Tuesday, July 8, 2008

An Ode to Books and a Recommendation

Reading is probably my favorite year-round past time of all time. I admit - I did not major in English because I suck at creative writing. If you want my opinion on something I've read we're good to go, but if I have to come up with my own story line - forget it. I am so glad there are people out there with all these amazing stories that they can articulate so well. I love being transported to another place, getting lost in the minutia of a tale and along those lines I enjoy the occasional beach read by Jane Green or Jennifer Weiner as well as a lot of fantasy.

I am very fact-oriented, so my other favorite book types are health and history books. I am currently reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and so far would recommend it highly. I'll add a list of the books I've read that I would recommend to the side bar soon, so keep an eye out for that, I'll be sure to update it regularly.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but I also love cookbooks. I have an entire bookcase full - and that is after I gave away a few that I truly never used. For my high school graduation my mom gave me five different, unrelated cookbooks and that was my favorite gift. As such I've been collecting them since I was seventeen and consequently most are not vegetarian; but I have found many of my favorite recipes easy enough to adapt, and the animal-based recipes to often be great idea-starters, so if you're a new veg don't pitch your old cookbooks just yet.

One of my new favorite cookbooks is How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman. It is vegetarian, not vegan, but all the recipes are clearly marked and he frequently provides variations which are vegan. Even if he doesn't if you know a few standard substitutions or just omit an ingredient the recipe will usually work anyway. One of the best things about his book is the variety of condiments or base recipes which he makes veg
(such as dashi - a Japanese broth traditionally made with bonito, a dried fish), which makes adapting your favorite recipe a cinch. He also groups all the vegetables and fruits into one section, alphabetically, and provides an excellent description of each, as well as the best application(s) for cooking (or not), substitutions, and usually at least one recipe. If you are looking to expand your veggie knowledge or palate this section is reason enough to get this book. I recommend this cookbook for both vegetarians and omni's alike, it is unassuming and very thorough but not unnecessarily complex. Remember, forgoing animal products even just two days a week has a substantial impact (for the better) on the environment and your body and gives you a chance to stretch your culinary creativity!

1 comment:

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Hehe I love creative writing, but I'm not so excited to write analysis-type essays. Can we maybe combine our brains?