PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Everything Old Is New Again with Deborah Madison's Updated Cookbook

The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone updates a beloved cookbook. Relax. Your favorites are all still in here.

The New Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone

Publisher: 10 Speed Press
Length: 627 pages
Format: Hardcover
price: $40.00
Author: Deborah Madison
Publication date: 2014-03

I can’t imagine the work that went into revamping Deborah Madison’s 1997 magnum opus, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. The title says it all, and despite its 740 page heft, this welcoming cookbook became the go-to manual for vegetarians and their veggie-curious friends. Now, 17 years later, Madison has revamped her masterwork. Et violà: The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

Re-reading an old favorite was deeply enjoyable after page one and the kefir lime incident. O Proofreaders at Ten Speed Press, it is kaffir limes, not kefir. Kefir is a fermented milk drink commonly found in supermarkets near the yogurt. Kaffir is a type of lime, often associated with Middle Eastern cuisines. Being a publishing concern specializing in cookbooks, I suspect you know this. And hasn’t the poor lime sustained enough abuse lately? This once-cheap fruit now costs almost $4 a pound due to extreme weather; crates are now going for as much as $30, drawing the unsavory attentions of organized crime. The least you can do is properly name the poor fruits.

The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone has undergone a complete redesign, effecting changes likely to shock devotees of the original edition. The dated color photographs are gone, along with the charming illustrations, which weren’t. The font headings, brown in the first edition, are now blue.

Content is most important, of course, and the changes to The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone are all to the good. Persnickety readers may quibble with recipe deletions, but individuals so staunchly wedded to specific preparations probably own the first edition, anyway. These people can best deal with the new edition by treating Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone like the Joy of Cooking: recognize and accept that each edition has its quirks.

The past 17 years have seen rapid changes in dietary thinking and the culinary landscape. The thoughtful, informed consumer can drive herself mad trying to determine a diet healthy to body, planet, and pocketbook. To write a cookbook under these circumstances must be challenging, but Madison does her cheerful best to offer solid information on healthful vegetables, dairy, grains, and soy.

Interestingly, Madison doesn’t identify as vegetarian. Rather, she calls herself a locavore, consuming only local, organic, humanely raised meat and produce. She writes:

"Most of the time, I happily make a meal from what others place on the side of their plate without even thinking of it as vegetarian."

Much of The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone remains reassuringly the same. The pesto recipe I reach for each summer when the basil comes in is still there. Ditto the artichoke, celery root, and potato gratin. The dour-sounding yet delicious Turnip Soup with Gruyère Croutons is still there. And “Vegetables: The Heart of the Matter” is mercifully untouched.

For many readers, this one included, this chapter is indeed the heart of the book. I can’t think of finer quick reference for any cook, rank beginner or snooty expert. Heaven knows the night will come when you’re standing in the kitchen, mind blank with exhaustion, gripping a bunch of raw broccoli. Open up to page 306: Madison bails your sorry ass out with “Good Partners for Broccoli”, “Sauces and Seasonings for Broccoli”, and a few fine recipes. “Chopped Broccoli” sounds pretty boring until you throw a quantity of butter or olive oil at it, finishing up matters with a nice long squeeze of lemon. In 20 minutes you’ve gone from sheer exhausted panic to sneaking lemony florets with your fingers.

The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone does incorporate new recipes and information, too. Like its carnivorous colleagues, vegetarian cuisine has benefited from an increased interest in cooking and better availability of quality produce. Seventeen years ago, ingredients like farro, tamarind, and sea greens were hardly common American pantry items. Now farro is the hip pasta alternative and tamarind resides in any self-respecting foodie’s refrigerator door.

As for sea greens, suddenly seaweed has gone artisanal and become frighteningly expensive, selling for $7 a package at my market. Madison can now write confidently about these foodstuffs, for not only will readers understand her, they are likely to have cooked and eaten these foods. This was not the case in 1997.

