The Complete Vegetarian Handbook
is an appealing introduction to cooking without meat. It has over seventy
recipes, which is still far fewer than many of the most popular vegetarian
cookbooks, but it is full of useful information about different kinds of food
and how to prepare them. The book is a 280-page paperback about the same
dimensions as a regular hardback, which makes it easy to handle and browse.
This will be attractive to the many readers who are daunted by the massive
tomes that need to be placed open on a table in order to read them.
At the start of the book is a long
introduction to equipping one's kitchen, stocking one's pantry, and planning
menus. This is followed by nine chapters on different kinds of foods:
vegetables, fruits, pasta & grains, soy foods, legumes & sprouts, baked
goods and more. There are glossaries for different kinds of cooking greens,
salad greens, mushrooms, nuts, beans, rice, and others. The explanations are
clear and helpful. What's more, the book is full of hints and guidelines about
to prepare many different foods such as tofu, polenta, noodles, roasted
peppers, and leeks, and this is bound to be useful to both novice and even more
The recipes in the book are
distinctive and interesting: they include lentil and escarole soup, braised
tofu in barbeque sauce, pineapple fried rice, Portobello burgers with
pesto-pepper mayo, and roasted beets with orange dressing. Maybe not all will
appeal to readers -- I'm rather skeptical about wasabi mashed potatoes -- but
most are mouth-watering and relatively easy to prepare. The Complete
Vegetarian Handbook is an elegant, well-organized and user-friendly guide
to healthy cooking.
© 2003 Christian
Perring. All rights reserved.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division
and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and