The New Students’ Veggie Cook Book
by Carolyn Humphries
Publisher: Foulsham, Country: UK
ISBN: 978052035228, Edition: revised, Year: 2009
Link to publisher’s page or site
This review is the personal opinion of the reviewer.

Review

Aimed squarely at the teenage market, The New Students’ Veggie Cookbook addresses not just what a young vegetarian should eat, but also how to keep fit and healthy while doing so. The book covers the basics of setting up a kitchen, stocking a pantry, offering helpful and very clear instructions on how best to chop an onion, boil an egg and, interestingly, how to store food.

This is basic cooking stripped right back to the essentials and, as such, is a great tool for any beginner cook, not just the vegetarian teenager about to leave home. Carolyn Humphries’s writing voice is that of an older, wiser sister, friendly and reassuring in its “You can do it!” tone, as well it should be. The recipes are gleaned from her years as a student, teaching herself the basics of cooking while studying home economics.

Recipes are devised with an eye to a tight student budget and feature a balance of fresh and convenience foods; think packet soup mix, tinned beans and curry pastes, the kind of short cuts that make cooking seem less of a task and make cooking a far more enjoyable pursuit to someone just starting out in the kitchen. This is not a gourmet cookbook by any means. I would like to have seen more fresh vegetables used, especially given the increased affordability and availability for her target audience (UK students).

Each recipe clearly states how many it will feed, how long it will take to prepare and cook. Lots of white space encourages a reader to add their own notes as they go. Being presented without photographs, the recipes are probably less intimidating, too — something that works in Humphries favour here.

It should be noted that the book is vegetarian in the ovo-lacto-vegetarian sense, and vegans (those eschewing dairy, eggs and honey) will find less to tempt them among these pages — an oversight in the 21st century, but that is a very small complaint. Recipes cover everything from snacks and veggie burgers to slightly more elaborate curries and pasta bakes and there’s a short but solid dessert section. The Peanut Soup on page 54 took exactly the five minutes stated to prepare and was justifiably flavoursome, and the Sweet and Sour Tofu on page 76 was fast and good, although I used fresh rather than tinned mandarin segments. Some ingredients used are perhaps unfamiliar to readers outside of the United Kingdom, but a simple internet search should explain anything too obscure.

This is an original review for The Gastronomer’s Bookshelf.
Main rating: 4. Recommended – good
Visual appeal: Unimpressive
Suitability as a gift: If the person is really interested
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