Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Old Favorites

I enjoy reading cookbooks; occasionally I even cook from them. But even if I don't follow a specific recipe, I learned much of what I know about vegetarianism from such books. But it's not enough, in my book, for a cookbook to have good recipes. It has to have personality. Below is a list of 10 favorites that combine good recipes with good reading:

The Peaceful Palate: Fine Vegetarian Cuisine by Jennifer Raymond. As the name suggests, this is a gentle cookbook with straightforward recipes. But everything I've ever made from it has been delicious.

Vegan With a Vengance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. You can tell from the title that it's not exactly gentle, but lively and opinionated. The vengance isn't about anger, however. Isa (you just feel like you're on a first-name basis with her) is just out to show, with no apologies, how tasty vegan food can be. And she succeeds beautifully. Along with the recipes, you get a side of ideas on activism, how to hold a brunch cafe, and so on.

Vegan Vittles by Joanne Stepaniak. This book raises money for Farm Sanctuary, and it features photos and stories of several sanctuary critters. The recipes by Stepaniak are superb, including many alternatives to dairy (from a fabulous, simple tofu whip for topping desserts to cheese substitutes) and ways to make seitan (a meat substitute make from wheat protein) taste like everything from pepperoni and salami to bbq "spare ribs."

Rainbows and Wellies: The Taigh Na Mara Cookbook by Tony Weston and Jackie Redding. Recipes and menus from a vegan bed-and-breakfast in the Scottish Highlands. Each menu begins with a photo and story about Scottish customs.

Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Christmas. Beautiful color photographs bring English holiday traditions to life, and the recipes are useful year-round. It just feels like Christmas when I open this one up.

Cafe Max and Rosie's: Vegetarian Cooking With Health and Spirit . Cafe Max and Rosie's was a vegetarian destination in Asheville for many years. Sadly, it is gone now, but this cookbook can serve as a reminder of those happy days. It is designed as a cooking course, so it's a great introduction for new cooks.

Simple Food for the Good Life by Helen Nearing. I find this better for reading than for cooking. Nearing, an icon of the simple-living movement, combines delightful quotations from an array of historic cookbooks with her own philosophy of the good life. The recipes tend toward the extremely simple.

Pasta e Verdura by Jack Bishop. This one, all about vegetable sauces for pasta, is more for cooking than for reading -- but it can teach you a lot. The introduction to each vegetable gives tips on choosing and preparing them. It's professionally written and recipes tend to turn out perfectly. Makes sense, since Bishop is an editor for Cooks Illustrated magazine.

Famous Vegetarians and Their Favorite Recipes by Rynn Berry. This is both fun to read - you can learn a lot about vegetarian history - as well as to cook from.

I promised 10 favorites but I'll stop here. There are so many more cookbooks on my shelf that I love, I can't bear to complete the list and leave anyone out.... What are some of your favorite cookbooks?

1 Comments:

At 1/23/2007 8:17 AM, Blogger Andy said...

Vegan Vittles is tops on my list. Where I got the vegan gravy recipe among many others. Go Farm Sanctuary!

 

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