This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.
If Jean B MacLeod who can stand against her?! I was interested in this book, but having looked at it, I confess that I'm wasn't sure how to review it. The problem isn't that there is anything wrong with it, it's that the book is quite literally what the title says. It is the complete book of food substitutions! It is an alphabetized list of a huge number of food items, many of which I have never heard of, with alternative items that you can replace them with in recipes, if you don't have the original or if you want to change it out for whatever reason. The book covers the globe with entries from literally every continent except Antarctica, which admittedly isn't known for its vegetable or meat products!
So without tasting a significant sampling of the recipes, all I can say is that the author has done some serious work here, and that from the substitutions I recognize, it looks like they will work just fine. That's not to say a substitution is always meant as an exact replacement. Sometimes the substitution is so close to the original that it's an obvious replacement and shouldn't really affect anything, but other times the replacement food is different or even quite different, so the aim is more to replace the texture or effect of adding this particular ingredient rather than replace the taste. The thing is that this book gives you choices so you can maybe find a cheaper ingredient, or one you're not allergic to, or one that fits your dietary requirements. The choice is yours! And that's the point! Most items have several options, so you can readily play with them to find something you will like.
Once again, I think the book was designed as a print book because there is very little use made of electronic linking. It's in alphabetized sections, so you can tap the letter in the contents and go to the start of that particular letter's entries, and you can tap from that same letter header for any section to return to the contents page, but one thing I noticed is that quite a number of items in the list will say something like BITTER ALMOND OIL See OIL OF BITTER ALMONDS, and there is no link to tap to go there. That would have been a nice feature.
Given that people sometimes put fake entries into lists like this so they can prove it if someone copied their list, I half wondered if, under 'FIG LEAVES' it might say, 'See LOIN CLOTHS', but it didn't! I was a little disappointed in that, but fig leaves are a legitimate food item here, so that would have meant missing an entry and thereby making the book rather less complete! So I understand, really I do! Maybe the author has an even more sneaky one hidden away somewhere else!
But overall, I liked this book, and I commend it as a complete food substitutions guide.