Fantastic new (well, 2001) vegetarian cookbook.

Jennifer Warren's parents were fabulous cooks. They ran a restaurant in Muskoka, Ontario. And they were definetly not vegetarian. So when Jennifer, in her teens, chose the meatless way, she was, at first, alone in the kitchen. It was a trying ordeal. "I suffered through soymilk taste-tests, shopping trips for various unrefined grains, and repetitive bean-soaking." She says. "Scoops of falafel mix whirled above my head in nightmares, crowned by gloppy squirts of tahini." Her parents began to worry about her. "Their daughter was eating hippie food." Finally they could stand it no longer. Her parents took to the kitchen, recreating some of her childhood favorites, vegetarian-style. This inspired her to do the same, and seven years later, voila!

The result is a great, distinctly North American approach to vegetarian cooking. You'll find no yoga, or zen koans in the pages of Vegetarian Comfort Food. Don't get me wrong. The book has its own share of excellent stir-fries, hummus, and peanut sauce. It's open to wide cultural influences. But the focus is on the type of hearty, wholesome cooking that so many of us grew up with.

The book is divied up like a typical cookbook, with chapters on:

At the end is a glossary of ingredients and cooking terms. Basics is a great starting point, if you're stumbling into the kitchen for the first time, or you're just unclear on a few of the finer points (like who sets the standards for "Extra Virgin" olive oil, or the difference between chop and dice). The recipes themselves cover a broad spectrum of tastes and styles, but with a focus on the "standards". I've unfortunatly only had time so far to try a small minority of the recipes available, but so far I've been impressed enough to write this node! Also, many of the recipes are either fully vegan, or offer simple substitutes to make them vegan.

For one of my favorites, see the shareware version.

Bibliographical Information:
Copyright © 2001 by Jennifer Warren
Whitecap Books Ltd. (

printed and bound in Canada