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 Post subject: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 5:16 pm 
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Hey everyone! Does anyone have any thoughts about Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian vs Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone? Both of these two tomes seem to be the two most comprehensive books on vegetarian cooking.

I ask because there's a new updated edition of VCFE coming out next month, and one of the updates is being more vegan-friendly. I used to own VCFE, but I gave it away last year since I never used it. The recipes seemed kind of boring, though omnis who own it seem to swear by it. However, I'm wondering if I should give it another chance and consider buying the new edition. Does anyone here have recipes from VCFE that they love? Seemed like the old recipes were pretty veganizable if you swap out the butter for Earth Balance and omit the cheese.

I have HTCEV and use the recipes rarely. I use it mostly for basic cooking techniques and for inspiration (love all the variations he gives for each dish). HTCEV also seems to be more explicitly vegan friendly.

So, PPK - what are your favorite recipes from these two cookbooks? And which do you prefer?

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 Post subject: Re: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 6:49 pm 
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I don't have VCFE, but do have HDCEV. I find it almost too big and overwhelming, so I don't use it as much as I probably should. I love the sweet potato peanut soup from that one though. I always make the variation with coconut milk, pureed smooth, and with the greens omitted. I just love that soup.


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:47 pm 
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I have both books, and though I hardly ever use either one of them, I have made great things from both books. Generally I agree with you that VCFE is sorta boring, but I do like it as a general resource for things like "how long to steam an artichoke" or "what to do with sunchokes" or whatever. HTCEV is more fun for reading and brainstorming.

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 Post subject: Re: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:09 am 
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I don't have both books so I can't commend on VCFE, but I adore HTCEV. It sat on my shelf for a long time (it IS big!) but several months ago I pulled it out and started reading sections when I wanted to kill time and I was reminded of so many awesome methods of cooking, flavour combinations, possibilities, etc which really suits my cooking these days because I'm getting really bored of following recipes and would much rather be inspired to be creative with the ingredients I already have (I get a produce box so that dictates a lot). For stuff like breads, anything chickpea flour, sauces, dips, soups, etc I will follow Bittman's recipes to a T because he knows his flavours. I like that he never adds extraneous ingredients but rather everything in a recipe can be tasted and has its flavour come out with its accompaniments. I don't have any other cookbook that inspired me to be so creative in the kitchen and I have pretty much all the vegan cookbooks which I love much more than HTCEV, but this one is definitely the best value for money. If he did a release of HTCEVegan I'd certainly back that.


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:36 am 
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VCFE was my first vegetarian cookbook so it holds a special place in my heart. I've recently picked it up again and started marking recipes.

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 Post subject: Re: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:36 am 
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vijita wrote:
I don't have both books so I can't commend on VCFE, but I adore HTCEV. It sat on my shelf for a long time (it IS big!) but several months ago I pulled it out and started reading sections when I wanted to kill time and I was reminded of so many awesome methods of cooking, flavour combinations, possibilities, etc which really suits my cooking these days because I'm getting really bored of following recipes and would much rather be inspired to be creative with the ingredients I already have (I get a produce box so that dictates a lot). For stuff like breads, anything chickpea flour, sauces, dips, soups, etc I will follow Bittman's recipes to a T because he knows his flavours. I like that he never adds extraneous ingredients but rather everything in a recipe can be tasted and has its flavour come out with its accompaniments. I don't have any other cookbook that inspired me to be so creative in the kitchen and I have pretty much all the vegan cookbooks which I love much more than HTCEV, but this one is definitely the best value for money. If he did a release of HTCEVegan I'd certainly back that.


Vijita, thank you SO much for posting this: I've had HTCEV on the shelf for nearly 2 years, and have made only 1 recipe out of it. It was one of 2 vegetarian cookbooks I bought, before I realized I needed to make the leap straight to veganism right off the bat. But, as you said, it's so huge, and almost overwhelming, like I don't know where to start... so your words have inspired me to lug the tome out of the dark recesses of my shelf and give it a 2nd look, with a new perspective of 18+ months of veganism under my belt.


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 Post subject: Re: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:17 pm 
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one house i used to live in had VCFE on the communal kitchen cookbook shelf, and i found it so useful for basic vegetable recipes that i bought it for myself after i moved out (AND lugged it overseas at least once). it's probably not one of my top 3 cookbooks, but i find it is good for coming up with something a little different when you're, like, eating cabbage for the third time in a week. i've also used a few of the bread & muffin recipes, with mixed results. my partner pulls it out fairly often, too.

i haven't yet looked through HTCEV, but i rather like Mark Bittman, and i've heard good things about the book.

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 Post subject: Re: Mark Bittman's HTCEV vs Deborah Madison's VCFE
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2014 2:34 pm 
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I don't have VCFE, but can echo Vijita's comments on HTCEV. I haven't made a lot of the recipes but I use it for inspiration all the time.

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