As Constant Reader probably knows by now, I read cookbooks like some people read mystery novels or the latest steamy romance. And like some of those romance-novel heroines, I tend to be somewhat fickle in my affections.
I’ve finally surrendered to the fact that, where cookbooks are concerned, I’m a serial monogamist. I throw myself whole-heartedly into the relationship for a time and then … I just move on.
The object of my affections this month is Everyday Flexitarian: Recipes for Vegetarians and Meat-lovers Alike, by Nettie Cronish and Pat Crocker. If you’ve read The Herb Companion for a while, you’ll recognize Pat’s name as a frequent contributor to our pages. As a food writer and photographer, she is often found on the lecture circuit, telling the world about great food and flavorful alternatives to the same-old same old.
In the name of full disclosure, I want to let you know that Pat is a personal friend of mine, since we met a few years ago at the Herb Society of America’s annual conference in Atlanta. (See what those conferences can do?) We had spoken by phone multiple times, but had never met and I was instantly impressed with Pat’s ebullient spirits and ever-ready laugh. That spirit comes through in this book, which manages to be helpful and informative without being preachy or pedantic.
Everyday Flexitarian is a great resource for those of us who are trying to move away from so much meat in our diets, and also for anyone wrestling with the idea of how to feed every person at the table. Dishes can be tailored for both vegetarian and meat eater; it also teaches how to make adjustments to make sure everyone gets adequate amounts of protein—even notoriously healthy-food adverse teens.
Pat’s partner in flavor is Nettie Cronish, a self-professed reformed food nudge, who admits in the book’s introduction that she used to be one of those people when it came to insisting that her family adhere to vegetarianism. She finally realized that picking her battles meant she needed to become a bit more tolerant of her maturing children’s choices and figure out ways the family kitchen could function for everyone in the family.
Nettie has worked as a cooking instructor, recipe developer and has owned a vegetarian frozen food company. She is author of Nettie’s Vegetarian Kitchen, New Vegetarian Basics and The Idiot’s Guide to Being Vegetarian in Canada. She and her family live in Toronto.
Pat, a resident of Ontario, is the award-winning author of The Vegan Cook’s Bible, The Juicing Bible and The Healing Herbs Cookbook. Her delicious-looking food photos throughout the book will make you wish you could scoop a few bites right off the page.