For Anna Brones, “good food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it certainly doesn’t have to be pretentious.” In The Culinary Cyclist, Brones shares her personal philosophy of living well as it relates to entertaining, cooking, making sustainable shopping choices and, of course, cycling. She provides tips on a range of topics, such as how to stock a pantry, how to transport groceries and prepared food by bicycle, how to pack for a picnic, how to host a dinner party and other matters of relevance to the urban two-wheeled foodie. The book contains just under 20 sweet and savoury recipes, most of which are desserts, drinks, or appetizers that — as an added bonus! — are easily carried to and from on a bike. All recipes are gluten free and vegetarian and most can be made vegan using substitutions. Johanna Kindvall’s delightful illustrations provide useful visual explanation.
This pocket-sized volume covers a lot of ground and, in doing so, spreads itself too thin. Several chapters would benefit from additional content to flesh out ideas and concepts more meaningfully. For example, one chapter outlining serving ideas for a vegan dinner party only lists four options, three of which have no accompanying recipes. Another chapter explaining how to build a bicycle friendly home bar includes a single, lone cocktail recipe. A section on how to make recipes vegan-friendly by substituting ingredients notes that substitution quantities are not always equal, but fails to elaborate how. As any baker will attest, this information is crucial!
Beginners will find much to nibble on in The Culinary Cyclist. Brones provides a general overview of basic kitchen skills and explains key principles of food sustainability in a way that is simple and easy to understand. More experienced cooking enthusiasts may find their appetites sated elsewhere. (Melissa Hergott)