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Vegetable Love Hardcover – November 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Artisan; First Edition edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579651682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579651688
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8.1 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Barbara Kafka, inveterate food professional and cookbook writer, she of Roasting: A Simple Art, Soup: A Way of Life, and Microwave Gourmet among others, now brings us the last word on vegetables with the awe-inspiring and massive Vegetable Love: A Book for Cooks. This book has 200 pages dedicated simply to background information on vegetables--buying and storing, cutting, basic cooking techniques, yields and equivalences, etcetera. And then there are the recipes, all 750 of them!

She's a canny lass, Barbara Kafka, with as much respect for the culture of vegetables as for their preparation and cooking, and has divided Vegetable Love into four basic sections: Vegetables of the New World; Vegetables of the Mediterranean Basin, Europe, and the Arab World; Vegetables of Asia and Africa; and, Citizens of the World. For those inclined to think that vegetables come from supermarkets, Kafka takes you back to the roots, the origins, then revels in the ways in which these foods have found their way around the globe and into everyone's kitchen. Rhubarb, the pie plant of New England spring gardens, finds its beginnings in China and is as much at home in sweet pies as savory lamb stews.

You'll find recipes from all over the world in the New World section because that's the home of potatoes, green beans and their kin (Szechuan green beans anyone?), peppers, summer squash, certainly corn, but tomatoes and peanuts, too. Asparagus, beets, chard, carrots--those vegetable garden stalwarts--are found in the Euro/Arab section. Recipes are short, direct, to the point. Kafka minces no words.

But that's where the final sections come into play. One is Basic Recipes and Techniques, taking into account all manner of dressings, sauces, marinades, stocks, doughs, pastries, pastas, egg dishes, etcetera. And the other, that 200 page compendium, The Cook's Guide, fills in around the spare edges of the recipes. Vegetable Love is easily three books in one.

Barbara Kafka knows that when it comes to cooking for friends or family or oneself in this busy modern world, a recipe that is simple, brief, and to the point is like gold. With Vegetable Love Barbara Kafka delivers true wealth. --Schuyler Ingle

From Publishers Weekly

Kafka, a 20-year veteran cookbook writer whose credits include Roasting: A Simple Art and Soup: A Way of Life, allows vegetables to take center stage in this encyclopedic tome. Her collection of inspired recipes isn't about vegetarianism; many include meats, fish and dairy. Rather, it's about the pure enjoyment of the taste of vegetables: "the sweet seductive perfume of slowly sautéing onions, the impossibly vivid red of roasted peppers, the slow dance of eating an artichoke." Kafka's treatment is broad (she covers avocados, tomatoes and rhubarb) and includes classic dishes like Braised Fennel or Chilies Rellenos with Corn alongside more inventive fare, à la Green Bean Frappé, and A Satin of Oysters and Tapioca. Sections on unusual foodstuffs like nettles and cactus pads are fascinating, but less charming is the book's layout, which unhelpfully groups vegetables according to their area of origin. A generic "Cook's Guide" at the end strays rather startlingly from the book's trajectory, providing techniques and recipes for basic sauces, breads, stuffings and more, plus tips for choosing and storing various vegetables, which might have been more helpful in the sections featuring each vegetable. Nonetheless, Kafka has created an appetizing addition to the kitchen bookshelf. 50 photos. (Dec.)
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Customer Reviews

The Cook's Guide Essential.
Since Madame Kafka has already done books on soups and microwaving, these two subjects are well covered in this volume.
B. Marold
The entries on beans and peppers are particularly helpful.
Mary Whipple

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 77 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award and columnist for Gourmet, Family Circle, and Vogue magazines, Barbara Kafka is a passionate chef who has always conveyed her enthusiasm in her writing. This book is no exception. Collaborating here with chef Christopher Styler, a writer and producer of PBS cooking shows, she has now produced the definitive guide to vegetables from all over the world, and she has done so with such style and panache that people will be reading this cookbook and enjoying its recipes for generations.

