The Voluptuous Vegan: More Than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes for Meatless, Eggless, and Dairy-Free Meals Paperback – 20 Nov 2000
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Top customer reviews
There is a section of advice on ingredients and techniques at the beginning, then the book is divided into a series of sections each of which gives a menu followed by recipes for a complete nutritionally balanced dinner party meal. A number of these menus sound to me like food you would encounter in a Vegan American home at Thanksgiving.
It does have features I haven't encountered in other cook books. It gives a 'cook's notes' list of advance preparation to save time, along with a suggested order of cooking so everything is ready at the same time.
However, many of the recipes use American ingredients like 'hominy' and 'collard greens', which may not be readily available in English shops. Alternatives are not given.
The recipes do sound exciting, exotic and very voluptuous, so if you are bored with your usual dinner party fare and want a challenge - this recipe book is for you.
If you are a nervous new vegan, this is the sort of book you should perhaps consider buying a few years down the line.
I find that many vegan cookbooks go for the same old stews and 'homey' foods, which are nice, but may ultimately become a bit boring, and - let's face it - aren't very impressive when it does come to cooking for non-vegans. This book gives a nice selection of fairly posh nosh, and some of the dishes are cooked over and over again in this household.
There is a soup section at the start of the book (the borscht is luurvely!), and then there is a section of set meals, consisting of several dishes (For example African Groundnut Stew, Spicy Sauteed Spagetti Squash, Ginger-baked Tofu and Quinoa and Millet Pilaf), which go together well. Obviously the police won't come round if you only pick and choose the bits you want to make.
I would agree with the previous reviewer that 'The Voluptuous Vegan' is not a book for the 'beginner' vegan or for everyday recipes, but if you have to cook a fancy christmas meal for your meat eating family, this is the book to consult!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
What I like:
This book clumps together most of the recipes into menus so flavors and textures blend well together and you have a cohesiveness that's pleasant to enjoy. The exceptions are soups and desserts.
Kornfeld does not have pages and pages of preaching to the choir about veganism, which seems to be in vogue nowadays (probably because she's not vegan, but it's appreciated here).
Menu recipes run the gamut to decently-easy gourmet to spending all day in the kitchen, which I enjoy on occasion. Gourmet meals do tend to be more labor intensive, so when I say decently-easy gourmet I mean you are still going to spend a likely couple of hours in the kitchen.
I can reach for this book for a dinner party and have the food be a hit every single time--the food is thoughtful and delicious.
If one wants to serve a soup with the menu meals, it's easy to pick out one that will work by the flavor profiles. And in the same vein, once you have figured out the flavor profiles of each recipe, it becomes easier to mix and match to create your own meals.
Living in an area with mostly carnivores and being frequent entertainers, my husband and I can say this food is pleasing to even the most staunch meat-and-potato eater.
Kornfeld makes suggestions at the beginning of each menu on the plan to get the meal cooked (timing is a most crucial, and often overlooked, in having the food turn out properly) and presented in a beautiful manner.
What I don't like:
The Table of Contents just gives a general outline, not specific recipe pages (i.e. Main-Course Menus are on page 51, but the courses don't have a page number listing). I know that I can always look in the index, but sometimes I have a brain-dead moment and can't remember exactly what I'm trying to look up whereas once I see the title I have the "aha" moment.
While I find the purpose of the book to be elevated (read: gourmet) vegan cuisine, I do wish for a few of the menus to have a more everyday cooking feel. I love the food in this book, but because of the intensive nature, I don't use it as often as I would like to.
What can be considered inconvenient to some is some ingredients might be hard for people to obtain outside ordering online. I'm lucky to live in a place with "ethnic" grocers so there is relatively few items I have had to purchase online, but I know that won't be the case for everyone so that's worth mentioning.
The serving sizes are mostly spot on, but I've found that some things are slightly off depending on how one likes their food. For example, the Millet-Sunflower Croquette menu has a side of roasted asparagus in which one pound, roasted, is supposed to serve six. I found one pound to be too little to serve six, but it could be because everyone really loved roasted asparagus. :)
Overall, I give this book 4 stars because the quality of the food is top notch. While there are a few issues I have with this book, overall it's a great guide to gourmet food, the vegan is just the cherry on top.
Two caveats, neither of which should deter you from buying the book (I just like to complain). First, you may need to adjust the oil and salt. When I make these recipes I usually use about 3/4 of the salt it calls for and maybe half of the oil. (I think the reason for this is the same as why vegetarian cookbooks of the 1970s called for pounds and pounds (way more than necessary) of eggs, cheese, and butter--just to make sure the recipe would turn out well. Vegan food has become the new frontier, and I think the author went just a bit overboard trying to ensure that the food would be truly 'voluptuous'.) But once you tweak it, the flavor combinations are incredible.
Second (in case anyone from Clarkson Potter or Random House is reading this): the copyediting and proofreading were terrible. Lots of misspelled and repeated words, other mistakes that should have been caught like 'roll' for 'role', and more troubling, in one of the dessert recipes, four TABLESPOONS of vanilla are called for. Clearly, this should be four TEASPOONS, but you wouldn't know that if you didn't bake often (and a lot of vegans don't)... I hope they proofread it again before the second printing. Didn't stop me from giving the book five stars, though, because the recipes really are that good; buy it.
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