Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review: Lucky Peach Presents Power Vegetables! by Peter Meehan

The latest cookbook from the maverick food magazine, Lucky Peach, is all about vegetables.  Unsurprisingly, given the general Lucky Peach culture, this book is not, however, vegetarian, let alone vegan.  There is very little meat in the recipes to be sure, but there is a fair amount of fish products.  There is also a good amount of veiled and not-so-veiled distaste for veganism and vegetarianism.  I am fine with cookbooks about vegetables not being vegetarian, but I find the negative attitude towards vegetarianism/veganism to be unnecessary.  It doesn't come as a surprise, since the general Lucky Peach attitude is rather macho and satirical.  It seems, though, somewhat retrograde to be still making fun of vegetarianism and veganism, given that they have become pretty mainstream diets in the last decade or so.  That being said, there were a lot of fun and innovative recipes for dishes that heavily focus on vegetables.  I also like that the recipes reflect a modern attitude towards what used to be called "ethnic food."  That is to say that there are dishes inspired by food from all over the world, but these recipes aren't ghettoized as exotic or ethnic.  They're just delicious recipes.  The recipes are also fun to read, as there are little irreverent details all over the place.  The French Onion Soup recipe, for instance, includes in the ingredients list the following: "6 C Brown Vegetable Stock (page 128) or some lesser concoction, warmed."  The Lucky Peach people have a lot of powerful friends, so many of the recipes are borrowed from popular places in NYC.  Recipes that look fun/delicious include: Hummus (with miso), Saucy Fried Tofu or Vaguely Korean Watercress-Apple Salad, Buffalo Cucumbers, Zuni Spicy Broccoli and Cauliflower, Roasted Squash with Pipi√°n Sauce, Tofu Coney Island (tofu fries with miso mushroom chili), and McAloo Tikki Sandwich. This is a light-hearted and original cookbook with a bit of an attitude.  I should also mention that it includes intentionally ugly photography, like the cover, which is meant to reference 90s infomercial graphics.

(I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)

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