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Publishers WeeklyThe second cookbook in a measure-free trilogy from food historian and author Johnson (Cooking Beyond Measure) offers more ideas for laid-back vegetarians, and continued frustration for those lacking confidence or skill in the kitchen. Johnson's preparations range from basic (morels sautéed in garlic butter, blanched asparagus, chocolate-covered strawberries, panzanella) to bizarre, as in the case of Pacific Rim Seafood Pie, a custard-like concoction of cucumbers, tofu, lime juice, spearmint, and tarragon resting atop a baked crust of wheat germ, oat bran, and flax meal. The baked dishes are likely to cause the most consternation; baking is hard enough when one has a precise recipe, but Johnson's instructions for rhubarb pie, brownies, blue corn waffles, and the like are impossibly vague. Though her free-floating approach occasionally yields workable recipes, more often the text is extraordinarily confusing, a matter further complicated by Johnson's tired hippie schtick, laden with frequent allusions to pot and psychedelics (Magical Brownies, Tripped Out Peanut Sauce, Stoned Salad Rolls). The result is a book that makes a strong, unintentional argument for sobriety in cooking and cookbook writing.
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