3.WHOLE BOWLS (Skyhorse Publishing, 2016, 231 pages, ISBN 978-1-63450-865-1, $24.99 USD hardbound) is by Allison Day. She's a whole-foods vegetarian blogger (Yummy Beet, a Taste Canada 2015 Award Winner)who free-lances articles. She currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario. These are complete gluten-free and vegetarian meals "to power your day". And the trend now, since we are all rushed, seems to be to the meal-sized one-bowl, sort of like horses and oats. The preps are for all mealtimes, but can fit within the confines of a bowl. Try the cauliflower hazelnut pilaf. She's got fifty of them, plus some min-recipes for partial contents of bowls which can be mixed and matched to build your own creations. These are innovative "Whole Bowls Formula". Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there are also tables of equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegetarians, GF eaters.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: oat risotto breakfast bowls with soft-boiled eggs, avocado and hazelnut dukkah; curried falafel kale salad bowls; carrot cake bowls with cream cheese and candied carrots.
The downside to this book: I wish that there were more bowls, not just 50.
The upside to this book: I like the whole bowl formula.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
4.BOWL (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-32528-9, $25 USD paperbound) is by Lukas Volger, who owns a veggie-burger company and has written vegetarian cookbooks. Here, with log rolling from Deborah Madison, David Tanis, and Martha Rose Shulman, he gives us his take on the all-in-one bowl. These are vegetarian recipes for ramen, pho, bibimbap, dumplings and other one-dish meals. He's got some grain bowls, so the book isn't entirely gluten-free. It's all arranged by type of major ingredient (ramen, etc.), with primer sections on tools and ingredients. There are some cold dishes and some lukewarm dishes as well. There's about 100 preps, all of them tasty. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: bowl lovers, Asian food lovers.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: spicy tofu crumbles, raw veggies, cilantro; black rice burrito bowl (purple cabbage, beans, avocado, pumpkin seeds); couscous bowl (grilled eggplant and corn, pounded ginger drizzle); buckwheat bowl (roasted shiitakes and fennel, celery, pomegranate molasses).
The downside to this book: leans a lot on the Asiatic side, recipes already well-known
The upside to this book: international flavours, tasty.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
5.GREAT BOWLS OF FOOD (Countryman Press, 2016, 178 pages, ISBN 978-1-58157-338-1 $21.95 USD paperbound) is by Robin Asbell, cookbook and freelance food writer. It's competitive in price with the other two books above, in that it has 75 recipes. The range is wider: vegan to paleo. It's also mainly arranged by mealtime, breakfast through dinner with parties, soup brothy, and desserts. Every bowl should have some of each of five components: base (carbs), protein, produce, sauce, and garnish. Then you can mix and match. She's got great material on choosing bowls for either or both of diameter and depth, lingering on the Japanese "negative space" concept of "Ma" to reduce stress. She's got a lot of data on food selection, with nutritional information and sizings. A boon is the chapter on make-ahead condiments, so you'll have more time to spend on the other components at the last minute. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: bowl lovers, those looking for more ideas.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: okonomiyaki scramble-topped rice with tomato and mayo drizzles; buttermilk quinoa bowl; native wild rice bowl; lemongrass-poached scallops and veggie brothy bowl; freekeh-sage bowl; soft polenta with roasted smoky chickpeas, grape tomatoes, chard, and creamy basil sauce.
The downside to this book: I wanted more.
The upside to this book: lots of ideas here.
Quality/Price Rating: 90.
6.WHOLE WORLD VEGETARIAN (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, 320 pages, ISBN 978-0-544-01845-7, $23 USD paperbound) is by cooking teacher and cookbook author Marie Simmons, who has won both a Child and two Beards. Here she deals with regional and ethnic vegetarian and vegan foods, arranged by course from apps to sides. She's got some good takes on food, especially appetizers. The print is nice and large and the index is substantial. The Mediterranean contributes a strong component to the food, as does South East Asia with India. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegetarians looking for an international angle.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: summer garden paella; Indonesian salad with peanut dressing and fried tofu; torta with eggs, beans and cactus salad; vegetarian shepherd's pie; stir fries with crisp noodle pancakes.
The downside to this book: it needs a sharper focus.
The upside to this book: some dishes can be converted to vegan quite easily.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
7.WHOLE PROTEIN VEGETARIAN (Countryman Press, 2016, 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-58157-326-8, $27.95 USD hardbound) is by Rebecca Miller Ffrench, a recipe developer, stylist and magazine food writer. She tries to integrate whole foods into the diet, to get enough protein of the right kind to support a plant-based diet. We all need nine of the essential amino acids that make up complete protein, and many grains-beans-greens-nuts contain fewer than that. Solution: include a wider variety of plant-based foods over the course of a whole day (complementary amino acids do not need to be consumed at the same time). Ffrench's book tells you how. The arrangement, after the basics, is by mealtime activity; there is also a listing of food sensitivities by recipe (gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, egg-free). She has charts for daily meal pairings and pantry stocking. Try the savory cheddar pinto bean muffins, or the crunchy mung bean sprout salad. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: vegans and vegetarians concerned about protein.
