Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Review: Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables

Apparently, there is some amazing food magazine in publication called Lucky Peach.  Well, amazing according to the reviews I read.  They say it's very hip.  Ugh, hip.  In my world, hip translates into lame things people trying really hard to be cool think are cool.

As someone who's not into anything considered hip, I wonder if that's why I was so conflicted about this writing this review.  Just starting with the cover of Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables!...what is the deal with this cover?  Something about it makes me feel like I'm about to watch an obnoxious infomercial.  I hate it.  Literally, hate it.

But as we all know, it's not about the cover, it's about what's inside that counts.  I really want to like what's inside because it's a mostly vegetarian cookbook.  Peter Meehan's explanation of why it's not a vegan cookbook only marginally makes sense.  He apparently knows more vegetarians than vegans (although it sounds like he actually knows pescatarians wrongly calling themselves vegetarians), he wants to appeal to omnivores "who wants things to be delicious first and foremost" (um, hello?  vegans want that too), and that cutting out meat is important for climate change.  Again, hello?  Dairy farms are high on list of industries destroying the planet.  Have you not watched Cowspiracy?  So, right off the bat, not impressed.  Hopefully, his recipes will be more impressive.

On a positive note, there is a full page picture for each recipe.  The pictures are not the bright photos with light backgrounds I've grown used to seeing. These have some sort of weird 1980's vibe to them. Not really my thing, but maybe I'm just not hip enough to get it...or whatever.

The recipes were a real mixed bag.  Things like the falafel was spot on recommending you use a meat grinder and not a food processor to grind the soaked chickpeas (never chickpeas from a can people, never).  A lot of the dips and condiments looked good.  Then there are things like Buffalo Cucumbers and Asparagus Like a Steak.  Is putting buffalo wing sauce on cucumbers really a recipe?  And I don't think cooking asparagus in butter, garlic and herbs is cooking it like a steak, I think that's just making good asparagus.  Isn't it?  I'm so confused.

While there was nothing in this book that made me feel like, "Wow!  I can't wait to make that!" there were recipes that looked interesting.  The Nishi Sweet Potato with hoisin, chilis and mint looks interesting. Saltie's Clean Slate seems like a new twist on the veggie wraps I make.  Tofu Akuri is a vegan scramble recipe from a relative who is Parsi.  It's different enough from my usual tofu scramble, that I plan on making it for breakfast this week.  Even the Zucchini Mujadara looks like a dish with simple ingredients that will wind up being really good.

Okay, so writing this review forced me to take a slower, more in-depth look at the recipes, and I guess I did find more recipes I was interested in making than I initially thought....

IS IT VEGAN FRIENDLY?:  I didn't see anything in here that couldn't easily be veganized.  With the exception of the recipes with hard boiled eggs, anchovies, dried shrimp or dried scallops.  Pescatarians, please for the love of God, stop calling yourselves vegetarians.  It confuses people.  And it's incorrect.  Perhaps invest in a dictionary instead of this cookbook.  And everyone should watch Cowspiracy.  Educate yourself people, stop turning a blind eye to what's happening in the world around you.  Just saying.

WOULD I BUY IT: I wouldn't buy it, but I would take it out of the library.  I might even photocopy a few recipes.  So why the four-star review?  I'm giving this book the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe I'm just guilty of judging a book by its horrible cover.  The truth is, I want to like this book.  I always want to like books that are promoting a more vegetable heavy diet.  If that's the case, I will gladly come back and update this post.  But honesty, I think the rave reviews are from hip people that know the hip writer and the hip editors of this hip book.  Also, just saying.

I received a free copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.  There was no obligation to give a positive review, and if you read my blog, you know I'm a tell-it-like-it-is kind of girl.  I mean what I say and say what I mean, that holds true for my review.

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