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Title: Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way
Author: Leanne Ely
Copyright: © 2007
Publisher: Ballantine, an imprint of Random House
Relevance: Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way presents a weekly and seasonal based recipe book for vegetarians or those wanting to incorporate a healthier lifestyle into their busy schedules.
Review: Let’s face it. There are few reporters and correspondents who despite their best intentions, can remain vegetarian or even keep to a healthy heart-friendly diet given our often-hectic schedules and crazy travel requirements.
This said, Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way provides lots of healthy menus, recipes, and perhaps most importantly, shopping lists to keep you and those you care about eating their veggies.
Many non-vegetarians believe that adopting a life of vegetarianism (or at least a life of pseudo-vegetarianism) will lead to boredom. After all, how many ways are there to cook frozen peas and carrots from a bag?
Of course, seasoned vegetarians (yes, the pun is intended) know the opposite that being a vegetarian means one samples a wide variety and seldom boring list of fruit and veg that their meat-eating counterparts don’t even know about.
In this way, author Leanne Ely who is the "host" of the Web’s SavingDinner.com provides a wide variety of recipes both tempting and tasty for readers. Nicely organized by week, she does much of the hard work for the aspiring or practicing vegetarian. Plus, she gamely creates shopping lists for each week based on the respective recipes presented. This means that busy people don’t have to do much figuring out when it comes to what stuff goes in that shopping cart.
Ely also includes the calorie, fat, protein and carb counts for each of her recipes, as well as making a stab at cholesterol and sodium counts. Because many readers may be on a formal diet that measures starch, meat, veg and carb exchanges, she also itemizes these for each recipe.
Classifications: We would have liked to see a further classification of the different types of vegetarian meals presented because some of the meals are not suitable for vegans (just vegetables, no animal products), ovos (eggs are okay), lactos (animal milk products are fine), and lacto-ovos (milk and eggs are fine). Instead, readers are essentially on their own to skim through the ingredients' lists and delete recipes that may not be up to their dietary standards. In a perfect world, we would have liked to see a formal classification system for each recipe.
We weren’t entirely sure why she uses a seasonal metaphor for her vegetarian treatise (is it when the featured vegetables are more likely to be found on store shelves?). Lacking an alternative, however, it seems to work. We would have also liked to see some further analysis on the vitamin content for each dish described mainly because vegetarians, especially vegans, are often chided to “eat a piece of meat” to get a full range of vitamins and nutrients. Although this is mostly hogwash, we felt it would be nice to have a bit more chemistry for each recipe; just to put our dietary minds at ease.
The choice of binding, of course, is beyond any author’s purview, but we have a secret desire to see all cookbooks in lay-flat or spiral bindings to make it easier to actually use the recipes in a live kitchen. We recognize, however, the realities of book selling necessitates perfect bindings on most soft cover books. For a cookbook, however, we would like to see this book marketing rule broken more often. If this was the case, more cooks (and aspiring ones) wouldn't make common mistakes such as doubling ingredients or leaving them out entirely when they lose their place in the recipe when the cookbook closes abruptly.
We thought Saving Dinner the Vegetarian Way was a welcome cookbook on all but the most fervent meat-eater’s kitchen bookshelf. It is written in a clear, friendly and certainly non-threatening manner and subtly encourages people to at least try the lifestyle. Go ahead, it won’t hurt you. Recommended.
End of Review
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