One of the most difficult things I’ve had to try to do is find and purchase a vegetarian cookbook. You might be saying to yourself, “Why would that be difficult? Just go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble.” I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that way. Honestly, I wouldn’t. But it really isn’t quite that simple.
Vegetarian and vegan cookbooks are easy to find both on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble. The problem is finding one that suits your lifestyle. Most of the vegetarian or vegan cookbooks I’ve found just so happen to lean toward the fancy side of cooking. This means that I’ve never heard of some of the ingredients or if I’ve heard of them, they’re certainly not something normally found in my neck of the woods. These dishes are also often things that I don’t personally know anyone who actually eats things like that. I don’t know about you, but I like to find cookbooks with dishes I’d eat.
So how does one find a cookbook that suits their tastes and needs? To be honest, your best bet will be flipping through as many cookbooks as you can find. There are a few key things I suggest you look for.
Easy to follow recipes. This may sound like a no-brainer, but the recipes should be easy to follow. Check a few of the recipes for cooking terms you don’t recognize. If you find any, see if there is any description of those cooking terms in a glossary or footnote. If there isn’t, you might want to pass on that cookbook, unless you really want to try some of the recipes and don’t mind using Google to find the answers you need.
Familiar Ingredients. This one is a huge pet peeve for me and a few other vegetarian and vegan folks I’ve spoken with. Flipping through a cookbook only to find every other recipe contains ingredients you’ve either never heard of or can’t find where you live is frustrating to say the least. If the ingredient lists aren’t familiar to you, it’s probably a good idea to find a different cookbook.
Recipes that fit your lifestyle. Obviously, if you’ve got a busy or tight schedule and the recipes in the book mostly take an hour or more to prepare, you’ll want to pass on that cookbook.
Photos of the finished products. While this one isn’t exactly a requirement, it is nice. I have a great cookbook that doesn’t have a single photo of the finished products in it, but has some very good recipes. However, most of today’s modern cookbooks have photos in them of the finished products. Some will even give you step-by-step photos, which can be helpful if there is a cooking term you don’t recognize or perhaps an ingredient that you’ve heard the name of, but never seen.
Finding a vegetarian cookbook that you like and will use can be time consuming, but is well worth it in the end.