by Leslie McEachern Ten Speed Press, 2003 Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Nov 8th 2004
For most people, when they think of
organic vegan food, they think of health rather than taste. The Angelica
Home Kitchen should help to change that rather dull image. Dining at the
Angelica Kitchen restaurant in New York City is reliably satisfying and
pleasing, and the recipes in this cookbook faithfully reproduce many of the
items on the menu. It is a nicely produced book, with easy-to-follow recipes
and beautiful pictures. The first 85 pages are devoted to the ideas behind veganism
(eating no animal products, including milk, eggs, and honey) and organic food.
Throughout the book, there are also boxes with stories about the restaurant and
people associated with it, including food suppliers. This adds to the personal
dimension of the book, centering it more in New York and strengthening its
Some of the recipes in The
Angelica Home Kitchen are very simple. The miso-tahini spread takes 10
minutes to prepare, and contains just mellow barley miso, tahini and water.
The creamy watercress, leek and potato soup can be prepared in about 45
minutes, and is distinctive because it uses lots of garlic, fresh tarragon and
lemon juice. Ingredients like these can be found in most good supermarkets.
On the other hand, other recipes use harder-to-find ingredients such as seitan,
kombu, kamut berries, spelt berries, and amaranth. One would have to go to a
specialty or health food store to find them. But the recipes they go to make
are full of taste: chickpea tart with potatoes and onions, classic vegetable
lasagna, sweet potato biscuits, lentil-walnut pate, and baked tempeh with
soy-mustard marinade. The instructions are easy to follow and it doesn't take
too long to prepare the meal.
Obviously, not everyone is going to
be enthusiastic about eating tofu, kimchee, or quinoa. But for those who like
to try new foods and also want to eat healthily, The Angelica Home Kitchen
is an excellent collection of recipes. Highly recommended.
Perring, Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities
Division and Chair of the Philosophy Department at DowlingCollege, Long Island. He is also
editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.