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  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    This is THE cookbook to buy if you’re making the big change from carnivore to herbivore. Written in a friendly, light manner with lots of tips and helpful information, The Essential Vegetarian also offers tasty recipes that don’t call for exotic or unusual ingredients.

    Before offering the recipes, Dianna Shaw provides several types of menus for different lifestyles. For example, there are menus for athletes, pregnant or nursing women, diabetics and even one for people who want to lose weight. The menus are well-balanced and interesting and offer tips on how to incorporate healthier eating into a busy lifestyle.

    My main complaint about other vegetarian cookbooks is that many of their recipes would not be considered by the average American because of the ingredients or length of time required to prepare the dish. This is an important consideration a vegetarian cookbook author should keep in mind, especially if he or she wants to win over more people to vegetarianism. Shaw’s recipes are fun and unique, without daunting the novice cook. She includes a few that present more of a challenge to the more experienced cook and even changes a few familiar recipes to provide a new twist, such as her Kidney Bean Hummus.

    Shaw leaves little to chance. In her Breakfast section, she gives easy-to-understand and concise instructions on how to create the perfect poached egg. Her recipes for hot cereals, such as oatmeal and cornmeal mush, are clever and helpful, particularly if you’re someone like me, who often has trouble avoiding lumps in the cereal.

    I strongly recommend this book to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Shaw is not a preachy author. In her introduction, she talks about craving and eating meat voraciously during her pregnancy and makes no apologies. She prefers vegetarianism, but does not come across as a religious zealot. I think even members of the National Cattlemen’s Association would like this book. Her other book, Almost Vegetarian, is another good read with great recipes.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    I have perused tons of cookbooks in my time, and this is one of the most complete cookbooks I’ve seen. Not only is there an entire section devoted to types of food, how to store it, and how to cook it, it also includes time-tables so you have an idea of how long something is going to take. This is a cookbook with a great variety of recipes. I use this cookbook almost daily!

  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    This is a perfect cookbook for a vegetarian winter. My wife laments that, while fresh vegetable meals are great for the summer, it is not hardy enough fare for the winter time. This cookbook changed her mind! An outstanding cookbook. I’m buying another as a Christmas present for my brother.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    This is an extremely accessible and user-friendly vegetarian cookbook. Unlike many others in it category–including most of the standard volumes–this book’s recipes do not require elaborate preparations. The recipes are direct, workable, and excellent. This wonderful book deserves much greater name recognition than it seems to enjoy because, once it’s used, it will replace many of its better-known cousins.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    Although not advertised as a low-fat cookbook, Shaw provides awide variety of tasty recipes that are largely low fat. Nutritionalinformation is included with each recipe, although fiber counts are missing. Recipes cover the basics (soft-boiled egg) to the more elaborate, with every meal and occassion included. Descriptive chapters are included on planning a healthy diet, menu planning, and the preparation/definition of staples from kinds of mushrooms to kinds of rice. In my opinion this is much better than the Deborah Madison cookbook that came out at roughly the same time and got a lot more press. I return to this cookbook again and again for the food, and Shaw’s evocative commentary. END

  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    I turned almost vegitarian about three months ago when I started living on my own and quickly found out that my food budget stretches much further when I don’t buy meat. Anyway, I agree with everyone else; the recipes are simple, taste good, and tend to use the same ingredients over and over (but in different ways) which makes buying that jar of tahini or that bottle of balsamic vinegar actually worthwhile.
    Another thing: are you one of those people who is trying to eat healthy, so whenever you look at recipes, the first thing you do is mentally modify them to cut out fat? You don’t have to do that with any of these recipes. Diana has already done all that for you. Ah, the sweet relief of not having to worry about what to substitute oil with in salad dressings…
    Overall, I don’t see this as a vegi. book. It’s just a healthy eating book. I’ve lost 20 pounds just from cutting most meats out of my diet. Enjoy! By the way, look for Almost Vegi. Entertaining, which is my fave of hers but I don’t see listed.

  • Sam Spade says:

    Rating

    I have a shelf full of vegetarian cookbooks, but this is by far the best. Comprehensive, clear, packed full of helpful definitions and clear descriptions, this book is a virtual necessity in the vegetarian kitchen–the one cookbook I would not want to be without.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    I usually don’t write reviews but this is such a good cookbook that I just felt it was my duty to pass on my recommendation to others. I am an awful cook who has been trying to go vegetarian, and have bought a million vegetarian cookbooks this year. Most of the recipes either take WAY too long and come out tasting only so-so (like deborah madison’s) or they’re easy and good for you but don’t taste great (like cristina pirello’s) or they have a ton of cheese and all the recipes are fattening (moosewood cookbooks) ANYWAY, so far the recipes I’ve tried in this book taste really good AND they’re easy. The author tells you how long each dish takes to prepare, and gives you a nutitional breakdown with calories, vitamins, etc. on each recipe.
    Also, as the other reviewer noted, they are all pretty low fat without tasting that way– you don’t have to even think about this issue when choosing what to make. All the ingredients are commonly available at any supermarket, even if you live in the middle of nowhere, like I do.
    Also the book is 600 pages long– i hate it when you buy a cookbook and find out only a few of the recipes are any good. I’ve tried a different random recipe from this book all this week, and they were ALL GOOD! You really could just cook all year from this one book and not have to eat the same thing over and over again.

  • Anonymous says:

    Rating

    I’d like to reply to the other reviewer here, who gave this book 3 stars for the ridiculous reason that it doesn’t have enough recipes for tofu, tempeh, and seitan. I think what we need is EXACTLY more vegetarian cookbooks like this–don’t we have enough tofu cookbooks? The vegetarian universe encompasses SO MUCH MORE than these three ingredients, and all I can say is THANK GOD someone finally put out this huge thick book full of recipes using other foods! Just wanted to say how simple and great tasting these recipes are–please don’t misinform other readers about this treasure trove of vegetarian info– just because you happen to want “more tofu” !!

  • Aviva S. Goldman says:

    Rating

    I must have picked up this cookbook at the bookstore when it was newly published because it looked good. Unlike many other cookbooks I’ve bought under similar conditions, it has stood the test of time and I keep coming back to it, year after year, as my tastes and lifestyle have changed. The recipes taste fresh and flavorful; they are healthy as can be because the ingredients are mostly fresh produce and grains and beans. My favorites sections are breakfast, curries, and one dish meals. The guides inside make it a reference and encyclopedia for my use. My only suggestion: publish it in hard cover or improve the binding. Mine is in two pieces now!

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