A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones

A Modern Way to Eat is a diverse and interesting set of recipes using vegetarian ingredients. The book is beautiful presented with copious amounts of photographs and fairly easy-to-follow directions. The focus is on flavorsome and wholesome ingredients – and dishes that can be prepared quickly. Be forewarned that the ingredient list can be long and quite daunting for some recipes.

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The book breaks down as follows: Forward by Jamie Oliver, A modern way to eat, What gets me up in the morning; Food for filling a gap; A bowl of broth, soup, or stew; Satisfying salads; Easy lunches and laid-back suppers; Hearty dinners and food to feed a crowd; Vegetables to go with things; Sweet endings, Cakes, bread and a few other things; Things to drink; Jam, chutney, stock, and other useful stuff; Index; Vegan and Gluten free index.

Recipes are varied but with a distinct British influence: from Blueberry Pie Oatmeal to Bay Leaf and Saffron Roasted Cauliflower; Pancake Anzac Cookies to Celeriac Soup with Hazelnuts and Crispy Sage. After I tried several recipes, it became clear that the emphasis for this cookbook is on flavors and how certain ingredients interact with each other; e.g., the choice of type of grain can make a huge difference on whether that cookie tastes great or just ok.

The recipes are single color (black) but utilize different type faces. The writing is fairly small, so reading is a bit difficult at times. As well, it is always disappointing to find directions in chunky paragraph form rather than numbered steps.  Most recipes call for 10+ ingredients – a pinch of this or that, here or there, to add the right flavor. So although the recipes are easy to make, there is quite a bit of preparation. But I’ve found in using the book I’ve learned quite a bit of how foods work together.

The book is vegetarian but not for diets/weight loss. E.g., that Celariac Soup with Hazelnuts and Crispy Sage is topped with hazelnut brown butter. But it isn’t overly fattening, either, since the focus is on non-meat dishes.

In all, it’s a book that is clearly made with love by a chef who loves her work and experiments often until she finds the right combination of ingredients.  Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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