||RAW: The UNcook
Book- Book Review
This article is courtesy of Vegetarians in Paradise
By Zel and Reuben Allen
RAW The Uncook Book
New Vegetarian Food for Life
By Juliano Brotman with Erika Lenkert
An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 1999
From cover to cover RAW, The
Uncook Book is a graphic grabber with stunning color photography, beautiful
layouts, and top-notch professional food styling. Every page whets the salivary glands
with tempting photos of the unique raw, vegan, dishes Juliano has created. But don't take
our word for it, pick up the book and start flipping pages just as we did.
You, too, will be instantly awakened by the beauty and vibrant
colors each page presents. By chance we opened the book to page 145 and were dazzled by Purple
Blueberry and Raspberry Burritos, a purple cabbage leaf that contains a filling
of creamed nuts, marinated portobello, salsa, and curried guacamole with a colorful
garnish of blueberries and raspberries, and chopped mango. Awesome! RAW, The Uncook
Book presents raw foods in a brilliant new dimension. Raw food cookbooks of the
past contained simple salads, blender soups, a few fruit beverages, and instructions on
how to sprout. Juliano's book, on the other hand, offers complex taste sensations that
titillate the taste buds with every recipe. Each dish is a masterpiece of colors, flavors,
and textures, while the garnishing is a literal celebration of design mastery.
How did Juliano, who is not even 30 years old, develop his unique
brand of exceptional raw food cuisine? He didn't even start his life as a vegetarian. He
grew up in Las Vegas, worked in his father's Italian restaurant, and paid little attention
to food in general. As a 15 year old, he moved to Palm Springs where his hikes into the
hills quickly bonded him with nature. He found trickling streams, a waterfall, majestic
mountains, birds, fish and frogs, and his instant response was to become a vegetarian.
By the age of 19, he was totally vegan and into organic foods which
he found far tastier. His path naturally led him to raw fruits and vegetables and to seek
education about the nutritional benefits of sprouting seeds, grains and legumes. An
innovative person, Juliano at 22 was creating raw food dishes with flair and enjoying the
zest and energy he derived from them. "I was enjoying the most exquisite, unique,
decadent food on the planet and my mentor was not some fancy cooking school, but the earth
itself," he says.
At 24 he became the owner of RAW, a raw foods restaurant near Golden
Gate Park in San Francisco. Success came quickly with recognition from USA Today,
People magazine, theNew York Times, Vegetarian Times and
the San Francisco Chronicle. His soups and salads are visual and flavor
treats that go way beyond any soups and salads one has ever encountered before. The
section on breads is an eye opener. With whole, sprouted grains, unexpected seasoning
combinations, nuts, fruits and vegetables, he creates breads with exceptional flavor and
textures that depart from the familiar.
Juliano's recipes for sandwiches carry familiar names, but that's
where familiarity ends. He has a BLT (bacon, lettuce, and tomato) and a Tuna
Sandwich that have none of those ingredients, yet the flavors have a familiar quality.
His Marinated Caviar in the section "Snacks, Appetizers & Side
Dishes" is anything but familiar, yet beckons one to taste this unlikely combination
of berries of one's choice that are marinated in apple cider vinegar, Umeboshi plum paste,
Nama Shoyu and lemon and oranges juices.
The author's pizza section blew us away with nine different
take-offs on one of America's favorite foods. Recipes include Lebanese Pizza, Pesto
Pizza, Avo Mango Pizza, and Samurai Pizza. With a skilled hand, he takes the
familiar and turns it into the unique throughout the whole book.
It truly is difficult to imagine foods that taste this good. One has
to try it to believe. And try it we did. We started with the NRG Soup, a blender
creation including tomato, a whole cup of fresh mint, onions, red bell peppers, fresh
sweet corn, garlic, ginger, apples, orange juice, a habanero chili and Nama Shoyu. Complex
flavors? Yes, but not complicated to prepare. The taste was sensational! From there we
moved to Thai Green Papaya Salad with a daunting ingredient list. The directions
said simply, "Mix and munch!" It was easy! We were on a roll!
Moving on to the entrees and various
accompaniments, we ran into a challenge. Raw food preparation Juliano style, requires a
kitchen with an array of equipment that departs from the familiar. First, there is no
stove needed in a raw food kitchen unless the temperature control can be set as low as 90
degrees. Most stoves have the lowest setting at 150 degrees. Juliano uses a dehydrator
with an adjustable temperature control and never dehydrates foods above 120 degrees in
order to preserve the living enzymes. We don't have a dehydrator.
Second, many of the recipes list fresh fruit or vegetable juices
that most people just don't have on hand. We don't have a juicer.
Third, many of the recipes included recipes from several other pages
in order to assemble one dish, making preparation rather lengthy. With a number of the
recipes, one has to have presoaked nuts on hand or already sprouted grains or beans on
hand to complete the dish. Advanced planning is a must.
Although we sing the praises of this book for its beauty, the
quality of its recipes, and its health benefits, Juliano's RAW, The Uncook Book is
not a book for the novice cook. Maneuvering in a raw foods kitchen is a departure from the
cooking style most of us grew up with and practice today. Raw food preparation is a
different orientation, and we concluded that one must enter into this genre slowly. It's a
learning process, but well worth the effort.
Click here for more information or to purchase this book.