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In Defense of My Recipes

Posted Dec 05 2010 2:18pm
It's not often I get defensive about my work and recipes.  I accept my reviews, good and bad, knowing some people will love my recipes, and others just won't.  There are times, though, like now, when I am irked by a review, and just need to have my say.  This most recent review on amazon has done just that.  Why?  The reference to ed&bv as
This is not a vegan cookbook for the masses. This is a vegan cookbook for wealthy urban educated foodies who are passionate about cooking.
You bet I'm passionate about cooking.  But, a wealthy urban educated foodie?  Let's see.  While writing my first three books, my husband and I shared (the same) one car for over ten years and with two children while he commuted over an hour each way (on public transit) to work.  I am offended by this, because the assertion is that I am wealthy and have written this book for others of similar means.  As a family, we choose to spend our money on things that are important to us.  One of those things is healthy foods, and yes, quality and organic foods.  This is more important to us than spending money on electronics, gadgets, vacations, and the like.

The review continues:
You will find things such as: artichoke hearts, thai basil, lemongrass, maple syrup, agave nectar, tempeh, arrowroot powder, smoked tofu, pine nuts, etc. These things are used everywhere. ... I'm not sure who these reviewers are (professional vegan chefs?) but for an average guy like me, these recipes seem to be universally time consuming and complicated, consistently using half the things in my kitchen to make. Speaking of which, to work with this book you will require a fully stocked kitchen. No hand blender or high end food processor? Sucks to be you.
Everywhere?  I use smoked tofu in one recipe - and indicate how to make substitutions (I regularly give options in my sidebar notes).  Lemongrass is in maybe one or two recipes, and I don't think I even call for Thai Basil in a recipe.  As for fresh herbs, they usually aren't essential to a dish, but will elevate it.  And maple syrup and agave syrup, well, if you want to bake, it's either that or sugar.  Complicated?  Really, how difficult is it to whip up hummus (that's a whole chapter), or make a soup?  I guess if chopping and prepping veg is time consuming and difficult, the reviewer is right, this book is not for you.  As for a food processor... it is not known to be a high-end piece of kitchen equipment, it's pretty much a standard appliance for anyone that cooks.

I know the positive reviews outweigh the bad.  And I know that's what is important.  But I feel I need to stick up for myself and my own work here, and since this is my blog, that's what I'm going to do.  I am not rich (at least not in financial terms), food is a priority for us.  And my recipes are created for flavor.  If that means buying some fresh herbs and occasionally some lemongrass, I guess it does suck to be you.

You know, it surprises me what people will say online in reviews, and moreover, that anyone is given the platform to be negative.  Here's the thing, when you are thinking about reviewing a book, give a thought to the fact that there is actually a person behind that book.  And, that your perception of them and their lives just might be very different from reality.  I don't consider myself a wealthy foodie.  I might get out to a restaurant once or twice (if I'm lucky) in a year.  I do all of my cooking in my kitchen, adjacent to our living room, with my toddler running around, pulling beans out of the cupboard, and needing a diaper change.  So, I stick up for myself and my work this time round, and ask those of you writing reviews to consider what you say before you hit "publish".
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