A Bread Library Review: Crescent Dragonwagon’s Passionate Vegetarian

passionate title

Mr. Bread Maiden and I got this cookbook from the family of a childhood friend back when we were engaged.  It’s what you might call a tome, registering over 1000 pages.  Given the huge number of recipes contained therein, in ten years we’ve only scratched the surface.  While it’s not dedicated to baking per se, there are a few bread recipes and a wonderful section on cooking grains.

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But possibly what I love most about this cookbook is that it is clearly a labor of love, developed and written during the months and years after the author lost her husband of nearly 25 years.  Together they had owned and operated a bed-and-breakfast where they cultivated and shared their vegetarian creations with guests and travelers from all over the world.DSC02954

The book is sprinkled with stories like the one below, when they celebrated their first wedding anniversary in Paris:ned cheese cart.jpg

As I was looking through the book during my review, I couldn’t believe how many pages were stained with droplets of this or that, a testament to how many recipes I had tried.  And yet, there are still so many more.DSC02957DSC02958DSC02959

Most of the recipes were successful.  However, there was one infamous recipe from this book where Dennis took a bite and said, “please don’t ever make this again.”  DSC02960

Other recipes may be better for actual vegetarians.DSC02961DSC02962

When I saw this book is a tome, I’m not kidding.DSC02963

As far as using this book for baking, there are a few bread recipes.  When I used to have a bread machine, I appreciated that this recipe specifically called for one.DSC02964DSC02965

Beyond the recipes though, her knowledge of grains in general and wheat in particular is a useful jumping-off point.DSC02966DSC02967DSC02968DSC02969

I recommend this book as essential for vegetarians, useful for non-vegetarians, and worth buying also for the love story of Crescent and Ned contained within the prose.  I enjoy cookbooks where the preparations are clearly done out of love and are made to be shared.  If there’s a vegetable or grain that she hasn’t included in this book, I don’t know what it is.  It’s a wonderful resource, and a worthy addition to your bread library.

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