Feeding the Hungry Ghost
What do we turn to for both everyday sustenance and seasonal celebration? Food. Often, though, we’re like the hungry ghosts of Taoist lore, eating mindlessly, wandering aimlessly, and wanting more — more than food itself can provide. Ellen Kanner believes that if we put in a little thought and preparation, every meal can feed not only our bodies but our souls and our communities as well. Warm, wicked, and one-of-a-kind, Ellen offers an irreverent approach to bringing reverence into daily living — and eating. She presents global vegan recipes that call you to the table, stories that make you stand up and cheer, and gentle nudges that aim to serve up what we’re hungry for: a more vital self, more loving and meaningful connections, a nourished and nourishing world, and great food, too. Feeding the Hungry Ghost will challenge you to decide: keep reading or start cooking?

Feeding the Hungry Ghost Details

TitleFeeding the Hungry Ghost
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 5th, 2013
PublisherNew World Library
ISBN-139781608681648
Rating
GenreFood and Drink, Food, Cookbooks, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Vegan, Cooking, Vegetarian

Feeding the Hungry Ghost Review

  • Linda Watson
    January 1, 1970
    If you want to imagine how M.F.K. Fisher might write in the days of climate change, read Ellen Kanner. [Book: Feeding the Hungry Ghost] is in the tradition of my favorite books about food: a little about love, a lot personal, and full of recipes I can't wait to cook. It's laugh-out-loud funny and full of wise insights, a combination few authors can pull off. I want to give copies of this deeply enjoyable book to all my friends who need a little perking up or something yummy for dinner (that woul If you want to imagine how M.F.K. Fisher might write in the days of climate change, read Ellen Kanner. [Book: Feeding the Hungry Ghost] is in the tradition of my favorite books about food: a little about love, a lot personal, and full of recipes I can't wait to cook. It's laugh-out-loud funny and full of wise insights, a combination few authors can pull off. I want to give copies of this deeply enjoyable book to all my friends who need a little perking up or something yummy for dinner (that would be about 95% of my friends).Let's start with the food. I've marked about 80% of the recipes as "try soon," -- a crazy-high percentage for me. I'm tempted by Ful Mudammas; Zucchini Bread; Kamut for Mother Earth; Farrotto with Greens, Pine Nuts, and Currants; Roasted Beet Salad with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette; and No-Knead Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread. I have already made the Vegan Chocolate Cake, which was very easy to make, light, and tender. Her directions are clear and friendly, like these from West Indian Mango Madness: "No need to wipe out the pan" and "Add your lovely chopped greens."Ellen inspires us to cook seasonally and low on the food chain with insights like this: "You're a busy person. I can save you time: act and eat mindfully." "Eating out of season is like living in a foreign country without understanding the language." "Luster is the best reason to eat what's ripe now."The structure of the book helps you dip in just where you need to. Ellen takes you through the cycle of life, from the Seed and the Flowering through to the Harvest to the Compost. Along the way, she shares thoughts on a wide range of spiritual topics without ever haranguing the reader to follow a particular religious path. I love her escape from Sunday School and the section comparing St. Lucia's Day with the Hindu festival of lights: Diwali. Ellen makes a very sensible suggestion: "We could all have one big holiday, all of us."I had the amazing good fortune to share two dinners with Ellen this year during the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference. She's every bit as witty and charming as her writing makes her seem. Her jacket is not nearly as shabby as she claims, though. Quite the opposite: a bypasser complimented her on it as we waited for a taxi.Brighten up your life and your plate. Get Feeding the Hungry Ghost and invite friends over to share a lustrous meal.
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  • Gail
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book! I stumbled on it in a B&N store and bought it on the Kindle. I just might gift it to people I know who like food and cooking. The book is rich in connections between food, community, and spirituality. I especially liked her ability to explore various religious or spiritual traditions and how they influence what we eat and why. She was raised Jewish but is not a religious person. She discusses Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist spirituality ... and more. I found myself hig I adored this book! I stumbled on it in a B&N store and bought it on the Kindle. I just might gift it to people I know who like food and cooking. The book is rich in connections between food, community, and spirituality. I especially liked her ability to explore various religious or spiritual traditions and how they influence what we eat and why. She was raised Jewish but is not a religious person. She discusses Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist spirituality ... and more. I found myself highlighting many passages... the virtue of patience, how she (like me) struggles with a mind that is always rushing, how cooking helps her focus on what matters most ...relationships, love, pleasure, community. She is vegan, so has adapted many recipes to be plant-based. I'm quite anxious to cook them, though I haven't tried any yet. Her writing makes you want to step into the kitchen as a venue for creative expression. Many of her recipes employ my favorite flavors ...those warm tastes of Morocco, India, the Mediterranean, South America. I learned a great deal about holidays I knew nothing about at all, which was a delight all its own. This is her only book and I certainly hope she writes another. Reading her is much like being included in a conversation ..she is witty, intimate, vulnerable and sassy, all at once. Highly recommend.
