Vegetable and Fruit Reference Books
I'm seeking suggestions on fruit and vegetable reference books that provide background information about the subjects, pictures if possible, and preparation as well. The latter is debatable. I really want to have good reference guides for educational and seasonal cooking purposes.
Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini
and Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables: A Commonsense Guide
both by Elizabeth Schneider, are pretty much exactly what you describe. They give lots of info on each vegetable, basic guidelines for preparation, and some recipes. With pictures.
re: Caitlin McGrath
those books by eliz. schneider are great. greene on greens is a good older book as well. for seasonal cooking and niche ingredients that are becoming more available i like "the organic cook's bible" by jeff cox. deborah madison's farmer's market cookbooks are good but more recipe/cooking oriented.
The book "Ingredients" by Loukie Werle and Jill Cox (ISBN 3-8290-3453-9) is a wonderful visually-oriented guide to the raw materials we seek. Its chief merit is the wonderful photography, a sort of newer take on the old botanic illustrations of Victorian times in some instances, and a sort of side-by-side comparison in others.
It's not just about fruits and veg, however - be prepared for raw fishes and offal and photos of spices and cheeses, and rice and oils and food colorings. Still, the produce photography is, IMO, wonderful.
Not a lot on preparation mentioned in the book, but plenty for the eye.