Author Erica Reid created a strange cookbook that doesn’t know which way to go. Shut Up and Cook! starts off as a vegan/vegetarian cookbook, particularly in the introduction, in which Reid praises her preferred ingredients (e.g. umeboshi vinegar, sea veg, tempeh) and describes ingredients she avoids (salt, eggs, corn). Nevertheless, many of the recipes include such unwanted ingredients. Since she and her son are allergic to dairy, these are excluded from most recipes. The first two chapters are vegetarian or vegan, then she changes direction in the next three chapters: Poultry, Lamb and Other Meats (three recipes), and Fish. Her recipes are good and well laid-out, though she leaves too many options up to the cook (chocolate chips or non-dairy chocolate chips). Vegetarian and vegan cooks will not be interested in several chapters that are useless for them. She uses “Easy Flip” icons in many quick-to-prepare recipes and many, many “Did You Know?” sidebars. But these are hardly useful information for most. She tends to use canned (marinara sauce) and prepared (pizza dough) foods instead of scratch cooking. Many recipe titles are odd and not indicative of the recipe. The index is simply a list of recipes.
Reviewed By: George Erdosh