I liked this book before I even started reading it.
Reichl tells her life story through recopies and food, and it’s a grea...moreMemoir. Food. Mental illness.
I liked this book before I even started reading it.
Reichl tells her life story through recopies and food, and it’s a great way to do it. Everyone remembers a great meal and everyone really remembers a horrible one.
Reichl opens with her mother’s kitchen - disorganized, chaotic, unsafe, and probably going to make someone sick. Turns out her mom’s head is the same. It’s in and around 1960 and Lithium hasn’t entered into the Reichl household yet. Reichl and her father live around Miriam’s moods and whims.
But this book is about more than mom. Reichl recreates important moments in her life and how they all trace back to food. School, college, travels, love, work… they all wind up with a recipe and often a painful life lesson.
She describes food in the most loving and sensual ways. I’m a vegetarian and skipped over most of the recipes but I still enjoyed her descriptions of food because she was so delighted with those first tastes. My favorite part was the first time she had real French food at a friend’s house in Montreal. (Reichl mentioned that she wished she spoke French to keep her mom’s good mood going at a meal one night. Her mom shipped her off to boarding school a few months later thinking that was what she wanted.) As she sits through a decadent meal, her friend’s father is delighted that she loves to eat and that she appreciates gourmet food. He continues to feed her and she describes these first tastes vividly. These are the types of descriptions that make ordinary writers grow increasingly frustrated as they desperately try to find the right words. I wouldn’t have eaten any of it, but I enjoyed how much she enjoyed it.
As Reichl gets older she cooks because she loves it and because her friends want her to. Her parents leave her on her own and she has no other skill to fall back on. As she navigates the universal fun of growing up and figuring out life, she’s always in the kitchen and food always gets her to the next phase.
Like most memoirs, there were parts where I wanted to shake her because I wanted her to make better decisions. And then I wanted to shake myself because I know I would have done the exact same thing. I love relating to a book this strongly, fiction or not. Her mother especially infuriated me because she used her mental illness to control and manipulate the family. I had to keep reminding myself of the time period.
I will definitely be reading her other books, especially the ones where she explores her relationship with her mom and learns more about who she was.(less)
The information in this book is mind blowing. Campbell has a great writing style, so it avoids a text book feeling. The more you read, the more it mak...moreThe information in this book is mind blowing. Campbell has a great writing style, so it avoids a text book feeling. The more you read, the more it makes sense. If you're looking at making health changes through food, this is an essential resource.(less)
This one is taking me ages to get through because I'm reading it on my lunch breaks at work.
The premise is simple: Ettlinger takes the ingredient list...moreThis one is taking me ages to get through because I'm reading it on my lunch breaks at work.
The premise is simple: Ettlinger takes the ingredient list off the back of a Twinkie and sets off to find out what each thing is, where it comes from, and how it's made in the order it's listed on the label.
I thought this would be a commentary about chemicals and processed food and what they are doing to our bodies, but it's not. At times it reads like a text book and there is very little judgment about the chemicals. Ettlinger does point out how some ingredients are used for food and rocket fuel, or food and paint, or food and what have you, but it's more of a scientific statement: Check this out! If you do *this* it will kill you, but if you do *this* it makes the cake moist!
Mostly it's a statement on how companies are making millions to develop food that is cheap to process and has a long shelf life. Real ingredients like eggs, milk, butter, and flour are expensive and will mold and/or get stale quickly, so an entire industry was created to get around this.
If you're looking for a book to lead the revolution against processed foods, this isn't it. If you're looking to find out to what in the heck these ingredients are, how are they made, and why are they in your food, then grab it and go.(less)
This book is going to be tossed into one of four categories:
1. Meat eaters who will dismiss it as PETA propaganda and will never read it.
2. Meat eater...moreThis book is going to be tossed into one of four categories:
1. Meat eaters who will dismiss it as PETA propaganda and will never read it.
2. Meat eaters who know what goes into the process of making their meat, but are willing to accept that they refuse to acknowledge it and won't read the book.
3. Meat eaters who want to learn more about where their food comes from and/or are thinking of becoming vegetarian or vegan.
4. Vegetarian and vegans who are looking for more information and ammo for their arguments and discussions.
(People in categories 1 and 4 shouldn't argue with each other. Neither is going to change the other's mind and they're going to piss off each other and everyone around them. It'd be like Rush Limbaugh sitting down with Rachel Maddow. Just don't.)
I liked this book because it isn't preachy. Foer isn't trying to tell you that you have to do anything. He tells his own story of food and how he decided to become vegetarian. He interviews people from all facets of the food industry and does very little commentary. There are interviews from PETA, family farmers, slaughter house workers and owners, ranchers, animal rights activists, and more. The only group he could not get an interview with was factory farmers, especially the corporations that run them. There are several stories from people who aren't identified.
