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Vegetable Love Hardcover – November 1, 2005
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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?Read more ›
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?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great encyclopedia of veggies. Tells how to prep a lot of less commonly used veg so it's handy if you know what you want to cook but haven't tried that particular (squash,... Read morePublished 9 months ago by lisa r zomer
Great book. Borrowed it first from the library and found so many good things in it that I found this copy to purchase. The book arrived quickly and was exactly as ordered.Published 16 months ago by psychee dmi
Her "Soup, a Way of Life" is one of my favorite cookbooks, so I decided to give this a shot. We're involved in a produce co-op (bountifulbaskets. Read morePublished on February 14, 2014 by TMT
If you are not a vegetarian, the role of the vegetable can be often sidelined - always the bridesmaid but never the bride. Read morePublished on September 9, 2013 by Autamme_dot_com
My husband loves to cook and collects cookbooks from around the world. This is by far one of our favorites and most highly used of our 1,000 plus collection.Published on July 29, 2013 by Ashley
I've been reading my newly purchased Vegetable Love and have found some questionable entries. The Bagna Cauda calls for 35 cloves of garlic, peeled, and thinly sliced??? Read morePublished on May 18, 2013 by tjw6150
However, the recipes are more difficult than I thought they would be. I was hoping for something simple, but good.Published on December 29, 2012 by Pat A