My amazon wishlist is nearly endless. I have over two hundred books! Cookbooks make up a large portion of the list, and I frequently visit it to pour over the reviews for each one. Reviews help me determine whether a book is worth spending money on. Because of the love I have for book reviews, I was especially excited to be given the opportunity to review Sarah Britton’s new book My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season. It has been on my wishlist for some time, and I’ve been an avid reader of Sarah’s blog for quite a while now.
There are a few things I adored about this book, and a few things I was less enthused about.
Things I Loved:
-The writing and photography are breathtaking. From the first page to the last, every word was chosen to transport the reader to a magical place of beauty and wholeness, where food is a treasured friend and confidant. The moment I started reading I was captivated by Sarah’s whimsical voice and knowledge of her subject., and I read every word in the entire book, including all of the recipes. The photography explodes from the page in mouthwatering color for nearly all of the recipes, and are as equally magnificent as the writing. You can almost taste each meal just by looking at it.
-The recipes are well thought out and the instructions are very clear. Foods or cooking techniques that the average reader may not be familiar with are explained in detail. The recipes are organized by season instead of by the type of dish, but are still easy to find and the index is helpful here as well.
-Additional information about a specific ingredient is included on many recipes, and informs the reader about the particular health benefits of that food. This information is well-researched and instructional, without being preachy.
-Sarah includes a section at the beginning of the book that details basic techniques for cooking beans, making nut milk and nut butter, and cooking grains. This small section alone is worth the price of the book! If you’ve ever been nervous about making your own beans, or cooking unfamiliar grains from scratch, these pages will put you at ease.
-The recipes I’ve tried have been delicious. My two favorites so far are the Blueberry Cardamom Chia Pudding (page 120) and the Four Corners Lentil Soup (page 221). The lentil soup has become my go-to recipe for a filling, perfectly spiced bowl of love.
Things I Didn’t Love:
-Although this cookbook has the words “plant-based” in the title, it is not vegan. No meat is used in any of the recipes, but some do call for cheese, ghee, or eggs. Some of you may wonder why I would want to review a cookbook that is not vegan. The answer is simple – this journey is about progress, not perfection. If a non-vegan is introduced to vegetarian cooking through the amazing recipes and writing of My New Roots, then I fully support it! Every step towards a kinder life should be applauded. That being said, I still wish the recipes were completely vegan. Some of them also seem to be mislabeled, such as the recipe for Ghee being labeled as “vegan,” when it is clearly not.
-Some of the ingredients called for are exotic and hard to find. There are plenty of recipes that involve ingredients most plant-based foodies will have in their cupboards, but a good portion of the dishes may require a trip to a speciality or health food store. Some ingredients, such as polenta, should be easy to find (although I went to three local grocery stores and none of them carried it), while others, such as Sorrel, Spelt Berries, Kaniwa, and Lucuma Powder may be foreign to the average home cook.
-The recipes are rather involved. I debated for a while on whether to include this comment or not, since I know many cooks love to spend time in the kitchen creating culinary masterpieces. I like to do this myself, but usually only about once a week. The truth is, I don’t have much time to get dinner on the table, so I’m not likely to turn to some of these recipes when I’m in a hurry.
Overall, I give this book a 4.5/5 stars. The excellent recipes and beautiful prose and photography make this a cookbook I know I will come back to again and again (and I already have!). I personally think it’s worth owning just because of the inspiration it will provide, and that most helpful chapter on cooking beans and grains. My New Roots has a treasured spot on my cookbook shelf, and I’m ever so thankful to have read it.
I received a courtesy copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review. Reviews and opinions expressed are my own, and I will never provide a good review if I don’t believe in, or like, the product/book.