Reviews by yugure
I was very disappointed with this cookbook. I expected to find vegetarian recipes using traditional Hawaiian ingredients, maybe a good selection of Japanese-inspired cuisine, but there was nothing of the sort. Essentially, this cookbook has standard (and not particularly inspired) vegetarian recipes from someone who just happens to live in Hawaii. I don't need another nutmeat loaf or Indian curry or tofu scramble recipe.
A good book to help you incorporate more leafy green vegetables into your diet. Some greens you'll be familiar with - spinach and the now ubiquitous kale - and others might have you scratching your head - mustard greens? Tatsoi? Mizuna? I was surprised by how tasty some of the deceptively simple recipes were. Atlas really knows how to bring out the best in each leafy green with minimal effort. While I'm pretty sure nothing in the world can make me like watercress or radicchio, I have turned around on the issue of kale (try the Kale and Red Quinoa Salad or the Southwestern Kale Salad). And it's worth mentioning that this book is NOT just about salads - plenty of pastas, pilafs, stir frys, wraps, dips, and drinks.
There are some beautiful pictures and great ideas for no-mow yards in here, though I think it would have been helpful to have a guide divided by hardiness zones (groundcover and plants that work well in Florida may not work so well in Northern Michigan). Would also have been nice to see some schematics for yards drawn up like blueprints. I did like having different chapters for things like rain gardens and patios.
I wasn't sure at first if I would like this book because the first chapter comes off a little like he's trying too hard to be funny, trying too hard to impress the reader, but I was quickly hooked by Rouse's sense of humor and writing style. I laughed out loud at several points throughout this book. What I think makes this book special is that, amidst all the humorous anecdotes are sprinkled these wonderful moments of serenity and beauty, which I think is only natural for a book written about this area of Michigan.
For fans of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. This book definitely has that sort of strange, quirky feel to it, and it plays with words in much the same way. Even the narrator has a similar (though not identical) voice. I read one of Kress' teen books and I think her writing style is much more suited to this younger age. That being said, I did feel like this got too silly sometimes. Often things happen that don't really have any relevance on the plot (coughtrainscenecough) and occasionally I felt like my time was being wasted. But since it was kind of fun and quirky, I suggest you give it a read and decide for yourself!