deborah Madison—“The Queen of Greens” (The Washington Post)—has profoundly changed the way generations of Americans think about cooking with vegetables, helping to transform “vegetarian” from a dirty word into a mainstream way of eating. But before she became a household name, Madison spent almost twenty years at the Zen Center in the midst of counterculture San Francisco. In this warm, candid, and refreshingly funny memoir, she tells the story of her life in food—and with it, the story of the vegetarian movement—for the very first time. From her childhood in Northern California’s Big Ag heartland to sitting sesshin for hours on end at the Tassajara monastery; from her work in the kitchen of the then-new Chez Panisse to the birth of food TV to the age of farmers’ markets everywhere, An Onion in My Pocket is a deeply personal look at the rise of vegetable-forward cooking and a manifesto for how to eat (and live) well today.
About the Author
Deborah Madison is the award-winning author of fourteen cookbooks, including The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Vegetable Literacy. Her books have received four James Beard Foundation Book Awards and five awards from the IACP; she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in 2005. She lives in New Mexico. www.deborahmadison.com
“More than a memoir, this is a history of America’s culinary coming-of-age.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“The intersections of food and spirituality are under-explored topics in American literature. Nourishment can be about more than an inventive recipe or a dazzling meal. Madison’s reflections remind us of larger, slipperier kinds of hunger that call to be satisfied.” —Los Angeles Times
“A true delight . . . [Madison] uncovers her love for all real foods, peeling off layer by layer like an onion, recounting her own personal, culinary, and gardening experiences and adventures with family and friends.” —Lidia Bastianich
“Thoughtful and thought-provoking. . . . A firsthand look at America’s farm-to-table ‘food revolution.’” —The Seattle Times
“Full of surprises. . . . Above all, [Madison] doesn’t believe in imposing beliefs on others. . . . A lesson learned from the monastery . . . and one of many in this insightful memoir.” —The Wall Street Journal
"I felt like Deborah Madison was breaking a trail for me when I came to the San Francisco Zen Center in 1974, and she continues to this day. Her food is tantalizing and nourishing, and her
prose is breezy, lucid, and as beautiful as her presentations on the plate.” —Peter Coyote, Zen priest, actor, and author of Sleeping Where I Fall and The Rainman’s Third Cure
“Captivating. . . . Refreshingly undogmatic.” —Jessica Zack, San Francisco Chronicle
“A welcome read from a master food writer who has . . . changed the way we think, shop, eat and cook.” —The Independent
“I dare you to cut into any part of this edible memoir and not eat the whole thing in one ravenous gulp.” —Betty Fussell, writer, food historian, and author of Eat, Live, Love, Die: Selected Essays
“Offering food is a gesture of kindness and one of sharing. Making a meal with thought and care, whether to share it with others or it’s just for yourself, is a big part of what An Onion in My Pocket is about.” —The Santa Fe New Mexican
“[An] honest, beguiling memoir. . . . A layered, intimate look at Zen life, the making of a soulful, artful chef and the genesis and growth of a writer. It’s also an ode to nourishment, sustenance and gratitude for the earth’s bounty, vegetal and otherwise.” —BookPage
“Mouthwatering. . . . Once upon a time, the word ‘vegetarian’ exclusively conjured up images of bland tofu and boiled veggies—then chef Deborah Madison came along and all of that changed.” —Shape Magazine
“[Madison’s] delicious memoir is a story about flavor, sustenance, and nurturing at their purest.” —Elissa Altman, author of Motherland and Poor Man’s Feast
“The stories spill over with intimate recollections about growing, choosing, cooking, eating, and sharing the goodness and freshness of seasonal and heritage varieties of vegetables.” —The Albuquerque Journal
“A riveting account of how Deborah Madison’s previous twenty-year incarnation as a serious student of Zen Buddhism prepared her to become the consummate vegetarian cook and cookbook writer.” —Marion Nestle, Professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, Emerita, New York University, and author of Food Politics