Book Reviews


By Patricia Stevenson and Michael Cook; Nutrition info. by Patricia Bertron, RD

Close to 16 million people in the United States have diabetes. Is it possible to have diabetes and follow a vegetarian diet? Absolutely! In fact, there are health benefits to following a vegetarian diet based on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. The Whole Foods Diabetic Cookbook features close to 90 vegan recipes for breakfast, breads, salads, sandwiches, soups, main dishes, vegetables, and even desserts. Recipes use common foods and are generally simple to prepare. Each recipe comes with information on calorie, fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate, fiber, sodium, and calcium content of one serving. Information on diabetic exchanges for each recipe is also included.

In addition, this book features an overview of diabetes, a discussion of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, and suggestions for meeting nutrient needs. It also includes a glossary of vegetarian foods, cooking and shopping tips, and menus for 5 days at 1500 and 2000 calories.

The Whole Foods Diabetic Cookbook is a very helpful resource for someone with diabetes. It would make a wonderful gift for yourself or for someone you care about.

The Whole Foods Diabetic Cookbook (ISBN 1-57067-129-X) is published by Book Publishing Company. This 160-page book can be purchased from The Vegetarian Resource Group by sending $18 (includes postage and handling) to VRG, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

Reviewed by Reed Mangels, PhD, RD.


By the Mexican Women of Anderson Valley

Secrets of Salsa is a bilingual (Spanish/English) cookbook stemming from a project in which Mexican women living in California wrote down their recipes and memories of those dishes in English to learn their new, second language. The book creatively combines literacy and cooking, and all but three recipes are vegan. (Even one of those recipes can be prepared vegan simply by substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth.)

Salsa lovers will really enjoy this cookbook. Some of the recipes include Mango Cucumber Salsa, Citrus Salsa, Potato and Carrot Salsa, and Peppercorn and Clove Salsa. The cookbook also lets you know how "hot" different types of chilies are and how to roast chilies. Other sections include how to roast tomatoes and tomatillos, as well as how to mix, blend, and grind salsas. You can also use this cookbook to teach English or Spanish.

Secrets of Salsa (ISBN 1-931498-20-2) is published by Chelsea Green Publishing Company and can be found in bookstores. For information visit or call (800) 639-4099.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By William Woys Weaver and Illustrated by Signe Sundberg-Hall

Vegetarians are great consumers of vegetables, but have you ever wondered about the history of some exotic vegetables you have purchased? Weaver, an organic gardener, mixes history, culinary suggestions, practical information, and personal anecdotes to review 100 of the most irresistible vegetables. Line illustrations are also included.

Unfortunately, some of the culinary suggestions given are not vegetarian; however, vegetarians will find much of the other information quite interesting and useful. For example, Violetto Artichoke is the last variety of Italian artichokes to be harvested each year and, as the name suggests, they are purple in color. These artichokes are considered to be the best because they are small and tender. They can be eaten raw in salads. Note that the color does not affect the flavor, and in fact, the color cooks out when you heat them up.

100 Vegetables and Where They Came From (ISBN 1-56512-238-0) is published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. Look for this book in a library or bookstore.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By John Luksetich and Illustrated by Patti Kern

Often readers ask us if we can recommend any children's books that promote vegetarian/animal rights values. Whose Coat? is a children's book about clothing made from animal fur and skin and why it is ethically wrong.

Early on in the story the main character, Aurora, goes shopping for a winter coat. The store owner keeps showing her various coats made out of the fur and skin of different animals. Aurora keeps asking the store owner, "Doesn't the animal want her coat? Won't she get cold?" The store keeper keeps responding, "No," to her questions. Aurora, however, does not like his answer and refuses to buy a coat made from animals.

As the story proceeds, Aurora leaves the store and walks into the woods. Here, she comes upon the very animals whose skins and fur were used to make coats like she had seen. All of the animals say they are cold and wanted their "coat" back.

At the end of the story, Aurora and the various animals walk into the coat store. They tell the store owner they want their coats back. The store keeper then ducks under a desk and closes his eyes. Aurora notices the coats are all gone. The animals are also gone, and the store owner finally comes out. He has no coat on, he has no hair on his head, and he is now the one who is cold. Aurora asks the man if he wants his coat back. She tells the man to follow her into the woods where Aurora then tells all the animals that the store keeper wants his coat back. Slowly the animals hand him his coat, and he promises them, "I will never take another animal's coat again."

The last sentence in this book says, "Whose coat are you wearing?" My 5-year-old vegan son loved this story. Wouldn't it be great if this book were in the library of every elementary school?

Whose Coat? (ISBN 0-940411-02-4) is published by Imagine Nation Press, P.O. Box 172, Lakewood, CA 90714.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


Edited by Ingrid E. Newkirk

The PETA Celebrity Cookbook is a full color vegan cookbook that would make a terrific gift. Non-vegetarians would find this book to be an interesting read as well. Recipe contributors include Fiona Apple, Bea Arthur, Candice Bergen, Jackie Chan, Chrissie Hynde, Paul McCartney, Kevin Nealon, Alicia Silverstone, Montel Williams, and many other famous individuals. Some of the creative dishes include musician Moby's Big City Cashew Chili; Paul Mitchell Professional Salon products co-founder John Paul Dejoria's Sublime Key Lime Pie; and actor Michael Madsen's (Thelma and Louise, Reservoir Dogs, Free Willy, etc.) Exotic Orange Curry.

The PETA Celebrity Cookbook (ISBN 1-59056-027-2) is published by Lantern Books. It retails for $20 in bookstores and can be ordered directly from Lantern Books at <>.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Kathy Farrell-Kingsley

This book would have been more appropriately titled The Beginners' Vegetarian Handbook. Nevertheless, it is a terrific book for new vegetarians. In the Preface, the author herself states, "I don't cover all techniques — that would be too overwhelming, especially to novice cooks."

Kathy does do a terrific job of teaching vegetarian basics to new comers. The book contains definitions of cooking terms, including equipment, methods, and ingredients. Many of the recipes are vegan. (Note: Some recipes do include eggs and/or cheese.) Some of the dishes offered are Potato, Fennel, and Celery Root Soup; Braised Tofu in Barbecue Sauce; and Penne with Eggplant Ragu. Unfortunately, nutritional analyses are not included.

The Complete Vegetarian Handbook (ISBN 0-8118-3381-X) is 280 pages and retails for $19.95. The book is published by Chronicle Books and can be found in bookstores or ordered online.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.