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Vegetarian Epicure Paperback – May 12, 1972

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A friendly informal tone and some splendid recipes have made this a perennial bestseller. For all who love the fruits of the earth and the art of cooking. A classic with almost a million copies sold to date.

About the Author

Anna Thomas wrote her first cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, while she was a film student at UCLA, and followed it a few years later with The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two. When she is not cooking, she writes screenplays and produces films. Her screen credits include My Family, Mi Familia and El Norte, both of which were nominated for an Academy Award. She lives in Ojai, California, with her husband, Gregory Nava, and their two sons. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (May 12, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394717848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394717845
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #740,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Bat-Radish on January 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's definitely a cookbook of its time. The illustrations have a homespun look, and the introduction even makes mention of passing around a joint before dinner "to sharpen gustatory perception". I missed the seventies, personally, but the cheerful hippieness of this book is irresistable.
But what about the darn food?
It's good stuff. Not low-fat, really, but if you compare the olive oil, butter, and eggs called for in these recipes a meal would still balance favorably with the average meat-including diet. My favorite section is the one on curries--having had a lot of real Indian it's not QUITE the same, but it's reasonably close. Given that it was written when supermarkets were less global, I can forgive a few shortcomings in authenticity. She gets the basics across with readily-available ingredients. And every one of the curries is delicious on its own merits. There are sweeter ones, spicier ones, sides, a couple of desserts, and it's impossible to go wrong with any combination of recipes in this section.
Most of her soups and stews are also excellent. The ratatouille in particular is fantastic. However, in place of her potato peel broth or garlic broth I recommend saving a lot of time and effort by starting off with plain water and adding extra seasoning, or by the quick & dirty expedience of a veggie bouillion cube or two. It's okay to cheat.
Perhaps the best thing to bear in mind when using this book is that with a lot of the recipes you'll need either a fair amount of time or a liberal dose of common sense when it comes to cutting corners. The author had a lot of time on her hands, to make broth, clarify butter, and let things simmer for an hour. You probably don't, and neither do I. Use the butter plain. Heck, use margarine. Simmer for 30 minutes.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dee Wieczorek on April 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
I love both of these books. These are not cookbooks for anyone who has never cooked or baked before, but for those of us who have, I find both of them to be invaluable.
I've had both of them for close to 20 years, and I finally had to replace both!
From the first book, I adore the whole wheat bread with the optional onion. And, the herb bread makes *fabulous* stuffing for Thanksgiving if you cube it and dry it out a bit in a low oven. I love the "Dutch Cheese and Potato" soup and the recipe for Tomato Rabbit.
From the second book, my all time favorite is "Menestra de Veduras", or Spanish-style stewed vegetables. It's a *lot* of work, but so worth it. Do try it, especially in the spring when asparagus, peas and artichokes are fresh.
Another favorite of mine is the "melanzana al forno", aka "baked stuffed eggplant. Cook this in the summer when you can get tiny eggplants.
Both of these books are based on one concept - freshness. If you can't buy the best and the finest, change your menu. That's always a good philosophy to cook by, and Anna Thomas consistently emphasizes that concept throughout both of these books.
Just remember, this is *not* low-cal, low-salt, low-fat, no-flavor vegetarian cooking! It's almost vegetarian cooking with a bit of "Julia" tossed in for flavor. The dessert recipes are *to die for*.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By merrymousies on August 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I love this cookbook! The recipes remind me ofthings that may have been popular in the 60s (I was born in 1969 so this is just my impression). But it has all sorts of comfort type foods that I grew up with like newburgs, soufles. casseroles, omelets. Lots of great salads too as well as different pasta dishes. Ithink this is a must have for any vegetarian. High;y recommmend and I'd buy itagain in a heartbeat.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scoe on July 31, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book isn't the weird stuff you find in Vegetarian Times it is real food. I have been cooking from this book since the 70s. This is good old fashioned comfort food that is full of fat in many recipes but they can be changed to be healthy. The breads are fantastic. The mac and cheese is the best I have ever tasted. The Savory Cheese and Onion Pie, Lasagna and Pizza Rustica are incredible. This book goes to show you that being vegetarian can be fantastic.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
Has something for everyone, you don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy it.
Some of my favorite recipes are : Challah (Jewish egg bread) Milk and Honey Bread,Sauce Veloute, Oriental Citrus Squash,Cheese Souffle, Blini, German Apple Pancake (mmmm!)and Leniwe Pierogi.
Contains an interesting assortment covering different nationalities: Indian, Italian, Slavic, German, French, Jewish......
Chapters Include: Breads, Soups, Sauces, Salads and Dressings, Vegetables, Eggs, Omelets and Souffles, Crepes and Pancakes, Cheese, Rice and other grains, Pasta, Curries and Indian Preparations, Sweets and contains a nice chapter on recipes for the holidays. Also an index.
All presented very nicely on parchment-like paper. Very nice.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By methylethel on April 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm working on my second copy of this book. Somebody gave it to me when I was first learning to cook, and I ususally had to bungle a recipe once or twice before I got it right. I was frustrated to begin with because so many of the recipes do not list exact times and temperatures, or sometimes even amounts (how much is "a little" anyway?).
But now I know what I'm doing around a stove (mostly), the book has grown on me. I love re-reading the gently humorous between-chapters advice. And now that I have enough confidence not to worry about exactly what temperature is a "medium oven" I'm completely in love with the recipes. I especially like the Indian foods she introduces, like the potato curry and spiced dal.
And this is not just for vegetarians, either. It's great for anybody who wants to make their cuisine more interesting than your standard chicken-and-mashed-potatoes fare. I can't recommend this cookbook enough.
--and now I have to go check on the asparagus pastry in the oven...
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