Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

May 30th, 2013

On My Bookshelf – Farm Anatomy

What do angora, Green Hubbard, standard bronze, brisket, and Delaware Jersey have in common? Answer: they can all be found on a farm! (FYI in case you’re wondering – rabbit, squash, breed of turkey, prime cut of beef, and a type of axe head :)).

Whilst my current inner-city existence is far from farm living, I have fallen head-over-heels in love with farm produce over the years, especially now that my work revolves around food and recipes. I’m a sucker for heirloom tomatoes, bunches of freshly picked herbs, fresh cuts of meat, and of course, I love putting my own twist on old-fashioned recipes like lamb shanks or roast chicken.

So, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Julia Rothman’s clever illustrated guide to all things country life – ‘Farm Anatomy’. You might remember me mentioning Julia’s book in this blog post.

Recently I’ve been busy completing the illustrations for my own new book, and I’ve able to draw inspiration from Julia’s work. Love her depictions of produce, flowers, tools, kitchen utensils, and bits and bobs that you’d find in a country kitchen. Her drawings and pictures are easy to interpret, simple and lovely all at the same time. I think it’s safe to say you could pretty much pick any farm-related topic, and chances are you’ll find it mentioned in Julia’s book.

She somehow manages to make heavy machinery and various cuts of meat as appealing as cute drawings of bees and hens!

When you’re reading the book, you’ll really feel like you’ve been transported to a real farm. You can imagine crisp autumn leaves crunching underfoot, and the smell of tomatoes ripening on the vine. And you might even catch yourself out daydreaming about swims in a creek, or running through a enormous vegetable garden.

Now for me, chances are I may never need to reveal hidden knowledge about the history of tractors (although never say never), or how to shear a sheep – but I’m sure down the track I may need to learn how to set up a chicken coop, or a how to organise a small compost if I have my own garden in the future.

My favourite chapters (of course) are focused on suggestions for growing and cooking your own food. From tips on how to tell if an egg is fresh (an old egg will float when placed in water), to how to identify different edible flowers, Julia shares her insights into farming and self-sufficient living. I also love the pages dedicated to making your own cheese.

‘Farm Anatomy’

I’ve got a signed copy (including this cute illustration) of ‘Farm Anatomy’ to give away!

GIVEAWAY: I’ve got a signed copy (and Julia has included this little illustration too) of ‘Farm Anatomy’ to give away. Merci Julia 🙂

For your chance to win, leave a comment here on my blog (and spread the word via your own blog, Twitter or Facebook for bonus points!) and share with me what would be your secret skill if you lived on a farm. Mine? I would make marvellous batches of homemade yoghurt to give to the neighbours!

I’ll be drawing a winner on Wednesday June 5, so you have until Tuesday June 4 to enter. Bonne chance!

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129 thoughts on “On My Bookshelf – Farm Anatomy

  1. I’d like to bake very fresh bread. The scent will be followed by many!
    (Not too mention, I’d love to be a Farmer’s wife!)

  2. My husband is a chef, and we live on a vineyard…our dream has always been to make our own cheeses and share with the great wine and beer at the restaurant.

  3. Farm to the kitchen table is the kind of food revival needed world wide. This type of book makes it fun and educational. If something is fun, people are more apt to jump on the bandwagon! Love this Rachel. Sharing on fb, twitter 😉

  4. What a great-looking book! If I lived on a farm I would grow loads of fresh veg and make all manner of things, including my famous vegetable crisps!

  5. Oh, I would do a number of things:
    1) have a cow and then make butter and cream cheese using the milk
    2) have chickens that would be free and lay eggs everywhere and then organize scavenger hunt for the children in the neighbourhood
    3) grow fruit and make jams and preserves
    4) grow corn, wheat and barley to feed my animals and make flour
    5) make delicious cakes using all of the above and selling them
    6)have a small pension de famille where everyone who want a taste of country life can come and join us

    Well, I work for it now and hoping for the future 🙂

  6. I’ve lived in cities my whole life and have managed to grow a good amount of produce in containers. However, my dream is to retire on a farm in VT. I would love to raise buffalo to make traditional buffalo make mozzarella and other cheeses (they would all be virtually lactose free!).

  7. Ok shared on twitter, fb, and instagram. I was in missionary training where we washed our clothes in hand cranked wringer washers and lived in the woods for six weeks inthe woods. It was survival type training, not just country charm. We canned our own food and baked bread from scratch without electricity. Baked in 50 gallon drum clay ovens. That was cool.

