Rather than the conventional organization by season or by dish, Pike Place Market Recipes groups its recipes by geography, either where the ingredients come from ("From the Sound," "From the Garden," "From the Slopes") or the section of the market where one would buy them ("From the Butcher," "From the Oven," "From the Cellar"). The result is a book that captures the importance of place to a market like Pike Place. The place where things come from, but also the place that is the market itself. A historic landmark, a public gathering place, an anchor for a city.
As one might expect from a cookbook out of Seattle, Pike Place Market Recipes offers up plenty of great Pacific Northwest cooking. Pan-Fried Razor Clams, a Market Chowder, Pan-Seared Rosemary Lamb Chops with Dried Cherry Sauce, Goat Cheese Mousse, and similarly ingredient-driven creations fill many of the drool-inducing pages. They are joined by house favorites from some of the market's prized restaurants, like the Etta's Scratch Bloody Marys, Marché's Mussels in Pernod, or both Butternut Squash Bread Pudding and Pulled-Pork Sandwiches with Stumptown Barbecue Sauce from Matt's in the Market.
Yet Pacific Northwest favorites aren't all you'll find in these pages. Such delights as Vietnamese Curried Chicken and Squash Stew, Za'tar-Crusted Chicken with Harissa-Yogurt Sauce, Berbere Chickpea and Carrot Tangine, and Hot-Sweet Mango Pickles are a nod both to the diverse population of Seattle and the multiple ways excellent ingredients can be used to fabulous effect.
As tempting as the recipes in Pike Place Market Recipes are, they aren't the only thing that makes the book worthwhile. A history of the market (the building called the Sanitary Market was originally so-named because no horses were allowed inside!) and profiles of some market sellers give a real sense of the character of the market and why it's so important to the people who shop there.
Just as charming and potentially more useful are the market tips and ingredient highlights. Fun tips and essays on debearding mussels, preparing a chicken for roasting, having prosciutto sliced, and more are things everyone, even those of us unable to head down to Pike Place on any regular basis, can apply to our own kitchens. Throughout the book, various "10 Ways With..." for common (well, common in Seattle) ingredients like apples, salmon, bread, and cheese will inspire cooks to move beyond strict recipes and experiment, with a bit of friendly guidance.
In the end, Pike Place Market Recipes isn't just about a great market in Seattle, it's about markets everywhere, and the love of food and sense of community that tends to grow up around them.