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Double Take: One Fabulous Recipe, Two…

Double Take: One Fabulous Recipe, Two Finished Dishes, Feeding Vegetarians…

by A.J. Rathbun

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It’s two, two, two cookbooks in one!

I’m a flexitarian. That’s an omnivore who happens to eat a lot of vegetarian meals. Not all of my friends are quite so expansive in their diets. Many are the times that I’ve tried to plan menus to satisfy both the carnivores and vegetarians in my life. For that reason, I thought the idea behind Double Take: One Fabulous Recipe, Two Finished Dishes—Feeding Vegetarians and Omnivores Together was simply stellar. So, five stars for the concept, but only three stars for the execution.

The first thing I noticed was that there are absolutely no photos in the cookbook. I don’t know why they’re so important to me, but they are. Now, aside from the photo issue, the design of this book is quite nice—attractive, easy to read, and with 4-color printing.

Let’s talk about the recipes. I have two complaints. The first complaint is that a lot of the recipes rely on “fake” meat ingredients, like vegetarian versions of bacon, beef, hot dogs, sausage, ham, chicken, and even prosciutto! Personally, I prefer vegetarian recipes that use ingredients like tofu, TVP, seitan, portabellas, and legumes for protein sources. And there are recipes like that—just not as many.

Here’s the other thing… One of the recipes immediately caught my eye. Apparently, bierocks are some sort of Midwestern meat pie. Holt’s recipe is made with canned refrigerator biscuits for dough. It sounds like good comfort food. But looking more closely at the recipe, I see that the filling contains only ground beef (or “vegetarian beef crumbles”), vegetable oil, onion, and cabbage. That’s all. No seasonings of any kind. I find the recipes in this book to be simplistic to a fault. There’s good diversity in the recipe selection, but the recipes are unsophisticated.

To counteract these criticisms, let me tell you something I like about the book. At the end of each recipe is a concise instruction on how to make the recipe all meat or all vegetarian, for times when you don’t have to feed both crowds.

I don’t love the recipes in this book, but I still think the idea behind it is great. I may be using it more for inspiration than for actual cooking. ( )
1 vote suetu | Feb 16, 2010 |
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Offers individual recipes designed to present similar attractive plates to vegetarians and omnivores, ranging from lamb/lambless stew to chili con/non carne.

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