  8. my secret skill would be to get my mum in to cook her fantastic baked custard for anyone who visited and of course me.

  9. Seems like a lot of people would love to live on a farm. They have never lived on a farm, not so nice. 🙂

  10. I would prepare food that I have grown and farmed and sell it locally. This would showcase my love of cooking, using fresh ingredients and my childhood memories of growing up in the country. Bon Appetite 🙂

  11. I am in love with the illustrations in this book! My secret farm power would be to pickle everything!

  12. I would have a farm near the North Sea, keep bees and sell sea marsh and lavender honey at the Market….sigh…

  13. I’m torn between making preserves or making cheese, both which I love so much and would be great on some fresh bread! I’m loving the illustrations and especially the typography on the book, will share on my next blog post 🙂

  14. I love Julia! She’s such an inspiration for my illustrations as well. If I lived on a farm I think I’d go all out with the canning and preserving. I’d have the most well stocked gorgeous pantry ever… handwritten and pretty doodled labels too. xo Kristina

  15. I think my skill would be making delicious berry jams – maybe infused with basil or other herbs?

  16. Always love to read and learn at the same time so this looks like a really cool book. I have never lived on a farm, but I appreciate all the hard work that they do to provide us with good food.

  17. My dream is to one day live in a little cottage, with a vegetable patch and chicken pen. My secret skill would be making delicious pies with the fruits from my garden. I would also like a donkey or two (if only I could convince my boyfriend..)

  18. This book sounds wonderful! I definitely need a copy. Were I to have a farm, I would make the best pies with seasonal fruits and vegetables. I would also need to make singularly tasty cream pies in the winter with fresh eggs and cream. My grandma’s Bavarian cream recipe is unparalleled.

  19. I would do everything I can’t do in the city that I’ve been wanting to do for years. First, I’ve always wanted a couple of chickens for daily fresh eggs. Second, I would consider caring for a cow only for the milk to make cheese and butter.

  20. I love the illustrations and typography!

    I’m an NYC girl now, but I grew corn, tomato, okra, and pumpkins growing up in the Long Island burbs. I would grow berries, and plant a magical apple tree with Fuji, Macoun, Honeycrisp apples. Nothing better than preserves simmering on the stove or an apple tart baking in the oven.

  21. I would make my own crepes from cow’s milk and fresh organic egss. I would filled them wih homade rasberry jelly. Come on over! 😉

  22. A contestant from Asia 🙂 Can the giveaway be an airmail?

    “What would be your secret skill if you lived on a farm?”

    I may not be a keen cook/chef myself. But I am sure I’ve got good hands for planting. So I’d be having not just a typical kitchen garden, but if it is the size of a farm (and given that I am living in a tropical region) I’d have my family a replica of kitchen forest, the mini edible jungle that could make your culinary imagination run wild.

  23. Would so love to win this book. Both my husband and I have a dream of owning a beautiful old property in France and to do paddock to plate food and accomodation. People would come and stay, see, feel and touch firsthand the produce and animals, then cook and eat what is grown right on the property. Right now we live on a quarter acre in Australia and my husband has grown the most amazing French heirloom tomatoes that are still fruiting! We have starting picking the gigantic fruit and it is offically our winter tomorrow. I think we have a gift for growing, cooking and hospitality. That would be our dream. If I could weave my photography into it somehow I would be in 7th heaven! Sharing on FB and my blog xx Corrina Tough.

  24. My secret skill would be cheese making! It must be that both of my Grandfathers were dairy farmers at one stage. (In fact I’m making some cheese at the moment – sssh, don’t tell anyone!)

  25. I would love a beautiful bunch of hens that I would visit each day – collect their eggs..have a chat..and have an ingredient that I could use for all manner of meals…<3

  26. I would make the best fruit pies in town, with fruit from my own garden of course! And I would eat them, sitting on my veranda, looking at the sheep, cows, goats and chickens… enjoying the smell of the grass, the sound of the birds… {dreaming away from an urban environment in the Netherlands}

    Good luck with your new book! I am looking forward to my many hours of cooking

  27. On a farm, damn! I’d love to go all out with making different kinds of cheese, with different varieties of milk. And then go completely overboard with wine and cheese afternoons on weekends.

