Disclaimer: I received a free electronic preview edition of this book from Net Galley. I did not receive any compensation for writing this review.
Refer to my page, Cookbook Criteria, for what I look for in a cookbook.
First off, let me say that I don't like reviewing cookbooks on a kindle. I have a basic kindle, so the food photography is in black and white. I can't flip back and forth readily between recipes when I need to find one in another location that I need to use for a recipe in my current location. Ingredients and instructions might be on different pages on the kindle. So, I was hampered in my review by the format.
I was attracted to this cookbook as I live alone and the product description bills it as "A collection of eclectic vegetarian and vegan recipes for singles as well as lone vegetarians in meat-eating households." However this isn't a vegan cookbook. It isn't even a vegetarian cookbook. But what I found really startling is that in all my years of life, I never realized an egg was a vegetable. At least, that seems to be the case in a cookbook called Eat Your Vegetables that employs a liberal use of eggs. There are even instructions for making the perfect poached egg - in the salad section, no less, although it does join tofu in the salad recipe following. Why does one need both egg and tofu in the same recipe?
This cookbook is a little topsy-turvy in that it gives the instructions before it lists the ingredients. I'm not sure if it does that in the paper version, but it just seems rather odd to me. I feel that I need to know what I need first, before I need to know what to do with it. Another quirky thing about this cookbook is that the author insists on starting with raw seeds and nuts and then roasting them. In our busy lives, how many of us have time to roast our own nuts and seeds? I've done it occasionally, but I don't want to have to do it as frequently as this cookbook mandates. He also states that roasted ones get stale faster than raw, something I find hard to believe.
On page 43 is a recipe for Vegan Sloppy Joe, which I planned on using as my trial recipe. With vegan in the name, this one, at least was guaranteed to not contain eggs or dairy. but what it does contain as the main ingredient is chorizo-spiced seitan or other vegan meat. Big disappointment. No lentils or bulgar or other naturally vegan food, but I've got to run to the city to find chorizo-spiced seitan. How unimaginative! In addition, other hard-to-find ingredients include Peppadews, raw peanuts, brioche, challah, miso, Israeli couscous, and so on. And mushrooms, a plethora of mushrooms.
When I read some of the recipe names, it actually dampened my appetite: Tomato, Beet and Peach Stacks? That doesn't excite me in the slightest. Most of the recipes are for more exotic flavours and combinations, not the typical North American fare. I suppose that's why it has bold recipes in the subtitle. After wading through about half of the exotic flavours, funky combinations, anchovies (is that a new vegetable?) and fungus aplenty, I gave up on trying to find a recipe that I considered worth trying. My enthusiasm was exhausted. While other vegans who don't mind mushrooms and miso will find a few recipes they might like to try, it's just not worth the price of this non-vegan cookbook. For the lacto-ovo vegetarian and the carnivore who enjoy exotic flavours and combinations, this cookbook might be for you. But it definitely isn't for me. If it hadn't mentioned vegan in the product description, I probably would not have requested it.