This cookbook bugs the living hell out of me. I got it as a gift almost two years ago, and I've never cooked anything out of it. Every so often I dig it out to see if maybe something in it is relevant to my life, but no. All the recipes are excessively elaborate and involve ingredients that I don't just have lying around. The pictures are gorgeous, true, but the food they depict is annoyingly pretentious to the point of seeming fake.

Most recently, I paged through it in an attempt to find recipes for baked tofu, which is becoming a new addiction of mine. Nothing. And once again, I found myself griping that the title should have been the Tofu With Meat Cookbook, for people who know tofu's good for them but are too wussy to try anything actually vegetarian or --- gasp! --- vegan. Ugh. This is especially annoying for me since I don't really cook with meat at home (with the exception of canned tuna fish, and sometimes cold cuts, although now that I can snack on baked tofu my pepperoni cravings have gone way down).

The Tofu for Health Cookbook feels like it's trying way too hard to get the Martha Stewart Living crowd to party down, tofu-style. "Roasted Squash, Tofu, and Apple Tartlets," for instance, is the very first recipe in the Main Dishes section, and one of the few that doesn't involve meat. However, it does involve a great deal of futzing around with phyllo pastry. This is not a simple, practical, prepare the ingredients as you go along, one eye on the stove kind of recipe. Neither is "Steak with Blue Cheese and Tofu Sauce", or "Duck, Toulouse Sausage, and Tofu Cassoulet", or, to be frank, most of the recipes in Tofu for Health. Almost all the recipes in this book seem to require an inordinate amount of pre-processed sauces and spices, which would require a special trip to the supermarket if not a specialty foods store to acquire. It makes me want to scream.

In conclusion, I strongly recommend staying far, far away from The Tofu for Health Cookbook by Wendy Sweetser. Despite the glowing text on the back and a fairly decent introductory section about different kinds of soy products and their uses, it is not a good place to start learning about cooking with tofu. If anything, it will leave you thinking that tofu rots your brain.

Sweetser, Wendy. The Tofu for Health Cookbook: recipes with style and taste. Time Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, copyright 2001 Quintet Publishing.
ISBN 0-7370-1625-6

2003.03.14 at 01:35 Stress Monkey says My mom gave me that cookbook! Your writeup made me almost pee my pants! -->

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