The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook by Cathe Olson (amazon affiliate link) is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. I used to judge cookbooks by their pictures. Did the recipes look good? I would often either not make the recipes or, even worse, spend time and effort for lackluster results. I got this book while I was pregnant with E, actually according to my records I got it in March of 2007 so I was only into my second trimester. The book takes you through pregnancy and beyond and has an eye toward freezing meals and nourishing your family.
It has no photos and there are little sentences to introduce the recipes as well as menu plans but everything is clear and simple so you can imagine what you’re getting into with each recipe. I can’t make many of these things now but I have adapted some of them and they’re still great. I remember the enchilada sauce being fabulous and the yogurt quiche being perfect (and I don’t usually like quiche). I combined the spanikopita recipe with some tips from Ina Garten’s version and really had a great thing going before it turned out I was making a pretty dangerous dish (cheese! pine nuts! phyllo dough! the list goes on…). So if you’re just vegetarian and not vegan this is a VERY useful book but the principles I learned have served me well.
We enjoyed a lot of the recipes while I was still pregnant as my mother in law would cook out of the book when she’d visit but after I had E I was home and didn’t have any more time really than I used the time had come to stop eating processed vegetarian fare all the time. The gravy recipe is one I have since adapted with potato flour and a couple other substitutions but the best thing of all is that I can start several pans all at once and even make several meals at a time when the chance presents itself and I credit the confidence this book gave me.
I stopped looking for books with pretty pictures and have never looked back. There are some splendid cookbooks out there if you look for them!