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Nov 12, 2007 12:25 PM

Mark Bittman's New Cookbook

I was just wondering if anyone has had the chance to take a good look at or cook anything out of Mark Bittman's new book - How to Cook Everything Vegetarian? I had to zip quickly in and out of Barnes and Noble today and didn't have time to check it out. Not like I need another cookbook, but...
And, are there any other very new cookbooks out there that anyone is crazy about? (Christmas list you know.) Thanks.

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  1. From what I've read, it sounds like a rip-off of Deborah Madison's great "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone." But I guess if Mark Bittman has deigned to "discover" vegetables they'll have cachet in certain circles.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I did take a look at it this weekend and had the exact same impression: Look's like VCFE (Madison) which I have so don't need something else. A lot of very basic recipes which won't thrill someone who already cooks a lot.

      I was excited with the new book from Alice Medrich "Pure Dessert" I don't cook out of cookbooks or use recipes, but this one had was nice in that had a lot of unique items, using different flours/dairy etc. for new flavors.

      1. re: jsaimd

        How can you possibly bake and not use recipes?

        1. re: pikawicca

          OK - you got me... I do use some recipes when baking, but tend to adapt a lot on the fly because we have to do gluten-free. I tend to use online recipes when baking and mesh together recipes a lot. Yes - I certainly have failures, but most of the time it works out.

      2. re: Ruth Lafler

        Ruth, do I detect a slight anti-Bittman vibe here? ;+)

        I haven't looked at the Bittman cookbook yet, but I figure that I have enough veg. cookbooks to last several lifetimes. With Mad Jaff's World Veg. Cooking and Eastern Veg Cooking and DM's Veg. Cooking for Everyone along with the other Tassajara/Greens' cookbooks, you don't need another one.

        I love Bittman's How to Cook Everything since it's an easy to use reference for almost anything having to do with cooking. I bought his Best Recipes and find it less useful but still pretty good. That's enough for me....

        That, and his and Lahey's (sp?)bread and I'm happy. He's going a bit overboard in my opp.

        1. re: oakjoan

          It's funny, because I don't really have any strong feelings (or, really, any feelings) about Bittman. I just really hated the hype around the book that implied that no one knew anything about how to cook vegetables, so thank G*d Mark Bittman came to the rescue. I guess it's the sort of cultish following that some authors/media personalities have that I'm objecting to, not Bittman himself.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Thank you for the replies. I do have "How to Cook Everything" and have on occasion used it as a general reference. I don't know much about Mark Bittman, as I try to buy cookbooks where the content grabs me rather than just based on who the writer is. I really need to buy "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" as I am lacking in the vegetarian inspiration area and on Chow I have never heard anything but praise for this book.. Both of my daughters have joined PETA, fuss at me about anything leather and are now sporting shirts with cute sayings like "Club Sandwiches - not Seals"...) Great sentiment, but I'm still a meat-eater much to their dismay. So, I am going to have to step up the vegetables. If there are any other over-the top inspirational veggie books out there, please let me know. And as always, where else could I turn for such sage advise...

            1. re: Mothership

              You can't go wrong with Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It's one of my "desert island" cookbooks. I have never cooked a bad recipe from it and some of my favorites have originated from there (love the sweet-and-sour eggplant!) Along the healthy-vegetarian vein, you might want to look at Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson (of the 101cookbooks blog). The photography is just stunning and the recipes I've made have been easy, yet inventive. I LOVE the homemade energy bars (so much so that I am in danger of getting too much "energy", which winds up on my hips!) She does a nice job of explaining different sweeteners and other ingredients in her pantry.

              1. re: Mothership

                How much of the new Bittman book overlaps with the original How to Cook Everything?

                1. re: Mothership

                  I like the Moosewood cookbooks quite a bit. If your daughters are still at home and you need ideas for weeknight meals, you will probably like their Simple Suppers books. It has some creative ideas, and the authors recognize how people actually cook: i.e., they suggest lots of substitutions.

                  Also, I have found Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa to be more useful than the title suggests.

                  I will have to check out Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I had a bias against Deborah Madison bc I thought the first Greens cookbook was pretty ridiculous, but she seems to have evolved.

                  1. re: jjones21

                    The original Moosewood cookbook is one of my favorites! I started using it just after I graduated from college, and it's one of the few books that I still find very useful.

                    I also love Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian, which I just got a couple of months ago. For me, her recipes always turn out really well, and so I would recommend anything she's written.

                    I haven't seen the new Bittman book, but after my initial excitement about How to Cook Everything, I find I rarely use it. Not sure why; I think it's a pretty good reference, but nothing in it inspires me very much. I will certainly have a look at the veg book, though.

                  2. re: Mothership

                    Buy a copy of the new "Veganomicon" -- it might change the way you think about cooking vegetarian food.

                    1. re: Mothership

                      You might want to take a look at Peter Berley's cookbooks -- Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, Fresh food fast, and his new one -- Flexitarian table. First two are vegetarian and newest contains recipes that you have the option of making vegetarian (eg tofu) or not (shrimp, meat), etc. That way you could satisfy everyone in your home.

                      1. re: NYchowcook

                        Yes, I have just discovered Berley's Modern Veg Kitchen. I made his classic white bean soup with garlic and rosemary for a dinner party and it was a showstopper. A simple white bean soup--who would have guessed?

              2. My favorite vegetarian cookbook is Faith Willinger's Red, White and Greens; the Italian Way with Vegetables. It's been around for a while but is still very much a staple in my cookbook library as is the Deborah Madison book. Faith has a new book about to be published called Adventures of an Italian Food Lover; with 213 Recipes from My Very Best Friends. Her sister did the terrific watercolor illustrations. This is the book I really want this Christmas. Her recipes are simple and simply delicious. Plus, her remarks about the food are informative and witty.

                1. I decided to purchase the Deborah Madison book - Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. I have been traveling and haven't had a chance to cook out of it yet, but there are sure plenty of recipes that I am looking forward to trying. I think I will also take another look at the Moosewood cookbooks. They seem to be pretty well liked wherever they are mentioned. Thanks to everyone for the input.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Mothership

                    Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant is my go-to book. It features vegetarian recipes of different cuisines -- Italian, Mexican, etc. Never dull. I've used it for years and have been all over the Italian section. I need to branch out and try more.

                  2. I just checked this book out of the library (didn't realize there was a lot of hype around it, but I'm probably living underneath a rock these days!). I already have VCGFE and really love it. All the same, I think I may ask for this book for xmas. I haven't cooked from it yet, but I liked the fact that he gives a lot of variations on how one might modify his recipes. They're also *very* straightforward and while I have the skills to cook more complex things, I don't have the time right now in my life. It's definitely not a super challenging cookbook or chock full of amazing authentic ethnic recipes. But, it seems a solid cookbook that could function as a great reference (much like VCFE) with recipes that are, perhaps, a bit more basic than Madison's book.

                    Oh, forgot to add, there are no pics in it (as you probably say and B&N). That's irrelevant to me, but I've met a lot of people who feel very strongly about wanting pics.