It is, first of all, a beautifully organized cookbook. Instead of simply presenting the vegetables in sterile, alphabetical order, Kafka (with Styler) has organized them according to the area of the world in which they originated, arranging them alphabetically within sections--Vegetables of the New World; of the Mediterranean Basin, Europe, and the Arab World; of Asia and Africa; and (for onions, scallions, herbs, and vegetables used everywhere) as Citizens of the World. This gives a refreshing unity to the sections based on the fact that the vegetables within each section are related to each other culturally and often blend naturally in recipes. As she introduces each vegetable within these sections, she discusses their histories, and since she is also a gardener, as well as a chef, often gives suggestions for planting and growing.

Fascinating and unique recipes teach home chefs to think outside the box, expanding the thinking of even experienced cooks by suggesting new ways of preparing or of combining ingredients.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By julie on February 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The recipes are great but the book is organized in a bizarre way -by what part of the world the vegetables come from instead of more usual systems like appetizer, main dish etc. So I find recipes randomly or through the index. But the index is bad too - cucumber soup is listed under cucumber but not soup etc.If I like a recipe I often write it into the index where is should be. I would never bother with this cookbook except that the recipes are FANTASTIC. Everything I've cooked from it is delicious.
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75 of 82 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on November 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
`Vegetable Love' is by Barbara Kafka (assisted by chef and culinary show producer, Christopher Styler), one of the two premier `special subject' cookbook authors, along with James Peterson, writing in the U.S. today. Her credentials go all the way back to early collaborations with James Beard as an instructor at his school, although she was not, strictly speaking, a student or apostle of Beard's. She was more of a Beard employee who brought her expertise with her.

Kafka has already done excellent books on soups, roasting, and microwave cookery. With fellow Beard alum, Marion Cunningham and Jean Anderson, she is one of the leading `old school' American cookbook authors.

This book enters a very crowded field. Good modern books on vegetable cookery are pretty common, by both vegetarian and mainstream culinary writers. Leading the vegetarian camp is Deborah Madison, whose `Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone', `The Greens Cookbook', and `The Savory Way' are masterpieces on cooking techniques with vegetables and on cooking in general. She is joined in the veggie camp by Mollie Katzen / Moosewood Café clan, Peter Berley (`The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen'), and Jack Bishop (`Vegetables Every Day', `A Year in the Vegetarian Kitchen', and `The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook'). Among mainstream writers, Peterson has the book `Vegetables' and there is the indispensable reference by Elizabeth Schneider, `Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini'. Not to be forgotten should be Alice Waters' books `Chez Panisse Fruits' and `Chez Panisse Vegetables'. Aside from the Moosewood efforts, I have reviewed all these books and found them all to be very good to excellent. So where does Madame Kafka's book fit in?
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By KH1 VINE VOICE on June 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Barbara Kafka's _Vegetable Love_ is one of the best cookbooks that I have ever purchased. I have made some twenty recipes (of the 700+), and every single one has turned out delicious.

As many other reviewers have covered the book in detail, I'll stick to some key features that I love:

1. The organization

Kafka has organized her book first by regions of the world from which each of the vegetables that she covers is from, and then by vegetable. This is perfect for those of us who prefer to buy fresh produce daily. With this cookbook, i can go tot the grocery store, see what looks good, and then go home and cook it, easily - and there are plenty of options.

2. The quantity of recipes

I cook for myself only most nights, and so when I buy veggies, I'm often left with some left over that aren't cooked. I bought a head of cabbage the other night for one of her recipes and ended up with nearly a whole head of cabbage left over. It didn't mattter though, I had a ton of other cabbage recipes to try - and it didn't require searching through the book for them (see item 1). By the way - the Curried Cabbage (microwave version), Hot Cabbage and Shrimp Slaw, and Cabbage Risotto were all excellent. [The risotto, in particular, was amazing.]

3. Cooking times

None of the recipes that I made from this cookbook took more than thirty minutes. Excellent for weeknight meals. Most 'quick' cookbooks require pre-prepared ingredients, or seem sloppy and thrown together. Not here.

4. The Cook's Guide

Essential. No other word for it. Want to know how to buy, store, cook any vegetable you could possibly find at the grocery store? Want to know how many of them you'll need to feed your family/friends?
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