Wow, has my year of reading started off with a bang. I’ll start with the easy part. Iceland is a country I’ve always wanted to visit. Learning more ab...moreWow, has my year of reading started off with a bang. I’ll start with the easy part. Iceland is a country I’ve always wanted to visit. Learning more about its history, farming culture, and the wild landscape has piqued my interest even more. I was fascinated and at times repelled by some of the butchering and slaughter scenes described on the farm. Although many of the place names were unpronounceable (to me), I didn’t let myself get snagged or bothered so as not to break the flow of the narrative.
Agnes’ story unfolds slowly as she recounts her history to the naive assistant priest who has been sent to spiritually counsel her before the execution. At the beginning and end of several chapters are letters and documents from 1829, records of the actual event which in themselves are quite revealing.
I was expecting something dreary and depressing but from the first few pages I felt my gut churning and could not put the book down. Knowing that the book was based on a true story with a sad outcome did not prepare me for the depth of emotion that hit me as I read late into the night. I very quickly became enraged by the inhumane and degrading treatment of Agnes as a prisoner. The further into the book I got, the more invested I became in finding proof of her innocence. Her intelligence and spark made her a target for the corpulent, and self important man who was her judge and jury. As I write this, I am infuriated anew. I am reminded of the horrible treatment of women throughout history especially when they did not conform to rigid codes of pious behavior.
This book screams and tears at me from start to finish. My tears are not only for Agnes who I know was a living, breathing, person but for all the countless women whose stories of unjust imprisonment, humiliation, abuse, and torment will never be told. I think the author did an incredible job weaving a believable account from the history. I say bravo! This is one story that will stay with me for a very long time. (less)
This book is crazy good. The characters are incredibly drawn. The author manages to capture the inner life of a fourteen year old with astonishing aut...moreThis book is crazy good. The characters are incredibly drawn. The author manages to capture the inner life of a fourteen year old with astonishing authenticity. The story and the relationships felt so true to life. I was heartbroken and weeping by the end but it was a gift to read.(less)
I'm tempted to give this book five stars just from my first quick read through but will wait and try a few recipes first. I think this book is an exce...moreI'm tempted to give this book five stars just from my first quick read through but will wait and try a few recipes first. I think this book is an excellent resource for those who want to try their hand at non-dairy recipes for cheese.
Most of the recipes in the first part of the book, featuring artisan cheeses, will take a few days to make because of the culturing process. And as the author states in her introduction, "If you like instant gratification, you've picked up the wrong book." That being said, the amount of actual work involved is not a lot, perhaps a few minutes per recipe. Most of the time appears to be waiting time.
It's obvious from reading that the author put a lot of time and work into developing these recipes. I would not consider myself to be a former cheese addict, (okay maybe I was), but I do appreciate the opportunity to be able to create, or re-create the pleasure of eating cheese and knowing that no-one had to suffer for my enjoyment.
This book has gotten me excited about cooking again. After a hot summer, reluctant to even enter the kitchen, cooler weather along with a re-awakened...moreThis book has gotten me excited about cooking again. After a hot summer, reluctant to even enter the kitchen, cooler weather along with a re-awakened appetite has hit with a vengeance. My desire to get busy preparing warm stews, spicy curries and delicious dumplings was instantly ignited as I paged through the recipes in Terry Hope Romero’s new book, Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet.
The book has a hard cover and is similar in size, layout and feel to Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. The writing style and instructions are straightforward and clear. The photos are beautiful, the food is set off nicely by rustic backgrounds and I’m definitely tempted to try a few things that normally wouldn’t appeal to me just from looking at the photos.
There are many things I like about Vegan Eats World. I’m happy that in some recipes, for harder to find ingredients, she gives a replacement option. There are several designations that make sorting through the over 300 recipes easier. Symbols indicate one or more of the following; quick preparation (under 45 minutes), longer cooking time (mainly inactive), cheaper ingredients, good beginner recipes, low fat, gluten free, and soy free recipes.
