Customer Review

118 of 133 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars needs more recipes for entrees, May 2, 2012
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This review is from: Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less (Paperback)
If I'm rushed for time, I know I can make a salad or a sandwich in less than 30 minutes, I don't need to buy a book to tell me how to do that. I needed a book to tell me how to make the main course/entree in under 30 minutes. This book really only has one chapter (24 recipes) devoted to main dishes you can get to the table in under 30 minutes.

The bulk of the book is recipes/chapters for things that under normal circumstances don't take more than 30 minutes to make- like appetizers, salads, sandwiches, sauces, condiments. I can get those recipes in any other cookbook out there, I don't need to buy a "30 minute or less" cookbook to get a recipe for salad dressing. The book also contains a soup and pasta chapter, but my feelings stay the same, I can get those recipes anywhere. There is a dessert chapter, but if I'm so rushed for time I have to get a meal on the table in under half an hour, a dessert isn't something I'd even try to do.

Even more annoying to me then the skimpy amount of 30 minute entree recipes, is a whole a chapter of entree's that take well over 30 minutes, some show bake times of over an hour! The author admits these don't fall into the 30 minute time frame...so why include them in book for meals in 30 minutes or less? Isn't that sorta cookbook bait-and-switch? Her thoughts are you do the prep work when you have more than 30 minutes to spend on it and aren't looking to eat afterward, then you cook it on another day when you have more than 30 minutes to wait for it to bake. To me, these are just "regular" recipes that got included in a 30 minute or less cookbook to fill it up.

I've tried three recipes and they are good. I have almost every book from this author and do enjoy her recipes. I just think when you offer a book for meals in 30 minutes, you should get recipes for meals, not sandwiches or salads, and that those meals should be able to be done in 30 minutes.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 2, 2012 3:10:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 9, 2012 6:22:51 AM PDT
Global Vegan says:
I very much appreciate that you like my recipes and enjoy my cookbooks. It's possible, however, that you may be judging this book a bit harshly. While it may well be true for you that the only real entrée is one that is made on top of the stove (I gather this since you've only counted the 24 recipes in the stovetop chapter to be actual entrees), there are many of us, myself included, who consider hearty soups, stews, pasta dishes, main-dish salads, and yes, even sandwiches to constitute a meal. I don't doubt that you need no assistance in making a sandwich but I might point out that the particular sandwiches in this book took considerable time, skill, and testing to develop and I think most people would prefer benefiting from my recipes when making sandwich meals such as Seitan Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce, Indonesian Satay Sandwiches with Peanut Sauce, Chesapeake Chickpea Sandwiches, or Barbecue Pinto-Portobello Sandwiches. And of course, you can toss a salad together in minutes, but the salads in this book were developed to be something beyond just a tossed together salad, with recipes such as Panzanella with Grilled Vegetables, Deconstructed Bahn Mi Salad, and Moroccan-Spiced Couscous Tabbouleh.

Regarding your comment that you can get recipes for appetizers, soups, and pasta dishes "anywhere," these particular recipes are ones that I developed to be especially time-saving, well-balanced, interesting, and delicious. People who would enjoy making Ziti with Brasciole-Inspired Tomato Sauce, Spicy Peanut-Hoisin Noodles with Tofu and Broccoli, or Primavera-Style Coconut-Cashew Noodles, would no doubt agree with me on that point. Additionally, there are many people who appreciate knowing how to make quick and easy desserts as part of their meals.

Most importantly, I'd like to share with you the reasoning behind a special chapter entitled "Easy Make-Ahead Bakes." I'm sorry that you found that chapter annoying. It's my personal favorite chapter and one that all of my recipe testers appreciated as well. As I explain in the book, a lot of people don't have time to do a lot of prep work right before dinner and it's more convenient to assemble a casserole or pan of lasagna, for example, ahead of time, say the night before or early in the morning. I do this all the time and especially when company is coming. It allows me to get the clean-up done and spend time relaxing with my guests (or doing family stuff on busy weeknights) while dinner cooks in the oven. To me, these recipes are the "quickest" of all from a certain perspective because they only take a minute to pop in the oven!

I don't mean to go on so long here, but the cookbooks I write are an extension of myself and I need to respond if I see my work misunderstood. I choose each recipe carefully, with my readers in mind. I just felt the need to set the record straight. I hope this makes things clearer for you and you continue to enjoy my work. Thank you.

