Sometimes my shopping impulses get the better of me. Last week I stopped by the Book Outlet on a whim -in a rare moment of freedom I bolted out the door and landed on the edge of their annual warehouse sale. A box of books for $30. The parking lot was packed. The clerk in the front of the store, which was eerily quiet, stated that it was “a free for all back there.” The whole back of the warehouse was set up with tables and cardboard bins. Books were strewn everywhere. What the hell was I doing there? I’ll just do a lap around the perimeter, I told myself, and then I will go do something more productive and save my money.
The gateway into the madness was the children’s section. I can always justify buying books for my kids, or as gifts. Next were the design and gardening books. I figured that the methods of pruning roses probably wasn’t going to be revolutionized any time soon, so those older books were safe to buy. There were a few design books that I thought looked not too dated, and some good references for building materials. Then came the cookbooks. So many sad, sad, cookbooks. So few vegetarian or vegan cookbooks, and so many focused on diet and weight loss. I guess that’s good that the vegan books are not yet remaindered, or maybe I was just late to the sale and they were all snapped up. As it turns out, I did manage to nab a few good ones, or at least, enough to make my $30 box feel like it was going to do more than just fill out my bookshelves.
The first one was decidedly non-vegan and non-weight loss.
I guess I was feeling rebellious. And I don’t know if I ever will host a Christmas cookie exchange, because that means that someone has to eat all of those cookies and it had better not be me, or my kids! But I figure I can veganize the recipes, the photography is great, the design is very cute, and the ideas are endless. Just what I need: more baking in my life!
Then my heart fluttered a little when I saw Gene Baur mugging with his sheep.
This is a book that I would actually pay full price for, just to support Farm Sanctuary (I guess I’ll have to figure out another way to do that). The dust jacket is ripped and there are marks on a few of the pages, but I consider it to be a great score. And we’ll see if he really knows how to cook after all! Plus, my uncle was named Gene, and there are actually two Genes on the cover. My uncle Gene would probably be more likely to chase after Baur and Stone with his rifle and then hunt down all the livestock – this is a man who had a bumper sticker that read: Do us all a favour, shoot a Liberal. He was colourful, made his own deer sausage, and kept a spotless house. All types of Genes.
The third is another blogger-turned-cookbook author, Michael Natkin. It promises a flavour revolution. It’s not vegan, so hopefully it won’t rely too much on dairy and eggs. A quick look reveals lots of whole grains, fresh herbs, and again, pretty pictures.
Finally, a purple hardcover practically jumped out of the discount bin straight into my hand. It was none other than Mollie Katzen‘s latest. I have had my Moosewood tomes for almost two decades now, and it is nice to see how the vegetarian cookbook has evolved from a cutesy, unpretentious, unillustrated paperback to a sexy, glossy, hard selling hardcover (the photo here doesn’t do it justice).
So far I’ve tried one recipe from there, the Asparagus, Roasted Red Pepper and Chickpea Salad, and it was received very well at a family gathering.
I was looking for a new way to do asparagus. The dressing is a simple vinaigrette with a touch of sweetness from the agave. The flavour combo of roasted red peppers (from a jar), chickpeas, and chunky asparagus spears is really nice! I made it the night before and it was totally great the next day – I just added a squirt of lemon and some salt and pepper to freshen it up. Again, the book is not vegan, but it certainly is vegan-friendly, and I’m never scared to make substitutions where I see fit.
It’s nice to get a new haul of books, even if it was totally spontaneous and not necessarily what I would put on a wish list.