Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thoughtful Thursdays: Forks Over Knives the Cookbook

I received a copy of this cookbook for review directly from the publisher.  What a fun surprise!  I love new cookbooks, especially vegan ones, and especially ones that might not have piqued my interest otherwise.  

This is one of those cookbooks that follows some pretty extreme "plant based" rules.  I follow enough rules, just being vegan.  I thank goodness everyday that I don't have a wheat, nut, or soy allergy! 

But there are lots of different reasons for going vegan.  And one of those reasons is for health, whether that be curing disease or losing weight.  More power to 'em.  That's just not me.  I've played around with vegetarianism for ethical reasons since high school.  (I even did an oral report with a friend about animal experimentation and exploitation which included a 'zine style handout for the class, and The Smith's "Meat is Murder" playing in the background as the soundtrack, in my 9th grade English class.)  And have been a full fledged ethical vegan for, I think, about 9 years now.

But back to this book.  It is not written for the ethical vegan.  In fact the word "vegan" doesn't appear anywhere on the cover!  This book's target audience is the person looking to "lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and prevent (or even reverse!) chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes."  It says so right on the back cover.  And all of this can be done if you follow a "plant based" diet.  That being said, I am all for anything that gets people to stop eating living creatures.  So, there's that.

Now on to the premise of the recipes.  This book falls into the SOS category;  No added Salt, no added Oil, no added Sugar.  If you follow this blog, or even know me a little bit, you know, this is not how I regularly cook, and not how I regularly eat.  I've tried it.  I came up with a recipe here and there on my own (I am a cookbook author after all!) and I even try to incorporate at least one SOS meal or dish every day.  And, full disclosure here, I work for Whole Foods Market, and we provide not only a ton of information on eating this way, via the Health Starts Here program, but we also cook and serve a lot of food this way.  Just tonight, we hosted a buffet serving only SOS foods.  I have attended several workshops lead by the amazing and talented Derek Sarno, and I really can appreciate the challenge of coming up with tasty foods that meet these criteria.   I've even attended a workshop by Dr. Joel Furhman himself.  So, I am quite well versed in the science behind it, as well as the rules and techniques for eating and cooking this way.  Yet again, I digress...

Forks Over Knives the Cookbook is well written, and packed full of recipes.  Over 300 of them!  So there is certainly value in this heavy tome.  And as I read the book (in the bubble bath as I do with every new cookbook) I did bookmark a few recipes I probably will put into regular rotation at my house.  The Cauliflower Bechamel looks amazing, and Cuban Style Black Beans with Cilantro Rice will certainly become a quick favorite around here. And if you are looking for a cookbook that will help you to eat this way, you won't go wrong here.  The food presented here is pretty, and colorful, and full of veggies, grains, and beans.  It is a very good cookbook.  Del Sroufe did a fantastic job at providing a wide variety of clean recipes made with simple ingredients, with lots of options for every meal of the day. And lucky for us, the entire dessert chapter was written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, so we know those are good!  There was a printing snaffoo which led to typos in about 30 of the recipes, but thankfully, the publisher's have already released the corrected version in ebook form, and the link to the errata page is here.

I believe each and every vegan has a right to eat the way they want to.  If you choose to eat without added sugar, oil, or salt, go for it.  Just don't berate me, or tell me I'm unhealthy, because I enjoy a bit of Daiya on my vegan grilled cheese.  I believe that food is not only fuel, but also a source of great pleasure.  Want a vegan cookie?  Have one!  Like some Vegenaise on your white bread Tofurkey sandwich?  By all means!  As long as it is vegan, and doesn't hurt anyone or anything, than I'm okay with it.


  1. Interesting review. I'm totally not an SOS person either... I'm inhale ethical vegan who eats cookies camps... But I know it's good to eat healthy too. Also, my aunts eat this way, and I never know what the heck to cook for them. Maybe I should get at leastone cook book like this, so I can get some ideas. Hmmm

    1. Haha, yeah, I guess it's about 80% op-ed and 20% review. It is a good book. I should probably have been more clear about that. I think it's some of the followers of this way of eating that irk me, not the books or the food.

  2. I tested for Isa's dessert chapter for this, and I'm looking forward to my tester copy arriving so I can check out some of the recipes in the other chapters. I don't cook this way at all either, and while I try to limit oil to some extent, I also don't think it's healthy to go to extremes about it. I don't expect this to be a go-to book for me, but that being said, I tried a few things during testing that I never would have usually looked at, and I really enjoyed them! The zucchini bread was my hands-down favourite, and the chocolate chip cookies are great too. Who knows, maybe there are some other surprises in store for me!

  3. Pretty cool Blog – thanks for putting up !!!

  4. Thanks for the review of this book! I have been vegan for many years but only recently started eating this way due to my husband having borderline high blood pressure. After making the salt and oil restrictions all of that has improved and he luckily does not have to start taking blood pressure medicine at a young age.

    Personally I don't care if this movement shuns the word vegan. And i have now met some people who eat this way and because of it eventually did care about the ethical side!

    That being said i wasnt terribly impressed with this cookbook. Many of the recipes look pretty bland. Honestly i think i will mainly make isas desserts. For people who are trying to eat this way i recommend just adapting recipes you already have and like. I sub ww pastry flour for white inevery baking recipe, use applesauce in place of oil, and, saute in veg broth instead of oil, etc. pretty much every recipe I have adapted has worked. It kind of makes me sad that the few cookbooks devoted to this way of eating are so boring.

    I do like the blissful bites cookbook, which has a lot of no oil options etc which i would recommend to amey and anyone else. Tried and bored by forks over knives, engine 2, and happy herbivore cookbooks...

  5. I'm all for eating healthy, but if you go anywhere near my salt shaker, I will bitch slap you to the moon.


  6. Lol, I just went to comment and I saw what Kittee wrote, and totally agree with that, ha ha. :) And I agree with your sentiments too, I definitely eat for pleasure and sometimes that means a good ol' Daiya grilled cheese. :) Or as was the case last night, sushi with Vegenaise spread on it!

  7. I'm game to give up my salt any day, as long as you don't go near my pepper. I'm a pepper fanatic.


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All recipes written by me, Joni Marie Newman, unless otherwise noted. Please feel free to refer to or link back to any of my recipes, but please ask for permission, or remember to give credit when reprinting recipes in their entirety. I do provide links to affiliate programs (such as Amazon) in which I receive a small commission for items purchased. I do not provide paid reviews. All reviews done on products or books are of my own unsolicited opinion. On occasion I may receive a book or product to review. I will note when this is the case, but rest assured, it will not affect the authenticity of my review. Thanks!--Joni