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By the internationally acclaimed author Arto der Haroutunian, Classic Vegetarian Cookery has been unavailable for almost 20 years. Now reissued in a new hardback edition, it offers over 250 recipes from all around the world. This book is about vegetables: the known, the little known and the few still largely unknown. It is vegetarian because vegetables are at their best when treated as they are without the addition of meat, fish or poultry.

What is collected here is a rich, wholesome repertoire of fascinating recipes reflecting man’s tireless drive to create food that flatters his palate, fills his stomach and satisfies his bodily needs. Southeast Asia and the Far East vegetarian diets have been used for centuries by those whose philosophy and religion (Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Zen-Buddhism and their offshoots) sanction the right of animals to live, seeing their killing as sinful and indeed some say the best vegetable dishes of India, China and Japan are still found in Buddhist monasteries.

Today, in the West, it is not so much religion but rather a wish to nurture their health which has prompted a great many people to eat more and more vegetables. There is a very definite trend towards eating less meat and other fatty foods. People are reducing their meat consumption in a simple but valid pursuit of better health and a more equitable ecological balance. Doctors have carried out numerous studies on this subject and have arrived at a simple conclusion – vegetarians in general appear to be healthier than non-vegetarians; their bodies are leaner, their blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels lower.

Economy, too, plays a major role in this transformation. It is becoming more and more expensive to live on a meat diet. The author says ‘I believe we have no choice but to eat more vegetables in the future. I do not think we will all become vegetarians but I am sure we will consume more vegetables, fruits and nuts, many of which are still unknown to us and as yet unavailable in our corner shops. What is already there, however, is a magnificent array of all the goodness of Nature brought ‘at great expense and with a great deal of trouble from all corners of the world for us to indulge in, in the pursuit of our earthly pleasures.’

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