Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Part-Time Vegan by Cherise Grifoni

This paperback cookbook promises "201 Yummy Recipes" and does not disappoint. A very helpful Vegan 101 is included in Chapter One. Chapters are broken down by food type ie. dips and appetizers, easy breakfasts, salad dressings, salads, super soups, vegetable dishes, rice, pasta, grains, tofu, seitan and desserts.

Chapter 13 offers 11 different meal plans consisting of appetizer, main course and dessert. All dinner plans serve four making the plans quite attractive to experiment or to make for a romantic dinner for two. Yes, I said romantic because after reading this cookbook I do believe good health and better eating can be good for a marriage!!

The author's sense of humor and her casual approach to Vegans as explained in the back of the book in the 'About the Author' section left me with a dilemma.

As this review was offered in the Christian market to be sold in the Christian market as a Cooking resource, I must not turn a blind side to the text presented. In my opinion, the author's comments throughout the book presented verbiage with a sarcastic, non-biblical approach.

For example, immediately upon cracking open the cover in the 'Acknowledgements' section Ms. Grifoni states, "A salute to my father, Jim, because he has taught me the most important lesson that I have ever learned: be tough, or you will break; no on will ever, ever put you back together but yourself." God's Word tells us that we are desperately lost apart from Him Ephesians 2:1-10. He will provide all our needs Philippians 4:19. He will renew our minds Romans 12:2. He will straighten our paths Proverbs 3:5-6. God also tells us our acts are like nothing but filthy rags Isaiah 64:6 without Him.

The word "hell" being used twice was offensive. I quote respectively (section V11 and page one), "Are you curious about where the hell vegans get their protein?", "Maybe you have questions like these, 1. How do you start? 2. What ingredients do you look for? 3. And how the hell do you find them?"

Also distasteful the use of the "ninth-circle". There are not three sins according to God's Word but seven Provebs 6:16-19 the Lord detests. Also there are no levels of Hell as acted out in Dante's play. Hell is hell. Horribly horrific. Enough said. This is supposed to be a cookbook after all. I mention these details merely for the sake of supporting the argument that sarcasm/joking about the things of God or God's proper behavior for His people is not biblical.

Also offensive page 219 describing the Foolproof Vegan Fudge, "Rich and delicious, vegan fudge is just as good as the "real" stuff. So good, actually, that no one will ever know the difference. See, a little fraud may or may not be a good thing!."

Humorous? I understand the attempt to use words like virtue, contrast heaven and hell in regard to "good eating choices vs. bad eating choices", however Ms. Grifoni's attempt is in bad taste - pardon the pun.  It is unnecessary.

If you are going to write a book for the Cooking Market, write a book about cooking. Period. Leave the "religious" humor at home.

Solely reviewing this book as a cookbook I give it five stars. The recipes are fabulous. I had been buying some of the staples in it such as quinoa, tofu, couscous and up til now have not known what to do with these items other than cook and add butter (seriously!).

For this reason I appreciate her incorporation of those specialty or "vegan" ingredients with my standard list of pantry items. I am sure we can all agree we do not want to buy 5-10 new items that we may use just for the recipes in a cook book never to use again. Ms. Grifoni allows the average reader to save his/her money and just buy one or two items to make many of the recipes.

I appreciated several of her humorous attempts aimed at men and women of faith. Her Table of Contents reads "Table of Contentments." I also appreciated the Intro title "Totally Not Boring Intro". She was effective and encouraging in her little comments for each recipe. She offered tips and tricks and a few warnings here and there which left me the reader feeling so much less intimidated about exactly what a vegan lifestyle is and is not.

The recipes offer versatility and a healthier lifestyle (I do believe eating is a crucial spoke in the wheel which is Lifestyle). Should this be considered a cooking resource for the Christian market? Yes. And No. The comments I explained were truly offensive and unnecessary. The Secular market would hopefully laugh along with the author. However, a born again Bible reading person like myself? Not so much.

Distasteful humor forgiven - Mercy grace peace and love to Ms. Grifoni for presenting new tasty meals without sacrificing a single animal. My extra-firm tofu has been pressed and ready to enter the saucepan as we speak. I may just become a part-time vegan after all.....

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from F+W Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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