Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mayim's Vegan Table - Cookbook Review

Mayim's Vegan Table by Mayim Bialik and Jay Gordon

Let me start with the facts that I'm not vegan or even vegetarian.  Nor do I have any desire to become either.  What I am interested in is new and interesting ways to prepare and serve vegetables so that my family will actually eat them and dishes that will allow us to have more meatless meals without feeling like we're being deprived.  I've been interested in looking at Vegan cookbooks but have always been somewhat intimidated by them.  When I saw Mayim's Vegan Table I couldn't pass it up.  It's impossible to be intimidated by Blossom or Amy.  I had also read a few articles in the past and really liked how she presented her point of view.  She keeps to a "This is what works for us" versus a "This is what you need to do and if you don't you're wrong" that seems to show up so often.  So with all that in mind I couldn't wait to see what I would find!
The first 4 chapters discuss the ins and outs of a vegan lifestyle.  The health benefits are explored as well as things like What do you eat?  There is a chapter for substitutions and tips for removing animal based foods from the diet.  There is also a look into what the authors keep on hand as well as the usual dirty dozen list.

Now for the recipes.

There are tons of recipes for regular life which I love.  They're broken up by type of food and most have a little paragraph discussing how the recipe came to be.  There's a variety of dishes from standards like Potato Hash or Creamy Enchilada Casseroles to more exotic dishes like Tzimmes or Vietnamese Banh Mi with Do Cha and Sweet Sauce.  The Butternut Squash soup and Hot Pretzel Challah bread stood out just because they look absolutely amazing..  I loved that a number of recipes are vegan just because they happen to be vegan not because they have to be altered to fit into a vegan diet.  Also the majority of ingredients would be easy to find in a standard grocery store so this wouldn't require multiple trips to hunt down some special ingredients.  The recipes are easy to follow and wouldn't take hours of prep.  This would be a great book for vegetarians too because with a few little tweaks (regular mayo vs. vegan for example) you've got some great options that don't contain meat.

Verdict: Interesting cookbook with a wide selection of recipes.  Would be a great book for a new vegan, vegetarian or someone (me!) looking to add more interesting vegetable dishes to the regular rotation.

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