Monday, December 14, 2009

Green Gift Guide: The Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen

My mother, a meat lover and gourmet cook, saw Tal Ronnen on Oprah promoting The Conscious Cook, and ranted and raved about how wonderful his food looked. Immediately I thought to myself, finally, a vegan cookbook for my mom. She is getting this book for Christmas. And so is anyone else in my family I can think of that is open to vegan dishes.

Tal Ronnen is a well known chef who has cooked for people like Ellen DeGeneres and has founded a nonprofit organization called Veg Advantage which helps to integrate vegetarian options into restaurant menus. His philosophy is that vegan food shouldn't feel like a sacrifice, but rather a "step up." This is a very well put together book with beautiful color photographs throughout, completely dispelling any notion that vegan food is dull.

I was very excited to see some raw recipes including the Beet Ravioli with Balsamic Pickled Figs and Green Garlic Oil and can't wait to share this with my mother who might open her mind to raw foods if seen in this context. My favorite feature of this book are the collaged layouts of a featured food group such as Citrus or Greens. The book also includes guest chefs who share their own recipes and techniques.

Personally, I've never been a fan of the faux meats, and a vegetable based product called Gardein features prominently in these recipes. But, I think it's this very reason that non vegetarians are responding so well to this book and that is fine with me. If that's all it takes for people to make the shift then more power to it.

A plant based diet is easier on the environment and the body, and even one vegan meal a day makes an impact. I think it's a great gateway vegan cookbook and perfect for the holidays when you have mixed diets at the table. You can find it HERE.

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