Books · CSA

The vegetarian cookbook I can’t wait to buy

 I’m obsessed with Deborah Madison’s Vegetable Literacy.

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison

In it, vegetarian authority Deborah Madison is taking a new tack: admitting she now incorporates meat stock, bacon, eggs and more into her recipes, and suggesting that we do the same. This book is focused on knowing and appreciating vegetables — their origin, their botanical family, their natural food pairings — not plugging vegetarianism.

I saw a lot of myself in this book. It is geared toward flexible vegetarians and newcomers to meatless living. Though it came out last year, this cookbook was mentioned in a recent New Yorker piece about the shift toward “quasi-vegetarianism” overtaking restaurants, chefs, foodies and books (and, I suppose, magazine writers). From one-time purists forced into greater flexibility after life changes (like me), to those seeking simply to reduce their meat consumption a small fraction based on health or environmental concerns, the trend is clear: modern vegetarianism has evolved into a wide spectrum with Meatless Monday at one end and all-out veganism at the other … with ample room for customization between.

I think this is a good thing. It makes vegetarian cooking more accessible, and will go a long way toward dispelling the myths surrounding vegetarianism: that it’s expensive, that it’s for hippies or yuppies, that you have to shop at Whole Foods, that you can’t get enough protein, that you can’t safely raise children/be pregnant/exercise, that you can only eat out at special restaurants, that you’ll be Calcium deficient, that you’ll only eat beans, salads and tofu, and so on.

Vegetable Literacy inspires creativity, encourages experimentation, and is invaluable to anyone with a garden, CSA or farmer’s marketnearby. It’s as much a reference book as a cookbook, just like my other favorite, The Silver Spoon. It makes me all the more eager to pick up Deborah Madison’s update to the classic New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which was just released with 300 new recipes, bringing the grand total to 1,600 (!!) No wonder it’s considered the Bible of vegetarian cooking!

And, because I know you’re wondering, Georgia finally decided to feed herself this weekend! The food of choice was naan bread. She also drank water from a regular cup (having rejected sippy cups repeatedly, not that I’m going to stop trying) and took a few tentative steps holding onto the sofa and coffee table with just one hand (her left). She’s so big, and later today I’m going to be sending out her first birthday invitations. SOB!!!



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