  28. what a great find, books like these pushe me to do more than just a veggie patch on my urban terasse than again making my own cheese? maybe that is pushing it too far – txs for sharing, will try to find it in Brussels and post on my blog

  29. The book looks delightful. So many wonderful illustrations.I never lived on a farm so I find this most interesting.

  30. I live in Zagreb, Croatia. Looove your page and Facebook page. I have your book and enjoy your recipes sooo much!! This book is so cute, I would loove to have it… I would make my own cheese. It would be great if you would choose me to give away this book to. It would be great if it would be written on your blog: this book travelled to Croatia with the author’s signature!! ha? That would be so cool!! Thank you for your lovely recipes, and if you are ever somewhere near Zagreb, feel free to spend the day with me and my family! xoxoxox Vlatka

  31. and i forgot to say what would i do if i lived on a farm… i would have my own bakery, herb garden and a bookstore where people would be able to come and enjoy all of my products with a good book!

  32. In my little patch of paradise I raise 9 happy hens who provide an abundance of beautiful eggs.
    Every day is a gift,today I am making a delicious jam with rhubarb, strawberries and ginger. Leaving the US for Paris on Monday,wish we could meet you

  33. I was brought up on a farm and am surprised to see that most young children don’t know where met comes from, I think this book would be perfect to teach my children the basics of cooking real food,

  34. A friend and neighbor has been blessing us with special gifts of fresh eggs and cuts of different meats…soooo delicious. This book is now on my wishlist for purchase this summer. And Rachel…coming to the West Coast? Maybe Powell’s Books? You haven’t met foodies till you come to Portland Oregon!!!

  35. I’d build and outfit the best houses–for the chickens, little bird houses for the wild birds, hut for the goats… it would be luxury living for the whole farm family.

    Please make a trip out to California sometime, Rachel!

  36. First, I’d get a goat. Then I’d learn how to make Goat Cheese. Or maple syrup. Or honey – I’m very worried about bees…. but mostly the goat cheese.

  37. Despite a love of cake my secret skill would not be baking but farming sustainably – looking after the environment and it’s wildlife and producing great food – important and possible! I’d probably give zero waste my best attempt too…

  38. Loving your show Little Paris Kitchen in Australia! Already ordered the book online.

    My husband would love to one day own a farm and try his hand at everything (vegetables and beef especially, perhaps even olive oil), being self-sufficient and selling the goods.

    My dreams are less ambitious but just as delicious – I would love to be a great baker – breads, cakes, and scones, with fresh cream and home made jams and chutneys.

  39. I would imagine my ideal farm as a place of memories and food and love. I would love to cook the soup of potatos, aubergines and carrots that my grandma used to cook every summer with me as a young apprentice in the kitchen!!!

  40. I live in Chicago and can’t wait to see you there. If on a farm, I’d have a different tasty breakfast everyday. With home baked breads and wonderful jams and preserves.

  41. I would love to grow my own garden. To be able to go outside and pick up your breakfast, lunch or dinner… That would be amazing 🙂 I love eggplant so that would be my first.

  42. If I owned a farm, I would love to be able to grow lemons and limes, to help satisfy my constant craving for Key Lime Pie. If I could make it every day, I would be a happy man 🙂

  43. I grew a batch of cucumbers one year. The plant took over the backyard, but they were still the best cucumbers I’ve ever had,

  44. I live in Wiscosnin USA, that being said it’s in the heart of the midwest aka COUNTRY! I have friends that own farms and I’ve worked on them milking cows, filling silos with grain and feeding those wondering beef and cow cattle. It’s WHEN I own farm land that I will be able to plant acres of wonderful vegetables and some fruits that will make a sustainable influence on the community and my wonderful neighbors for the future to come!! You have to love the organic, local raised produce it makes the meals more enjoyable and the company that much better. I make a contribution to the community with all that my farm had to offer.

  45. Making sweet jams and pickles for presents all year round!

    So much love for your show, Rachel, you are one of my biggest inspirations!

  46. Your series ‘The Little Paris Kitchen’ is fabulous, enjoying it every Thursday night on SBS! If I ever got the chance to own and work my own farm I would love to make some beautiful prosciutto and a deliciously creamy brie to go with it!!

  47. Rachel Khoo, pick me, Rachael Crew!

    My secret weapon is and still would be, if I lived on a farm, deviled eggs. I’ve never met a person who doesn’t love them.

  48. I would use my secret skill to plant (and make grow) all fruit and vegetables of the world 🙂 and no animal would be hurt at my farm.

