Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book review: Vegan Family Meals by Ann Gentry

Title: Vegan Family Meals
Author: Ann Gentry
Subject: Cooking Vegan
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Release date: June 14, 2011
I got this book: From the publisher to review through NetGalley

"Ann Gentry's Vegan Family Meals makes vegan cooking accessible for the time-strapped cook who craves delicious meals that are easy to prepare. Leading cooks inside the vegan pantry, Gentry demystifies how the vegan cooking process differs from vegetarian cooking by not relying on any animal by-products."

Personal opinion:
What I noticed immediately was the quality of the pictures. There are lots of pictures from the author and her family. Some of them feel a bit modeled in my opinion. However the food pictures simply look gorgeous. A good point the author mentions in the book is that you don’t have to go all vegan to make a difference. That message was something that appealed to me. She states in this book that you don’t need to feel intimidated by vegan cooking and makes it sound easy, yet most of the recipes call for difficult to find ingredients. While she does offer a lot of information and tips to substitute ingredients, I still felt intimidated. This was also because most of her recipes do require a lot of different ingredients, making it impossible for me to try most recipes due to a limited budget.

The book is very informative and also covers some basics, like cutting techniques and cooking equipment. The fact that the book gives so much background information I find a big plus, however I mostly buy a cookbook for the recipes and I was disappointed in that area for the reasons mentioned above. While the author tried to attract an audience that has no experience with vegan food, I think she only succeeds partly to address the needs of this group. I consider myself within her target audience and while I did learn a lot, I wasn’t able to put much into practice because of the too complicated recipes, which I find a real pity.

Of course I did manage to find an easy recipe to try and share with you all :)

Oven Roasted Sweet Potato Fries: (serves 4)
- 800gr Yams (orange sweet potatoes)
- 2.5 tbsp neutral cooking oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder (I used 1 tsp)
- 0.5 tsp black pepper
- Baking sheet

Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees. Peel the yams and slice them lengthwise. Stir the oil with salt, pepper, garlic and paprika in a bowl and add the sweet potatoes. Toss and coat them with the mixture. Arrange a single layer of sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and make sure not to overcrowd them. Place them in the oven for about 25 minutes and turn them occasionally.

This post is part of Weekend Cooking, Whip up Something New and Cookbook Sundays.

Purchase links: Amazon
Other reviews: I did a duo review with Gnoe at Graasland. Make sure to check it out :)
If you have reviewed this book and want your link here, please leave a comment with the link, and I will add it :)


  1. Because I like in a small town, I know the frustration of not being able to find ingredients. If a cookbook requires too much substitution, then I'm not very interested in it.

    On the other hand, those sweet potato fries look great.

  2. It's a shame if her target audience was non-vegans looking to transition to that lifestyle that she did not make the recipes more accessible, with easy to find ingredients.
    It seems to me that she may actually turn people off by giving the idea that you have to seek out hard to find ingredients to cook this way, which is so not true :(

  3. seems more like a nice addition to simpler recipees to me. But yes, though i am a normal eater there are great vegetarian and even vegan meals and no need of having meat everyday.

  4. Genius!!! Thanks for the recipe! I've planted sweet potatoes for the first time this year despite the fact that I don't like them *except* in sweet potato fries. Lovely with a spicy catsup. Since I don't like to fry things at home, I'd hoped to find a roasted/baked recipe...which you've thoughtfully provided. Thanks!

  5. Good & compact review! You mentioned some of the stuff I left out because my post was getting tooooo long, so we nicely complement each other. :) And I think our experiences with the book roughly amount to the same as well.

    Just wondering though... how did you LIKE the potatoes???

  6. @Gnoe: They were great! A bit spicy but not too much. I love sweet potatoes in general so this recipe is a hit for me :)

  7. Not looking to transition to vegan at all but if a recipe or a book looks good to me, I'd give a look! The sweet potatoes sound very good, we like seasoning. I'd use hot paprika!

  8. Those sweet potatoes look very yummy. I happen to have all the ingredients so I can give them a try.

  9. One can never get enough sweet potatoes! Thanks for linking up with Cookbook Sunday.

  10. I have learned to read through several recipes in a cookbook before buying as I have done the same thing. Bought a book and later realized that I don't have any of the ingredients. What a shame then. I gave an book of recipes from India to my brother-in-law, but I also included a bag of unusual ingredients.

    I'm glad that the postcard arrived. I sent a similar one to my hubby, which he really liked.

  11. I forgot to comment on the chia. It really doesn't have much flavour. It will take on the flavour of whatever you put it with.

  12. Sweet Potato Fries have become quite popular. I'm not a fan but I bet your recipe would be just as good with potatoes, right?!