I knew going in that there was very little that was going to surprise me. I've been happily sitting in the "willing to accept that I refuse to acknowledge what I know is true" camp, but have decided for health, environmental, and animal welfare issues that I want to change back to a vegetarian diet.
Does meat taste good? Yes. Do I have to eat it? No.
The only thing that surprised me was that Foer doesn't talk about diary and eggs. He touches a bit on the fishing industry and briefly mentions the difference between broiler chickens and laying chickens, but he never talks about milk. I don't know why he didn't research this and I assume he and his family is lacto-ovo.(less)
It starts off promising: foods that have a lot of sugar, fat, and salt make us want to keep eating, especiall...moreI am really disappointed with this book.
It starts off promising: foods that have a lot of sugar, fat, and salt make us want to keep eating, especially foods with even more sugar, fat, and salt. To add to this fun, some people are wired to overeat while others are able to stop. If you're wired to overeat, it doesn't matter if you're overweight or not - some people have figured out how to compensate and stay at a healthy weight while others are not able to do so and become obese.
And then Kessler repeats this information for the first two-thirds of the book. It was so bad that sometimes I would start a new chapter and think I had already read it because the information was so similar.
It's good that he shows the science behind overeating and explain that it's both biological and emotional, but I thought the point of the book was going to be how to plan your meals better and retrain yourself to avoid the sugar-fat-salt traps.
Once he finally gets to "the end of overeating" it's vague and confusing. It almost boils down to him saying "Some people overeat, especially sugar, fat, and salt. There's tons of science explaining why it is incredibly difficult for you to stop overeating. So... stop overeating."
At some points he does give concrete examples, such as coming up with a set of rules that you don't deviate from, but then he doesn't take the next step and show you an example list. Most of the time he doesn't explain at all. I ended up reading, rereading, then rereading again to try and apply things to myself but couldn't figure out what he was saying. It was extra frustrating because in earlier sections he used anecdotal examples to show the thought processes and behaviors of over-eaters, but doesn't return to this to show how to change the cycle.
Again, it was like he was saying that to break the cycle, you need to break the cycle.
If someone is struggling with overeating and this is their first resource, I can only imagine how frustrating it would be. I was expecting to at least find food lists of healthy choices vs. sugar/fat/salt choices, but Kessler seems to assume that you already know where the traps are, and yet he spends a good portion of the book explaining that a lot of people don't realize what they're eating. I was half expecting to find a sample food plan illustrating his findings, but there wasn't even a list of suggested foods.
I think this book could have been summed up as a magazine article.(less)
I give this one star, but others are going to give it five.
I like basic New England food. I don't like anything spicier than garlic, onion, or red pep...moreI give this one star, but others are going to give it five.
I like basic New England food. I don't like anything spicier than garlic, onion, or red pepper. Curry scares me. Is my food boring? Maybe, but that's the way I like it. Now get off my lawn.
This book was way to chic-chic for me. There's great information about the benefits of going vegan, but I wouldn't make anything as listed.
There is a fantastic recipe for cashew cream that I do see myself using, but I think it is something I would have found eventually in other recipes I'd want to make.
My biggest pet peeve with cookbooks are recipes that call for a small amount of something. I hate buying an entire jar of something only to use a tiny bit and then having to figure out how to store it until the next time I make something similar. 90% of the time I end up throwing it away. In a perfect world I'd make a huge batch of whatever and freeze it, but that doesn't work for every food. Or I'd plan several meals around this one thing, but that's not realistic either.
I'm glad I got this from the library and don't have to hunt for the receipt to return it.(less)
Part of the reason I want this is so I can hear Cher Horowitz's voice in my head while I read.
"I am totally butt crazy in love with tofu."
First,...morePart of the reason I want this is so I can hear Cher Horowitz's voice in my head while I read.
"I am totally butt crazy in love with tofu."
First, yes, I did hear the entire book in Cher's voice.
This is sort of Eating Animals: The Light Version. The first part of the book is Alicia's journey to becoming vegan. She decided at an early age that she didn't want to eat animals, but when you're only 8, it can be difficult. She ate meat on and off before going veg full force.
She talks about reasons why a plant based diet is a good idea, and this is where Eating Animals: The Light Version comes into play. She does touch on the industry and practices of factory farming as well as the emotions and behaviors of animals, but it feels more anecdotal than researched, even though she clearly did research. Both styles are effective, but for some reason part of these sections felt a little too fluffy for me, which is probably unfair. If someone was just learning about becoming a vegan and animal farming then this is a good resource. I also think it would work well for a younger audience. I don't mean this in a negative way - I think that teens would respond well to Alicia's voice and journey. I skimmed over a lot of these sections but I probably would have read them fully if I hadn't already read Eating Animals .
