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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review: Ripe From Around Here

Ripe from Around Here: A Vegan Guide to Local and Sustainable Eating (No Matter Where You Live)Title: Ripe From Around Here
Author: Jae Steele
Page Count: 240 pages
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Genre: cookbook, vegan, local eating
Copy for review provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

50 words or less: A celebration of local eating, veganism, and taking control of one's own food and eating, this collection has something to offer everyone (even a non-vegan like me!)

One of my favorite things about cookbooks and recipe collections is that there's a chance to learn more about different cultures, lifestyles, and folks who enjoy things that are new to you. Although I'm not a vegan personally, I am definitely interested in local eating and sustainable food-related practices, which is what piqued my interest in this book.

Ripe From Around Here comes out swinging, with informational sections on seasonal eating, local eating, growing your own produce (even in urban environments or areas where space is at a premium), canning and preserving food, and food sustainability. There's even a section on the political and social ramifications of eating bananas which I found particularly fascinating. The message, condensed in a sentence, is that when you buy products that are made in other parts of the world, you're giving money to companies that interact with people in those areas. Therefore, if you don't support the way workers are treated in a certain geographic location, then buying products from those companies (even if they're cheap) that are engaging in those behaviors is going against what you yourself believe.

There are, according to Amazon, 180 recipes in this book, and each of them is coded according to certain elimination diets the reader might be following (gluten-free, nightshade-free, soy-free, or raw/living) so if certain ingredients are no-nos for you, it's easy to see that at a glance. The recipes are then broken down according to category (Drinks, Sweet Treats, etc.) for easy navigating. Here are just a few that sounded yummy to me and will be finding their way onto my menu rotation:

Savory Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Herb Garden Hummus
Sweet Corn Chowder
Red Pepper and Lentil Soup
Spring Sesame Noodles
Blackberry Peach Cobbler
Apple Spice Ice Creem
Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

Oh yeah, and side note? The pictures of food in this book are AMAZING. Yum yum!

I think my favorite thing about this book is that it really can be utilized by a variety of audiences. There's a natural appeal to folks who are already living a vegan lifestyle or who are already motivated to eat locally, organically, and sustainably, but this would be a great resource to someone who was on a GFCF (gluten free, casein free) diet, was eliminating mucus-producing food to address asthma or digestive concerns, needed to eat more fruits and vegetables, wanted to boost his/her immune system, and on and on and on. If you're looking for a recipe collection for a specific interest or just really want to expand your horizons then this is definitely a good choice.

Overall Grade: A

1 comment:

redhead said...

i love cookbooks like this, ones that talk about local food, when it's available, and what to do with it. and delicious pictures are the best!!

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