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Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons (Formerly Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons)
By Nava Atlas
ISBN: 076793072X
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication date: January, 2009
Format: Paperback
List price: $17.95 
Type: Vegan
Sample recipes: Mock Chicken Noodle Soup,  Minted Peach Soup
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Tone: food police intense neutral supportive comforting
Result: guilt-inducing heavy-handed balanced encouraging inspiring
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: We don't think this way, but sometimes when people hear the word "vegan," they unconsciously make associations with other words, such as "militant," "fussy," "preachy," "boring," and "bland." This vegan book is none of those things.

The book, a revision of Vegetarian Soups for All Seasons, has gone all vegan, and includes 20 new recipes over the old book. The 120 soup recipes are grouped by season, and while almost all of them start with olive oil, 1 onion, and a specified quantity of garlic, there is surprising diversity among the soups. Some have an Asian twist, some Creole, French, Spanish, Italian, etc. There are chilis, gumbos, gazpachos, stews, cold fruit soups (which do not start with the olive oil, onion, and garlic), and many other soups, especially suited to a particular season or to any season. Each recipe includes a nutritional analysis.

At the end of the book is a selection of recipes for breads, muffins, scones, and biscuits to accompany the soups.

The recipes are totally not fussy. The author points you toward organic vegetable bouillon cubes and salt-free spice mixtures that can be found in grocery and natural-food stores, rather than cajoling you to make your own. And not once did we find a holier-than-thou preachiness, which so often infects books of this sort.

Beyond a likely switch back to cow's cheese, sour cream, milk, and cream, we bet most of our omnivorous friends and readers would be 100% happy making most of these soups.

Our biggest complaint is that the occasional use of orange type in the book is a little hard to read.


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