Vegetarian Epicure Paperback – May 12 1972
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About the Author
Anna Thomas wrote her first cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure, while she was a film student at UCLA, and followed it a few years later with The Vegetarian Epicure, Book Two. When she is not cooking, she writes screenplays and produces films. Her screen credits include My Family, Mi Familia and El Norte, both of which were nominated for an Academy Award. She lives in Ojai, California, with her husband, Gregory Nava, and their two sons. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
But what about the darn food?
It's good stuff. Not low-fat, really, but if you compare the olive oil, butter, and eggs called for in these recipes a meal would still balance favorably with the average meat-including diet. My favorite section is the one on curries--having had a lot of real Indian it's not QUITE the same, but it's reasonably close. Given that it was written when supermarkets were less global, I can forgive a few shortcomings in authenticity. She gets the basics across with readily-available ingredients. And every one of the curries is delicious on its own merits. There are sweeter ones, spicier ones, sides, a couple of desserts, and it's impossible to go wrong with any combination of recipes in this section.
Most of her soups and stews are also excellent. The ratatouille in particular is fantastic. However, in place of her potato peel broth or garlic broth I recommend saving a lot of time and effort by starting off with plain water and adding extra seasoning, or by the quick & dirty expedience of a veggie bouillion cube or two. It's okay to cheat.
Perhaps the best thing to bear in mind when using this book is that with a lot of the recipes you'll need either a fair amount of time or a liberal dose of common sense when it comes to cutting corners. The author had a lot of time on her hands, to make broth, clarify butter, and let things simmer for an hour. You probably don't, and neither do I. Use the butter plain. Heck, use margarine. Simmer for 30 minutes.Read more ›
But now I know what I'm doing around a stove (mostly), the book has grown on me. I love re-reading the gently humorous between-chapters advice. And now that I have enough confidence not to worry about exactly what temperature is a "medium oven" I'm completely in love with the recipes. I especially like the Indian foods she introduces, like the potato curry and spiced dal.
And this is not just for vegetarians, either. It's great for anybody who wants to make their cuisine more interesting than your standard chicken-and-mashed-potatoes fare. I can't recommend this cookbook enough.
--and now I have to go check on the asparagus pastry in the oven...
I've had both of them for close to 20 years, and I finally had to replace both!
From the first book, I adore the whole wheat bread with the optional onion. And, the herb bread makes *fabulous* stuffing for Thanksgiving if you cube it and dry it out a bit in a low oven. I love the "Dutch Cheese and Potato" soup and the recipe for Tomato Rabbit.
From the second book, my all time favorite is "Menestra de Veduras", or Spanish-style stewed vegetables. It's a *lot* of work, but so worth it. Do try it, especially in the spring when asparagus, peas and artichokes are fresh.
Another favorite of mine is the "melanzana al forno", aka "baked stuffed eggplant. Cook this in the summer when you can get tiny eggplants.
Both of these books are based on one concept - freshness. If you can't buy the best and the finest, change your menu. That's always a good philosophy to cook by, and Anna Thomas consistently emphasizes that concept throughout both of these books.
Just remember, this is *not* low-cal, low-salt, low-fat, no-flavor vegetarian cooking! It's almost vegetarian cooking with a bit of "Julia" tossed in for flavor. The dessert recipes are *to die for*.
I've had this book for 10 years and am weirdly attached to it; if you want a plain solid meal that you spend all day cooking, this is it. The food here is ribsticking but time intensive. Me, I don't see pouring all this effort into what is basically mediocre food but sometimes these dishes are comforting to make for a dinner at home if you've got all day to cook.
Most recent customer reviews
Well, it's seven years later than the review below, and it's still true, every word. I find it odd that some of the reviews refer to the flavors as "bland", something that just is... Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2008 by R. Myhr
This was my first cookbook when i became a vegetarian 25 years ago and it is still one of the best around today. A true classic. Read morePublished on March 19 2004 by Peggy Evans
... is if you observe kashrut (the Jewish dietary laws) and want some good recipes, both main and side dishes, that won't violate the prohibitions. Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by mary hartigan
This book is very typical of Seventies vegetarian cooking, which was experimental and not always well-flavored. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2003 by Joanna D.
I've never been a real vegetarian, but that's no fault of Anna Thomas's. Very clear directions, good tastes. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2003 by Mark Singer
I bought this cookbook over 20 years ago, and I still cook from my tattered copy. Many of the recipes are heavy with fat, eggs and/or cheese, but I still love them. Read morePublished on Aug. 18 2002 by lisle_g
I love this cookbook! The recipes remind me ofthings that may have been popular in the 60s (I was born in 1969 so this is just my impression). Read morePublished on Aug. 10 2002 by merrymousies
This is a "must have" for Vegetarians & Cooks. This cookbook is just an all-around delight. Great recipes w/a nice variety for all tastes (kids, too!!! Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2002 by angie
MY COPY HAS BEEN WORN TO BITS AND PIECES,ESPECIALLY THE FAVORITES. THE RUSSIAN VEGETABLE PIE,SPINACH CASSEROLE AS MANY OTHERS HAVE BEEN FAMILY DELIGHTS FOR OVER 25 YEARS.Published on April 2 2002 by SALLY
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