“The Vegetable Garden” (Taschen), originally published in the 19th century, is a beautiful piece of culinary history. More than 300 plants are represented in 46 luscious 12-inch-by-17-inch botanical illustrations, which were commissioned by Vilmorin, a French company that is still one of the world’s leading seed purveyors. Following the illustrations are essays about the individual vegetables. It is here you find out that parsnips were a staple in medieval Europe, parsley was long viewed as a medicinal plant, and the Jerusalem artichoke is related to the sunflower. “Jerusalem” is a corruption of the Italian word “girasole” meaning sunflower.