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  • Debbi
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't love this book. I was taken in by the title. I love food writing and upon discovering that the author has a regular gig with the Huffington post I was intrigued. The book is divided in sections that correspond to the seasons: The Seed, The Flowering, The Harvest, The Compost. Beyond that, the book is unfocused. We dart from from family anecdotes to notes on "butt- ugly" lobsters, literature and Jimmy Choo shoes. There are also a few dozen recipes with a little zen wisdom and biblical re I didn't love this book. I was taken in by the title. I love food writing and upon discovering that the author has a regular gig with the Huffington post I was intrigued. The book is divided in sections that correspond to the seasons: The Seed, The Flowering, The Harvest, The Compost. Beyond that, the book is unfocused. We dart from from family anecdotes to notes on "butt- ugly" lobsters, literature and Jimmy Choo shoes. There are also a few dozen recipes with a little zen wisdom and biblical references mixed in for good measure. Ellen Kanner writes with humor that feels manic. I don't need to be told that one can be a fun, interesting and professional and be a vegan. I think we are past that. I give this book three stars because the recipes are good, if basic. I notice that today almost every food writer is compared to M.F.K. Fisher, as almost every short story writer is compared to Alice Munro. Fisher was a writer of great sophistication and grace and a keen observer of the way food is integral to our lives. And, while Ellen Kanner may be reaching for that goal, I don't think she is there.
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  • Marianna
    January 1, 1970
    About halfway through this book I encountered a glaring error that made me question the authors authority on everything else written. She writes that Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and this is true. She then blithely states that it is "...the hottest month of the year-usually corresponding to July." This part is not true. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, therefore the dates of each month change by about ten days from year to year. Yes, Ramadan did correspond to July About halfway through this book I encountered a glaring error that made me question the authors authority on everything else written. She writes that Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and this is true. She then blithely states that it is "...the hottest month of the year-usually corresponding to July." This part is not true. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, therefore the dates of each month change by about ten days from year to year. Yes, Ramadan did correspond to July in 2014, but in 2020 it will be firmly rooted in spring. And by 2025 winter. This is an easy fact check and indicates a certain laziness on the part of the author, and is a reprehensible error on the part of her editor. Overall, I enjoyed the book. It wasn't as reverent as I was expecting given the title, but it was entertaining.
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  • Elizabeth Leonard
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed the tone of this book, and many of the recipes within I am looking forward to trying, however, I found it to be a bit slow. She has a wit about her that I really like, but she didn't really do what she advertised with the title. I was expecting a bit more religion/spirituality in relationship to food and her vegan life and I just didn't get that from this book.
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    I normally love food writing with witty stories and great recipes scattered throughout. I love reading books by local authors. Finally, when I read the title , i thought "this is for me", so when I saw this book for sale at a farmer's market I picked it up. If i really had to be a stickler, I would give the book two stars, because not only did I not love it but i borderline liked it- it was OK, but not at all what I expected or wanted from it based on the title. The extra star was for the recipe I normally love food writing with witty stories and great recipes scattered throughout. I love reading books by local authors. Finally, when I read the title , i thought "this is for me", so when I saw this book for sale at a farmer's market I picked it up. If i really had to be a stickler, I would give the book two stars, because not only did I not love it but i borderline liked it- it was OK, but not at all what I expected or wanted from it based on the title. The extra star was for the recipes - all but one or two are definitely something I would try and it is rare that I would enjoy so many recipes in one book. However, the recipes are only a portion of the book. There is one recipe at the end of each chapter and sometimes one is sprinkled in mid chapter to correspond with the previous story. What I was expecting : First off, something more spiritual. Yes there are religious references (all types of religions, which i love to read about ), but she is so secular that none of it struck me as meaningful and none of it spoke to my spirit in any way. Next, as someone who is an emotional eater, and who has struggled for years with eating when not hungry, just to fill some void I have yet to figure out - this title led me to believe I would gain some insight into that. Sadly, there was ZERO insight in that area.So, the title is completely misleading - other than the What to Eat for Dinner part. That part is covered with the recipes. The positive side to the book, other than the great recipes , was the author's humor and local Florida references that often made me chuckle...those are what convinced me to give the extra star to what was really a two star read for me. Another positive to the book: the author is vegan and all the recipes are vegan. She is not a militant vegan so the message is a kind and gentle one, filled with all the great vegan recipes but without all the in your face vegan dogma. If you are looking to incorporate more plant based recipes into your diet but are tired of the vegans are better than everyone else attitude that dominates youtube and the internet in general, then this might be the book for you.
