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World Vegetarian Classics    by Celia Brooks Brown order for
World Vegetarian Classics
by Celia Brooks Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Pavilion, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

If you ever had the mistaken notion that vegetarian equals bland, then open up World Vegetarian Classics for over 250 spicy dishes from all over the world. The cookbook starts with a world map, and recipes are clustered into regions, from North America and Canada to Australasia (with two chapters per continent). Gus Filgate's mouthwatering color photos of completed dishes add to the appeal.

The author, Celia Brooks Brown, tells us that she set out on an odyssey looking for dishes from genuinely vegetarian cultures, 'rather than conversions without meat', and then refined those recipes to suit modern Western kitchens. Introducing each regional selection is a summary of classic dishes; a 'meet the expert' page introducing that area's cuisine; and a 'focus on ingredients' associated with the region, for example maple syrup in N. America, and the mango in India.

Now for the recipes - I can't cover them all but here's a flavor of some of my favorites. There's an intriguing Pumpkin Curry - I've never cooked much with pumpkins aside from the pie. An Easter Torte - with spinach, olives, eggs and cheese - appeals, and Wild Mushroom Strudel looks yummy. I like the look of Mrs Myrtleberry's Roast, a tasty combination of different nuts with shallots, eggs, tomatoes and cheese. And I have to try the Aubergine Parmesan - I can eat eggplants in any form, but this one seems especially good.

Spiced Lentils with Rice and Melting Cheese looks hearty enough for the winter weather outside, as do fried Bean Cakes with Chilli Sauce, or a Peanut Stew with Sweet Potato and Greens. A Mango Yogurt Curry looks light and delicious for summer eating. I've always wanted to try to make Pakora (Indian deep-fried vegetables), and there's also a recipe for Indonesian Gado Gado (a vegetable/egg salad with hot peanut-coconut sauce) that I munched on often in Bali.

Interested in vegetarian eating, but concerned about variety? Look no further than World Vegetarian Classics. Browse through the choices by continent, or stick a pin in the map and try the corresponding recipe - they all look appetizing.

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