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Tuesday, September 16, 2014


FLEX APPEAL; a vegetarian cookbook for families with meat-eaters (Whitecap, 2014, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-77050-188-1, $29.95 CAN paper covers) is by Pat Crocker (herbalist and prolific cookbook author) and Nettie Cronish (organic foods chef and cookbook author). Their book is about putting together a healthy and delicious dinner in half an hour or less for both vegetarians and carnivores. I must say that when I first saw the book, I thought - "hey, terrific, a cookbook about flax seed". But there was no flax in the book, and I needed new glasses...Nevertheless, "flexitarian" as a term has become more popular, and seems to be an ideal meeting place for the convergence of carnivore and vegetarian. In essence, it is all about treating meat as just another garnish and serving it with a lot of veggies. A little meat goes a long way, such as a single strip of bacon or even just using bacon fat to saute veggies. They've got a whole section on how to eat less meat and how to make sharp meat purchases (mostly by buying organic and by buying less). This is mainly a veggie book with a little meat that could be added. Think strips and small e.g., shrimp, chicken liver, sirloin and poultry strips, etc. So with caramelized onion and pear tart, you could add bacon, with feta-stuffed figs, try prosciutto, with cheddar and salsa tortillas try tuna, or chicken with spicy lentil pinwheels. It is arranged by course, from apps/snacks to breakfast, skillet suppers, stir-fries, one-pots, noodles, wraps, soups, stews, salads, and desserts. Preparations have their ingredients listed in both metric and avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegetarians and meat eaters.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: cauliflower and coconut curry chowder (whitefish); Alsatian vegetable gratin (turkey); avocado and olive salad (trout); skillet fava bean paella (shrimp); hot and sour tempeh noodles (scallops); Mediterranean frittata (sausage); Caesar salad (crab).
The downside to this book: I'd like more meat choices per dish.
The upside to this book: good concept.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.

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