Teresa asked me to recommend a vegetarian cookbook. I am stumped. Husband was a vegetarian for 15 years until we moved here, he decided to come join me as an omnivore simply because he didn't want his life to be about what he couldn't eat. I have a friend here who does mostly raw and living foods, which is pretty easy in some ways and difficult in others.
There are so many styles of vegetarians, for me it has always meant, you don't eat meat. By meat I mean beef, poultry, rabbit, game, fish, pork, mutton, goat, insects, crustaceans, invertebrates, fish and anything else that once was alive and breathing. If you chose to further restrict your choices by avoiding dairy, eggs and honey that means vegan to me.
It used to make me nuts, "oh, yeah, I am a vegetarian except I eat fish, or poultry or whatever", well, then you aren't a vegetarian cuz you eat meat, you are on a restricted diet for whatever reason. Okay, enough, just gripping and it doesn't make any difference what I think anyway, but I just thought I would clarify my terms.
Most people make pretty much the same stuff day in and day out, those books on simplifying your life tell you to toss all your cookbooks because you aren't going to be making more than one or two things from them and they take up space and clutter your life. Wow,maybe I want to simplify my life to free up more time to cook and experiment? So really, if you aren't interested in cooking as a process, you don't really need any cookbooks at all do you? Just a notebook where you write the five recipes you don't know by heart!
I just stopped and counted the cookbooks in the bookcase, there are 60 of them, I used to have more, but we foolishly got rid of them. I have been known to read and re-read them looking for ideas or just because they are interesting.
If I was only going to have one, it would probably be LaRousse Gastromonique , that pretty much covers all cooking situations, but that doesn't help if you want a vegetarian cookbook does it? I have a pretty nifty French vegetable cookbook called The French Vegetable Cookbook by Patricia Bourne, the directions are easy and the photos are pretty and the food is good.
In the 1970s in my hippie-dippy days I had Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet and Recipes for a Small Planet and of course, Laurel's Kitchen by Laurel Robertson. I'm think that Laurel's Kitchen is like the Fannie Farmer's for the novice vegetarian cook. The Small Planet recipes are not all that healthy or particularly tasty, the emphasis was on getting enough protein more than anything else, not a bad way to learn about complimentary proteins but no great shakes as cookbook.
Since it has been my experience that all the nifty things that make it easy to cook vegetarian aren't readily available here, I am talking about stuff like tofu, gluten (seitan) and TVP products other than the granules, the faux meats, one of the earlier versions of Laurel's Kitchen would be good, it doesn't assume that you have much choice, that Whole Foods or Trader Joe's doesn't exist yet, and generally you're on your own.