When Cherie Soria cooks, she has the assistance of a higher force looking over her shoulder and providing inspiration for the delicious foods she prepares. Thumbing through the pages of Angel Foods,one notices how the author has so richly endowed the work with the energy of infused love and spiritual connection.
A book's introduction is an author's moment to become intimate with the reader, to touch another's heart. Cherie Soria expresses her deep spiritual connection to food in such loving terms that one instantly feels an emotional bond with her. She tells the reader that if one infuses foods with genuine affection during preparation, this outpouring of love will enter the foods themselves.
Since she has brought angels and celestial guardians into her life, the joy she shares enters every fruit, each seed, indeed every food she touches with her loving energy. Angelic spiritualism propels her life with happiness and serenity. This philosophy is expressed on every page which is beautifully illustrated with original angel drawings and brief prayers that ask for guidance.
It's obvious that Cherie Soria is a well-experienced hand in the kitchen, but that's not all. Cherie is a certified hypnotherapist, an Essene minister, and a metaphysical counselor. She brings all these facets of her life together to create a book that truly stands out with foods that nourish the soul as well as the body.
The recipes offer the ideal balance between vegan and raw living foods and are so clearly and concisely written, a kitchen novice could cook up an impressive meal without a blink.
The chapter "Angels Have Culture" takes the mystery out of the preparation of cultured foods like Cashew Yoghurt, Sunflower and Sesame Kefir, and Almond Cheese. The Kim Chee, a spicy Korean cultured cabbage that accompanies almost any Korean meal, is on our list of must-do recipes.
Tempted by the appetizers French Walnut Mushrooms and Stuffed Raw Mushrooms, we went right to the chopping and mixing stage. They were easy to assemble, the ingredients were readily available, and the flavors were superb.
Well on our way to a grazing experience, we progressed to the Herb Cheese Spread for which we had done some advanced preparation. This we mounded onto rye crackers, and as we were finishing, we recognized that Cherie Soria has a knack for seasoning.
Because the salad section offered many enticements, we were hard-pressed to decide between making the Thai Spinach Salad in Peanut Coconut Sauce, the Mexican Fiesta Salad, or the Caribbean Grated Vegetable Salad. We opted for the latter with its Lime Dressing that bathes a colorful mixture of shredded beets, chayote squash, icicle radishes, butternut squash, and yams with a tasty coating. Again, guided by Cherie's well-written recipes, we found the preparations easy.
Few vegetarian cookbooks present breakfast foods with a focus on nutritious whole grains. Creamy Apple Grain Blend and Sprouted Grain Banana Blend are examples of her tasty beginnings. There's even a recipe for a Multi-Grain Essene Bread and one for Sprouted Rye Essene Rolls.
Feeling sated, we examined the main dishes for a future meal. The Vietnamese Salad Rolls sounded like a fun item to share with friends, as did the Savory Mushroom Roast with Sesame Tahini Gravy.
Divine Desserts certainly did sound divine while remaining truly vegan with the use of brown rice syrup and Sucanat for sweeteners. Desserts were numerous and provided vegan versions of some old standards such as Hawaiian Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Sweet Potato Pie, and Apple Spice Kuchen.
The only negative feature of the book is the index. An important tool in any cookbook, the index best serves the reader when recipes are listed alphabetically and cross-referenced with key ingredients. Here recipes are alphabetically listed under their headings such as Soups or Desserts. It's frustrating when you're not sure which category a recipe falls into and equally problematic when searching for recipes that contain a particular key ingredient.
Each chapter begins with a large drawing of angels sweetly preparing food and an angel prayer. In her friendly, informative manner, Cherie provides answers to common questions at the beginning of the book, questions such as how to get started adding raw foods into the diet, why it's important to soak nuts and seeds, and what are the benefits of fermented foods. For convenience, each chapter is prefaced with an alphabetical listing of the recipes found there. The book ends with a generous offering of resources for reading, retreats, organizations, videos, and sprouting supplies.
Angel Foods is a jewel among cookbooks and could easily become the sort of favorite one hands down to a daughter or presents as a special gift to a friend who enjoys cooking.