Too Many Tomatoes, Squash Beans and Other Good Things

by Lois M. Burrows and Laura G. Myers

Harper & Row, 1976

The subtitle for this book is: A Cookbook For When Your Garden Explodes. That fits the garden situation here in Northern California, as you can see from the picture above.

This book, first written in 1976, has been my mom’s go-to book for times like these. I know I should have purchased this book myself but Mom kept sending me copies of her favorite recipes that I didn’t bother. Now I have the book, since she no longer has her garden, or a need to cook. It’s going to be put to good use here by succeeding generations of gardeners and cooks.

Too Many Tomatoes . . . is organized alphabetically from Asparagus to Turnips (zucchini is included with summer squash). It covers vegetables commonly grown in the backyard. Each vegetable chapter starts with a basic discussion of the plant – how it’s grown, how to harvest and store it, basic preparation, nutritive value, and even complimentary herbs. This is then followed by a variety of recipes using this vegetable, anywhere from eight to fifteen recipes per vegetable.

The book can be used by both gardeners and CSA or Farmer’s Market patrons. The recipes are written in a very basic manner and assumes you have considerable knowledge of cooking techniques. It’s not a book for cooking beginners.

The recipes range from the unusual (Broccoli Guacamole, Spinach Spanakopitta, Carrot Marmalade) to the good old standbys (Marinated Cucumber Salad, Harvard Beets, Stir-fry Snowpeas).

The last chapter is called Anything and Everything and includes a nice mish-mash of recipes that don’t fit anywhere else. This is where I first learned to make Homemade Mayonnaise (using my newly invented blender) and various flavored butters.

For our family this book’s claim-to-fame is it’s recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake. This was the first time by mom put a vegetable into a cake. Of course, she told no one until everyone loved and raved about it. She went on to Zuchinni Bread and, my brother’s favorite, Zucchini Lasagna (replace pasta with shredded zucchini/recipe not in this book).

The Chocolate Zucchini Cake is really something special – very moist and chocolatey. I promise to make some this coming week and share it (the recipe) with you next Saturday. In the meantime, the tomatoes are exploding here so it’s time to check out the chapter on tomatoes.

Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things is available at Amazon in the updated (1991) edition. Be warned: a new copy of the paperback edition is now going for $265.07. Used copies are available for much less ($4.30). Our copy is the hardback but I doubt it’s worth much. It’s full of stains and notes and is partially separated from it’s binding. The sign of a well-used, well-loved book.

Talking about food is a regular feature on my blog and others as well. Visit Beth Fish Reads for other bloggers who are participating in Weekend Cooking.

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15 Responses to Too Many Tomatoes, Squash Beans and Other Good Things

  1. kaye says:

    Zucchini is a big fave with me and so is chocolate. I’ll be looking forward to that recipe!

    Have a great week, happy reading, cooking and relaxing.

  2. Beth F says:

    I remember this book! I don’t think I have a copy though (hummmmm, I’ll look for it at the flea market today). But I love books arranged by ingredient, it is so helpful when you’ve got a big garden or belong to a CSA.

    I remember chocolate zucchini cake too. I wonder if the recipe my mom and I use comes from this book… the timing would be about right (mid-70s)

  3. Sounds perfect for people with gardens. Nothing tastes better than fresh vegetables. Wish I had an occasion for this book!

  4. JoAnn says:

    What a great title! Sounds like a very useful cookbook, too. My mother has a delicious recipe for chocolate zucchini bread… she just gave me a couple loaves for the freezer.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful cookbook, but I have to tell you, I don’t think it’s possible to have too many tomatoes.

  6. candice says:

    I can’t believe I have no recollection of this book! The food all sounds familiar though. I should get on getting a copy, because i need some assistance in the growing, harvesting part. Or perhaps we need to move someplace where the growing season is a bit longer…
    Now, I want a slice of zucchini bread! And, I agree with Kathy, it’s not possible to have too many tomatoes!

  7. Staci says:

    I can’t wait for your post on the Chocolate Zucchini cake!!

  8. Nancy says:

    We have occasional”big zucchini” years in our garden — big in both size and quantity. That is when I evolved my approach to zucchini lasagna. Slice the zucchini vertically, cutting out excess or large seeds. Parboil – just to soften. Layer with the other ingredients in place of at least one layer of pasta. Bake.

  9. Debbie says:

    I have a recipe for Chocolate zucchini cake…haven’t made it in years, but it was really good. Sounds like a great book. Sadley, I let my veggies go to see this summer. It was a crazy (but good) one with my 1-year old twin grandbabies living here, while their parents transitioned from grad school to jobs/real life. Now everyone is gone, and it’s quiet around here… I just noticed everything gone to seed!

  10. I don’t know this book, but your post has made me miss my shelf of cookbooks, stored at our daughter’s barn. Couldn’t bring myself to give them away after Cyndi took her favorites… most of my other books (non-cookbooks) went to the Library when we sold our house. I don’t know if I’ll ever use the cookbooks again like I used to but it’s comforting to know where they are!

    We’re in New Jersey now — the garden state and there are still good Farmer’s Mkts here.

  11. Cerrin says:

    I just want some zucchini bread. I didnt get any this year. I also want a small bannana bread yummy I am getting hungry now lol

  12. Heather says:

    Great idea for a cook book. Makes me want to plant veggies next year. Thanks

  13. kaye says:

    this looks like a “must have” cook book.

  14. Kristen says:

    I have made the zucchini chocolate cake several times and love it. I also love the title of you blog.
    That will be me too someday!

  15. Susan says:

    I had this cookbook 3o years ago . . . lost it along the way and would LOVE to have the zucchini pizza crust recipe. would you be able to send that to me.
    Thanks. I would be
    Everlastingly grateful,

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