Saturday, April 7, 2012

Cookbook Review: Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking (Carla Kelly)

Two and a half weeks ago, someone from The Experiment (a publisher) emailed me to see if I wanted a review copy of Carla Kelly's new cookbook, Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking. Super flattering and exciting! In case you couldn't discern from the cute dotted outline on the cover, the titular slow cooking refers specifically to cooking with a slow cooker. I don't own and have never used a slow cooker. I'm not sure I've ever even eaten a meal prepared in a slow cooker. Luckily, QEVSC includes a nice introductory section on slow cookers, as well as sections on the ingredients and techniques used in the book. Very amateur-friendly, which I appreciate. The back matter includes two indices, one of recipes by cooking time (capped off with those 10 hours and over!) and one of recipes by allergen / ingredient. Pretty gluten free- and soy free-friendly. I also enjoyed the acknowledgements, both for the list of names of recipe testers (& their favorite recipes), and for these sentences: "My dad for behind-the-scenes proofreading and pedantically changing the words (which I often then changed back). My mum for keeping my dad able to do so!" Nothing like backhanded gratitude in print! (I might very well be that dad in another several decades…)

As for the recipes, I didn't test any. I wasn't about to adapt a slow cooker recipe for the stovetop. But I read through some of them, and they look good. If I had a slow cooker I'd definitely use this book. If you are a vegan who owns a slow cooker, this book would make dinner preparation mindlessly easy (two thumbs up). That said, from what I can tell the recipes all follow the same basic sequence: 1. prepare the ingredients; 2. put them in the slow cooker in the correct order, if they cook differently; and 3. wait. Which got me thinking that almost all the recipes I post here follow a sequence that goes something like: 1. prepare the ingredients; 2. put them in a pot or pan in the correct order, if they cook differently; and 3. stir &/or season. Not too tough if you already know what kinds of foods you like to eat (or have foods slowly going bad in your refrigerator / on your counter top). 

Anyway, I recommend this book (in faith) for new vegans, vegans new to cooking, and cooks new to slow cookers. I also recommend checking out Carla Kelly's blog, The Year of the Vegan.

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