Meatless Monday – the Dish on Doug

Doug McNish lives here. The vegan chef and cookbook author lives in the same building as I do so this week’s Meatless Monday is a review of his book Eat Raw Eat Well.

I saw the boxes of books being wheeled up the elevator then dropped off at the door. The look, the voice and the title of the book clued me in to the fact that Doug McNish and I have the same postal code.

I first encountered Doug (given our proximity and chance meetings I feel we can be on a first name basis) at the Toronto Vegetarian Food Festival. He was giving a demonstration of some of the recipes in his cookbook: red beet ravioli and a raw vegan pesto fettucine made with shaved carrot and parsnips and topped with ‘parmesan’ (almond meal, nutritional yeast and salt). Both dishes were delicious and made me a believer that raw vegan food can be tasty and satisfying.

Doug has the advantage of being a professionally trained chef so he knows how the original recipes work and can adapt them to be raw and vegan. For personal reasons (i.e. acne, overweight and unhealthy eating habits) he decided to work out more and eat better. Eventually he came to adopt a raw vegan diet and has been developing recipes ever since.

Eat Raw Eat Well is published by Robert Rose.

“…one of North America’s leading publishers of bestselling and award-winning cookbooks and health books designed to guide, inform, advise, and do everything possible to make your life easier.”

Excerpted from http://www.robertrose.ca/content/about on May 22, 2013.

This book certainly is in line with the publisher’s philosophy. The introduction talks about raw vegan i.e. what it means, what it entails and tools required. For each recipe, tips are given to allow you to make substitutions. Recipes are straightforward and easy to follow. A variety of recipes from appetizers to dessert are provided as well as 2 sections of colourful food porn. According to the book there are 400 raw, vegan and gluten-free recipes. (I haven’t counted them all yet.) Though the book is well put together overall, there were a few things that I didn’t particularly care for.

The pictures chosen were not located near their respective recipes. It would have been nice to see what the end result should look like paired with the recipe that should lead you there. There were also a few recipes that used the words ‘cheese‘ and ‘chicken‘ in their title. This is my personal pet peeve. Why is it that non-vegetarian food items are applied to vegetarian dishes? Is it a comfort thing? Is it hinting that the facsimile is meant to resemble the real thing? It seems to me that this type of labeling is not only misleading but it does not give the vegetarian food item a fair chance. No matter how tasty pureed cashews are they are not ‘cheese’. And the only thing that doesn’t “taste like chicken” is tofu. Just be vegetarian, vegan, raw and proud! The name should be unique to the dish and the taste will speak for itself.

Having said all that Eat Raw Eat Well is a great book for the library of anyone who appreciates cooking, good food and being healthy.

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