Foreword Review — Mar / Apr 2011
Hearty, low-fat vegan fare is complemented by a veteran cookbook author’s considerable gift for gab in this winning collection. “If the idea of life without mashed potatoes leaves you a shattered mess, Caulipots are there to pick up the pieces.” As it turns out, substituting cauliflower and veggie broth for milk and butter in her recipe is inspired. Moscowitz, host of The Post-Punk Kitchen website, also serves up onion rings (baked, not fried) with nothing to apologize for.
Simply put, the salad section rocks: “There was a time—a lonely, lonely time—when salads were a pale and limp affair, relegated to the side of your plate, practically weeping.” Caesar Salad with Eggplant Bacon and Wild Rice Salad with Oranges and Roasted Beets headline a stellar line-up. Entree standouts include Black Beans in Red Velvet Mole (authentically Mexican in flavor), Curried Scrambled Tofu with Wilted Arugula (her breakfast staple), Brussels Sprout-Potato Hash, and Sanctuary Dressing (“because ranches are not nice places for cows”).
A parade of sixteen beautifully styled color photographs dresses up the book’s interior—the appeal of the Spinach Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta necessitated a trip to the grocery at first glance. Highlighted, offset notes accompanying the recipes explain methods and terminology, and handy icons designate the Gluten-free, Soy-free, and prepared in 30 Minutes and Under dishes, as well as some offering “Downtime” during the cooking process. Every recipe also contains a nutritional breakdown of fats, calories, proteins, fiber, calcium, iron, and the like. Moscowitz worked closely with dietician Matthew Ruscigno to ensure the most healthful results. His motto, from a citation of the best food sources that offer vegans the nutrients they need, is “Say It With Me: High fiber, Low fat.”
The single annoying fault in this book is a consistently lean amount of oil specified to get most sautéed dishes started. Moscowitz’s advice to “spray with a little non-stick cooking spray, if needed” seems overly ascetic; undoubtedly, most readers will add a teaspoon or two of olive oil to each recipe.
For those still struggling with the “freshman fifteen,” those whose diets honor animals and the planet, and people who just want to eat healthfully, Appetite for Reduction is that rare diet book that makes you feel like you’re getting away with something. Moscowitz’s other award-winning cookbooks include Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. With this selection in hand, serious cooks with high standards can feel confident inviting over their finicky foodie friends.