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  • Jmp
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting short stories accompanied by recipes - - some easy and some quite elaborate.
  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    *** I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway ***This is a fabulous book! I say "book" because I don't think of it as a "cookbook". It is definitely a book. A beautiful and lovely book that feeds your soul. It feeds your soul in three ways: first it's the writing - casual and friendly, like listening to your best friend; second it's the stories - the wonderful and heartwarming stories about others feeding their souls; then finally it's the recipes. Recipes that you may not have thought about *** I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway ***This is a fabulous book! I say "book" because I don't think of it as a "cookbook". It is definitely a book. A beautiful and lovely book that feeds your soul. It feeds your soul in three ways: first it's the writing - casual and friendly, like listening to your best friend; second it's the stories - the wonderful and heartwarming stories about others feeding their souls; then finally it's the recipes. Recipes that you may not have thought about trying until their stories fed your soul first. I am so glad to have read this very satisfying book.
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    I have a lot of plant-based cookbooks and normally I don't review them, but this one is so different that I couldn't resist. Kanner's book is part memoir, part philosophy, part comparative religion--with recipes thrown in. The format is so engaging and she is so funny that I found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable. And as an added bonus, her recipes are great! They are inspired from different cultures and religious traditions, so if you are an adventurous eater you will enjoy them. I made seve I have a lot of plant-based cookbooks and normally I don't review them, but this one is so different that I couldn't resist. Kanner's book is part memoir, part philosophy, part comparative religion--with recipes thrown in. The format is so engaging and she is so funny that I found the book to be thoroughly enjoyable. And as an added bonus, her recipes are great! They are inspired from different cultures and religious traditions, so if you are an adventurous eater you will enjoy them. I made several of the recipes before finishing her book, and they were all wonderful.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    There were parts of this book that I loved. Kanner's description of feeding friends in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew was particularly moving as are the parts where she writes about her family. However, much of the book seems unfocused or even repetitive. It doesn't really build from start to finish and, perhaps, might have been more successful as a collection of individual and self-contained essays with clearer points and accompanying recipes.
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  • Maeve
    January 1, 1970
    Kanner has a humorous style and I appreciate the diversity of dishes and their historic nature, as well as explanations of how they bind communities together, but I was hoping for more on faith and the spirit but really she's secular (even though she mentions some spiritual practices she enjoys... it's clear food is her faith rather than food serving her faith).
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    Although cooking is my idea of punishment for federal crimes, I very much enjoyed this book. I put sticky tags on items of interest, and had so many at 1/4 through the book, I had to buy it. I might even try some of the recipes.
  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    What a little gem! I am making one of the recipes as I write (RIce in the Sahara). I cook vegan when I can and am always grateful for easy recipes that are made of things I am likely to have. Loads of recipes that sound tasty, and Ellen Kanner is hilarious! Two thumbs way up!
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  • Steven
    January 1, 1970
    A nice food memoir. Kanner has a great way about her. She's conversational without being annoying. The book reads like you're sitting next to someone smart and charming on a flight. And the recipes look very interesting, too.
  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    loved the candor and the connections between recipes and different food traditions throughout the world ... I definitely want to make some of these meals ... I even ordered my own copy of this book after returning the one i read to the library.
  • Tammy Boyd
    January 1, 1970
    This book made me hungry for culture, community, and the amazing recipes in this book. It is wonderful through and through.
  • Leanne L
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book... Such a journey
  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    This was excellent. recipes that are vegan and really good. The stories in-between made me laugh and tear up. A good read by itself... Then you also get the recipes!
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