  49. I would use my secret skill to plant (and make grow) all fruit and vegetables of the world 🙂 and no animal would be hurt on my farm.

  50. what lovely illustrations!

    I would love to have a large veggie patch and grow the ingredients for my special tomato kasundi relish – after making 100 jars as bonbonierre for our wedding we have been receiving lots of requests for more!

  51. I would make salads out of interesting leaves and blossoms. there are loads of plants that can be used in recipes . 🙂

  52. I love baking cakes and always use fresh eggs from a local supplier – I think this is an awesome book!

  53. Even though, as a city dweller, I know little about farming – I think raising rare-breed pigs and producing home-cured bacon would be wonderful. I’d be on the pig’s back!!!

  54. Obviously everything used in my cooking will be from the farm but since I am a lover of mixing fashion with food – I will most likely make cute printed aprons that everyone in the town can wear.

  55. Love the illustration showing different cuts of meat! It is sometimes hard to determine what part of the cow ends up on the plate for me. Love it. If I had my own farm I’d grow pineberries and make fierce fruit tarts & preserves and have fabulous baked eggs everyday that would of course have been laid fresh that morning.

  56. I’d make the best goat cheese (with the help of some awesome goats, of course) and create some delicious Mediterranean dishes to enjoy on my beautiful farm. Ahhh, that would be the life!

  57. My secret skill would be the smell of the bread cooked in the ashes, in the morning, spreading all over the place!

  58. My secret skill would be to make awesome butter and save the rest of the by-products for the awesome food that I will cook, bake and sauteed with …my homemade butter of course!

  59. I would have a goat and two chickens so that I could have milk to make cheese and fresh eggs every day. With lots of vegetables – including mushrooms and asparagus – you don’t need anything else!

  60. If I lives on a farm I would fill the dirt with glorious goodies, then plant all sorts of citrus and grow amazing veges, so I would then be able to juice the produce and make the freshest best tasting juice around!!! 🙂

  61. If I had a farm I would probably dedicate my time to make cheese because I’m such a cheese-lover! I also love fruits so I would cultivate different types (mostly berries) and use them to make jams, tartes and pastries.

  62. Well! My grandma’ still lives in a countryside. Have a garden, cows and chickens! Thats marvelous! Love it! I’ll wait for a fresh and red strawberries from the garden and will make a strawberry tart for her! MMMM……

  63. Oooh, if I lived on a farm, my secret skill would be…nothing useful. I’m a city girl. But, I do have a talent for acquiring other people’s recipes, so I suspect after living there for a while, I would have a nice juicy collection of recipe from near by farmers.

    “Mrs Wittingborough’s scones anyone?”

  64. My secret skill would be to make bitters and syrups from the herbs and fruits raised, for the cocktails I would need in my transition from city girl to country girl.

  65. love the blog and your books!
    : )
    If I lived on a farm I would ‘relish’ the chance to source my own fruits such as pears, peaches and plums to make great batches of exciting new chutneys and jams like peach and chilli! : ) xx

  66. If I lived in a farm I would milk the cows and make all sorts of cheeses and butter and bake fresh bread. I would then eat it because there is nothing more lovely in life than fresh bread and bit of butter or cheese.

  67. Oh yum. Just the thought of fresh tomatoes and herbs to lovely jams and spreads. Most of proceeds would go to my favorite horse and animal rescues

  68. I recently came upon Ms Khoo’s utube BBC episodes, wonderfully entertaining and love the smallness of her kitchen, which means anyone can cook.

  69. DUCKS! I would have a pond of ducks and use there eggs in baking; my grandmother used duck eggs whenever she baked and she always got compliments on how great her cakes were! a secret ingredient

  70. I would make amazing butter, which I would spread thick every morning on homemade bread and use to make delicious desserts! I’m sharing on fb and twitter. Xx

  71. My secret skill would be making delicious stuff with edible flowers and plants considered weeds. People would be so surprised and not take those plants for granted anymore!

  72. Having learnt how to make the perfect poached egg by the ethicureans at the weekend, I would but me a load of hens and eat their lovely FRESH eggs. Yummy!

  73. Hey what a cute give away;)
    I would like to make a lot of butter, njammmmm;D

    Wish you all the best
    Franzi (Germany)

    spread the word via facebook

  74. I have many friends that are able to keep chickens now. My subdivision wont allow it. I’m enjoying finding new ways to use eggs. I’ve also joined the trend to support local farmers. Food has never tasted so good.

