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Cooking for Vegetarians & Meat Eaters

What do you do when you have vegetarians and carnivores, eating together at the same table?

For years vegetarians have been the afterthought at high-end eateries, social gatherings, even in homes of close friends and family. The question often looms, "What can I fix for you?"

The trick has always been, when you're a vegetarian, to figure out what you can find on the menu at any given restaurant and make a meal. The end result... a motley mixture of mismatched meals. "The Flexitarian Table", by Peter Berley, speaks to this and many other scenarios on how to meet friends and loved ones in the middle at a flexible table. This is my review...

1st Impression
Right off the bat, I thought that the book was going to be merely aimed at defining yet another category for us to incorporate into the tirade of vegetarian classifications, an interesting read. Although it is yet another classification, it is one that I believe deserves a platform, because it is one worthy of exploration and incorporation or rather 'in-cooperation'.

Really I just picked it up on a fluke, while searching for something else, having seen it on the library shelf. The book cover jumped out at me and I wanted to first see what it was about and then to see how and if it would fuse the two worlds, vegetarianism and carnivorism, while not inciting a war. As I flipped through the book, skimming over the sections, then back over the template and finally over the content, one thing stood out that I believe sums up Berley's efforts: 'congruence'. His layout provided an easy-to-follow, organic and somewhat intuitive process.

Look & Feel
HFiNews.com photo of the book The Flexitarian Table, by Peter Berley, taken by Jason A. HodgeNice feel. Earthy. Organic. Substantial. No Fluff. An easy read. I thought the interspersing of the earthy pictures added the right nuance at the right times to move the reader through the material without seeming too structured, too mundane and lifeless. Instead, it brought more life to the content.

I liked that it was in hardback. The cover art accurately represented what was in the book. It was a true fit and did not disappoint.

Organization
Excellent. The template and layout matched the content and premise of the book - well structured without being rigid and boring. The beginnings of each section is on target setting the tone and necessary preparations and considerations for the reader. I loved 'The Plan' portions of the sections - no surprises, just predictable quality and fluff-less value.

Comments
This is definitely a book for the progressive, considerate host and home chef cooking with the seasons year round. The thing that's most impressive about this book is the fact that the author was a chef of an all vegan restaurant, Angelica Kitchen, in New York City. His style truly embraces the 'vegetarian' as opposed to simply 'serving' vegetables. He gives great suggestions and solutions that cater simultaneously to both dietary lifestyles.

According to his book, one of Peter's kids is vegetarian the other is a meat eater, so this book definitely seems to be an outgrowth of his own experiences as a member of a 'dietarily' diverse household. Having to provide options at the same meal should be right up his alley.

Summary
The Flexitarian Table, Inspired Flexible Meals for Vegetarians, Meat Lovers and Everyone in Between is a pleasant surprise that I think will serve many homes, vegetarian and meat lovers alike.

Everything about the book is attractive. It's substantial, well thought out and organized. The template the author, Peter Berley, uses is straightforward and creates a comfortable rhythm. 4 seasons, 10 full menus for each season, with main course dish variations serving both vegetarian and meat lovers.

I highly recommend Flexitarian Table. It is definitely one that I would add to my personal library.

If you have a product, destination or service you would like reviewed drop me a line, post to my forum and/or join my Vegetarian Resource Newsletter where we will continue exploring all things vegetarian.

If this book peaks your interest, check it out! I've included an Amazon.com link.



As always... It's been my pleasure sharing with you. Until Next Time...

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