Virtual Event: Deborah Madison


An Onion in My Pocket:
My Life with Vegetables 

in conversation with JEFF GORDINIER


November 20, 2020
7:00 PM ET


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Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes DEBORAH MADISON—renowned chef and author of the beloved cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone—joins us for a discussion of her memoir An Onion in My Pocket: My Life with Vegetables. She will be joined in conversation by JEFF GORDINIER, Esquire's Food & Drinks editor and author of Hungry: Eating, Road-Tripping, and Risking It All with the Greatest Chef in the World.

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About An Onion in My Pocket

Thanks to her beloved cookbooks and groundbreaking work as the chef at Greens Restaurant in San Francisco, Deborah Madison, though not a vegetarian herself, has long been revered as this country's leading authority on vegetables. She profoundly changed the way generations of Americans think about cooking with vegetables, helping to transform "vegetarian" from a dirty word into a mainstream way of eating.

But before she became a household name, Madison spent almost twenty years as an ordained Buddhist priest, coming of age in the midst of counterculture San Francisco. In this charmingly intimate and refreshingly frank memoir, she tells her story—and with it the story of the vegetarian movement—for the very first time. From her childhood in Big Ag Northern California to working in the kitchen of the then-new Chez Panisse, and from the birth of food TV to the age of green markets everywhere, An Onion in My Pocket is as much the story of the evolution of American foodways as it is the memoir of the woman at the forefront. It is a deeply personal look at the rise of vegetable-forward cooking, and a manifesto for how to eat well.

Praise for An Onion in My Pocket

“I love vegetables; hence, I have always felt a kindred spirit, and enjoyed reading and cooking from Deborah’s books. An Onion in My Pocket is a true delight to read as she uncovers her love for all real foods, peeling off layer by layer like an onion, recounting her own personal, culinary, and gardening experiences, and her adventures with family and friends.  It’s a most timely book and a joy to read.” —Lidia Bastianich

“I dare you to cut into any part of this edible memoir and not eat the whole thing in one ravenous gulp. To eat Deborah's words as she serves them up is to feast on food, life, love, art, beauty, purpose, and possibility. She unfolds her story with the sweet freshness and pungency of the onion in her pocket she has garnered from the world's markets to share here and now with us.” —Betty Fussell, writer, food historian, and author of Eat, Live, Love, Die: Selected Essays

“I came to S. F. Zen Center in 1974 and Deborah Madison was a senior student, with a standing that made a new student like me flinch by her in the hall, eyes averted. I felt like she was breaking trail for me then, and she continues to this day. Her food is tantalizing and nourishing, and her prose is breezy, lucid and as beautiful as her presentations on the plate. I’ve got all her cookbooks tagged and ear-marked, stained from constant use, and I’ll devour this new one like a tasty sandwich after a hard morning’s work.” —Peter Coyote, Zen priest, actor, author of Sleeping Where I Fall and The Rainman’s Third Cure

Deborah Madison
Deborah Madison

Deborah Madison

Deborah Madison is the award-winning author of fourteen cookbooks, including The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Vegetable Literacy. Her books have received four James Beard Foundation awards and five awards from the IACP; in 2016 she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame. She lives in New Mexico.

Photo Credit: Doug Merriam

Jeff Gordinier
Jeff Gordinier

Jeff Gordinier

Jeff Gordinier is the food and drinks editor of Esquire and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, where he was previously a reporter. He is the author of X Saves the World and coeditor of the essay collection Here She Comes Now. He lives north of New York City with his wife, Lauren Fonda, and his four children.


Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
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