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Vegan for the Holidays


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All the world is nuts about

    What's in The Nut Gourmet

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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 focus on a book that demystifies raw food cuisine.



The Raw Gourmet

By Nomi Shannon

Alive Books 1999

Paper 24.95


 Raw Gourmet If you've always taken the cook 'em, bake 'em, boil 'em approach to preparing your meals, Nomi Shannon will open a new door. Nomi shows her readers how easy it is to enjoy raw foods as well as to energize the body with the best of nature's nutrients.

Often people assume that raw food preparation takes voluminous amounts of time and are discouraged from making the effort. To this, the author says, " Although you may find this hard to believe right now, once you get into the rhythm of raw food preparation, you will likely spend less time in your kitchen than you did before."

From breakfast to juices, soups, salads, sauces, entrees, and enticing desserts, the message is simplicity, simplicity. There are no frightfully long lists of difficult-to-find ingredients that are often daunting to the newcomer of raw cuisine. The ingredients are readily available at health food markets that sell produce and shelf items.

You will no longer need your oven, range top, or microwave. What you will need, however, is a juicer, a dehydrator, a blender, and a food processor that are the basic tools of the raw kitchen to help you prepare delectable foods like Nomi's Chile Rellenos with Mole Sauce and Mock Sour Cream. The Equipment List in the Appendix describes in detail the needs of the raw kitchen.

Early in the book are "Ten Raw Food Kitchen Essentials" to help you learn the tricks of the trade. Following are some examples:

  • Keep a jar of almonds soaking in the refrigerator.
  • Always have sunflower sprouts and buckwheat lettuce on hand
  • Always have assorted greens, root vegetables, red peppers and parsley in your refrigerator.
  • Keep sauerkraut in your refrigerator.

The Raw Gourmet is not only highly informative but visually enticing with a great many color photos that beckon one into the kitchen, such as the artfully garnished Spinach Mousse or the uniquely layered Gazpacho Salad.

Accented throughout the book are instructional side bars to guide one through a new technique like preparing Basic Pate. Other interspersed pages inform the reader about the nutritional benefits of a particular food such as The Tahini Story.

Since we don't have a dehydrator, we opted to prepare a few dishes that didn't require one. There were many temptations like Carrot-Avocado Soup, Rainbow Salad, Tropical Fruit Pie, Corn Chowder, and Faux Salmon. After a leisurely perusal, we made our grand decisions, invited friends, and rolled up our sleeves to begin preparing the sumptuous meal of Asian Pate, Spinach Mousse, Vegetable Nori Roll-Ups, Ginger Beets, Cabbage Roll-Ups, and Halvah for the sweet finish.

Nomi Shannon is aptly described in the book's title. She is truly a "raw gourmet" with a flair for creating tantalizing flavors using familiar fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and seasonings. Her instructions are clear and easy to follow, the dishes superb and fully satisfying. The meal was a raw success!

Ms. Shannon is a true testimonial to the healing powers of raw living foods. About 12 years ago she had numerous health problems that had plagued her for years. A holistic physician introduced her to raw foods that gradually, over time, became her total food regimen, a regimen that restored her health and lead to her work at the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida teaching others. She has helped many to rekindle that sense of well being so easily lost through poor dietary habits.

What we found so appealing about the book was the overall soft approach the author takes to introducing raw food cookery. Early in the book are just a few basics to get one started. Then, throughout the book are short, instructive notes about specific foods or techniques. Finally, the Appendix is a coffer of pertinent resources including a sprouting chart, a seasonal food and storage chart, a comprehensive section on food combining, an invaluable three-week menu plan, a listing of sources to purchase foods and equipment, and an A to Z glossary.

The Raw Gourmet is a treasure house of thoroughly-tested recipes that may well light the spark that jump-starts those on a new journey toward health and well-being. For anyone already on a raw food diet, Nomi's book is a creative and inspiring addition to the bookshelf and makes an ideal gift as well.


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