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Tassajara Cooking Paperback – May 12, 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
Rather than specifying exact amounts, Brown describes the general idea for creating a recipe for each vegetable. He suggests several ingredients that might go well together with the vegetable at hand, and a cooking method, but it is left up to the reader to decide what ratios and amounts to use. One advantage of this approach is that the recipes can easily be scaled to feed one person or one hundred. Instead of specific cooking instructions, Brown draws the cook's attention to factors that may affect the taste or aesthetic qualities of the dish, and leaves it up to the cook to make the final decisions. The lack of specific amounts in many of the recipes might be disconcerting to some, especially those who are just starting out in the kitchen. Others will find Brown's approach liberating, and they may finally learn to cook, instead of just following recipes.
Although the recipes are entirely vegetarian, the book could be useful for anyone who regularly cooks vegetables. Some of the recipes call for dairy or eggs, but in many cases, Brown also suggests options that would be suitable for vegans. In addition to covering common Western vegetables, Brown includes suggestions for cooking some sea vegetables and other common Japanese ingredients like miso.
The book is so friendly and accessible, with early editions including amateurish drawings and hand-printed messages, with such a playful (while certainly informative) tone, there is no intimidation. At the front of the book is a good orientation on knife care and safe chopping, as well as different styles of chopping (the "julienne" versus the "round cut," for example). The book is then organized into food groups, with chapters on basic ingredients essential for healthy (and tasty) vegetarian cooking. The facts about each vegetable, legume, or grain, and some very basic recipes to show how it might be prepared - with a strong encouragement to improvise!
Written by a cook at a Zen Monastery cooking with an ever changing supply of ingredients and varying numbers of guests, it is Zen cooking at its best. It fits our modern lifestyles to a capital "T"!
With the hindsight of thirty-five years, there are faults you could find. There is probably more in the way of fat, sugar and dairy products than most modern vegetarins would like. If your'e looking for precise recipes for particular dishes, this is not the book for you.
On the whole, though, these are minor quibbles. This is without doubt, a book which celebrates food, in a way that few others do. And it it is without doubt, the book I would recommend to a beginning cook, whether or not they were a vegetarian.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this - it is a basic recipe and then how to modify. Better than batter with a bit of butterPublished on August 29, 2013 by E Jane Clark
This was my first cookbook in my 20's and 40 years later i am happy to see it in print again. i miss the brown cover....but am enjoying reviewing the techniques mentioned. Read morePublished on August 5, 2013 by jackE IADANZA
I own the "old school" brown cover version of this book and am glad it has not changed. What is timeless about the style of this book is that a basic recipe is given and then other... Read morePublished on January 22, 2012 by AlwaysLearning
I thought this might have updates, changes from the original brown covered Tassajara Cooking that I have and love. Read morePublished on January 10, 2012 by Jo
Although this cookbook is a Zen vegetarian cookbook, it is an essential for all novice cooks or people seeking to understand the basics of meal preparation and cooking. Read morePublished on November 13, 2010 by simone
This is one of the best books I have ever read. If I had to choose just ten books to take with me to the assisted living center, this would be one of them because
1)... Read more
It's a good thing this book is back in print because my original copy is totally trashed! Tassajara Cooking is not for the intuitive cook who can fly around the kitchen throwing... Read morePublished on May 19, 2008 by PenName