One thing I really liked is how she's honest about her eating. There are times when she'll be out and about and will snag a piece of cheese off a passed tray or nick a bite of sushi from a friend's plate. She explains how her body reacts to this and how physically horrible she feels either immediately after or the next morning. There's no judgment here, and I like this.
She spends a good part of the book talking about refined sugar and processed foods and how your body reacts to them. We all know about sugar crash and she tries to keep her diet completely free from refined sugars. She makes sure to include lots of dessert recipes to show that she's only giving up sugar and the resulting headaches, and not taste or happiness. Again, she talks about times when she will eat a sugary dessert and how her body reacts, but there's still no judgment. I think a lot of people get turned off by vegs because they feel like they'll be beaten up and then shunned if they so much as look at meat. Alicia celebrates moments when her friends realize how much better they feel with a plant based diet and doesn't bash on moments when people are eating meat. It's clear that she hopes more people will learn about their diet and the food industry, and as they start to ask questions will come to vegetarianism and veganism on their own.
The rest of the book is very friendly towards people who are flirting with a plant based diet to people who want to go full force super, including macrobiotics.
The recipes are a mixed bag. As with all cookbooks, there are things I'll never try because I refuse to spend $50 on a bottle of something that I only need 2 teaspoons of. She picks a good range of foods from friends and her own kitchen and there were things I'd try, but I'm glad I got this from the library because it wouldn't be a full time cookbook in my kitchen.(less)
Another cookbook that did not match my tastes at all. I don't think I found anything here that I'd make as is, and the few recipes that looked interes...moreAnother cookbook that did not match my tastes at all. I don't think I found anything here that I'd make as is, and the few recipes that looked interesting would have needed changes because I don't like all the ingredients, they were too expensive and/or I'm not going to buy a full bottle of something only to use a few tablespoons.
I keep saying this, but I don't know why it took me so long to figure out that getting cookbooks from the library is a much better idea than buying them.(less)
This is not a vegetarian cookbook and most of the recipes are presented as side dishes. However, substitute the chicken broth with vegetable stock and...moreThis is not a vegetarian cookbook and most of the recipes are presented as side dishes. However, substitute the chicken broth with vegetable stock and add your favorite protein and you've got some lovely ideas.
This was a library book, but I might pick it up because it's an excellent resource on several different ways to prep veggies. Each section begins with an explanation of the technique and what veggies it works best for. There are also super useful timing guides so if you're prepping a pile of veggies you can plan what needs to go in first and what goes in at the last minute. Middleton is from Martha's Vineyard so the seasonal sections are useful if you live in the area. She talks a lot about what veggies she uses when and why.
This is a great starter cookbook because of the detailed information. I imagine some people will stick to the recipes word for word while others will learn from the technique and kick off from there.
If you're looking for a hardcore vegetarian cookbook, this isn't it, but it's a solid reference that fits in well with the veg set.(less)
I want my cookbooks to have pictures of the food. I get way too happy when every recipe gets a photo and I'm satisfied if there's just a centerfold sp...moreI want my cookbooks to have pictures of the food. I get way too happy when every recipe gets a photo and I'm satisfied if there's just a centerfold spread of a choice few.
There are zero photos in this book, but there are lovely watercolors of ingredients. Not very exciting.
Katzen is the author of Moosewood and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (I love that title) and I had high hopes for this.
I saved *two* recipes.
A lot of these call for lots of prep and ingredients. Maybe I'm only giving it two stars because I'm feeling lazy, but I'm not looking for a ton of work to make something pretty. I want food on my plate in a fairly short amount of time. If I was in a Super Cooking Mood then I might be more in love with this, but it's a bit too time consuming for me right now.(less)
This isn't vegetarian, but there are vegan and veg recipes.
I've recently fallen in love with Indian food because there are so many vegan options and n...moreThis isn't vegetarian, but there are vegan and veg recipes.
I've recently fallen in love with Indian food because there are so many vegan options and not everything is spicy. I am a baby when it comes to heat, so I've avoided Indian for most of my life. I'm learning to ask more questions and try different offerings and have been eating it a lot at work.
I'm not giving this a rating because I don't think I'll ever cook Indian food for myself. Having it accessible and fairly cheap on campus, it doesn't make sense to me to buy the ingredients and put the time in myself.
This is a great starter book. It doesn't assume you know what everything is, how it tastes, and how to cook it. It's just not a good fit for me.(less)