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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Cooking Responsibly

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October 28, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Cooking Responsibly

Books about environmentalismEvery Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about cooking and preparing food with consciousness.

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat (by Tal Ronnen, $29, William Morrow Cookbooks, Oct. 2009): Chef Tal Ronnen compiles delicious and simple vegan recipes that even devoted carnivores will crave. Think gardein “steak” sandwich with watercress, red pepper, and horseradish mayo. Or a “chicken” salad sandwich or many mouth-watering desserts. Most recipes are paired with pictures, which provide half the fun, and there are also interviews with green restaurateurs and innovative vegetarians, as well as recipes from guest chefs.

Sustainable Food: How to Buy Right and Spend Less (by Elsie McDonough, $8, Chelsea Green, Sept. 2009): This latest installment from Chelsea Green Guides teaches readers the first step in green cooking: how to buy eco-friendly foods. The book is divided by food groups (including beverages) with an introduction that will help anyone new to green living understand sustainable-food vocabulary. This guide is easy to read and small enough to tote in your reusable grocery bag during your market trips.

Canning & Preserving Your Own Harvest (by Carla Emery and Lorene Edwards Forkner, $17, Sasquatch Books, Aug. 2009): If you’ve already learned to grow fruits and vegetables, this book will tell you how to save your fresh produce for the off-season with easy-to-follow directions about how to preserve foods the old-fashioned way: curing, canning, drying, pickling, and freezing. The book's second half contains recipes for jams, purées, cheeses, meats, oils, and more.

Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life (by Louisa Shafia, $23, Ten Speed Press, Nov. 2009): This cookbook not only provides recipes for seasonal foods but also provides tips about how to live greener, including ways to throw dinner parties and have picnics without waste. The recipes are vegetarian-centered, but there are plenty of chicken and fish recipes for those not quite there yet.

Chocolate Bliss: Sensuous Recipes, Spa Treatments, and Other Divine Indulgences (by Susie Norris, $17, Ten Speed Press, Oct. 2009): Artisan chocolatier and pastry chef Susie Norris knows a lot about chocolate. In this small book, she provides insight about how to taste it, describe its flavors, and cook with it. The cookbook includes recipes for natural spa treatments, such as body scrubs, and other not-as-healthy chocolate indulgences. What's great is that many of the recipes come with recommendations of brands to use. There's also a fascinating chapter about fair-trade and organic chocolate with a list of websites about organizations promoting sustainable farming.

--Julie Littman

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