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Passionate Vegetarian Hardcover – January 15, 2002

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Editorial Reviews Review

Crescent Dragonwagon shares a wealth of recipes and memories with humor and intelligence in her extraordinary Passionate Vegetarian. She promises that "here you will be well fed, well loved, well tended to, satisfied," and 1,000-plus recipes later, that's exactly what's delivered.

For 18 years Dragonwagon owned and ran a country inn, where she fed glorious food to everyone including vegetarians, diabetics, the lactose intolerant, and people with food allergies. But the real draw here is that this is vegetarian cooking for everyday living. Ingredient lists are always reasonable and understandable; you won't have to search high and low for something esoteric that'll make or break a recipe. This is comfort food that's easy to prepare, and that deprives you of nothing. If you're not a full-time vegetarian, this is the biggest book of potential starters and side dishes you'll ever see.

Dragonwagon's "swoon-worthy, knock-your-socks-off, delicious food" includes hors d'oeuvres; salads; soups; stews; layered dishes; dishes that star grains, beans, or soy; recipes for every vegetable imaginable; burgers and patties; quick dishes; and desserts. From the simple Melissa's Spinach Casserole and Susie Pryor's beautifully impressive "Perfectly Delicious" Stuffed Acorn Squash to the vibrant Stir-Fry of Asparagus with Black Bean-Ginger Sauce and Mr. Panseer's North-Indian-Style Spinach, Dragonwagon offers flavors and cooking techniques from all over the world--everything from old favorites to new twists. With notes on "cooking, eating, loving and living fearlessly," there's a lot to learn here, and it's not just about vegetables. --Leora Y. Bloom

From Library Journal

For many years, Dragonwagon and her husband ran an inn in the Ozarks of Arkansas, and two previous cookbooks, The Dairy Hollow House Cookbook and Dairy Hollow House Soups and Breads: A Country Inn Cookbook, grew out of that experience. Despite having been a vegetarian for decades, Dragonwagon did not feature vegetarian fare at the inn or in her earlier books. This big, exuberant book marks her foray into the cooking closest to her heart, with more than 1000 recipes, from "Welcoming Hors d'Oeuvres" to "Just Desserts." Dragonwagon is indeed a passionate vegetarian, and adjectives like sensual and voluptuous appear in many of her recipe notes. Her food is boldly seasoned and draws from a variety of cuisines. In addition to the recipes, she includes hundreds of boxes and sidebars on ingredients and myriad other subjects; the vegetable chapter, for example, features an A-Z guide to her favorites. There is also a chapter called "Quick Fix," with recipes and suggestions for no-fuss meals. Many of the other recipes offer suggestions for easy variations. Deborah Madison's huge Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone came first, and it and Dragonwagon's book cover similar ground by virtue of having the same topic, but there is little overlap in terms of recipes. With vegetarian cooking more popular than ever, most libraries will want Passionate Vegetarian, too. Highly recommended.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1120 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; 1st edition (January 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761128255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761128250
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 2.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Crescent Dragonwagon, the author of the James Beard Award-winning Passionate Vegetarian, The Cornbread Gospels, Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread Cookbook, many children's books, and two novels, has just completed Bean by Bean.

Dragonwagon is a Southern Yankee: though born in New York, for 18 years she was innkeeper/chef/co-owner of Dairy Hollow House, an acclaimed country inn in the Ozark Mountain community of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where she resided for 36 years. But, since 2002, she has lived in Westminster West, Vermont.

Dragonwagon has the distinction of having prepared beans and cornbread for a president (Bill Clinton), titled royalty (Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia), a world-renowned feminist (Betty Friedan) and Marilyn Monroe's first biographer (Maurice Zolotow). She teaches two writing workshops, Deep Feast: Writing the World through Food, and Fearless Writing, around the world (the latter, she teaches once a year, in the Whole Enchilada version, from her own home hilltop in the Green Mountains). She has appeared on Good Morning America, Today, TVFN, & CNN.

She lives, writes, and cooks in the 1795 farmhouse which once belonged to her aunt, at which she spent summers when a child. She shares the place with her partner, filmmaker David Koff, and, often, numerous well-fed friends. An ardent gardener, she's currently growing 4 different varieties of bush beans, and 5 of pole beans. .. under the supervision of her large and amiable tabby cat, Cattywhompus (who can usually be found rolling in the catmint).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

