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The Vegetarian Option
Format: HardcoverChange
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Some really terrific recipes in this book. I think if a cookbook has one recipe that you use again and again, it is worth the price. And Simon Hopkinson's "favorite breakfast" is just such a recipe!

I can't wait to try more of the recipes in this well-written book, beautifully-illustrated book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Since I am not a vegetarian but like vegetables very much, I find that they,with their tremendous variety are even in very good cookbooks treated rather negligently Friends recommended Simon Hopkinsons book, I ordered it and was delighted. Hopkinson provides not only strictly vegetarian dishes but also vegetables as a dominant part of a variety of dishes, cakes and mediterranean recipies. And even if one is not cooking at the moment, the book is well written and an amusing and entertaining reed.
For an Austrian cook the measurements are at the first moment rather baffling, as we have metric measurements, but I have a complete set of cup measures as I have two American cookbooks and are used to them. Furthermore I inserted a printed conversion table into the book. The recipies and measurements are exact and work beautifully if followed as given by Hopkinson.
Perhaps you would also like to know that the book has been translated into German and is, according to the findings of a panel of cookbook critics, consisting of famous cooks and journalists, one of the best vegetarian cookbooks on the market.
However I prefer the English version. Books always lose something when translated. This doesnt impair the recipies, but his amusing, light style as he prattles on about cooking, his own experiences and adventures, is not entirely lost but sadly watered down, which is a shame.
But either in English or German it is a must for all people who like to cook and love vegetables!
Vilma Lechner
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 11, 2010
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I love Simon Hopkinson's 3 cookbooks that I have, and this latest one, the Vegetarian Option , is beautifully printed book with some wonderful recipes, really worth having or giving as a gift.
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29 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Prospective purchasers of "The Vegetarian Option" need to be aware that while Simon Hopkinson may know and appreciate his vegetables, the ethos and reasons behind vegetarianism clearly escape him entirely. In over 30 years of reading (and using) vegetarian cookery books, I never before encountered one that is so condescending, patronising and at times down-right insulting to vegetarians as this. Hopkinson clearly sees vegetarianism as nothing so much as faddiness, rather than as an ethical life-style choice, never able to let pass any opportunity to take a side-swipe at those who practise it. Nor does he demonstrate any hesitation about allowing his reminiscences about past gastric experiences to include encounters with dead animal flesh, or indeed about including a chicken stock recipe simply because, in his opinion, dead bird makes for the best basic ingredient of soup and never mind the preferences of his readership.

Simon Hopkinson is, of course, perfectly entitled to make his own choices about what he includes in his own cookery or, indeed, his books. I do not take issue with his preferences and his adherence to them, I merely think that it is, at best, misguided to write a book which purports to be aimed at a readership which he neither understands nor really wishes to cater for.

As a book about vegetables, with recipes for some interesting things that can be done with them, the book works reasonably well. Once again, though, I think the title can lead to an incorrect expectation because, to my mind at least, "The Vegetarian Option" suggests that by and large the book is about vegetarian meal options, whereas in fact it is about things that can be made with vegetables; although there are some vegetarian main course dishes included, most of the recipes are for entrées and snacks, or else vegetable dishes that would make an excellent accompaniment to... well, a plate of meat! Whilst almost without exception, the dishes are undoubtedly delicious, many are more tedious and time-consuming to make than the outcome warrants. In addition, many of the dishes are either very rich, or else carry a very specific flavouring (some strong, some delicate), but are in themselves incomplete as a meal and in need of very careful selection of a partnering dish. Sadly, Hopkinson leaves the reader floundering as to what such a partnership might look like.

With a little more thought (and a major shift in attitude) this could have been a wonderful book for vegetarians (or those faced with the problem of catering for them). With a change of title ("The Vegetable Option" for instance) it could have been a more honest book. As it stands, the book falls well short of what it claims it sets out to do; hence my low rating. With a great wealth of really excellent vegetarian cookery books out there, there is really no need to consider this one.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I was expecting more originality so was disappointed in this book.
Perhaps for someone who normally doesn't eat many vegetables.
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