The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld
I am an unabashed nerd. I knew I was a real Angelena when I possessed both a California driver’s license and an LA library card. My local branch does not have an extensive collection, but there was a handful of vegan cookbooks on the shelves, including The Voluptuous Vegan, which I haven’t read before. Home it came with me to become my cookbook of the week.
My initial reaction was excitement at some of the meal ideas, but when I dug deeper, I was a bit let down by the actual content. Making many of the recipes would have required me to buy expensive ingredients, which I probably wouldn’t use again. Many others contained weird things, such as burdock root (flashbacks to Alicia Silverstone’s book!) and umeboshi vinegar. Maybe these ingredients are mainstays in some people’s kitchens, but I just couldn’t justify the expense or the hunt. I was also shocked at the amount of fat included in the recipes – one called for a 1/2 cup of olive oil for a pasta sauce! No way, not in my house. I love olive oil, but in no way is that a healthy amount, even if it served four people. Honestly, I think the biggest sin of the book was its layout: the recipes are divided into Soups, Main-Course Menus, and Desserts. I much prefer a more straight-forward design in a cookbook, and the Main-Course Menus was just too big of a dumping ground. Plus, why weren’t soups included in the menus if everything else was? None of the menus as a whole interested me either. Plus, as I said in my recipe post (LINK), I don’t have hours to devote to the kitchen on a weekday. This complaint is totally petty, but I bugged me that she kept calling soy sauce “shoyu” – there’s nothing incorrect about the word, but it felt pretentious.
All that said, the things I made from the book – all altered to meet my fat allowance – were tasty. Kornfeld got me to make vegetable stock for the first time, which was super quick and easy and made a big difference. I don’t normally make a ton of East Asian-type dishes, so it was fun to force myself to try different things. Truly, I didn’t hate this cookbook, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
My rating: ** (out of *****)