12 Months of Monastery Salads

Monastery SaladsWell, guess what I got for Christmas.

A dear friend, knowing my interest in cooking, decided to give me a cookbook.  And it is a lovely one!

Brother Victor-Antoine clearly loves his calling. The book is neatly arranged by month with 15-20 recipes for each, 200 recipes in all.  The recipes are well laid out, mostly for 6 servings each with a dressing or vinaigrette for almost every one. Simple line drawings of vegetables adorn the pages and many include bits of inspirational food-related wisdom.  For example, “We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” (Goethe) or “Hospitality consists of a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The recipes are preceded by a section on Salad Basics and followed by sections on vinegars and dressings and tables of measurement equivalents

200 more salad recipes when I already have over 200!  But they certainly look too good not to try.  Lots of good eating ahead.  This book is a companion to an earlier one,  12 Months of Monastery Soups.  I’ll have to put that on my wish list for next Christmas.

Indian Recipes under 30 Minutes

Did you wonder when I would ever get to this book?  It is the last in my collection.  It originally belonged to my daughter, who was not using it.  So she let me take it.

It was the title that got to me.  When I first began cooking seriously, I started with a cookbook called Easy Gourmet Cooking in 30 minutes.  I wish I still had that book.  I would certainly not have tried Indian cooking without the promise that it could be done quickly.


In this book, the editor, Neeta Datta, has gathered 70 recipes from 10 master chefs of India.  “This collection of quick and easy recipes” she promises “will enable even the laziest cook to prepare a lip-smacking Indian dish in less than 30 minutes and even turn a reluctant and timid cook into an amateur chef.”

Food Combining for Health

IMG_1187The subtitle of this book “Get Fit with Foods that Don’t Fight” announces its promotion of a rather offbeat dietary regime known as the Hay System. Rather than analyse one’s menus to be sure one is including a variety of nutrients (such as complementary proteins), this system advises against certain food combinations.

In particular, the aim is to avoid protein and starch at the same meal.  So the recipes are slotted into categories for a protein meal and categories for a carbohydrate meal.

I am not too concerned with the theory.  I just enjoy the recipes.

Simply in Season

IMG_1198I am just beginning to explore this cookbook.  It is published by Herald Press, provider of many Mennonite resources, and follows much the same philosophy as its predecessors, More-with-Less Cookbook and Extending the Table.  I don’t have the latter book myself but I did once buy a copy as a wedding present for my niece and her husband.

As one would expect from the title, Simply in Season is built around produce Continue reading

Recipes for a Small Planet

This small, tattered book is the creation of Ellen Ewald, whose experience in cooking well-balanced, nutritious meals without meat was an inspiration to Francis Moore Lappé and a confirmation that her ideas were practical.  The resemblance of the title to Diet for a Small Planet, then, is not coincidental.  It was written to demonstrate the rich possibilities in a natural, high-protein, but meatless diet—possibilities that could only be intimated in Diet for a Small Planet.  You might say Diet for a Small Planet tells why we should reduce/eliminate meat intake while Recipes for a Small Planet shows how. As with Diet for a Small Planet, the recipes are meatless, but many use eggs and dairy products.

I have just learned that Recipes for a Small Planet is still available on Amazon.

The Recipe of Love

Shortly after I moved to Toronto, my daughter introduced me to Addis Ababa, a popular Ethiopian restaurant on Queen Street West.  I was delighted to find the owner, Aster Ketsela Belayneh, had created a cookbook: The Recipe of Love.

Actually, I didn’t buy it for the recipes.  Continue reading

Whole Foods for the Whole Family

I’m ecstatic!  My brand new copy of Whole Foods for the Whole Family has arrived.  When the cover picture was taken, I was still using the book originally published by La Leche League in 1981. That is the one on the far right in the cover picture with an elastic band around it. Continue reading

Diet for a Small Planet

Diet for a Small Planet is my other classic cookbook. It was first published in 1971 and I must have purchased it not much later, even before I was married. I got the paperback edition, which didn’t stand up to wear and tear too well. So, I replaced it with the 20th anniversary edition in 1991. Twenty years later this one is also held together with tape and a prayer.

Author Frances Moore Lappé has probably changed Continue reading