Monday, 4 March 2013

Book Review - Feeding the Hungry Ghost

I was a little apprehensive at first with this book. I had a preconceived notion that it was going to be all religious and a little preachy, and boy was I wrong. However, it is a hard one to categorise - yes, there are recipes but its not really a recipe book; yes, there is talk of faith but its not religion based, more holistic; yes, it has a vegan focus but doesn't really go into health/animal rights/environmental impacts other than where such things coincide with the narrative; its also a very personal (and in places very funny) story but not in an "I remember when" memoir sort of way. It just is, and it is worth a read. Counter to my first impression and biased notions I really enjoyed this book, it resonated with me in a lot of ways, spoke to the person in me which is very similar to, and on a cosmic level connected with, the author. This is a little more touchy feely than my usual reviews but its that sort of book.

As far as the recipes go, there are no pictures (which is OK with me but I know this is an issue for some people), and the recipes are just part of the text, so as such they are often spread over more than one page, making for a lot of page flipping. The recipes are not presented in any traditional recipe order, they are used to show how food can make a connection to a time and place, and as such illustrate the anecdotes / ideas being presented in the text. They make sense from the story point of view, just not if you're reading this as a recipe book.

The only picky negative I would have is that I would have liked to have seen an index of recipes by meal as you'd find in a regular recipe book. Nothing needed at the front necessarily, as an appendix would have worked. I feel it would have made finding the recipes that took my fancy easier once the book was done.

Onto the food - the recipes I made, in page number order -
Page 24 - Whole Grain Pancakes
I didn't eat any of these, as they are not GF. My daughter and her friend at their sleepover ate them all so they must have been good. Easy to make and cook.

Page 42 Deep, Basic Comfort Lentil Soup
Simple, warming, nourishing. Nothing difficult or fancy.

Page 62 Farinata
Nice, though I'd have liked an infusion of something herb-y or garlic-y. Below.

Page 63 Red Onion Jam
Oh, my. Tasty and sticky and really good. Wish I'd made a double batch as this did not last long. Above.

Page 102 Roasted Beet Salad with Chili Lime Vinaigrette
I left my leftover beets sitting in the dressing in the fridge and they were so awesome the next day! Nice salad with textural contrasts.

Page 107 Moroccan Carrot Salad
Very simple but awesome flavours.

Page 122 Rice in the Sahara
I had no saffron so made it without. Again, warming comfort food, with nice hints of spice and sweetness, and good textural contrast.

Page 142 When-all-else-fails Pasta
Lovely. The hit of lemon juice at the end is really elevating. Easy to make and filling.

Page 145 Broccoli with Lemon and Mint
Super simple, very tasty.

Page 147 Kale Chips
Again very simple, and you know I love Kale Chips!

Page 158 Steel cut oats with Goji Berries
Not a fan of the soft cooked goji I've found out. Liked the chewy oats with the cinnamon and maple syrup though.

Page 180 Thanksgiving Kale with Fennel, Cranberries and Walnuts
Easy to make, tasty to eat. Maybe not for Thanksgiving, but for everyday instead.

Read with an open mind and you may find this book speaks to you too.

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