Another prime snow-day activity?
Why, book reading, of course! …except, for me, that means cookbook reading. I should probably work on expanding my book-reading – my real book reading – but I find a new cookbook so exciting to read through!
This new book arrived just in time for the snowday. Prior to purchasing, I was apprehensive. Not because the title Skinny Bitch offended me, but because I was afraid that something bearing such a title would be too diet-y. Although I will say – the title certainly wasn’t inviting. I was never part of the “calling-my-best-friends-bitches” craze. I just don’t get it. Call me old fashioned, but if I’m calling someone a bitch they did something that damn well deserves it, not just some random woman on the street.
But I digress. For now. According to Amazon, Skinny Bitch
features seasonal produce (no fake meat or hard-to-find ingredients) and provides a versatility of tastes and cuisines, from Mediterranean to California-fresh. With almost 150 recipes, full-color photos, complete nutritional breakdowns, and simple “switch-outs” for quick variations, it will be the new “gotta have” on any healthy bitch’s bookshelf.Whether readers are looking to gradually add more meatless dishes to their meals, or want to go “all-out” vegan, Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook will be their “go-to” source for getting their “bitch” on—in the kitchen.
Bold, no? I actually stewed over purchasing this book for a couple of days – which should have been my first signal to just get a different one. But I kept coming back to that “no fake meats or hard to find ingredients” portion as well as the fact that in general, the reviews were pretty positive.
I’m not that impressed. Sorry. (but not really)
I wouldn’t go so far as to say I hate this book. But lets say this: I don’t often receive a new cookbook – scratch that, I’ve never received a cookbook – that I didn’t immediately want to make at least one thing in.
Nothing in this book immediately jumped out at me. Yes, it has some great recipes, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t intended to be an all-out bashing, because I don’t think it’s really terrible by any means. I was reminded that I ought to make Sloppy Joes and pizza soon. There’s some handy dressing recipes. But when I flipped the last page in the main dishes section, I had this feeling of “it’s done?”
And then there’s the title situation again, and calling people bitches. Barnouin actually goes into describing the title right off the bat, which I appreciated, but it still left me wondering why everyone uses bitch as a term of endearment these days. Honestly, this is probably not a big deal to everyone – I’m just not so outspoken in my ways that I feel “I’m right, you’re wrong, and I’ll tell you that, too.” so when other people are that way, I’m a little taken aback. I tend to go about life with the opinion that people should be able to eat, drink, sleep and do what they want, rather than be told what or how to do things.
The book does offer useful information in the beginning of the book, with information on fats, oils, fruits, vegetables, seasonal eating and organically purchasing food. The book also has a wonderful layout and is very aesthetically appealing – probably the “prettiest” book on my shelf – both the photos and the design.
But with that, also comes the fact that I don’t consider the claim of no fake meats or hard-to-find ingredients to be entirely true.
Have I ever mentioned that I’m not big on “fake” products – meats, cheeses, mayonnaise, etc? I’m not. I mean, I’ve got nothing against them, I suppose – but I’d rather not try to make food something it’s not. I’m fine without cheese and meat, so I’m fine without recipes calling for fake meat and fake cheese. There’s no denying the fact that whether you’re vegan or you can’t have dairy, these products do sometimes come in handy. There’s also no denying the fact that when a craving hits, it hits hard – and sometimes you want some damn cheese. I do too! And that’s when “fake” cheese is handy. But when the majority of the recipes in the book call for some sort of fake cheese, vegennaise, “Match” meat, Earth Balance or otherwise – I’m not impressed. Not only is there a little bit too much product placement for my liking (it’s nearly a walking billboard for Match meats, Vegennaise and Earth Balance) there’s also entirely too much reliance on these products in my opinion.
Ways around this? Well – teach me how to make cashew cheese! Teach me how to make seitan! Teach me how to make my own Vegennaise, or have me use silken tofu instead! And not only that – but I’ve never even heard of Match meats, I probably don’t want to try them and having more than one recipe involving them is too many.
Overall, I sort of feel like this book, while valuable in some aspects, comes across as a little too bold. I don’t like people thinking I’m (almost) vegan because I want to be skinny – because that’s not the case. I want to be healthy, at my healthy weight – not my skinny weight. Unfortunately, I think that at least in my area, there are entirely too many stereotypes around being vegetarian or vegan. Like we’re doing it for vanity – when really, the reasons are anything but. I wish wish wish this stereotyping could be eradicated – but lets put it this way…what would someone think if I told them I got the recipe from Skinny Bitch? Would they think I want to be skinny, or would they think I want to be healthy? Nor do I want people to think that I have this elitist attitude solely based on how I eat or look.
Long story short…
- useful information in the beginning – chapters on pantry staples, organic produce, why buy organic, info on oils, supples, etc.
- wonderful design and photos
- recipes are diverse – not stuck on any one cuisine
- has nutrition information (which is also a con, depends on how much that influences you. I sort of prefer books without, but you may prefer with!)
- very reliant on products such as Vegennaise, Earth Balance and fake cheese
- not a lot of the recipes are ones that are all too new and unique – to myself, at least
- has nutritional information (see note above)
- Seems there is more emphasis on being skinny than being healthy
- all of the recipes seem pretty lengthy utilizing many ingredients, not short and sweet. to add to this, cook times are not given which makes it seem even more nerve-racking.
To wrap up this incredibly long review – buy this book if you don’t necessarily want to learn new techniques such as making your own cheeses, but maybe want to ease into a new diet of veganism or vegetarianism. Or, maybe I’m just spoiled, having already read through Veganomicon and Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. Now those are some great cookbooks.
Of course, that’s just my opinion. The next person is, well, quite likely to have the complete opposite opinion – so if you swear by this book, by all means – do tell!
I’d like to bake cupcakes today, and was hoping to make a recipe from this book to give it a go…but there’s only two recipes to choose from. The first is out – I have no strawberries or tofu. The second is out because I don’t want to use a half cup of Earth Balance and a cup of sugar…that adds up to $$.
Oh, well. I have someone to save me.
Do you feel sometimes like you’re stereotyped based on how you eat?