  75. We have just moved next to a farm and we love it. I could learn so much from the book and then surprise all my neighbours and invite them for a house warming feast.

  76. I’d start a huge lavender field on my farm and make all sorts of lavender products to give away like fragrance bags! I’d also get to try out your lavender chicken recipe (I still haven’t found lavender to try it out yet!).

  77. Freshly squized lemonade following Cuban’s recipe and enjoying it with friends and neighbors in the garden.Simple things 🙂

  78. I would like to give this book to my son’s fiancee. They live in California and her big dream is to come live here in the Netherlands and be a farmer’s wife, we tease her about it sometimes. She would keep bees for honey and grow fruit and veggies and bake cakes and pies to serve in her little teagarden.

  79. If I lived on a farm my secret skill would be to freeze, can, and preserve fruits and vegetables so that we could enjoy them all winter long!

  80. What a lovely looking book! If I had a farm, I’d give away fresh farm eggs to everyone I knew- friends, family, the postman, etc. Most people have no idea the difference a fresh farm egg makes!

  81. This book reminds me of aspects in the intent of the Whole Earth books from the 60s! Love it. Will probably buy it and enjoy learning from it. My daughter raises honeybees and chickens so she will enjoy reading too!

  82. I’d love to get my family on a diet the way nature intended, all fresh and beyond organic ingredients. I think we could all use some lessons on respecting our food, where it comes from and how it is raised. This would have innumerable positive ripples out into the world!

  83. I love the illustrations in this book. At the moment I only have some fruit & vegetables, chilli plants and a few rhode island red chickens but I dream of having more breeds, some scottish highland cows and a few goats. I’d love to make my own goats cheese and collect honey from some of my own bee hives, maybe mix the two! 🙂

  84. What a cute book…having an organic vegetable and fruit garden with a few chickens and honey bees to stock a roadside market. For those wishing to purchase larger quantities of garden produce, a u pick option would be nice.

  85. My farm would include a significant veg garden in carefully tended raised beds. We’d grow aubergines, peppers, courgettes and the rest for inclusion in my awesome giardiniera, which I would spend the entire second half of summer canning.

  86. What a fabulous book… I would make some goats’ cheese and ice cream using goats’ milk and they would all taste delicious.

  87. I would take great care of the animals and give them stress free living by giving them massages everyday because I am a massage therapist.

  88. funny to stumble upon this post as we have just decide to not purchase a deer farm (we are city people thinking of moving to the countryside). The plan was we are to grow all organics and free range animals. I guess it is now only plan….

  89. This book looks magical from start to finish; from the sketches, colors, and simple, concise thoughts. If I had a farm, I would spend more time growing fresh veggies and herbs. My favorite fresh veggie recipes include herb infused breads, veggie gratins, and roasted veggies that can easily create a variety of soups. Yum!

  90. After living for 12 years in Europe (with 6 of those in Switzerland) I know I could never make cheese as well as they do – the nuances from each village are so important to the flavour of the cheese. Now that I am back in Australia (and suffering terrible food and cultural withdrawal symptoms) I have worked out where to buy most of the foods I miss from the continent however there is one item that they simply do not have or import here and that is nut-flavoured yoghurt so I am totally with you in saying that is what I would try to make. Nothing can compare to Hazelnut or Chestnut or Almond or Pecan or even Coconut yoghurt. They make nut-flavoured ice-cream so why not yoghurt. How hard can it be? I’d like to find out.

  91. Oh how I love the illustration work in this book–mingnon. I would have a superb herb garden! I’d have plenty of fresh herbs to cook with and save lovely little jars of dried herbs for friends and family!

  92. I have recently discovered the absolute joy of our local farm shop and it’s now replaced the supermarket for our weekly shop. You can’t beat the freshness, the taste or the value for money. This book looks like a wonderful insight – would love to get my wellies on to read it and be inspired!

  93. Dear Rachel,

    In October 2013, my daughter in law and I went on a pilgrimage to France. We were so impressed and delighted with the simple foods and the delicious wines we were privileged to enjoy. Your website was brought to my attention just yesterday and I am spreading the word to all my family members about your cooking. My daughter in law is a gourmet when it comes to keeping up with good recipes and developing them herself for her employer. I just wanted to say that I am sosooo happy to have a brilliant chef to watch and inspire.

    Pat February, 2014

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