'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian is the latest cookbook from Mark Bittman, author of the weekly New York Times food column, 'The Minimalist' and How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food.
At first I wondered how a non-vegetarian could write a decent cookbook explaining a diet he himself doesn't follow, but just as you can't judge a book by its cover you also shouldn't judge a cookbook by its author's eating habits.
Mark Bittman may not be a vegetarian, but he knows about delicious food and how to cook it. Bittman also brings the perspective of a meat eater learning to cook and appreciate vegetarian food. That makes his cookbook a valuable introduction to cooking and eating veg.
Another nice feature is the large selection of vegan and ovo-lacto vegetarian recipes in 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian'. All the new vegetarian cookbooks I've seen lately are solely vegan and it's nice to come across a cookbook that offers something for the whole range of vegetarian eaters.
Bittman does a terrific job explaining basic cooking techniques, kitchen equipment, and vegetarian ingredients. Do you want to know the difference between sautéing, stir frying, and steaming vegetables, and how to do all three? Want to know about the different types of rice, and the best dishes to eat with each one? Want to know how to make your own tofu? 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' has all the answers.
One of the best things about this cookbook is that Bittman is not a professional chef, and he understands what it's like to be a busy person cooking at home. 'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' is full of tips for saving time and making things ahead.
Bittman also demystifies and simplifies a lot of things that are thought to be too challenging or time consuming for home cooks, like baking bread. Following his instructions I went from baking dense heavy loaves, to beautiful, flavorful baguettes with a satisfyingly crackly crust and a tender texture with just enough chew.
'How to Cook Everything Vegetarian' is a thorough, well researched, easy to use cookbook full of recipes for preparing, well, everything! I recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about vegetarian cooking - Sarah Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian