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Thus she started compiling lists of good foods to buy and then lists of "go-with" flavors. These lists ultimately became the heart of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. Because she knew that simply not eating meat was no guarantee of a healthful diet, she set out to answer
three primary questions: what to eat (and in what quantities), how to make it healthful, and how to make it so delicious that its meatlessness is completely beside the point! (p. xi)The introductory chapters of The Vegetarian Flavor Bible provides the answers to these questions, with up-to-date information and a non-fanatical approach. Whether you're a long-term vegetarian, an occasional dabbler, or somewhere in between, you'll find lots of useful information here. I especially loved the sections on maximizing flavor by paying attention to things like taste, mouthfeel, aroma, and visual appeal. What a way to help jump-start your kitchen creativity.
One thing that makes the beginning of the book fun to read are the many, many food- and health-related quotes that pepper the pages. Page gathered snippets from Ancient Greeks, modern medical researchers, literary authors, chefs, and musicians. I also like the sidebars, with their quick tips on a variety of subjects, such as nutrients and cravings.
The bulk of the book consists of a 450-page, A-to-Z list of food items, from acai to zucchini. These lists move beyond Page's personal experience and contain the collective wisdom of dozens of food and cooking experts. Some of these experts, like Gael Greene, are leading critics; others, like Molly Katzen, are well-respected vegetarian cookbook authors; but most of them are well known chefs and restauranteurs.
Rather than try to describe the vast array of information you'll find in these lists, I'll direct you to the scans, which you'll need to click to enlarge (pardon the shadows; I had a hard time getting clear scans). On the left is the key to the lists and the other two panels show sample pages.
So, you might ask, what does one do with these lists? Here are some ideas I came up with:
- Putting together flavors for one-dish meals: Think soups, salads, and even smoothies.
- Figuring out what do with that odd vegetable that came in the CSA box.
- Discovering how to change up the flavors in everyday dishes, such as beans and omelets.
- Learning about ingredient substitution: No epazole? Use Mexican oregano.
- Creating menus: An apple or fig dessert might be good after that goat cheese tart.
Published by Little Brown, 2014
Source: Review (see review policy)
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