Review: Totally Vegetarian by Toni Fiore

Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian - Toni Fiore

What a sanctimonious piece of cooking advice. I could really not deal with the author's passive-aggressive "hints" and opinions about everything in a person's home - from the clutter of non-cooking essentials in the kitchen to which pots and pans are acceptable for use. I picked this up from the library because I want to make vegetables and grains more a part of my diet, moving them from side dishes to main events. I did not need a lecture on the morals of animal-based diets or farming. And for someone who insists that her love of cooking made her unsuitable to go to cooking school or become a chef, the author sounds like any other foodie when she harps on only using fresh herbs or a thousand ingredients for her dishes.

 

The author has a cooking show on public broadcasting television, and you can feel the NPR/PBS-smugness coming off in waves during the introduction sections of the book, which included her background, what kitchen tools and supplies are needed, and what to stock your pantry with (hope your budget can take all her "good" suggestions). What the book lacks in pictures or descriptions of techniques, it makes up for with trying to complicate dishes such as tomato bruschetta or mashed potatoes. The fifteen pictures found in the middle of the book were of the aforementioned bruschetta and asparagus spears dressed in lime juice....nothing from the more complex dishes. There is an abundant reliance on tofu, tempeh, and TVP based dishes, none of which interested me. The very small desert section featured either fruit with honey/maple syrup or some kind of tofu pie. She mentions all the different grains in the stocking the pantry section, then uses pasta for almost every dish in the entrée sections. Bulgar and quinoa each gets one recipe.

 

 

I will say the one dessert I liked was a Basmati Rice Pudding (made without dairy or eggs). The recipes I want to try come from the salad and appetizer sections, along with eggplant meatballs (so I can make a vegetarian version of Italian Wedding Soup). Nothing new or original, no pictures, plus condescending tone equals a lackluster effort.