In 2008, author Kim O’Donnel began a tradition of meatless Mondays. Four years later, she decided that this is her preferred way of eating. She refers to her menu and eating style as “nutritionally virtuous,” calling up delicious recipes from an international range of cuisines for calendar holidays and milestones in life such as birthdays.
The visually enticing colors and page layouts are color coded for the various sections of the book, which is separated into a comprehensive introduction followed by the four seasons. Each of the “season” sections is further subdivided into holidays that fall within that season and the recipes for dishes matched for those celebrations.
The introduction includes The Meat Lover’s Meatless Pantry, which details various ingredients from more common items such as tofu and spices to perhaps less-known ingredients such as Shoaxing Rice wine and pomegranate molasses. There are also menus for party of six, and recipes have options for dairy optional, gluten-free, kid-friendly and vegan.
The sections cover different celebrations that are neatly divided into four season, starting with Fall celebrations from Thanksgiving to Divali, with dishes like Sweet Potato Hummus and Tofu Tikka Kebabs with Kicky Ketchup. ‘Winter’ includes an international bevy of holidays and celebrations from Christmas and football season to Lunar New Year and Mardi Gras—and mouth-watering dishes like Family Style Latkes, Spinach Pakoras and Blood Orange Galette . ‘Spring’ bring recipes appropriate for celebrations like Passover or Cinco de Mayo and recipes with an international flavor such as Spanako Barley, Arugula Matzoh Lasagna or Sofrito Seasoned Black Beans. Finally, ‘Summer’ brings light and fresh favorites for festivities such as the Fourth of July as well as kid-friendly meals. There is also a section on how to use seasonal produce in preserves.
The recipes are laid out on bright, clear two-color pages that feature embellishments in the corner. Clearly placed recipes and photographs of relatively high resolution delight the senses and inspire the cook. The common ingredients, basic steps and diversity of the recipes make them accessible and enticing to cooks. Highly recommended.