Some interesting or unusual facts: protein-boosting plant-based foods include lentils, edamame, black beans, soy tempeh, quinoa, whole grain bread, and hemp seed.
The downside to this book: the listing of food sensitivities does not include page references, so each prep has to be tracked down through the index.
The upside to this book: charts for daily meal pairings.
Quality/Price Rating: 88.
8.VEGAN VEGETARIAN OMNIVORE (W.W. Norton, 2016, 415 pages, ISBN 978-0-393-08301-9, $35 USD hardbound) is by THE Anna Thomas, who wrote The Vegetarian Epicure in 1973, a book that was life-changing for many people. He last book Love Soup won a Beard. Here she tackles the family's divided table where some eat vegan, others eat vegetarian, and still others are omnivores. Her solution: "Start with the food everyone eats, design a meal or a dish around that, then expand and elaborate with just the right amounts of the right cheeses, meats, or fish for your omnivores. Everyone feels welcome, and we eat the same meal – but in variations." She has 150 preps here for all tastes, with a chapter "Thanksgiving for Everyone". The cuisine is, of course, international. She opens with menus (but with no page references) that also include Halloween, Christmas Eve, Italian style for Christmas Day or New Year's, and Easter Brunch. The recipes are arranged by type of food, from apps through to desserts. Both the table of contents and the index are exhaustive. Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: family peacemakers and family cooks.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: for Halloween – try spicy cilantro and mint pesto, cannellini and garlic spread, crostini/flatbread, stuffed pumpkin with farro and black rice pilaf and fall veggies, roast turkey breasts or leg quarters with garlic and herbs, chicory and kale with agave vinaigrette, raw cranberry and fuyu persimmon relish, and winter fruit crumble with gingersnap topping.
The downside to this book: there needs to be a sequel, perhaps embracing some allergies such as gluten.
The upside to this book: a good concept, which many are already following, but they needed nudging to complete the validation.
Quality/Price Rating: 89.
9.LO-SO GOOD (Chronicle Books, 2016, 272 pages, ISBN 978-1-4521-3508-3, $29.95 USD hardbound) is by food writer and blogger Jessica Goldman Foung. She was diagnosed with lupus and had to switch to a low-sodium lifestyle. It has been awhile since I last looked at a lo-so cookbook; you just don't see them anymore since concentration seems to be on allergies rather than reduction (for example, you don't see a low-gluten book anywhere). What you are looking for here is salty replacement for accentuating flavours. That you can get from the higher acids of citrus and the intensity of herbs. Just avoid purchasing any processed/restaurant food. Or, if you do, avoid all sodium in the home and let the processed/restaurant food be your sodium for the day. It's arranged by lifestyle changes and flavour-substitutions, along with pantry setups and shopping ideas. She's got recipes grouped by type, with page references for bites, breakfasts, breads, lunches, soups, dinners, party meals, and desserts. You could try roasted pepper and butternut squash soup or corn-broccoli burgers (both with ground pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic powder as salt substitutes). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is no table of metric equivalents.
Audience and level of use: those on a sodium diet.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: carry around a bag of herbs/spices for flavours when you are out of the house.
The downside to this book: I'd like more than 70 recipes.
The upside to this book: just mimic the salt at home with a variety of other condiments.
Quality/Price Rating: 86.
10.BATCH (Appetite by Random House, 2016, 344 pages, ISBN 978-0-449-01665-7, $30 USD hardbound) is by Joel MacCharles and Dana Harrison, who created www.wellpreserved.ca in 2008. The site now has over 1800 articles and 700 recipes on preserving local foods, among other topics. It comes with log rolling by Curtis Stone and Jeanine Donofrio, and even Bar Tartine in Frisco. They explore seven different techniques: waterbath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, fermenting, cellaring, salting/smoking, and infusing. After that, 25 foods are looked at through almost 200 recipes, from apples through mushrooms through tomatoes. Each food has a variety of methods used to preserve it. For example, apples are best handled as canned, dehydrated, fermented or infused, while mushrooms are canned, pressure canned, or dehydrated. It is an exceptionally colourful book, bringing order to chaos. What to do with the preserved foods? Eat them, but use their food recipes (see below). Preparations have their ingredients listed in avoirdupois measurements, but there is an illustrated table of metric equivalents on page 5.
Audience and level of use: those who want to preserve or have a large batch of food that needs processing.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: broiled scallops with apple gastrique; chicken stuffed with apples, walnuts and cheddar; tofu wellington; mushroom polenta.
The downside to this book: many of the preps are useful but they only use up the preserved foods – they are in addition to the individual techniques for each food.
The upside to this book: comprehensive enough.
Quality/Price Rating: 87.