09 February 2015

"Rawmazing" by Susan Powers Cookbook Review

Susan Powers' "Rawmazing"

Is there an index?
No.  And this is simply unacceptable.  You end up leafing through the entire book to find one recipe.

Is there a Contents/Chapter section?
Yes.  Two pages before the introduction sequence, with several recipe photos.

What is the “Beginner’s Intro” volume?
Consists of 5% volume.  Thirteen page of hints, tips, and how-tos at the beginning of the book.

What is the presentation like?
Photographs - There are small to full page color photographs of a large portion of the recipes.  They are all appetizing to the eyes.

However, I found the physical book visually jangling.  Recipes are on paisley or plaid like textured backgrounds, or wildly colored solids.  You never know what color the next page will be and this keeps the recipes from having any continuity.  This is not a restful book to page through.

If your library were wiped out tomorrow, would this make your cannot live without immediate re-buy list?
No.  The missing index is the biggest strike against this title.  I usually begin at the index when I pull a cookbook with the intention of cooking.  And this is why I prefer an index that includes both recipe components as well as recipe titles.

Additionally, every single breakfast recipe in this book (and each recipe I tried) is found in Susan's website.  It appears that the cookbook may, in fact, be a direct port from her website.  As such, with a website being searchable, I'd reach for that before an index-less book.

Comments -
My issues with this publication include: presentation/art direction wackiness, index absence, and editing failures.

Editing is hit or miss.  Recipe "Banana Cream Tart with Walnut Crust" (which is presented on two yellow pages) calls for a "Raw Chocolate" recipe directing you to page 91.  Page 91 offers you a recipe for "Onion Flax Crackers" (on one griege page).  I suspect you should, instead, flip to page 212 where "Raw Chocolate" is listed as part of the "Hazelnut and Mint Truffle" selection (three pages, blue gray in color).  However, you must seek this via a hunt and peck method as, listed above, no index was prepared and printed in this book.

Additionally, there are two recipes back to back "Mushroom Walnut Veggie Burgers" (page 133, plaid) and "Spaghetti and "Sausage"" (page 134, sky blue) that have the exact same ingredients and "mostly" directions for the burgers and sausage (you dehydrate the sausage for longer).  I would have written, for sausage, use the recipe for "Mushroom Walnut Veggie Burgers on page x" and dehydrate for x hours total to create a drier result.  As it is, we have a second recipe, much like the first, that takes up two pages.

Some recipes are incomplete, such as the Raw Cinnamon Bun that starts on page 18. 

And, finally, many of these recipes are stretched out over two or more pages, which means you are flipping while cooking.  This is due to the recipe introduction section (or the "how I came up with this recipe" descriptor).  These are quite "talky" and give the book a personality ... not that it really needs any assistance at this point in the game.  I suppose with this being a raw cookbook, and therefore time not necessarily being a huge factor, the page flipping may not actually cause many problems.

Recipes -

Jicama Salad, page 97

This was an -ish.  I used this recipe more as a guideline (I always hear Geoffrey Rush in my head when that word comes up).

On a bed of spinach, I placed chopped jicama, dried cranberries, and walnut cauliflower taco "meat" - topping it all off with some leftover almond sauce (no peanuts on the diet).

This was extraordinarily tasty.  Mmm.  I hesitate to include this bastardization of the recipe, but the book is due back in 3 days, and I have weekend plans.

"Pirates of the Caribbean Geoffrey Rush (5729499465)" by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer - Flickr. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_Geoffrey_Rush_(5729499465).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Pirates_of_the_Caribbean_Geoffrey_Rush_(5729499465).jpg

 Onion Flax Crackers, page 91
I made a 1/2 batch, but it was too much for my toaster oven, I would do a 1/4 recipe next time to cut down on the thickness of the crackers and reduce drying time (this is not a problem with the recipe, just knowledge of serving size).

We needed to use up some ground flax seed before their expiration, and I just happened across this recipe.

These took all day to dry.  There are 11 hours written into the recipe, but my thicker crackers took longer.

I like the flavor and appreciate having a restricted diet friendly cracker recipe in my repertoire.  It will not pull those basic old saltines out of Himself's grasp, but it is an option.  His flavor comment was: "kinda green" and "needs more salt".  The latter being his mantra.

Raw Cinnamon Buns, page 18

And you are going along and find the bun recipe on page 19 (paisley-like pattern), and the filling recipe on page 20 (taupe solid).  The last direction in the "Assembly" section is "4.  Slice and top with icing."  Okay, what icing?  Where is that recipe?  Ah, whoops, it is not included.

A check of the website recipe reveals the icing recipe.  I guess it was lost in the port?

I attempted the recipe, but did not have a young coconut.  I substituted dehydrated coconut meat as an alternative - a couple turns in the blender and a little moisture gave me a tasty filling.

I substituted dried cranberries for the raisins, and did not include the icing - as that portion was missing from the cookbook.

Additionally, I dehydrated the bun for twice as long as the recipe suggests as the recommended timing produced only a sticky mess.

The final flavor combination left much to be desired.  The bun had no flavor, while the filling had enough flavor I ate the leftovers with a spoon.  Almost a coconut pudding.

I even placed them in the freezer for a while to see how the texture change might affect the flavor and my opinion.  No change, I will not be finishing this recipe.

I had planned to toss this in the compost, but the dogs loved it.  So they got a rare dessert this evening.


KathleenS said...

It doesn't sound great and personally I would be put off by the silly title.

Kira said...

The silly titles will definitely be a common theme. Some of them are even sillier!

Thank goodness for the library. :)