The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

7 Book Reviews

Posted on January 19, 2011 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

These book reviews appeared in Issue 4, 2010 of Vegetarian Journal.

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows

By Melanie Joy, PhD

Have you ever wondered why some of your friends and family continue to eat meat, even after you've given them ample reasons why they shouldn't consume animals anymore? Melanie Joy wrote her thesis on this subject and has now published Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, a book that explores this behavior.

According to Dr. Joy, people react dissimilarly to different types of meat, not because there is a physical distinction among them but because people's perception of them is different. These variations in perceptions are due to our schema, which act as mental classification systems. For example, humans have a schema that classifies animals as either edible or inedible. In other words, we like foods we've learned we're supposed to like. Psychic numbing allows some to cope with violence (including slaughterhouses). This book focuses on the process of learning to not feel.

Joy uses the term 'carnism' to describe the belief system in which eating certain animals is considered ethical and appropriate. She feels that the primary way entrenched ideologies stay ingrained is by remaining invisible. Joy states, "If we don't name it, we can't talk about it, and if we can't talk about it, we can't question it."

This book includes information about how different types of animals are raised for food. Plus, it contains an extensive bibliography, as well as suggested resources about becoming vegetarian. Buy a copy for your local library!

Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows (ISBN 978-1-55643-785-4) is published by Conari Press. The book retails for $16.95. Purchase it at http://astore.amazon.com/httpwwwvrgorg-20/detail/1573244619 or in your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Entertaining in the Raw

By Matthew Kenney

Matthew Kenney is a chef with experience in restaurants and catering, as well as a food writer. His new book, Entertaining in the Raw, offers a wide variety of recipes for raw dishes that are based on organic foods that are in season with an emphasis on locally grown produce.

Kenney's recipes sound exotic. For example, try the Squash Blossoms with Pistachio Purée, Green Zebra Fondue, Pine Nuts, and Purple Basil. Sample the Black Sesame and White Coconut Dumplings with Creamy Miso Sauce or the Shiitake Ravioli with Broccoli Rabe, Balsamic Fig Purée, and Ginger Cream. Then, end your meal with the Green Tea Canneloni with Banana Lemongrass Cream, Almond 'Gelato,' and Goji Lime Sauce or the Frozen Pumpkin Flan with Cinnamon Foam and Mandarin Candy.

This book is full of incredible color photos of the dishes. Nutritional analyses are not provided.

Entertaining in the Raw (ISBN 978-1-4236-0208-8) is published by Gibbs Smith. This hardcover book retails for $35 and can be purchased online at http://astore.amazon.com/httpwwwvrgorg-20/detail/1423602080 or in your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

The Indian Vegan Kitchen

By Madhu Gadia, MS, RD

Many people from India are vegetarian, but few are vegan. Therefore, I was excited to see this new cookbook, which contains more than 150 vegan Indian recipes.

Among the wide variety of dishes you'll find Mango Soup, Mung Bean Fritters, Madras Potatoes, Creamy Mushroom Curry, Stuffed Okra, Blackened Spicy Chickpeas, Spinach Bengal Gram Dal, Coconut-Vegetable Sambhar, Tamarind Rice Pilaf, Curried Spinach Couscous, Potato-Stuffed Flatbread, Indian Funnel Cakes, Almond Halwa, and much more. Preparation and cooking times, as well as nutritional analyses, are listed with each recipe.

In addition, there are several interesting sections in this book. One defines Indian spices and explains how to make Indian spice blends. Another useful section provides menus for one month. The Indian Vegan Kitchen (ISBN 978-0-399-53530-7) is published by the Penguin Group. It retails for $18.95 and can be purchased online at http://astore.amazon.com/httpwwwvrgorg-20/detail/0399535306. Reviewed by DebraWasserman.

Raw for Dessert

By Jennifer Cornbleet

Raw for Dessert allows you to prepare vegan pies, tarts, cupcakes, cakes, and more – without ever turning on your stove! Sample recipes include Mango-Raspberry Crumble; Brazil Nut-Vanilla Ice Cream; a Knockout Brownie Sundae; Banana Splits; Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake; Lemon-Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies; Raspberry Bars; a Key Lime Tart; Chocolate Pecan Pie; and Pine Nut Caramels.

The book includes beautiful color photos of some recipes, as well as information about ingredients, equipment, serving ware, and food preparation techniques.

Raw for Dessert (ISBN 978-1-57067-236-1) is published by Book Publishing Company. Order it online at http://astore.amazon.com/httpwwwvrgorg-20/detail/1570672369. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

PETA's Vegan College Cookbook

By PETA

As the parent of a soon-to-be college student, I was delighted to receive a copy of PETA's Vegan College Cookbook. The book promises that its 275 recipes are easy, cheap, and delicious. They are definitely easy – many are based on peanut butter, ramen noodles, potatoes, or convenience foods. Dishes are designed to be prepared in a microwave, making them practical for those living in college dorms. These are not gourmet recipes, and some seem so simple that I have to question why they were included. (Do college students need a recipe for a peanut butter sandwich or for a bagel with vegan cream cheese and jelly?) Despite these quibbles, there are many creative ideas, such as blueberry pancakes made in a coffee mug and vegan corn dogs. Recipes are not just for snacks and desserts; many feature fruits, vegetables, and beans, key components of a healthy vegan diet.

This book would make a nice gift for a vegan college student or for older (or younger) people with limited cooking skills or facilities. Note that this book does not include nutritional information.

PETA's Vegan College Cookbook (ISBN 978-1-4022-1885-9) is published by Sourcebooks, Inc. It has 336 pages and retails for $14.99. Order this book online at http://astore.amazon.com/httpwwwvrgorg-20/detail/1402218850. Reviewed by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.

Vegan Lunch Box Around The World

By Jennifer McCann

Ever dreamed of eating lunch in Scotland? How about Thailand or Morocco? Jennifer McCann, the author of the popular Vegan
Lunch Box
, has created more than 40 international menus featuring vegan dishes that can be packed into a lunch box. Recipes include Bahama Mama's Beans and Rice, Pupusas (filled corn tortillas from El Salvador), Vietnamese Salad Rolls, and Lamingtons (Australian sponge cakes topped with chocolate frosting and coconut). Color photos of many of the lunch boxes enhance the book.

Generally speaking, recipes seemed a bit more sophisticated and time-consuming than those in her earlier volume. However, Vegan Lunch Box Around the World is another creative cookbook that will add even more variety to meals for both kids and adults.

Vegan Lunch Box Around the World (ISBN 978-0-7382-1357-6) is published by Da Capo Press Lifelong Books. It has 263 pages and retails for $18.95. Order this book at http://astore.amazon.com/httpwwwvrgorg-20/detail/0738213578. Reviewed by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.

Ninety-Five

Edited by No Voice Unheard

Ninety-Five is a beautiful book featuring photos and stories about farm animals who now live on sanctuaries. Readers will find chronicles about cows, birds, pigs, sheep, goats, and other creatures. Each was saved from horrible living conditions and, in some cases, certain death.

Anyone who reads this book and looks at the incredible pictures will be moved to perhaps stop consuming animal products. This work belongs on every coffee table, and you may want to donate a copy to your local library.

Ninety-Five (ISBN978-0-9728387-5-7) is published by No Voice Unheard. This book retails for $19.95 and can be purchased online at www.novoiceunheard.org or in your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

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