Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book Review: Vegan Holiday Kitchen

A few weeks ago I received a review copy of Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas.  I was holding off my review, hoping to get to test a couple of recipes.  But, as you may know, we are moving house.  So I haven't been doing much experimentation, rather mostly working from the pantry and freezer, using up supplies and relying heavily on our staples.  But, I didn't want to wait any longer to review this book, because it is a beauty.


Nava Atlas is a trusted name in the vegan cookery world, and with Vegan Holiday Kitchen she has filled a niche, with recipes for all festive occasions, including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Easter, and Independence Day.  Chapters are defined by occasion, with each broken down into sections which vary based on the occasion.  For instance, Christmas includes 'Sweets for Giving and Sharing', 'Holiday Appetizer Buffet', and 'A Pair of Christmas Dinner Menus', while Independence Day and Summer Entertaining is broken down into 'Grilled Dishes', 'Marinades, Relishes, Salsas, and Sauces', 'Cool Dishes for Summer Entertaining', and 'Soups'.  Each section is prefaced with tips or guides (ex: grilling tips for summer), and there is also an entire chapter devoted to brunches and potlucks.

And, this book might be the exception to the "don't judge a book by its cover" rule.  Go ahead and make assumptions based on its beauty.  You can depend on Nava's expertise, and this book is by far one of the most gorgeous cookbooks I have ever seen. Truly, it is a stunner.  Let me elaborate:
  • The book is hard-cover, and the design around the spine and wrapping around the front and back gives the appearance that it has been lovingly gift-wrapped - such a special touch.  The cover photo of the stuffed squash immediately brings autumn, Thanksgiving, and the holidays to mind.  
  • Which brings me to the food photos, courtesy of Susan Voisin.  Most of you likely follow her blog already, and know how vividly she brings food to our screens.  Her contribution to this book is outstanding.  The photos are colorful, rich, and enticing.  
  • Which leads me to the colors used throughout the book.  The layout is really unique.  Each chapter can be easily identified by a highlighting color.  For instance, Thanksgiving uses an orange color as the background for each subsection, recipe names, and other accents.  Red is used for Christmas, blue for Jewish holidays, purple for Easter, and so on.  I tried to scan an example, but it doesn't do it justice.  All I can say is that as a reader, it is very useful to quickly eye a section based on color and flip to it.  It's something I've wanted myself in a cookbook, but it is rare for a publisher to use more than one accent color because of printing costs.  No scrimping here, it is a visual feast!
  • Layout.  The layout of the chapters is clear and clean, and the layout of the recipes follows suit.  A fresh page for each recipe, with the ingredients listed in bold on the left, and the directions numbered on the right.  Easy to read, easy to follow.

Vegan Holiday Kitchen deserves a place on your cookbook shelf.  Or, on your living room table.  Maybe buy two copies - one that can get splattered in your kitchen, the other than can create conversation on your coffee table.  It is that beautiful a book.  In fact, before we started packing, that's exactly where my copy was sitting.  And, now that I think about it, for our last showing, I had left the book out in full view on our coffee table.  Nava, you might have helped us sell our house. ;)

8 comments:

Laura Bradford Kirch said...

This book looks like one I need to add to my wishlist for sure!

Sportsgirl said...

Looks awesome. I think I will purchase it. I'm always on the lookout for great cookbooks.

Lisa is Raw on $10 a Day (or less!) said...

Nice! It really looks like a well made book ... so many color photos!

Sarah said...

I just want to say what a big fan I am of your books. I also love your blog! Your recipes are our family favourites. I just linked your cashew cheese recipe on my blog: http://sarah-ourislandhome.blogspot.com/2011/11/some-things-quelques-occupations.html
Thank you!

Cara Sheppard said...

I need this book! Not want, need!

Anonymous said...

After years of being vegetarian it is a different challenge to be vegan. I have appreciated your review of this cookbook. It is very helpful. Your blog has been very helpful also. Thanks and continued good luck.

Dawn Calame said...

I am absolutely in love with this book! The review is wonderful and the pictures make me sooooo hungry. I cook for a vegetarian/vegan family of 5 and this would be a great book to have in my cook book cabinet!!

eva @5fruitsNveggies said...

i would love to have a copy of this book! it looks like it has 'main entrees' which would tempt my husband into my way of eating!