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The Compleat Squash  

A Passionate Grower's Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes, and Gourds
By Amy Goldman
Photographs by Victor Schrager
Copyright 2004
214 pages

The Compleat Squash is the second of what is now a collection of three books that are the result of a magnificent collaboration between author, Amy Goldman, and photographer, Victor Schrager. Of the three books that Goldman and Schrager have produced, this is the most beautiful, and it honors the ubiquitous squash family as nothing, absolutely nothing, ever has.

The book begins with a carefully written and easily understood primer on growing squash, harvesting squash, hand pollinating and saving the seeds of squash. The text is handsomely supported with photographs. The photo essay on page 26 which details hand pollination is certainly the best that I have ever seen.

The primer is then followed by a 135 page library describing more than 140 squash, pumpkins and gourds including: size, weight, rind color, flesh color, fiber and uses. The research is meticulous and the information contained in these pages can be trusted. Each description is accompanied by a beautiful photograph. If you are not familiar with Victor Schrager's work, then I can honestly tell you that you have never seen anything like the photographs he produces, and once you have seen his work, you will never forget it. Each of the photographs in this book, and there are hundreds of them, is a work of art. Schrager is a colorist of unparalleled talent and perhaps the best fruit/vegetable photographer ever. Once you own this book, take some time with the picture of the Sucrine du Berry squash on page 82 with the delicately orange-edged leaves and brilliant orange belly all set against the remarkable blue background. Visually feel the coarseness of the deeply cracked rinds of the Japanese Pie squash on page 160 and with your mind's finger tips run your hands gently over the silky bumps of the Marina di Chioggia squash on page 58.

This book will exceed your expectations in every way and once you own it, personally, you will find yourself gifting copies of it to those you love and respect. It is a coffee table book, a cook's kitchen book, a gardener's resource, a superb teaching tool and perhaps best of all, the kind of book any gardener or soon-to-be gardener would love to curl up and dream with, in front of a fire on a cold winter night.

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