A whole book about legumes is a serious challenge, they are a tricky thing to cook and an even harder sell for people not already in love with them. However if you want to try cooking with more beans and pulses or you need some new recipes then this is the book to get. Out of the Pod starts with lots of preparatory information that’s useful but not crucial and a bit heavy all up front in one place. It includes a great round up of the most common legumes – everything from lentils to pinto beans.
The soups that start the recipes are my favourite section. There’s a wide range of food cultures included in the book, everything from Italy to Cuba. With such a specific theme to the recipes it’s kept interesting with the global nature of the cookbook.
The notes throughout the book are well worth reading but a little heavy, it feels in places like passages from a textbook, less connected to the recipes themelves.
The photography is bright and cheerful and on the whole appetising especially as it’s really hard to make stews and one pot meals look gourmet!
There’s a good mix of basics and more novel ideas combining ingredients that are likely to be in your cupboard with more unusual ones. The book on the whole was less adventurous than I was expecting but I love the ideas in it and there’s a great selection of recipes to use and re-use.
My favourite recipes were the Senate Bean Soup; the Georgian Bean Pies; the Bean Torta with Walnuts and Lemon and the Hungarian Red Bean Hotpot with Smoked Ham and Barley.