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The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations

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The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations

Meatless Celebrations

Billed as a cookbook full of "year-round vegetarian feasts," The Meat Lover's Meatless Celebrations offers up the kind of beautiful, lavish, exciting dishes we all want to serve at dinner parties and holidays. Where her earlier book, The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook, focused on everyday cookery, Kim O'Donnel's latest work gives vegetarians, people who just want to eat less meat, and all the people who host them wonderful options for celebratory meatless (or just less meat-centric) meals.

A Year of Feasts

When I first heard the title, I figured that Meatless Celebrations would be a holiday cookbook, full of stuffed squash and other vegetarian options for the Thanksgiving through New Years holiday season. While the fall-to-winter festive season is well represented, it is in no way limited to the Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New Year quartet. A full year of feasts fills these pages.

Organized by season, each celebration has a suggested complete menu. All-American classics like a Superbowl party, Fourth of July, and Thanksgiving are given their due, but Meatless Celebrations includes tasty menus for Lunar New Year and Diwali, too. Best of all, O'Donnel has come up with some occasions you may not have thought of: a "spring forward feast," for example, calls for a celebration of longer days. And, just for the record, my "autumn harvest hootenany" is going to completely rock the house with KOD's Dark'n'Stormy Pear Crisp.

Beyond Holidays

The holiday menus sound fabulous, but I imagine most people will use Meatless Celebrations much as I have so far: as a resource for fresh, seasonal, beautiful recipes for entertaining in general. The Sweet Potato Hummus is a fun change from the ubiquitous chickpea version that appears at so many parties. The Lentil Pâté isn't some sad-sack, bland take for which vegetarians must settle, it's a rich, tempting (and yes, healthier) spread for everyone. The Maple Crans are simply a tasty way to serve cranberries, no matter how much turkey or ham may lay alongside it.

Of course, if you've invited vegetarians to dinner, Meatless Celebrations will save the day and let you serve a single beautiful and delicious meal to everyone at the table.

More Than Vegetarian

While the recipes in Meatless Celebrations are certainly tasty enough to appeal to omnivores everywhere, those with other dietary concerns can easily cook from this book as well. Vegan, dairy optional, and gluten-free recipes are noted with special symbols, as are those recipes that kids particularly liked during recipe testing for the book.

Cookbook junkies will particularly appreciate the way the recipes are laid out. Ingredients and amounts are listed in the margin, with a "Here's What You Do" explanation in the center of the page. I loved how, when reading through or following a recipe, the ingredients are in the same sight-line as the instructions. A small matter, perhaps, but like everything else about Meatless Celebrations, it's just the thing.

Disclosure: As is common in the industry, a review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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