The Colorful Kitchen: Simple Plant-Based Recipes For Vibrancy, Inside And Out, by Ilene Godofsky Moreno
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Net Gallery/BenBella Books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
It may seem as somewhat of a surprise that someone like me would read and review a book on vegan cooking, given that I am by no means a vegan. Even so, my problems with gout and inflammatory problems in general have led me to drastically curtail my meat intake for health reasons and have encouraged me to make at least some effort in finding suitable plant proteins, and books like this offer at least that sort of promise even if I find much of the progressive politics of this book irritating and, well, inflammatory in their own way. As someone who reviews a lot of cookbooks , my general standard is that if I can find at least a few recipes in a book that I am willing to eat, I consider the book a success. By those modest standards this book is a success, and were I a more stringent reviewer of cookbooks, this book would still be around the median level of the cookbooks I read, which is a good place to be as I tend to like most of the cookbooks I read anyway.
Beginning with a testimonial about the author’s reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle and her efforts at finding more colorful and tasty and straightforward foods than have often been the staples of vegetarian cooking, the author provides a large variety of vegan dishes across one’s diets. Included in this book are recipes for smoothies, breakfasts, salads, soup, sandwiches, sides/snacks/appetizers, entrèes, desserts, and kitchen staples and sauces. At the very end of the book there is an index and acknowledgements and author bio. Throughout the book there are references to the culinary ineptitude of her husband, something I really hate reading about, as I often feel that guys get a bad break in books because so few guys read books and so are unaware of the continual maligning we face in them. Also throughout the book the author talks about the popularity of various dishes in her blog and also make some gentle jokes about herself, so perhaps she is trying not to take herself too seriously.
As far as the dishes go, there are at least a few that I would be willing to try. Her brussel sprouts based salad sounds tasty, as do some of her granola and dessert recipes, and even some of the soup and dinner dishes sound like they would be worth trying. I have some questions about many of the mushroom dishes given my sensitivity to texture, but assuming that the mushroom dishes are savory and not slimy, many of them sound like they would be worthwhile as well. All of that makes for a book that manages to be of interest despite the fact that quite a few of the dishes sound positively vile and some of them, because of their use of mangoes and other foods to which I am allergic, sound positively lethal. There are enough dishes in here that are appealing and that may actually work that I consider this book to be worth reading. If there are any reasons why you are not able to enjoy meats, either because of health concerns or personal reasons to want to minimize one’s intake of meat, there are at least a few dishes here that have some promise. Even more than that, the author and I share at least one important quality, and that is a love of colorful dishes of food that signify at least some balance of nutrients, and that similarity does give me at least a fair bit of goodwill for this author and her approach to food.
 See, for example: