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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I was looking for some new and unusual vegetarian recipes and thought I'd try this book, although I'd never heard of the restaurant. When I received the book, I was sort of pleasantly surprised to find that it was in a graphic novel format. The book relates a number of the restaurant owner's personal stories, including among other things, why we should cook with oil and why she charges $14 for a plate of salad. The book is interesting, and the recipes are innovative and original (they include a few vegetable desserts), but they are really rather secondary to the owner's story. If you are the sort of person who is looking for a cookbook with lots of recipes and pretty color photographs, this is not the book for you, but if you're a fan of graphic novel art and unusual cooking memoirs, this will be a good fit.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I've been a big fan of the Dirt Candy restaurant since my sister-in-law got my husband a gift certificate to there as a birthday present. So needless to say where I heard that they were coming out with a cookbook I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Their food is so unique and fun that I couldn't wait to see if I could make it myself.

When they announced that it would be a graphic novel cookbook I was a bit disappointed, but after finally getting my copy in the mail I can't begin to tell you how wrong I was. This is hands down the best cookbook I have ever read. She has made the most complicated dishes so easy to understand, and I can't wait to try them out this weekend.

Such a great story. It really does feel like I am getting two books for the price of one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
While I was very excited about this cookbook prior to release, because I mainly cook vegetarian meals and I had seen Cohen on Iron Chef and liked her style, I was at first skeptical about the "comic book" aspect of it. Not because I don't like comics, because that's not at all the case, but simply because I really enjoy a cookbook with good, full-color food photography... But I was delighted to find that the black and white comic illustrations have actually helped my fancy plating, immensely, since instead of just a photo of the finished product, you are actually given a diagram for how to assemble each dish.

I will say that this book is not really for beginners. Not that anything is terribly difficult, but pretty much every dish has at least four components that all need their own special preparations. I'll commonly spend over four hours making recipes from here, and my kitchen will be a disaster area, but the results are definitely worth it. So if you're a vegetarian who loves to cook and wants some VERY unique dishes that are heavily vegetable-based (as opposed to a fake meat as the bulk of each entree...) and doesn't mind putting in the work to get them, then this is for you. The graphic novel sections are actually really great, too. Aside from being way cute, they offer a lot of insight into not only the strange world of restaurant work, but also the difficulties one happens upon by being a vegetarian.

Easily the best cookbook I own, and every recipe is an eventual must-make.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I rarely write cookbook reviews, but this book is so awesome that I felt compelled to write one. I had seen the author on an episode of "Easy Chinese," so I was familiar with the Dirt Candy restaurant. When I first saw the cookbook, I was unsure about whether or not I would like it - a graphic novel? Was that just a novelty approach that would provide little content? Absolutely not! In fact, the illustrations are my favorite part of the book. They explain the recipes and techniques in such a fun way. I actually read this entire cookbook the day I got it.

The recipes might be more advanced, but they are presented in such a way as to not be intimidating. Yes, you might spend all day Saturday making one of the recipes, but you'll have fun doing it!

So far I have made the carrot buns and the radish ravioli, both of which were amazing (but especially the ravioli)!

Also, while this book is vegetarian, almost all of the recipes can be made vegan (some already are). Kudos for that!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I enjoyed the cook book. The comic book part of it was really great!

However, most of the recipes are completely insane. The concept of doing a soup recipe that takes 3 days after you dehydrate some of the ingredients on a silpat and also then smoke some of the others with a homemade smoker, then some of the other things seems daunting to me. However, one of these long weekends it is on my bucket list to do at least one of them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm biased because I've eaten at Dirt Candy, and love the food there. I also read a lot of indy comic books - I suggest Kate or Die if you find a copy, so I love the graphic novel format Amanda Cohen, Dunlavey, and Hendrix use. I was first introduced to Amanda's cooking through the Iron Chef episode, and I love the history she provides in this book along with her cooking methods.

Super +1 - she gives the complete recipe for the smoked cauliflower and horseradish sauce with waffle dish, which is my favorite of her dishes.

One improvement would be to let us know what her pickling spice breakdown is for the pickled shiitake recipe. I do understand everyone has their own pickle spice ratio they think is best, but I would love to know Ms. Cohen's particular blend.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Somehow, I missed the whole "It's a Graphic Novel - No, it's a Cookbook, NO - IT'S BOTH" thing when I ordered this, and I'm rather glad because it might have scared me off, and I really would regret NOT having this book in my collection!

Absolutely spiffing. A fun read curled up on the couch - but infused with so much cookery wonder you'll keep popping up out of the seat to go play in the kitchen.

Is this a book you will cook from every day? Unless your have someone else on hand to go to work, take care of the house/kids/spouse/pets/other - no. It's amazingly detailed restaurant quality recipes, MEANT to be more than your average workaday recipes. But I'm finding those fancy 'extras' are slowly filtering into my everyday cooking. The recipes are great, but what is ~AMAZING~ are the ideas. The food concepts. The bits of kitchen magic. And something I really didn't expect - her magic tricks make not just vegetarian food special - but have opened up a whole new horizon for me personally when it comes to implementing the ideas into the gluten free food I have to cook. The idea of making dumpling wrappers out of dehydrated squash paid for the book on it's own.

The recipes ARE intricate, intense, and in some cases... slightly fiddly. In a GOOD way. But each recipe is also just a jumping off point to exploring new recipe methods with difference flavors, produce, applications.

Well written, the graphic novel portions are wonderful - and eye opening. Even with family working in the food service biz, there are aspects of restaurant life that I was thrilled to see spelled out. Next time I get to New York, I'm definitely hitting up Dirt Candy. But until then, I'm just overwhelmingly happy to have this amazing book to start playing with in my own kitchen.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 6, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
LOVE this cookbook/graphic novel. While I will probably never make most of the recipes in this book as it's filled with fine dining recipes that take A LOT of time (except the pickles chapter, I will make EVERYTHING in that chapter), I still adore this book. Here's what it's got going for it:

-There's a chapter on pickled veggies. Need I say more?
-There's a recipe for popcorn pudding!!
-The style of this book is awesome. I found myself actually reading this like a graphic novel instead of just as a cookbook. There are actual plots and stories. So cool.
-It truly is a celebration of vegetables. Her description of her "philosophy" of vegetable cooking is so accessible and refreshing. I feel like she's the kind of vegetarian that wouldn't cause non-veggies to roll their eyes while she talks.
-It's funny.
-You know that introduction in every cookbook that's all "here's what boiling is" and "here's how you braise something" that you completely ignore? This one has it rolled into the story of her and her team training for Iron Chef America that makes it actually fun to read. I'm an avid home cook and some of her tips were clever and new to me.

Check out this book. Especially if you're a veg head.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
I read this book word for word and it's the best cookbook, food book, vegetable book I've run across...and I'm in the food business! I'm mesmerized, astounded, in awe. The recipes are creative and mouthwatering. The tips and hints and methods are eye opening. I began to use the book immediately to explore new ways to celebrate vegetables. Thank you, Amanda Cohen (and cohorts) for pushing the culinary envelope, bravely stepping outside the cookbook box, challenging us to look at vegetables differently and being sassy about it, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
While comic book style appears unorthodox approach to talk about food, I found it effective. Through the graphics, her technics on how to bring the best out of vegetables. I tried the carrots buns, and everyone even children loved them, and we are not vegetarians. True, the recipes are time consuming but they can be done in steps. Filing can be done and kept in the fridge for fe days, and the dough can be done anytime and take very little time from beginning to end. I will be trying the Kimchi.
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