Upon receipt of the beautiful Second Edition of Dining with Friends, I was immediately impressed with the heft, look and feel of the book. While the quality of the recipes is paramount, the quality of the paper, the beauty of the pages and the ease of finding a particular recipe are all important to me. I always insert markers for recipes I want to try and must admit, I used more markers in this volume than in any recent cookbook I have reviewed.* The ingredients are easy to read and the directions are simple to follow. In the back of the book are holiday menus, a temperature conversion chart, a glossary of terms, a shopping guide, information about kitchen equipment, and the all-important index of contents. The foreword to the book was written by John Robbins, and includes a lovely prayer by teacher Thich Nhat Hanh which reads in part:Let us pray that all living beings realize that they are all brothers and sisters, all nourished from the same source of life, Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be
the cause of suffering to each other.
Everything From Gluten-Free to Raw Foods
Not having much experience with vegan cakes, I tried the German Chocolate cake recipe immediately. This was so much easier than I expected, and the result was a very moist and delicious cake that would surprise the most ardent omnivore. There is a must-try raspberry cheesecake for my next special event, too, and numerous recipes for everything from cookies to crisps, from pies to flummery. There is even a Gluten Free chapter, sure to please those who must avoid those food products. In keeping with one of my new favorites in food patterns, Dining With Friends has a chapter devoted to raw foods, too. There are also helpful make-it-yourself recipes for things like vegan sour cream, salsa and salad dressings; I tried the Spiced Tahini Dressing which was both creamy and delicious.
Since I had few ingredients on hand, I was delighted to find a recipe for Carrot and Potato Soup – one that is not only delicious, but a great recipe to pull out when supplies are limited. After I restocked the cupboards, I was ready to try Pasta with Artichoke Hearts. This was again a very easy recipe, but one that is so delicious, I will take this to the very next vegan potluck I attend. Using shallots cooked in oil with garlic, fresh tomatoes, dried tomatoes, red pepper flakes…..well, you just have to try it. It is great left over as well. I would recommend making only half the pasta (8 to 10 ounces) rather than the full pound in order to get plenty of the vegetables in every bite, but this one is going to join my perennial favorites.
Dining With Friends is an Important Contribution to Vegan Cuisine
While I am exposed to many world dishes, I have a dearth of Italian recipes in my repertoire (or I did, until I was enlightened by this book and its companion book, The Best of Vegan Cooking, another truly wonderful cookbook). After making the first Italian recipe, I realized what I had been missing. While Feral and Hall occasionally disagree with me about theoretical perspectives, I know we share a belief in the importance of veganism, and believe that creating and making available delicious and simple vegan recipes is part of helping save animal lives. In that vein, they have added a beautiful and important edition to the current collections of vegan cookbooks. If you have missed this one, be sure to add it to your personal library; it is one of my all-time favorites!
*Bookmarked selections include:
- Believable “Bacon”
- West African Peanut Soup
- Vegetable Bisque
- Greek Bean Soup
- Classic Mediterranean Salad with Fresh Mint
- Orange with Spinach and Romaine
- Italian Vegetable and Potato Stew
- Tempeh London Broil
- Spiced Orange Broccoli
- Sweet Dessert Cream
- Chocolate Marble Cheesecake
- Ginger Lemonade