Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cookbooks: Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source and How It All Vegan

If the idea of green food appeals, then Clean Food (Sterling Epicure) may well be for you.

Author Terry Walters is a certified holistic health counselor and it shows. Clean Food is a gorgeous book, beautifully produced and while it is long on intent and sustainability, the recipes are more serviceable than inspired. In truth, though, and considering the thrust, for this particular book, that may be enough.

At one point Walters writes that “a perfect diet alone will not fully nourish us. What we need is connection -- to our bodies, hearts and spirits, to our families, to community, to the environment, the land, the season and to a purpose.”

This spirit is echoed throughout the book, which is long on recipes that will help round out the repertoire of someone just begin to play with the idea of a vegan diet or who wants to add a few vegan and veganish dishes to their old standbys.

What Clean Food lacks in flights of foodie fancy it makes up for in sheer volume. As the subtitle says: “With More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You.” There are many options here and a lot of the bases are covered and covered well.

For pure and joyous vegan inspiration, try the tenth anniversary edition of How It All Vegan (Arsenal Pulp Press) by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. Since the publication of the first edition in 1999, How It All Vegan has won numerous awards, inspired several sequels and been reprinted 14 times. This edition includes new recipes and, perhaps more importantly, has been updated to reflect a way of eating that has moved more firmly into the mainstream over the past decade.

As the title implies, How It All Vegan is a celebration of the vegan way of life. “Healthy lifestyles should begin by making conscious decisions about the food we eat and things we do to make it a better world.” For all of that, though, the recipes are great: easy-to-follow and potentially life-changing.

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