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Serious in intent and plain in presentation, this is a subdued cookbook for vegans (no meat, fish or dairy) who cook three meals a day and need a reliable cache of ideas. Oregon professional chef McCarthy spent 10 years amassing these recipes to sate his own family's desire for "real food" as they were settling into the vegan way of life. The result is this comprehensive selection that spans all parts of the meal. There are vegan versions of familiar family dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, vegetable quiche pie, lasagna florentine and French toast, which feature such traditional substitutes as egg replacer powder, varieties of tofu and vegan cheese. Some recipes flash with originality (e.g., Moroccan Red Lentil Soup), but others (e.g., Acorn Squash with Molasses) are reliable standbys with no vegan-offending ingredients in their original incarnation. A glossary and list of items in "A Well-Stocked Vegan Pantry" are serviceable, but lack the explanations and idiosyncrasies that make cookbooks and their writers memorable. By emphasizing the everyday aspect of preparing food, McCarthy concentrates on large-scale coverage rather than culinary openness and creates a book that speaks to the converted or nearly converted vegan. (Nov.)
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