Some of the biggest shifts in culinary thinking center around fats. Madison takes up the discussion with coconut oil. Once a culinary bugbear, coconut oil is now vaunted for its healthy properties as a cooking medium. This leads into an extended discussion of olive oils. Sweeteners are also given deeper explanation, which will hopefully frighten people into awareness about artificial sweeteners like Stevia, and the toxic-sounding Truvia.

There's more on sprouted foods—flours, beans, seeds. Pasta, once a vegetarian standby, has become verboten. Carbs! Gluten! Calories! Madison offers gluten-free options, like Einkorn, rice, and yam noodles while reminding readers of emmer and whole wheat pasta.

The grains section, following current culinary fashion, has expanded. Now we have Green Barley and Kale Gratin, the proverbial vegetarian blue plate special. Couscous and quinoa, once exotics, are now darlings of the grain circuit, popping up all over the book, in salads with pine nuts and mangoes, with curry dressing, treated as risotto and cooked in mushroom broth.

A sidebar on rice educates even as it dismays; that marvelously soothing, perfectly digestible food is poisonous if ingested in large amounts. Rice, it turns out, is excellent at sucking up available arsenic in soils. So wash your rice and cook it as you do pasta, in lots of water, and cut your intake.

One of the biggest changes to the new edition is the chapter entitled “The Soy Pantry”. In The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, Madison rechristens it “Tofu, Tempeh, and Miso” and takes tofu firmly to task.

Tofu, considered a vegetarian staple food, has abruptly fallen from favor. We are learning that some soybeans are treated with hexane, a neurotoxin. Its soy food cousin, textured vegetable protein (TVP) is described by Madison as “sawdust-like”. Each, surprisingly, is difficult to digest. Both foods are to be eaten in small amounts, if at all. Madison advises seeking out small-batch, artisanally made tofu or learning to make it yourself. Her normally measured, easygoing tone verges here on outrage, here. Take heed.

Breakfast is perhaps the easiest vegetarian meal. Here Madison jazzes things up, replacing the first edition’s fruit frappes with shrubs and switchels, old-fashioned fruit drinks back in vogue. And of course, there is the de rigeur kale smoothie, calling for coconut water, lemon, and ginger. Please pass the Prilosec.

Desserts are updated, and like so many California cooks who did time with Alice Waters, Madison’s take a page from Lindsay Shere’s classic fruit desserts. But criticism is inappropriate here: The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is a compendium, not a dessert cookbook.

Other changes include facelifts to the quick breads section and the dessert fruits. But these are frills: nice to have, but not why you’re here. You’re here to make a vegetarian dish: for yourself, a friend, family. If you are like me, you aren’t worried about side dishes or desserts. That’s the easy part of the meal.

Maybe you are a new vegetarian, or cooking for a friend or family member who is vegetarian. You’re worried about the center of the plate, where the cow or chicken or pig fits. You need to put something there, something tasty and nutritious, something that won’t tap savings.

Or maybe you’re a long term vegetarian who doesn’t need help with filling the center of the plate, because the center is filled quite nicely, thank you, but you are always searching for delicious recipes because you love to cook.

The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone is for all of us. There are plenty of inviting dishes to cook: pizzas, soups for all seasons, those verboten pastas, salads. You can serve Potato and Leek Gratin. Make chopped broccoli. Add lots of lemon juice. Or prepare Tortilla Español, which is a Spanish omelet thick with potatoes, cooked in olive oil. Serve it at room temperature.

Cook from either edition of Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and you, your family, and your guests will be well fed. Longtime Madison fans will welcome an update to a beloved book, while new readers have a treat in store.

Photo from DeborahMadison.com

Finally, I urge hardcore carnivores to seriously consider The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. This a book true to its title, a book for everyone.Madison does not preach vegetarianism. Instead, she offers an encyclopedia of lovely recipes that happen to be meatless.

Spring is just giving way to early Summer. The first vegetables and fruits are coming in. There's no better time to grab a copy of The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and get cooking.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.


The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.


When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.


20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.


The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.


Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.


Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."


50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.


Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.


The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.


Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.


'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.


Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.


MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.