Read this cookbook: 'A Year of Practiculture'


“A Year of Practiculture: Recipes for Living, Growing, Hunting & Cooking With the Seasons”

By Rohan Anderson (powerhouse Books, $39.95)

I thought Cathy Barrow was the ultimate do-it-yourselfer.

In “Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry” (Norton, $35), the D.C. writer teaches you how to make your own cottage cheese, gravlax, bacon and smoked oysters — and every kind of pickle, preserve, jam and condiment imaginable.

But Australian renegade Rohan Anderson’s new tome makes Barrow look like Jane Austen.

A few years ago, stressed out and obese, the Melbourne resident chucked his day job for a life of growing, foraging and hunting. He documented his metamorphosis with a blog and 2012's "Whole Larder Love: Grow, Gather, Hunt, Cook" (powerhouse, $35).

With “A Year of Practiculture,” his follow-up volume out this month, he delivers a season-by-season account of raising beans and broccoli; foraging for morels (he says they look like “kangaroo poo”); making pancetta and chorizo; and concocting elderflower cordial.

And that doesn’t even cover summer.

Moving through the rest of the year, Anderson diarizes his fishing, canning (he calls it “bottling”), greenhouse-building, firewood-cutting, and ketchup-making — writing in a quirky, colloquial style that is real, authentic and never preachy.

If you grow peppers and tomatoes; have a bounty of lamb, deer and rabbit at your disposal; or simply pine for a way of life that is elemental and unmanufactured, this book will instruct, fascinate, entertain.

You won’t find any desserts, though: Anderson’s a manly cook.

Instead, you will savor beautifully photographed, humorously annotated, delicious-sounding recipes for Snails & Bacon in Boozy Sauce, Hipster’s Kale Pizza, Melty Lamb Ribs, Melty Goat Leg and Idiot Hare Stew.

OK. So this probably won’t be the most practical volume on your shelf, but it might be the most fascinating.

I don’t have any  “teenage” roosters sitting around my backyard for turning into Rooster, Beans & Greens. But I’ve started a veggie plot this year, and I’m intrigued by Anderson’s Green Sriracha (made with jalapenos) and his Pea & Whole New-Season Potato Creamy Salad.

His broccoli fritters, “Mexicorn!” and baba ghanoush are easy vegetarian dishes that can be assembled from fresh produce and everyday pantry items.

And who knows? Maybe someday I’ll try that Idiot Hare Stew.

It’s so titled because it’s easy enough for a fool to cook.  And so tender, Anderson writes, that “dentures are welcome, because mastication is optional.” (Shrieks.)

Explore Check out more AJC cookbook reviews here
Explore Click here to read the AJC’s Ultimate Guide to Brunch in Atlanta
Explore Click here to read about dining in Atlanta around the clock

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter.