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How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food Hardcover – October 15, 2007
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Recipe Excerpts from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
5 Questions for Mark Bittman
Q. What motivated you to write a comprehensive cookbook of vegetarian recipes right now?
A: What motivated me--several years ago--was seeing the handwriting on the wall: That although being a principled, all-or-nothing vegetarian was not a course of action that would ever likely inspire the majority of Americans, the days of all-meat-all-the-time (or, to be slightly less extreme, of a diet heavily dependent on meat) could not go on. Averaging a consumption of two pounds a week or more of meat (as Americans do) is not sustainable, either for the earth or our planet. And, as more and more of us realize this, I thought it was important to develop a cookbook along the lines of How to Cook Everything, but without meat, fish, or poultry. Needless to say, there’s plenty of material.
Q: In the course of writing How to Cook Everything Vegetarian did your approach to food shopping, cooking or dining change significantly?
A: Completely. The more I tried new ways of cooking with vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, the more I enjoyed them. I probably eat sixty or seventy percent fewer animal products than I did three years ago.
Q: Because meatless cooking isn't limited to a single cuisine, your recipes introduce the flavors and techniques of many different cultures and cuisines. How did you manage to cover so much ground? Seems like a daunting task.
A: It’s what I do.
Q: Out of the more than 2,000 recipes in the cookbook do you have a favorite dish or dessert that you turn to again and again?
A: No. There are hundreds I wish I could cook all the time, but one can only cook and eat so much. But in the last week, for example, I’ve made Fava Bean and Mint Salad with Asparagus; Lemon-Ricotta Pancakes; Cornbread Salad; and Red Lentils with Chaat Masala.
Q: Why is simplicity so important in cooking? What does the novice home cook need to know to cook and eat well?
A: Simplicity is only important because it’s the way to learn to cook; it’s very difficult to start cooking with complex dishes. For people to learn to cook, they must start simply--the way everyone used to cook. And, for most of us--including me--there’s no reason to carry things much further. Even the simplest cooking is rewarding, enjoyable, and--obviously--the healthiest and best way to eat.
From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is exactly the cookbook I've been trying to find for a long time. It has the simple, everyday recipes that I sometimes need, combined with a LOT of wonderful vegetarian dishes from ordinary supermarket ingredients. How about Peanut Soup, Senegalese Style? Or Korean-Style Noodles in Cool Bean Broth (in less than 20 minutes for when the kids are whining for dinner) Mustard Cheese Fondue?
This book is written in Bittman's typical `theme and variations' style, with a basic recipe (like for waffles) and then a sidebar or list following the recipe that gives variations (like a list of things you can add to waffles for flavoring). The great thing about this is that it means you rarely have to reject a recipe because you don't have the exact ingredients, just go with a variant. The only quibble I have with it is, it's sometimes difficult to keep track of what you are supposed to sub out & sub back in when you have a crying toddler on your ankle.
A basic cookbook should also walk you through basic techniques and ingredients. I was a little surprised to see the vegetables chapter was nearly 200 pages. Then I looked through it and realized a lot of that is guidance on how to select and prep the various vegetables.Read more ›
That being said, I'm certainly not sorry that I have this book. It has a good section on condiments that I'm sure I'll make use of fairly often, and it's a good cookbook to have on hand if you're tinkering in the kitchen and want some perspective on your technique. It's really more of a reference book than an book of recipes, and in that it is useful. But if you want ideas for delicious, satisfying vegetarian food, get "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone."
Since I gave that yellow subset a bad review, a kind commentator pointed out that what is a person to do if they are vegetarian, and don't need to know how to make veal parmesan, meatballs, or fried chicken! This volume clearly answers that question.
The competition for this book is Deborah Madison's classic `Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone'. An encyclopedic companion to both would be Crescent Dragonwagon's `Passionate Vegetarian'. If space and finances permit, I would suggest you own all three volumes.
The difference between Bittman and Madison may lie primarily in the fact that the former is a culinary journalist and the latter began her career as a professional chef. So, Bittman has a better eye for communicating to a larger audience while Madison is better on some of the basic truths of cooking. Her discussion of soups and stocks is especially brilliant.
Bittman addresses the largest possible `vegetarian' audience, which includes the most liberal, who consume eggs and milk products. But he is quite effective in identifying for the vegans among you which recipes are free of all animal products, both in icons accompanying each recipe and in a master list of recipes at the back of the book. Eggs are so prominent that the index contains a full page, that's four columns of small print, of entries under egg related recipes. Under cheese recipes, there are two pages, eight columns of fine print of recipes.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mark Bittman delivers, again!! As always, his recipes are clear, easy & come with different variations so you'll never get into a rut!! Read morePublished 13 days ago by laura lea clemmons
I've had many cookbooks and this is by far the best of them all. Period.
A must have for any kitchen.
I love this book. The recipes are easy and tasty. As a 20+ year vegetarian, this is like a bible for cooking everything; just as the title leads you to believe. Read morePublished 1 month ago by tumbleweed girl
This is a comprehensive vegetarian cookbook with helpful step by step recipes.Published 2 months ago by Jo Flo
A superb basic reference cookbook with lots of ideas and recipes for almost everything. It is the vegetarian Joy of Cooking.Published 3 months ago by Vivian Olkin