Most helpful positive review
164 of 169 people found the following review helpful
NOT for beginners!
on September 7, 2009
I wish I could give this book 5 stars. I'll list the reasons why below. I am simply trying to be helpful.
The main thing I'd like to convey about this book is that it's for PROFESSIONALS or people who are invested in eating mostly raw and don't mind the complexities, cost and time that sophisticated raw food requires. There are very few recipes that don't require a VitaMix or a dehydrator, or both. This is an advanced raw food book.
You can do these recipes if you have a LOT of time. There's a lot of presoaking (usually 8 hrs) and a lot of dehydrating (8-14 hrs). Again, that's totally amazing, and you can imagine what a piece of art will come out, but be aware, it takes a lot of coordination, preplanning, and patience to get to enjoy one of these creations.
I'm utterly fascinated with the wraps, especially the zucchini wraps. I would imagine they taste like cooked food (dry and solid) and are probably the perfect foundation for a healthy raw meal. I would just need a dehydrator to enjoy them. It makes sense to buy this book only if you already have a dehydrator or are planning to buy one.
Most of these recipes require phenomenally expensive ingredients. Several recipes call for 2-4 cups of pine nuts. Or 8 young Thai coconuts. Or 6 red bell peppers just for a sauce. Again, wonderful stuff, but pretty much only if you are really invested in raw food.
You need to already know how to sprout. There are no instructions on how to sprout kamut. I'm not sure, when it calls for almonds that have been sprouted for 8 hrs, if that means "almonds that have been in water for 8 hrs," or if they should have been soaked for an additional couple of hours, before being sprouted for 8 hrs.
A lot of the recipes require you having made another recipe beforehand (or 3 or 4 other recipes). This automatically makes the recipe useless to me. It would have been very helpful if on the page where the basic, repeatable recipes are, there was a list of the dishes that include that recipe. It would make planning a lot easier. You'd make the Tahini Cheese and be able to plan what other recipes to make with it. As it is, you have to do the searching and finding on your own.
There's no index. This is the first cookbook I've seen without an index. Those are usually very helpful in seeing what you can make if you happen to have, or feel like eating, a certain ingredient. There's no alphabetical list of recipes. Tahini Cheese is listed in the Sauces, Spreads, Breads and Crackers section, and not in alphabetical order. Basil Cheese is in the Salads Section. It's not easy to look things up, from a user point of view.
Unless you're a died-in-the-wool raw foodie, there are 2 ways to enjoy these recipes: if you go to Jenny's wonderful restaurant, or if you plan your days around food preparation. I'd be willing to pay a good amount to try these creations. But don't buy the book unless you are devoted to raw food, and are extremely diligent, coordinated, and willing to spend a lot of money and energy on these recipes. I spend $500/month on good, organic food for myself, and I eat 50-75% raw. But this is a whole other level of expense.
There are books for beginners in raw food, such as "Raw Food Made Easy for 1-2 people" which I LOVE. You only need a regular blender + food processor to enjoy the recipes. And they are quick. You are given a weekly grocery list. That is what we need more of -- raw food made easy.
Having worked in publishing, I find it strange that Doreen is listed as first author of this book, or even listed as an author at all. There's not even a word here by Doreen. Her voice isn't anywhere in the book except in the personal bio at the end, and it's not even in first person. She doesn't so much as note which her favorite recipes are. Basically her name is only here to endorse and sell Jenny's book. As a reader, I find this dishonest. The way a more respected publisher would have done this is to have a foreword by Doreen and list Jenny as the sole author. It's clear that Doreen had everything to do with this book coming to life. But she didn't write any part of it, not even an intro. I have a deep and abiding love for Doreen, which is why I bought the book, and I suspect many others will, but there's something really dishonest about this, especially when Doreen is listed first. I feel like HayHouse wants my $12 more than it wants to to be honest and respectable. Even if there had been a ghost writer, at least Doreen's stories and ideas would be in the book, though told by someone else. Perhaps I'm very naive :) but a more sophisticated publishing house would have handled this differently.
Thank you for letting me say these things. I mean well. Blessings on all.