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Vegetarian Journal Cover

Vegetarian Journal


May/June 1997
Volume XVI, Number 3

Book Reviews

How to Feed a Vegetarian

By Suzanne D'Avalon

Here at The Vegetarian Resource Group, we receive numerous phone calls from non-vegetarians asking for help in preparing vegetarian or vegan meals for their friends or a family member. Often the caller is worried about how to prepare the "right" dish.

How to Feed a Vegetarian was written to help these non-vegetarian cooks. Readers are taught how to determine if a person is vegetarian or vegan. A guide to vegetarian foods is offered as well as tips on seasoning vegetarian cuisine. And finally, numerous simple recipes are offered. The book is perfect for beginners.

How to Feed a Vegetarian (ISBN 0-9650941-0-3) can be ordered from Placidly Amid the Noise, PO Box 16914, Colorado Springs, CO 80935-6914, or by calling (719) 550-0562. Quantity orders of this book are offered at a discount to local vegetarian groups. The suggested retail price is $12.95. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Victor's Picnic

By Radha Vignola,

Illustrated by Michelle N. Ary

Victor's Picnic is a vegetarian storybook suitable for young children with a reading level of 1st or 2nd grade. The story frame of day dreaming about and attending a picnic is an effective way of presenting the information. My only concerns with this book are as follows. First, the way that carnivores are separated and not invited to the picnic seems to devalue these animals and is inconsistent with the theme of loving all animals. This may imply, too, that human carnivores should be excluded. Some children will think their own relatives should not be invited to a picnic. Other minor confusing points include the animals not being drawn proportionately to their size; listing bunnies on the picnic list and referring to them as rabbits in the text; and finally, the lambs seem unrealistically presented as pets since they have collars on.

Nevertheless, this is a book worth sharing with children and should lead to interesting discussions.

Victor's Picnic with the Vegetarian Animals (ISBN 0-9640394-7-8) is published by AVIVA!, PO Box 1471, Santa Cruz, CA 95061. Call (408) 427-3211 to order. Reviewed by Joanne Golden.

Companion Guide to Healthy Cooking

By Natalie and Shirley Nigro

This mother-and-daughter team has produced a useful guide to over one hundred natural products, including items such as arrowroot, azuki beans, carob, daikon, dulse, miso, quinoa, tempeh, and more. All of the items covered are vegan.

The purpose of this book is to show readers what the products look like, where you can buy them, and how you can use them. For example, under the listing for barley malt syrup, they first define it as a thick, gooey grain sweetener, and then describe it in further detail. They also mention that it is sold in two varieties: barley extract and barley-corn malt. A description of its flavor and texture is included, as well as ways it can generally be used. This is followed by storage tips, preparation instructions, brand name listings, and more. The guide does not include recipes, and recommends that the reader look for natural foods cookbooks.

Companion Guide to Healthy Cooking (ISBN 0-9641931-1-6) is published by Featherstone and Brown. It retails for $17.95 and can be found in bookstores. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Absolutely Tofu 1 and 2

Videos from A Brave Studio Production

Do you enjoy watching professional chefs make delicious looking vegan recipes? If so, then you'll love watching the 60-minute videos Absolutely Tofu 1 and Absolutely Tofu 2. The recipes are demonstrated by Kate Farrell and Myra Kornfeld, cooking instructors and chefs from the celebrated vegetarian restaurant Angelica Kitchen in New York City. Some of the recipes are simple marinades and baking instructions, while others are more elaborate dishes suitable for serving to guests. Each video includes a unique dessert, including a Lemon Poppyseed Cheesecake and a Chocolate Mocha Moosecake. A recipe booklet is included, so you don't have to worry about trying to write down the recipe while watching the video. Absolutely Tofu 1 also includes a short section on how tofu is made commercially which I found fascinating, and Absolutely Tofu 2 introduces some people who grow organic food. The only problem was that the prepared food looked fabulous, but I couldn't eat it right away!

Tofu 1 and Tofu 2 videos are available for $26.95 each (including postage) from B-rave Studio, 66 Grand St. #4, New York, NY 10013, or by calling (212) 925-7759. Reviewed by Brad Scott.

Whole Foods Companion

By Dianne Onstad

Whole Foods Companion is subtitled "A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers, & Lovers of Natural Foods." When I first learned about this book during the 1996 American Booksellers Association Convention, I was anxious to see it in its completed form. Well, I'm happy to report that this book is a fantastic reference guide and certainly belongs in every library. Inside its pages you'll find interesting information on a huge variety of fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils, and herbs, spices, and other foods. The text includes information on the plant's botanical name, as well as the food's history, folklore, culinary use, and nutritional data.

This book would be extremely handy for any cook wanting to learn about all the new products appearing in our marketplace. Its only limitation is that color photos or color drawings of the various foods are not included. This addition would have made the book even more helpful; however, I do understand that there is a huge cost to including full color photos in a book.

Whole Foods Companion (ISBN 0-930031-83-0) is published by Chelsea Green Publishing Company. The 528-page book retails for $29 and can be found in bookstores. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

All-American Vegetarian

By Barbara Grunes and Virginia Van Vynckt

This ambitious book serves up many recipes from five different regions of the United States: the Northeast, the South, the Midwest and Heartland, the West, and the Pacific Coast. Nutritional information is given for all recipes, and most are low in fat. Sprinkled liberally among the recipes are helpful cooking and informational tidbits on ingredients and kitchen techniques. Included among these are a discussion of the merits of saffron, why one should peel tomatoes, making a quicker risotto, and the difference between grunts, bettys, and fools.

Sample menus for special occasions are suggested within the sections for each region. Just leafing through this book you'll likely get the urge to stop at the grocery store and pick up the needed ingredients to create some of the dishes at home. Some of the more interesting creations include Lemon-scented Black Bean Soup, Cauliflower and Cashew Biryani, Risotto with Asparagus and Morels, and Quesadillas with Tomato-Mango Salsa. There is a good mix of traditional "comfort" type food and more adventurous, gourmet dishes. It's also fun to mix and match flavors and textures from the various sections to create a unique menu.

All-American Vegetarian (ISBN 0-8050-3509-5) is published by Henry Holt and Company, Inc. It retails for $16.95 and can be found in bookstores. Reviewed by Michael Vogel.

A Taste of Mexico

By Kippy Nigh

A Taste of Mexico is exactly what the title suggests, and is not merely a rehash of the more prevalent American or Southwestern Mexican cuisine. The author includes an extensive glossary of terms and a discussion of chile peppers and their varying degrees of heat. Instructions for making authentic, homemade corn tortillas are also included.

Each recipe includes nutritional information. The author made an effort to curtail oil usage, and most of the remaining fat in the recipes comes from dairy products, or, in some cases, nuts. In many of the recipes, vegan ingredients can be substituted by the imaginative cook.

There are some terrific recipes in this book, including Tortilla Soup, Fresh Corn Soup, Pickled Garbanzo Salad, Herbed Zucchini Salad, Chipotle Dumplings, Amaranth Pancakes, Banana Flamb, and Oatmeal Horchata. If you're looking for a good source of imaginative, authentic Mexican recipes, A Taste of Mexico will fit the bill.

A Taste of Mexico (ISBN 1-57067-028-5) is published by The Book Publishing Company. To order a copy, send $16 (including postage) to VRG, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203. Reviewed by Michael Vogel.

The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone wanting to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

Converted to HTML by Jeanie Freeman

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September 20, 1997

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