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Overcoming the fear of greens
on 20 March 2009
It really is hard for me as a vegetarian, as for some reason a psychiatrist would probably love, I've carried with me a repulsion from the vegetable section of supermarkets; they've never been my favourite parts of the shop and I'm often compelled to breeze right by them. Now I do all my food shopping at Tesco online, I can get past those fears and order vegetables as I want, but the browsing aspect is removed, and food shopping and cooking is not a creative activity for me. So I need all the help I can get in maintaining a varied diet, and was excited at the prospect of a new vegetarian recipe book.
One of the first things I noticed, contrary to expectations: this is not a vegetarian cookbook. Rather, it's an informative reference volume covering a range of vegetable organised by culinary 'type' (roots, brassicas, &c). There are a number of recipes, but many of them are for meat dishes or side vegetables to supplement meat. I did, however, follow a recipe for tomato and red pepper ratatouille, and was incredibly impressed that I could produce something so amazingly tasty.
The few recipes aren't what the book is about, however. More, it is a case-by-case encyclopaedia of how to approach each vegetable; how to buy and cook each one is outlined in the individual entries, and by not being a recipe book it's something more valuable; something to get off the shelf when you're faced with a vegetable and need ideas of what to do with it.
As I've become more and more aware of the good reasons behind buying locally produced produce, and vegetable boxes have caught on as a trend, my curiosity has bee piqued. I don't know that I can afford a weekly box delivered, but I'm intrigued, and this book, that covers recipes I haven't even heard of, has at least put me on the way to the confidence to experiment the weird and wonderful things I might be faced with.