79 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
Passionate Vegetarian: More Than 1,000 Robust Recipes With Notes On Cooking, Eating, Loving, And Living Fearlessly is one of those ''bible" type of vegetarian cookbooks that contains so much more than recipes that it is almost an invitation to live, or to live more fully. Almost overwhelming in its 1000 plus pages, it is dauntlessly studded with jewel-like recipes within recipes for special sauces, seasonings, condiments and exotic blends.
Author/creator Crescent Dragonwagon is the famed Vegetarian chef and owner of the former celebrated Bed and Breakfast establishment Dairy Hollow Inn in Eureka, Missouri. Though it is now a writer's retreat, many remember fondly the days of its other operation which saw the evolution of many of the succulent recipes contained in Passionate Vegetarian. I never was lucky enough to be a guest there, but I had a friend who did with her husband and never stopped raving about the place and the food.
Chock full of delicious vegetarian classic recipes, Passionate Vegetarian is that wonderful composite, a cookbook designed to educate. Though you might be looking for, say, the definitive recipe for a garbanzo bean stew, when you arrive at the recipe entitled "Spice-Market Melange of Chickpeas and Cauliflower" in the chapter entitled "A Bountiful Bowl of Beans," you absolutely cannot help reading page after page about "Bean Diversity, ""Beans and Grains," "The Three Sisters (beans, corn and squash)," and more. Divided into fifteen exciting chapters, each crammed with scrumptious recipes and suggestions, Passionate Vegetarian covers all things vegetarian from hors d'oeuvres, to soups, stews, savory cobblers, wraps, beans, soyfoods, savory cakes, burgers and patties, to sauces, salsas and seasonings.
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36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is a must for every vegetarian (and vegan, too) out there who spends time in the kitchen wondering what to do about the next meal. I am not a total vegetarian and, to be honest, I tend to be a very lazy cook, but the recipes in "The Passionate Vegetarian" are clear and simple enough for even someone like me to follow...and the taste rewards are enormous. Crescent Dragonwagon has convinced me that I don't have to rely on a rather bland diet to eat meatless meals, and she has dishes here that stack up better than anything I've enjoyed at the homes of great vegetarian cooks and the best vegetarian restaurants. I am kind of a picky eater, but there is so much in this golconda of vegetarian delights that I could probably eat these meals the rest of my life. This book has made a great gift for my vegetarian friends and relatives (hint: if you give this to them, they will cook up some of Crescent's delights for you!). Try the sweet potatoes with Grand Mariner in orange cups and you'll never forget it. The cabbage/apple kugel is to die for, as is the deviled corn and tomato pudding. If I were rich enough to hire a full-time cook, this is the one cookbook I'd give to that person. For vegetarians, a must -- for everyone who loves food, it's also wonderful. And the author's wry and profound reflections on life are an added bonus. Great writing, great cooking and great eating!
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67 of 72 people found the following review helpful By kn_s VINE VOICE on July 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First the pros: She certainly has passion, and totally covers every possible grain, and ingredient with Asian, Italian, American influences. She also does a great job of suggesting alternative ingredients and substitutions, which is nice, since while northern california is pretty good about finding every ingredient under the sun, she still does use a fair number of ingredients that are local to her eastern location.

I really like reading it, but here is the con, I've tried two recipes, and both were disasters because of flawed cooking techniques. I've practically cooked my way through say Deborah Madison's or Mollie Katzen's or even Jamuna Devi's cookbooks for e.g. and while some recipes may be challenging and require hours of prep, I have never been left with raw, dry inedible casseroles etc. Which happened to me with a gratin recipe. As I prepared it according to her very much eyeballed measures I was concerned because most I've made in the past required more fluids or blanching to precook, and sure enough the results were off.

Similarly, another recipe I made also did not have good results, so I have now relegated this to least used category, and merely use it if no other cookbook I own has any suggestions for some really exotic grain or vegetable. Happens maybe once a year when you have deborah madison, alice waters, etc to look up first. I would cook/try a recipe from any one of the other mentioned authors in my review for the first time, for company, but will never trust this cookbook again to that extent.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Poet in the City on November 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Vegetarian diets are becoming more popular as nutritional concerns arise and environmental awareness increases, and vegetarian cookbooks are a perfect gift for anyone who has a new domicile or simply loves to eat. In fact, Crescent Dragonwagon has crafted a cookbook so generous and intriguing that I think it would inspire anyone to roll up their sleeves and create a meal. Vegetarian meals are not for vegetarians only anymore!
Dragonwagon takes into account the time and budgetary constraints under which the typical reader may be living and gives wonderful suggestions about how making a little extra of one recipe will be such a time-saver when creating a new dish later in the week. She gives all kinds of anecdotal information about the recipes. I am reading the book cover-to-cover, honestly, because it's so interesting and fun. It conveniently stays flat while you're cooking from it, too-- amazing that all cookbook publishers haven't caught on to this trick yet.
This is the most accessible cookbook I have ever read, and at over 1100 pages and 1000+ recipes, the cover price is an incredible bargain. I predict that The Passionate Vegetarian will become the cooking tome passed from generation to generation and will have a venerated place in kitchens all over the world.
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