The Cookbook That Converted A Salad-Hater & Challenged Our Palates

June 22, 2018

When a cookbook changes how you think about ingredients, seasonal cooking, and flavor combinations, it doesn't even matter how many awards it's won or accolades it's received. It changed the way you cook and, therefore, earned a spot of reverence in your kitchen. That cookbook, the one that's been a runaway smash hit in our Cookbook Club this year is Joshua McFadden's Six Seasons.

Our Club focuses on a new book every month, but we also have Six Seasons as our bonus book for the year, an extra book that members can cook through the whole year long, too. It gives members more time to cook through McFadden’s book, and, halfway through the year, we've all already learned a lot. Here's are some of the highlights:

Challenge your Palate

  • John W. B.: I’ve learned so much from this book in the 6 months that I’ve been cooking from it so far. Josh has taught me to eat more vegetables in their raw state, build amazing salads around ingredients that I wouldn’t usually put together, cook authentic Italian pasta dishes, use all of a vegetable and try not to waste any part of it.

  • Jeannie M.: Some people end up with unedible glop when they empty out their fridge. Josh McFadden makes magic! Fennel, apple, Italian sausage, stinky cheese, and nuts. I'm not sure how all these ingredients actually work together, I just know that each bite is a mouthful of yum!

  • Sara L.: I really like how this book has challenged us to eat some vegetables that we would traditionally cook (asparagus, turnips) raw.

  • Karla F.: Because of this book, two things happened: 1) I can now tolerate beets, which I loathed my entire life. 2) I am more adventurous when it comes to trying veggies I've never seen— watermelon radishes, purple carrots, romanesco, celeriac... Even my hubby, who never cared for veggies looks forward to the next big thing from this book!

Proper Seasoning Matters

  • Julianne B.: I love how Joshua says that you’re aiming for food to “taste like a potato chip” (salty and irresistible, so you can’t help but take another bite) and I got that with the very first bite of the Pasta Carbonara with English Peas. I couldn’t help but add a little flaky Maldon salt to finish the dish, but think it might have been overkill.

  • Jim O.: I’ve been amazed at how simple and easy the dishes are but then they slap you in the face with extraordinary flavor.

eat more veggies and eat seasonally (duh)

  • Tara R.: I also think that the book encourages the reader to make these dishes our own; when things are in season, use them in place of what is available all year round (green garlic or garlic shoots instead of head garlic).

  • Rachel A.: What has surprised me is that my husband, who I already thought of as a veggie lover, loves this book so much that he told me it "converted him to salads." LOL, I already thought he was a fan of salads!

  • Mallory S.: Honestly, of the 15 recipes I've made, there is not a single one I wouldn't repeat! They are always surprising in the best way. Also, I love how in tune with my farmers market this book has made me.

  • Carole W.: I’m a retired market gardener, but still keep a big garden. It’s my favorite place, both in body and spirit. This cookbook celebrates the growing and bringing in.

Speaking of eating seasonally, enjoy the last of the asparagus before it's gone!

Not sold yet?

Charlie L.: It's also a great cookbook, in the sense of being approachable, reliable, and practical. So many chef cookbooks are either ludicrously complex, or have really poorly written recipes that don't work without tweaks, or are cumbersome and time-consuming relative to the payoff. 6S recipes are showstoppers and super-creative, but generally well-suited to a home cook's time availability and skill, call for reasonably available ingredients, and don't force you to serve as a paying beta tester.

Dana B.: If in 2018 I were to need just one book, this would be THE book. Raw asparagus salad, raw celery salad, artichoke dip, tonnato. Basically I just go to the farmers market, buy what looks fresh and fragrant and then come home and look into the book for recipes. It’s my bible. Amen!

Paula M.: I broke down and bought it after checking it out from the library four times. I agree . . . it's fabulous! One of my all-time favorite cookbooks.

Marcia F. R.: I really love this book! Originally, I started slowly but the more recipes I make, the more I want to make. This book has a permanent position in my kitchen.

Are you a Six Seasons fan, too? Fill us in on what you've learned below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I like esoteric facts about vegetables. Author of the IACP Award-nominated cookbook, Cooking with Scraps.

1 Comment

SuSu July 22, 2018
The glowing comments got me. Received the book yesterday and am anxious to get started!