by Douglas and McIntyre
Joy Without Meat
by Linda L. Richards
It's been a long time since the words
"vegetarian cooking" were equated with "boring, dull and
tasteless." We are, thankfully, in an era where we
understand that cooking -- and, of course, eating -- without
meat can provide just as satisfying an experience as playing
the full carnivore.
Enter Sublime Vegetarian , a book that not only
celebrates the complete vegetarian cooking experience, it
brings it to new levels. Really.
Author Bill Jones is a French-trained chef who has worked
and cooked throughout Europe, North America and Asia. He is
the author of 12 cookbooks and has also contributed recipes
to the New York Times, Food and Wine, The Globe and
Mail and other well-known publications.
With this resume, it's not surprising that Jones approaches
vegetarian cooking from the angle of the professional. As a
result, Jones takes an elegant look at the basics before
jetting off to make tasty vegetarian meals. For example, one
of the earliest sections of the book, "Pantry basics," deals
with creating a lot of the staples on which a successful
kitchen is built. A sauce lover myself, I particularly
enjoyed reading about making stocks and sauces: always a
challenge in the vegetarian kitchen.
Not only does Jones include recipes for Roasted Vegetable
Stock, Fragrant Vegetable Stock, Fresh Mushroom Stock and
Miso-Garlic Broth and Gravy,
he also spends some time in the chapter's introduction
discussing stock making in a way that is sure to enhance the
home chef's understanding of why things are as they are.
Almost any vegetable can be used to make a
flavourful stock, but place only fresh vegetable
trimmings in a stockpot. Leeks add richness to the broth,
carrots add sweetness, mushrooms add body, and celery
adds balance and salt.... A little charring, especially
with onions, adds a pleasant flavour and colour to the
stock, but heavily charred vegetables will contribute a
strong burnt flavour and should be removed before the
water is added.
With the basics out of the way, we're ready to get down
to business and this particular business is tasty. There are
chapters on Appetizers; Vegetarian Sushi; Soups and
Chowders; Noodle Soups; Green Salads; Vegetable Salads;
Tapas and Flatbreads; Noodles and Pasta; Rice; Beans and
Tofu; Potatoes; and Desserts. In short, an entire vegetarian
diet awaits and the recipes are varied enough that this is
not a ridiculous thought.
Color photographs are scant but inviting. For instance, the
photo of the Chilled Carrot, Kaffir Lime and Ginger Custard
with Green Curry Sauce is a beautiful, edible statement in
green and orange: one can just imagine how impressively it
would start an elegant meal. However, it is a little
disconcerting that not all of the photos manage to land
opposite the page that describes the illustrated recipe:
especially when the recipe and photo in question don't
relate to each other at all.
These are, however, quibbles. Overall, Sublime
Vegetarian is one to look out for. Easy-to-follow
recipes, some interesting prose and a kitchen-worthy
collection of recipes ready to launch you on your way to
joyous meatlessness. | October 1999
is the editor of January Magazine. Her latest novel,
Calculated Loss, is set in Vancouver, where Madeline
Carter sets out to investigate the suspicious death of a