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The Vegan Family Cookbook Paperback – December 1, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Serious in intent and plain in presentation, this is a subdued cookbook for vegans (no meat, fish or dairy) who cook three meals a day and need a reliable cache of ideas. Oregon professional chef McCarthy spent 10 years amassing these recipes to sate his own family's desire for "real food" as they were settling into the vegan way of life. The result is this comprehensive selection that spans all parts of the meal. There are vegan versions of familiar family dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, vegetable quiche pie, lasagna florentine and French toast, which feature such traditional substitutes as egg replacer powder, varieties of tofu and vegan cheese. Some recipes flash with originality (e.g., Moroccan Red Lentil Soup), but others (e.g., Acorn Squash with Molasses) are reliable standbys with no vegan-offending ingredients in their original incarnation. A glossary and list of items in "A Well-Stocked Vegan Pantry" are serviceable, but lack the explanations and idiosyncrasies that make cookbooks and their writers memorable. By emphasizing the everyday aspect of preparing food, McCarthy concentrates on large-scale coverage rather than culinary openness and creates a book that speaks to the converted or nearly converted vegan. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman

The Vegan Family Cookbook serves up more than 400 recipes. Many are the usual standards, such as Hummus, Lentil Soup, Potato Salad, and Red Beans and Rice.

However, Chef Brian P. McCarthy offers readers a variety of unique recipes, including Breadsticks made from pizza dough, Adzuki and Peanut Soup, Spaghetti Salad, Potato Bread Stuffing, Pumpkin Pancakes, and Cinnamon Rolls. Many of the recipes are also quite easy to prepare, using few ingredients. Please note that nutritional analyses are not provided.



Review: SB
THIS IS A GREAT all-round cookbook and I really couldn't say it any better than Lantern's blurb on the back:
"Now that you've become a vegan, you're learning lots of ways to prepare tofu, but you or someone you love is really starting to miss macaroni and cheese, pumpkin pie and birthday cake. Maybe you and your family feel self-conscious (and hungry) at holidays, picnics, and parties. Or maybe just one person in the family is vegan, but you need to create meals that everyone will eat.
"Since the day Brian McCarthy and his wife, Karen, chose a vegan diet for their family ten years ago, Chef McCarthy has created over 400 simple vegan recipes with easy-to-find ingredients for traditional favorites like biscuits, corn bread, stews, pastas, pizzas, cakes, pies, and even egg(less) nog."
I liked Chef Brian as soon as I read his acknowledgements: "Here is a quote from my younger son: 'The Broccol Cauliflower Soup is disgusting, hideous and gruesome. The worst soup I have ever tasted. No one in their right mind would like it. Its texture is terrible.' Thank you, son, for being one of the main recipe testers and for your honest opinions on my cooking. A cook often has a clouded vision of his own cooking and you were always there to speak the truth."
Strangely, I couldn't locate the infamous soup recipe anywhere in the book...

Reviewed by Colleen Kane, summer 2006

The recipes are healthy, the book is printed on recycled paper, and some of the profits go to help the environment. What's not to like? Actually I do have a (veggie) beef with The Vegan Family Cookbook. For this comfort-food-lovin' former cheese-atarian, the measure of a home-style vegan cookbook is its mac-uncheese recipe. And I gotta say, this one ain't cheesy - it's more like mac with bland peanut sauce. For shame!

Some of the recipes are pretty basic. If you're a more experienced vegan cook, odds are you already put nutritional yeast on your popcorn, know how to make plain fice, and have a guac recipe - one that calls for lime juice, not lemon juice, as Chef Crazytalk here would have it. However, the book also has simple recipes that may be fresh to vegan veterans: miso kale, an egg-salady tofu sandwich spread, and savory chickpea nuts (my new favorite cure for a snack attack).

While definitely useful, the book is more valuable for newer vegan recruits and parents looking to accommodate children who "believe in things." But any palate will appreciate the many drinks, breakfasts, soups, salads, Asian dishes, Mex-cellent food, and plain ol' tastily prepared veggies in here. Oh, and there's plenty of sweet treats , too (mmm... cinnamon rolls), so vegers won't be deserted at dessert time.

From snacks to dips, from side dishes to entrees, from beverages to breads, from salads to desserts, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook is an impressive and "kitchen cook friendly" collection of vegan recipes compiled and organized by Brian P. McCarthy who has been a professional chef from twenty–five years and has enjoyed a vegan diet for the past ten years. From Root Stew with Marjoram; Couscous Corn Salad; Ginger Rice with Peppers & Soybeans; and Thai Grilled Tofu over Coconut Rice; to Chai Tea Mix; Pecan Pie; Caramelized Onion & Garlic Spread; and Baked Potato Bar, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook has a delicious diversity of hearty, easy–to–make dishes that will quickly become family favorites for every dining occasion. Enhanced with the inclusion of "Cook's Notes", a glossary, a conversion chart, recommendations for a well–stocked vegan pantry, a "Protein List", and a comprehensive index, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook is confidently recommended for any and all family cookbook collections!

