In the inaugural post of a brand spanking new column, we speak with Good Egg‘s Mika Bareket about her favourite book of the month.
Anna Jones – A Modern Way To Eat
Good Food Revolution: So Mika, you have chosen as your book for September Anna Jones’ Modern Way To Eat. Why did you pick this particular book?
Mika Bareket: Somewhat selfish reasons – I’ve been a small “v” vegetarian for the last couple months. You might say it has to do with love… I still order the biggest steak on every menu when I go out, but at home, out of respect, I keep the kitchen meat-free except on rare occasion.
Unsurprisingly, I was tapped for vegetarian meal ideas very quickly into this regime, so turned to Anna Jones previous title, A Modern Way to Eat for inspiration. My staff and a few customers recommended it very highly.
GFR: And what sets it apart from so any of the vegetarian cookbooks out there these days?
MB: It’s beautifully free of didacticism. So many vegetarian books on the market have a heavy hand in advocating vegetarianism and a “healthy” lifestyle, and some go so far as to denounce such joys as drinking alcohol! Gasp. Also, a surfeit of books tend towards complexity and/or a rigorous list of ingredients. Jones focuses on flavour and ease.
GFR: There seem to be so many great meat-free cookbooks being published as of late. What do you put that down to?
MB: It’s true. The book publishing industry has indeed suffered over the last two decades – the internet, Kindle, over saturation, etc. to blame. But the cookbook niche has being the saving grace of many publishing houses, and many are stepping up their food game. Even better, they are recognizing that savvy consumers WILL buy books IF they are beautiful and have exponential value. Hooray for that. Also, I dare say that our culture is currently having a love affair with food culture. At the very least, food has become heavily fetishized. So to answer your question the long way, there are many wonderful new cook books on the market in every category. Perhaps veg-forward books have an edge because vegetables photograph beautifully? Cookbooks are so visually sophisticated of late.
GFR: Do you think it would be fair to say that we are going through golden age for vegetable-led cuisine right now?
MB: Absolutely. Thanks to the wonderful farmers who continue to marvel us with new-old heirloom veggies and the like. Every season, my grocer brings in varieties of fruit and vegetables that are unfamiliar to me. It puts a pep in my step, so I would imagine chefs and recipe writers are extra peppy to see such nifty options. And the range of grains has also exploded, as has the selection of soy-based products, which I am only just starting to explore. If this IS the golden age, I hope we’re about to enter the platinum age.
GFR: If you had to pick two stand-out recipes from this book, what would they be and why?
MB: I’ve only had my hands on a few advance pages from the new book as delivery from the UK has been delayed, but the Carrot and Chickpea Pancake looks tempting and satisfying. From the previous book, the entire group of recipes in the chapter, “Easy lunches and laid-back suppers,” has been on heavy rotation around my house.
GFR: Thanks Mika!
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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution… And he may just pick this one up… all that red meat is no good for the gout.