In part one, titled Kitchen Cartography, the section describing regional ingredients was the most interesting to me. Where I live in Ontario, sumac trees grow everywhere so I was excited to learn about sumac powder and za’atar which are middle eastern spices. Other intriguing sounding ingredients I look forward to trying are Chinese Black Vinegar, Thai Golden Mountain Sauce and Gochuchang, a “sweet, spicy and tangy” Korean red chili paste. A trip to the Asian market is always a fun experience and it’s helpful to know what to pair these ingredients with.
Also included in this section are commonly used ingredients in vegan cooking that you can find in most grocery or natural food stores. A primer on cooking equipment, cooking techniques, descriptions and some adorable drawings for dicing and slicing veggies and shopping lists for ethnic markets are useful sections for less experienced cooks.
You will need access to ethnic markets for some ingredients. This author has already written a cookbook focused on Latin cuisine, a few are included here but this book mainly showcases recipes from Asia, Africa, India, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. A well stocked pantry will be useful if you plan on using this book extensively ( I certainly do!). I was thrilled to see a chapter called Dumplings, Breads and Pancakes. Pot-stickers are a particular favourite of mine and I’ve always wanted to take the time to make vegan versions of these plump, savoury, snacks.
I began listing recipes that caught my attention but there are so many I won’t list them all. Here’s a small sampling of what you’re in store for!
Seitan Coriander Cutlets Cilantro Chutney Coconut Chile Relish Thai Shredded Mango Salad Coconut Kale Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce Ninja Carrot Ginger Dressing Garlicky Potato Dip Creamy Walnut Red Pepper Spread Chile Potato Rolls in Homemade Paratha Bread Sweet and Savory Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos Ginger Tomato Chickpeas Coconut Black-Eyed Pea Curry Tofu and Potato Adobo Stew Spicy Saucy Soft Tofu (Ma-Po Tofu) Eggplant Shakshuka with Green Tahini Sauce Deluxe Tofu Vegetable Mafe Garlic Chive Seitan Potstickers Shanghai Kale Dumplings in Sesame Sauce Afghan Pumpkin Ravioli with Spicy Tomato Sauce Spinach Coriander Roti
Can you say yum?
So far, I’ve managed to prepare two dishes; Savory Baked Tofu which was easy and delicious and the Flying Massaman Curry, also very good and even better the next day.
This is not the book you would grab for a hurried weeknight supper unless you have a very well stocked pantry. I’d definitely recommended it for anyone interested in international cuisine, for plant based eaters who are looking to explore new flavours and people who like to entertain. I look forward to taking my time exploring Vegan Eats World for a long time to come.
Thank you to De Capo Lifelong press for providing an ARC. (less)
Unfortunately it's allergy season and my head is aching, and stuffed full of guck. I'm not capable of writing a decent review but I will say that the...moreUnfortunately it's allergy season and my head is aching, and stuffed full of guck. I'm not capable of writing a decent review but I will say that the further into this book I got, the harder it was to put down. The author's voice feels almost matter of fact but it was somehow compelling. I love how the history and character of the female protagonist was very slowly revealed over the course of the narrative. This was definitely an unexpected pleasure to read. 4.5 stars for me. (less)
This book is fierce. I picked it up late one night while fighting the flu and the next morning, I was like an efficient machine. I felt extremely moti...moreThis book is fierce. I picked it up late one night while fighting the flu and the next morning, I was like an efficient machine. I felt extremely motivated to continue my efforts on a few projects that had been languishing on the back burner. The author shines a very bright light on that cunning, rational voice we all have that convinces us to wait, procrastinate or never start a new venture. He calls it resistance and expounds that the greater resistance you have to something, the more important it must be.
Written in concise chunks, some only a page or paragraph long, I was compelled to keep reading. The author's voice is refreshing and the ideas clear and relevant. Even though I didn’t agree %100 with a few of his statements, The War of Art definitely set me into high gear. That defeatist little voice better watch out!(less)