Serious in intent and plain in presentation, this is a subdued cookbook for vegans (no meat, fish or dairy) who cook three meals a day and need a reliable cache of ideas. Oregon professional chef McCarthy spent 10 years amassing these recipes to sate his own family's desire for "real food" as they were settling into the vegan way of life. The result is this comprehensive selection that spans all parts of the meal. There are vegan versions of familiar family dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, vegetable quiche pie, lasagna florentine and French toast, which feature such traditional substitutes as egg replacer powder, varieties of tofu and vegan cheese. Some recipes flash with originality (e.g., Moroccan Red Lentil Soup), but others (e.g., Acorn Squash with Molasses) are reliable standbys with no vegan-offending ingredients in their original incarnation. A glossary and list of items in "A Well-Stocked Vegan Pantry" are serviceable, but lack the explanations and idiosyncrasies that make cookbooks and their writers memorable. By emphasizing the everyday aspect of preparing food, McCarthy concentrates on large-scale coverage rather than culinary openness and creates a book that speaks to the converted or nearly converted vegan.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Lantern Books (December 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590560876
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590560877
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,326,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dustin G. Rhodes VINE VOICE on February 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the perfect every day cookbook: no bells and whistles, but delicious, simple, healthy, easy to prepare vegan food. This cookbook was a pleasant surprise with its simple layout, no-nonsense format, and diverse range of recipes; I think every vegan would want to own this collection. There are so many vegan cookbooks on the market these days (and I own many of them), but many are filled with complicated (but delicious!) recipes that are not suited to life in the Real World. I enjoy those kinds of recipes now and then, but there is great pleasure in making fast, easy and YUMMY meals that aren't tedious and involved.

One last thing: This cookbook is better than a few of the other "simple" cookbooks (an exception being Vegan With a Vengeance, which is just astounding). If this is the genre you're shopping for, including the aforementioned, this is one of the very best.
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Format: Paperback
I own over 300 cookbooks and it takes a lot to wow me, but Chef Brian P. McCarthy pulled it off. With over 400 practical, easy to make recipes, he has created some great recipes, whether or not you're vegan. But if you are vegan, this is a gem. He has recipes for everything from make-it-yourself Tofurky with stuffing, to a truly delicious pumpkin pancake.

He takes everyday recipes and makes them vegan friendly, which is wonderful. I know some of the vegan cookbooks out there are making food into art, but in this crazy modern world how many of us have time to make 20 ingredient recipes with item we have to order? The Vegan Family Cookbook takes care of that. Often the recipes have around 5-6 ingredients commonly found in every grocery store, and small prep times. Yes, a few are special occasion, and one or two recipes in the entire book contain items you might have to send away for, but these are the exception, not the rule.

This book is a delight, and I can't wait to make more food from it!

Highly recommended!

P.S. Also, if you don't have How it All Vegan by Sarah Kramer and Tayna Barnard, treat yourself to that, too. It's still my favorite, along with its two sisters, The Garden of Vegan and La Dolce Vegan, but the Vegan Family Cookbook is a close second!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lest I allow a previous reviewer get away with making pat judgments about the kind of person who would give this cookbook a 5-star review, I am a very experienced cook, have been cooking vegan food for 7 years, and collect vegan cookbooks. This is one of the best I've ever used because:

1. Recipes call for ingredients that are available at your regular grocery store. The only ingredient I've needed that I know I can't find at Safeway is nutritional yeast, and that's okay because I bought a huge jar of it at Whole Foods awhile back.

2. The ingredients are not expensive, and it's easy to see where substitutions could be made if you don't have something on hand.

3. The recipes do not take a really long time to make, which makes them practical for weeknights when everyone is tired from being at work & school all day.

4. The format is very easy to follow, making this perfect for getting your kids or spouse to help with the meal.

5. These recipes are great for new vegans or non-vegans who want to start eating more meatless, dairy-free meals. These foods will be familiar to people who have unsophisticated palates. There is a lot of "comfort food" in this book.

I have made over 25 recipes from this cookbook so far, and every single one of them has been a 5-star or 4-star recipe in my food log. That's a much higher average than almost every other vegan cookbook I've used regularly.
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This is a high quality cookbook with many healthful and tasty recipes, all of which are animal-free as the title states. The most impressive aspect of this book is how simple and easy are the recipes, nothing complicated. The recipes I've prepared so far have all tasted very good. And the ingredients required are most likely already in your cupboard. As I said, this book is simplicity times 400 (the number of recipes contained in it). Highly recommended. Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
The book is clearly geared towards new vegans, their families or people who would like to cook for vegans, but don't always know what to make.

It makes an ideal intro to basic vegan cooking, offering short, concise recipes that rely on items you would find in a well stocked vegan pantry.

Our son, who just turned 12 has really taken to the book, <a href="[...]">cooking from it</a> every weekend. I only wish this book had been available when I was 12...

One minor quibble would be the lack of pictures, and use of canned food where fresh might be better (canned green chiles?), but this is family food, not a Thomas Keller coffee table book ;)
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Format: Paperback
From Snacks to Dips, from side dishes to entrees, from beverages to breads, from salads to desserts, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook is an impressive and "kitchen cook friendly" collection of vegan recipes compiled and organized by Brian P. McCarthy who has been a professional chef from twenty-five years and has enjoyed a vegan diet for the past ten years. From Root Stew with Marjoram; Couscous Corn Salad; Ginger Rice with Peppers & Soybeans; and Thai Grilled Tofu over Coconut Rice; to Chai Tea Mix; Pecan Pie; Caramelized Onion & Garlic Spread; and Baked Potato Bar, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook has a delicious diversity of hearty, easy-to- make dishes that will quickly become family favorites for every dining occasion. Enhanced with the inclusion of "Cook's Notes", a glossary, a conversion chart, recommendations for a well-stocked vegan pantry, a "Protein List", and a comprehensive index, The Lantern Vegan Family Cookbook is confidently recommended for any and all family cookbook collections!
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