Book Reviews,  Cookbooks,  DIY,  Non-Fiction

Book Review: The Lavender Companion

The Lavender Companion: Enjoy the Aroma, Flavor, and Health Benefits of This Classic HerbThe Lavender Companion: Enjoy the Aroma, Flavor, and Health Benefits of This Classic Herb by Terry Barlin Vesci
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Often a book that tries to be a cookbook and also incorporate advice and information beyond recipes only succeeds in padding out the page count, but not really delivering solid, usable information. That’s NOT the case with The Lavender Companion, which succeeds beautifully on all levels, thanks to the experience and knowledge of author Terry Barlin Vesci. She and her husband run Pine Creek Lavender Farm in Arizona, as well as a farm store that sells their own homemade lavender goods, and a cooking school that teaches how to cook with lavender. Their website (pinelavenderfarm.com) is lovely and informative, and I do hope you go browse it soon.

For decades I’ve grown a lavender or two, just as landscaping highlights, but I never really took the time to understand it and get the most out of my plants. But I’m also an amateur herbologist, I love foraging, and cooking everything possible from scratch. I think you can see why I fell in love with The Lavender Companion just a few pages in. The book is broken into four parts: Learn About Lavender, Layering Lavender into Your Life, In the Kitchen and On the Table, and Planting, Harvesting, and Drying Lavender.

I recommend reading Learn About Lavender before jumping into any of the recipes. I had no idea there were so many types, each with their own special qualities. This section will help you choose what lavender you want to cook with.

Layering Lavender into Your Life looks like so much fun! I want to start making some of the featured products for my own use. I get such satisfaction out of making usable goods with my own hands.

And of course, there’s the recipes. And they aren’t just for fussy little desserts or teas. There’s a Tuscan Stew full of short ribs and all sorts of delightful ingredients. With winter just around the corner, I’ll enjoy making that. Sticky Lavender Honey Chicken sounds intriguing, too.

By the time you get to Planting, Harvesting, and Drying Lavender, you should have a good idea of what sort of lavender you’d like to grow. I know I’ll be changing things up in my own flower gardens come spring.

Terry Barlin Vesci gives credit to her co-author Jessica Dunham, as being the true wordsmith throughout this book. While we may be tempted to give Terry full credit due to her lavender business being featured throughout, we should never forget the quiet heroes that are often the reason a book tips the balance from ‘good’ to ‘excellent’.

I’m tempted to buy myself two copies: one for the cookbook shelf, and one for the gardening shelf. Wait… I may need a third copy for my art shelf. The photography alone is worth the price of admission. It’s beautifully composed and soothing to look at.

My thanks to authors Terry Barlin Vesci and Jessica Dunham, Storey Publishing, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a digital advance review copy of this book. This review is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

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