Sunday, January 17, 2010

In Search of the Lost Taste by Joshua Ploeg (Microcosm)

I suppose I could praise this vegetarian cookbook for its narrative magic (the recipes bundled together between stories and adventures that despite their globetrotting mystical nature seem to provide encouragement and hope that even squatters, couch surfers, and touring band members might be able to find amazing ingredients and potions to work with) or for its excellent illustrations (which switch back and forth from New Yorker-esque spot illos to goofy adventures of anthropomorphic fruits, grains, and vegetables). But quite simply and succinctly, I will end this by saying that this is the first vegetarian cookbook I've ever seen where everything looks like it will actually taste good. Ploeg never limits himself to trying to simulate boring meat dishes with deceptive glutens and gourds, and also doesn't limit himself to standard hippie fare -- elaborate desserts, cocktails and beverages abound. These all seem like flavorful, novel, wonderful treats, and when I finally complete my 60-day Little Debbie's-only diet, I pledge to give this book a workout.

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