Cooking the Books: Favorite Cookbooks from Deborah Madison

8 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

When I slipped into Santa Fe for a few days last summer, a friend clued me in. "Keep your eyes open for Debbie Madison, she's a regular at the Santa Fe farmers market." No such luck! But when the subject of favorite vegetarian cookbooks -- heavens, even just favorite cookbooks -- is broached, Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" often comes up. When I started to look around, turns out, one Deborah Madison cookbook after another could claim the 'favorite' title.

One way I tell? By watching the number of used copies for sale on Amazon -- and the lowest price. The better the cookbook, the fewer the number of used copies for sale and the higher the price for used copies. It's a rough guide but watch it long enough (as I have been since about 2002) and you'll see the pattern. Books that lose their (ahem) flavor number in the hundreds for sale, often for a penny apiece, the cost of shipping alone.

So let's look at two top cookbooks from Deborah Madison and sample recipes from the food bloggers who love them.

VEGETARIAN COOKING FOR EVERYONE, first published in 1997, new copies about $26, used copies starting at $20. This may be a vegetarian cookbook but its promise is that yes, it works for everyone, that the recipes are appealing and substantial for vegetarians, carnivores and flexitarians alike.

A Mingling of Tastes reviewed Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
"The recipes offered here are fresh, seasonal, sometimes homey, like the Greens and Grits, and sometimes elegant enough to entertain with like the Dried Porcini and Fresh Mushroom Tart. Many of these meals can be put together quickly, but there are quite a few that involve multiple components, like the Beet and Tomato Ragout with Twice-Baked Goat Cheese Souffles and Baby Bok Choy, and require a bit more planning. I quite like this variety, as well as the fact that some of the recipes will challenge me in the kitchen and teach me new techniques."

The Garden of Eating also reviewed Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
"I am not a vegetarian ... However, Deborah Madison's cookbook, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks. There are a number of reasons why I love this cookbook: ... 1) This woman knows her vegetables, grains, fruits, cheeses, nuts, legumes, etc., etc. She is truly a great cook with a huge breadth of knowledge and it shines through on every page."

The Modern Apron found exactly the right technique for rolling Homemade Egg Pasta in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
"... Deborah Madison came to my rescue. ... I must have checked four cookbooks for basic pasta making recipes, and they were all sources I was positive would have some kind of guidelines, but to no avail. Finally, drawing on the assumption that vegetarians would eat pasta and therefore a vegetarian cookbook could reasonably be expected to have a recipe for homemade pasta in it, I checked “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.” Bingo. ... In no time at all I was cranking out pasta like Sophia Loren."

LOCAL FLAVORS, first published in 2002, hardback new copies about $34, used copies starting at $9

Lisa Is Cooking took the chance to talk about Local Flavors when she published the recipe for Greens with Red Beans, Cilantro and Feta.
"Deborah Madison ... visited farmers’ markets all across the US, including Hawaii, to see the differences from place to place. The chapters are, for the most part, organized by season starting with early spring and proceeding through fall. So, the first chapter’s recipes highlight what you’re likely to find at markets at the beginning of the year. There are stories strewn about that tell of Madison’s visits to various markets and the farmers she met. She offers suggestions for substitutions for regional things that might not be found in all areas of the country or that become available at different times. The real goal of the book is to encourage support of local farmers, to explain the value of fresh, local food, and to inspire the home cook to make good and delicious use of locally grown food."

Almost Vegetarian ~ Roasted Peppers and Tomatoes Baked with Herbs and Capers
"This has got to be the most tempting vegetarian recipe I have tripped across in quite some time. And that is saying a lot when you take into account I browse at least one cookbook and all the food magazines I can get my hands on (including old ones) every week."

Je Mange le Ville relied on Local Flavors for the recipe for Corn Fritters with Aged Cheddar Sage.
"Local Flavors ... is a great cookbook to find inspiration from. Especially when you come back from a Farmers Market with a big bag full of farmers stuff."

The Hungry Mouse is a fan of This Can’t Be Tofu!: 75 Recipes to Cook Something You Never Thought You Would – and Love Every Bite by Deborah Madison, including Crunchy Spring Rolls with Tofu Shiitake Mushrooms.
"No lie, it’s the only book about tofu that I own. I bought it years ago when I had a bunch of vegetarian friends and I had no idea how to feed them, and it’s just great." is a fan of What We Eat When We Eat Alone. Her own solitary food is a large bowl of cereal.
"When I am alone I love a LARGE bowl(s) of cereal. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner---cereal is my favorite."

Tea & Cookies is a fan of The Greens Cookbook including Sorrel Tart.
"I don’t usually post recipes taken from cookbooks, but as this recipe was given to Deborah Madison by Richard Olney, I figure I’m just passing it along as well. It’s really too good not to share."

Still Hungry?

More Deborah Madison Cookbooks

Cooking the Books is an occasional series here on BlogHer featuring cookbooks and cookbook authors whose work stands the test of time. Featured earlier:

And you?
And you, what's your favorite Deborah Madison cookbook? Leave a recipe or a link to a recipe in the comments!

BlogHer food editor Alanna Kellogg hangs her head in shame that she's had Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone on hand for a year now and has yet to cook from it. Kitchen Parade's vegetarian and vegan recipes could surely be inspired.

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