Most helpful critical review
76 of 93 people found the following review helpful
OK, but Could Have Been So Much Better
on July 10, 2012
I rarely ever write reviews, but felt moved to do so about this book. I have many cookbooks and lately have gravitated toward vegan cooking in an effort to eat more healthy. However, I have found that just because it can be classified as vegan doesn't mean that the recipes in a cookbook are healthy. This cookbook, Chloe's Kitchen, is no exception. Ironically, the person who wrote the forward, Neal Barnard, M.D., talked about the importance of a low-fat vegan diet, but then the recipes contained in the book he is recommending are swimming in oil. In one recipe (the Grilled Pesto Pizza) for example, the crust had oil in it, the pesto sauce had oil, the sweet potatoes were roasted with oil, the kale was sauted in oil, and then more oil was added when preparing the pizza on the grill. Come on, really? Unfortunately, most of the recipes are quite similar with their liberal use of oil. If the recipe doesn't contain a lot of oil, then oil is either drizzled or brushed on the top to make sure oil ends up on the finished product. The only way I would consider some of these recipes edible is by substituting non-stick spray, broth, or just plain old water for the oil. I find no mention of fat reducing techniques in the book, so I marked one star off for the excessive oil use and no hints as to how to cut back if the amount of oil is too much for you.
I deducted another star for the lack of nutritional information for the recipes. I normally prefer to have this listed and it should be the standard, just as it is required for products sold in stores. The lack of nutritional details may be due in part with the fact that with so much oil, white flour, and sugar, the recipes are high fat and high calorie. Perhaps this is something the publisher did not want to make obvious, so therefore, no details about exactly what you are getting per serving. I did not deduct a star, but a recent trend in cookbooks is to have many pictures of the author in the book. While this is sometimes laughable, I've come to expect it and don't really hold it against them. I'm sure for the most part it's the publisher's idea and not just an ego trip by the author.
Now, before you think I am totally against the book and the author, there are some good points and that is why I gave it three stars. The pictures of the food are big and very appealing. The recipes are organized well, the instructions are detailed, and the printing is clear and large enough to follow without having to put your nose right in the book. I have made several recipes (with modifications for the oil as mentioned above) and have been satisfied with the results. I have marked many more of the recipes as "need to try."
Would I recommend this to others, yes, but only if they know how to adapt recipes to their own needs.