The Forest Feast Road Trip: Simple Vegetarian Recipes Inspired by My Travels Through California

Abrams. Mar. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781419744259. $40. COOKING
Known for her blog and her lavishly illustrated “Forest Feast” (The Forest Feast Mediterranean) cookbook series, Gleeson here takes her family on a road trip through the Golden State, staying in an array of rentals, walking on beaches, and visiting farmers’ markets. The vegetarian recipes she shares here (from drinks and snacks to mains and sweets) are inspired by the places the family travels to and the food they eat. There are some notes on vegan alterations; those eating gluten-free diets will find a range of suitable dishes as well. The cookbook’s presentation—with of watercolor titles; a mix of typewriter font, handwritten notes, and drawings; and Gleeson’s characteristic laid-back approach—echoes both Molly Katzen’s beloved 1970s Moosewood cookbook and the New York Times’s “no-recipe” recipes. Those vibes nicely sum up the offerings here—easy, fresh, no-stress, with a focus on the pleasures of place, taste, and family. Recipes to note include root vegetable nachos and acorn squash bowls. The collection concludes with a lengthy list of favorite spots in California and packing tips for fellow travelers. The book’s brief introduction addresses California’s history (particularly regarding the displacement of Indigenous peoples and the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II), as well as ethical food production and traveling during the pandemic.
VERDICT Fans of the “Forest Feast” series will welcome this cookbook’s travelogue aspects and its weeknight-dinner-in-a-hurry dishes, which lend themselves to ingredient substitutions and value nourishment over innovation.
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