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Book Review: Linda’s Kitchen

Linda’s Kitchen: Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals
by Linda McCartney, first published in 1995

Linda’s Kitchen was the first vegetarian cookbook I ever bought. As I purchased it so long ago, I’m not sure if I bought it before or after I started going veg or if I was attracted more by the Beatles connection. Nonetheless, Linda’s Kitchen is a beautiful cookbook which I refer to often.

One of the most striking things about this culinary collection is the photography. As Linda was a very talented photographer, I could understand her wishing the images be just right. (Take note she did not take the photos herself. From my own experience, food photography is an art within itself and professional looking photos require a specialist along with stylists, lighting designers, etc.)  The recipes are categorized by course – soups, side dishes, main, pasta, rice & potato, etc. – as well as by season. The book also includes a basic Q&A about vegetarian basics, non-meat protein sources and basic nutrition (which helped me a lot back in 1995 as there was minimal internet access then).

As Linda and her family lived in England, the book features vegetarian alternatives for British pub dishes – including Toad in the Hole and Shepherd’s Pie – in addition to international cuisine such as paella, curries, moussaka and dhal.  Italian, Mexican and general comfort food are presented with everyday ingredients with simple directions. Some entries are actually too effortless and obvious like nachos and potato skins.  Others are very heavy with an abundance of cheese, cream and deep frying, but like any other recipe they could be altered to lighter counterparts. I really like the salad section as it offers entries with an interesting combination of fruits, vegetables and legumes.

So if you are looking for a good intro to vegetarian cooking – as this was for me – Linda’s Kitchen is a basic cookbook which will also appeal to non-vegetarians who just want to cut down on meat.  Perhaps Linda used her and her husband’s status to promote vegetarianism as a normal lifestyle through this, which it accomplishes, but in the end you will still find many meatless and tasty options to prepare for anyone.

Here is a video clip with Linda preparing her version of Chilli Non Carne, one of the 200 recipes featured in the book.

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