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The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating

"Radiating a spirit of “waste not, want not” sustainability, this guide to compleating (eating all edible parts of fruit, veg and herbs) might just change the way you cook forever."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Persuasively setting out to overturn commonly held views and cooking habits (“often the “rules” about cooking and food preparation are habits learned from our parents or from recipe books, so we don’t think to question why we discard some parts and eat others”), Ellen Tout’s The Complete Book of Vegan Compleating is inspiring in style, encyclopaedic in scope, and thoroughly practical.

So, what exactly is “compleating”? As the author explains, it simply means eating “all edible parts of fruits, vegetables and herbs.” All too often we chop off and discard parts of food we could make tasty, nutritious use of - peelings, the tops of leeks, large proportions of ginger and chillies, and fruit seeds, for example. The author also points out that earlier generations, with their engrained “waste not, want not” attitude, didn’t discard perfectly decent food to the extent we do today. Alongside doing ourselves out of nutritional nuggets, and wasting money, this habit also has detrimental environmental impact: “When food reaches landfill, it can’t compost naturally and can take many years to degrade, releasing methane in the process. This is responsible for eight per cent of global greenhouse gases. On top of that, there’s also the land, energy, water, transport and resources involved in producing the food to begin with.

Within this clear, convincing context, the bulk of the book takes the form of a food-by-food guide to compleating. Each entry provides information on nutritional benefits, and ways to use every part of the plant, fruit, herb or vegetable through easy-to-follow, inspiring recipes, from how to make vegan butter from the liquid left in chickpea tins, to conjuring delicious crisps from pumpkin skin. Both inventive and practical, this book is sure to have readers binning long-held views and habits to stop all that needless binning of food.

Joanne Owen

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