I hope you'll consider revisiting some of the other 126 recipes in the book - you may end up appreciating a few of them in the spirit in which they were intended when written.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 27, 2012 12:31:10 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 27, 2012 12:34:37 AM PDT
Audrey Bee says:
Robin, I am looking for a vegan cookbook by reading reviews, so your clarifications have been critical in helping me decide if this is the book I should choose. The review you are responding too, could easily have mislead me. I do appreciate meals that take less time, and I agree with your comments that certain soups, sandwiches, or salads can be a main course. Salads, soups, and pasta dishes are my preferred main meal, since I prefer fresh ingredients and lighter dishes, and eat much later in the evening than the usual dinner time. I am usually too tired by the time I get home to do a lot of cooking. I love tabouleh and portobello mushrooms. Your mention of the "Primavera-Style Coconut-Cashew" noodle dish makes me want to order this book immediately! Thank you. : )

Posted on Oct 9, 2012 5:50:02 AM PDT
City Witch says:
So the author's response to a three star review is to lecture?

"A Reader" found the title of this book misleading. If this reviewer was disappointed that the book didn't meet the expectations the title created, it's a good bet that other people who purchased it felt the same way (I know I would have, and I'm grateful to A Reader for setting me straight before I purchased this). The reviewer has Robertson's other cookbooks, is a fan of hers, and liked the food. No one was flaming Robertson here.

Robertson's statement that, "... the cookbooks I write are an extension of myself and I need to respond if I see my work criticized unjustly" is a little strange, given the mildness of the criticism she responded to.

How about thanking A Reader for his or her loyalty and taking the criticism as a lesson, instead?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 9, 2012 6:28:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 9, 2012 6:31:05 AM PDT
Global Vegan says:
Hi City Witch, I appreciate your pointing out that my response to "A Reader" may have come across in a way that I did not intend. It wasn't my intent to lecture, merely to clarify and explain how the book was organized and the intentions behind how it was developed. I have edited that response in order to further clarify my intent -- and also to thank the reader again for his or her appreciation of my work. Thank you for reminding me that the written word (or comment in this case) is sometimes not read with the same inflections (or intentions) with which it is written.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2013 12:20:06 PM PST
I agree with Global Vegan and City Watch: A Cookbook specifically called "30 minutes or less" should NOT include meals which take more than the title's specified time frame, and anyone in America would likely be hard-pressed to find a salad, sandwich, appetizer, salad dressing, or even most light (daily-use) desserts which routinely take more than 30 minutes to prepare. (My family's favorite dessert is frozen fruit right out of the bag, barely thawed).

The author's response was a bit of dramatic overkill. Can you say overly sensitive? An author can't possibly expect every single reader to accept their work unquestioningly, and if an author can't take a critical review (or even a follow-up comment!) without feeling the need to supply a rebuttal, perhaps a career re-evaluation is in order; At the very least some self-acceptance therapy. No review should send them into such a tailspin, with the possible exception of one penned by Oprah.

Get over yourself. So someone doesn't care for your book, and from the looks of it, with some very valid points. Use it as a learning tool to ensure any future books deliver on any such inherently implied promises.

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 12:36:28 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 25, 2013 12:37:22 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 25, 2013 12:43:40 PM PST
yacon says:
I appreciate the original review, as the percentage of the book dedicated to (what I, the original reviewer, and surely others consider) "real" entrees is always a concern of mine when looking at cookbooks. There's no need to debate whether salads or sandwiches are real meals, as this is simply a matter of opinion; clearly the original reviewer doesn't feel that way, I don't either, and so this reviewer's opinion is extremely helpful to people like me. That is the whole point of having reviews.

By my count, looking at the table of contents, there are 66 pages of what I would personally consider real meals, including the stovetop suppers, the pastas, as well as the soups.

Whereas there are 96 pages of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, condiments, and deserts.

I ignored the make-ahead chapter since I agree with the original reviewer, I wouldn't expect that in a 30-minute cookbook. If I wanted to do extra prep ahead of time, I could work out of any cookbook. To be totally honest, I would feel like I had been bait-and-switched as well on this note.

Though even adding the make-ahead chapter to the first list, it would still be about half recipes I'd consider making for dinner, and half that I wouldn't and which would end up effectively being ignored. That's just my cooking style. So again, thanks A Reader for the heads up.
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