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All the world is nuts about

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegetarian Reading

Vegreading



Each issue the VIP birds will endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book that contributes to vegetarian enlightenment. In this issue we review a book which inspires gourmet vegetarian cooking with its exquisite photographic displays and innovative recipes.



The Vegetarian Gourmet

By Dagmar von Cramm

Photography by Barbara Bonisolli

Translation by Marga & Thomas Hannon

Alive Books

$24.95



Vegetarian Gourmet "Finally, a vegetarian cookbook that speaks the language of gourmets," says Gilbert Noussitou, winner of Chef of the Year Award and International Culinary Olympics Gold Medalist. We have to agree with him. Every page of The Vegetarian Gourmet displays a dazzling photograph of finished recipes with artistic food styling.

Dagmar von Cramm takes vegetarian cooking and elevates it into the gourmet class. The presentations are breathtaking, the original ideas a treasure. She's a well-seasoned food writer, working since 1984 as an editor for a large food magazine in Munich. Dagmar is also a two-time winner of the German Society for Nutrition's Journalist Award.

Here is a book that can be utilized by cooks all over the globe, with recipe measurements given in metric as well as standard American form. Other features include some brief hints on weight loss with menu suggestions for a weekend diet, nutritional aspects and advantages of vegetarian foods, some kitchen basics, and recommendations for stocking the pantry.

Dagmar offers a valuable guide on how to select fresh fruits and vegetables when shopping and a chart indicating the season when those foods are available. The "Know Your Vegetables" section presents tips to new and experienced cooks alike, such as not soaking peeled potatoes in water, a practice that causes nutrients like vitamins B and C to be lost.

Were you aware that herbs and spices are important because they improve digestion and make raw foods more digestible? The author suggests flavoring raw salads with crushed seeds or chopped herbs if you have difficulty digesting raw vegetables. She suggests eating these as appetizers to stimulate the digestive juices. Although the text portion of the book is brief, it provides many other health-oriented suggestions like these.

A preface to the recipe section offers four pages listing her recipes by categories including:
  • foods ideal for each season of the year
  • dishes to prepare for guests
  • recipes for serving two
  • low calorie recipes
  • dishes for entertaining at the barbecue
  • menus for cold buffets, hot buffets
  • non-dairy and egg-free meals
  • quick meals
  • economical meals
  • international dishes

The majority of Dagmar's recipes are directed at the lacto-ovo vegetarian who appreciates fine cooking and doesn't shy away from spending a little time in the kitchen. The recipes are easy to follow and use familiar ingredients that anyone with a well-stocked pantry would have on hand. Recipes like Crispy Moons with Tomato Sauce, Millet Pudding with Chive Sauce, Tofu Ragout with Chinese Cabbage, and Curried Chickpea Fritters easily demonstrate her flair for unique food combinations that offer zesty flavors and nutritional balance.

Extensive nutritional information is covered in more detail at the end of the book with color photos of foods that offer specific benefits, such as mushrooms for healthy skin or anise to benefit the immune system. Included in this section is a breakdown of vitamins and minerals in a chart that shows natural food sources for these, daily requirements, and how each affects the body.

Three excellent indexes grace the book: recipes by ingredient; recipes by special characteristics such as easy, egg-free, or economical; and a general index by recipe name. The three indexes guarantee you'll find just the recipe you're looking for.

The book is a quality oversize paperback printed on glossy paper and bound so that it lies flat when open, a convenience every cook can appreciate.

The Vegetarian Gourmetis vegetarian cooking at its best. It makes a thoughtful gift for the lacto-ovo vegetarian who loves to cook and a must for those who take pleasure in presenting truly impressive vegetarian meals.


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