12/20/09

Not Eating Animals

It's awfully nice of the New York Times Magazine to have a food section devoted to vegetarian cooking today, but what were they thinking?  Tofu with rice and cauliflower.  Care for a slice of white bread with that?

Not only does the meal have a serious plating problem, as they say on "Iron Chef," but it sounds downright revolting.  The tofu is cooked in a cup of carmelized sugar and the cauliflower is deep fried and then steeped in a cup of carmelized ketchup.  Honestly, we don't have to make up for missed animal protein by gorging on sugar.

For great vegetarian cooking, we can turn to talented people like Mollie Katzen, Deborah Madison, and Annie Somerville.  Still Life with Menu and the Greens cookbooks are wonderful.  But what about vegan cooking?   I'm looking for a vegan cookbook that's completely non-faux--no mock meat, no mock butter, no mock anything.  Anybody have any ideas?

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Suggestions so far:
Veganomicon
Vegan Soul Kitchen
Millenium Cookbook
Vegan Yum Yum
World Food Cafe

19 comments:

Wayne said...

I like the veganomicon by Moskowitz and Romero.... Not only does it take its name from one of the best Sam Raimi movies, but its got some yummy recipes in it too.

Blueberry corn pancakes
Baja style grilled Tempeh Tacos
Pumpkin baked Ziti with caramelized onions and sage crumb topping
Apple Peanut Butter Caramel bars

nom nom nom

Jean Kazez said...

Sounds tasty--that might be going on my holiday wish list.

Faust said...

Hmmm I think Wayne and I share a sense of humor.

Chris said...

I haven't bought it yet, but I'm intrigued by Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen. I don't know if it meets your non-faux requirement. It looks close. I love the idea of transforming cuisines, and I like Terry's project otherwise. He's quite an interesting chef so I really want his food to be good. .

Personally, I love Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. Not vegan, though she suggest easy substitutions for many recipes (e.g., oil for butter). Still, something designed as vegan would be better.

rtk said...

Long ago a friend told me about her father's encampment with other Japanese during world war 2. They were served nothing but white food. Rice, fish, and even white veggies. It seems like a small matter compared to being held at all, but in blank days, it became depressing.

I noticed in vegan recipes a far greater quantity of sweeteners than in a steak and potatoes and green bean sort of diet. Perhaps some essential needs are not being met and the sugar disguises that sense or actually compensates.

I recently went to a delightful country restaurant whose ale brewery and use of local farm animals and produce is much admired. Live music and real art, Amish buggies driving by, beautiful wood everything, great atmosphere. I optimistically chose a vegan dinner of lentils, turnips, and onions. Barf.

Jean Kazez said...

Now I'm scratching my head both about "nom nom nom" and about what Faust said.

Chris--just had a look at Bryant Terry. Recipes with soundtracks!!! Look yummy too.

I have that Madison book--you're right, it's got tons of vegan options. To be honest I find it daunting just because it weighs about 5 pounds.

Jean Kazez said...

Lentils, turnips, onions...all good, but not together. This is surprising, but the best vegan food I've had for a long time was at a raw food restaurant. Amazing flavors, interesting experience. I wrote about it in my latest column in The Philosopher's Magazine.

Dominic said...

Jean,

best vegan haute cuisine - Millenium cookbook by Eric Tucker. Complicated recipes, but amazing flavours and ideas.

best vegan home cooking - Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm - very tasty, simple food, recipes that work. Very recently published from a young and enthusiastic blogger/photographer/cook.

both of those are North American, and have quite a lot of sweeteners, though not excessive to my taste.

best 'international' vegetarian/vegan cookbook - World Food Cafe cookbook. Fantastic array of recipes from around the world - beautiful photos, and, again, recipes that are extremely reliable. Mostly vegan. (There is a sequel that is just as good).

cheers
Dom

Jean Kazez said...

Cool...Thanks a lot.

rtk said...

The art and science of cooking. So complicated, so rich, historical, the stuff of literature, well-being, central to social bonding as well as health and happiness. Limited by floods and famines, enriched by sunshine and rain and excellent minds and tongues, distorted by the best intentions of educated nutritionists, brought back to the real world by the likes of Singer, and now what. Vegan – what a word – the non-science, non-art, non-nutrition, non-empathy set of rules that would dictate what the world will eat. Forget instincts? The child wants sugar; the child needs sugar. After a race I go to MacDonald’s for French fries; I need that salt. For various colorful reasons, you two may enjoy that wine. Appetites unspoiled by industrial junk, uninfluenced by this year’s fad theorist, are surprisingly dependable. Goodbye Vegan – Hello Escoffier.

rtk said...

The Intelligent Designer dictates Thou shalt inflict pain, Thou shalt suffer pain. That same designer made the most poorly crafted rotator cuffs, knees, and sacra iliacs imaginable. He/She dictated you should murder the little lamb as the big bad wolf should murder you. Perhaps, most astounding of all: In sorrow shall thou bring forth children. No, still yet more difficult to comprehend is that Intelligent Monster made it possible for us to recognize his crappy designs. So, what to do? I have no answer although it’s clear the evils of the likes of Monsanto should be erased from this earth.
A couple of the books cited above sound promising, but generally the vegan solutions are actually cruel to animals, maintaining the painful practices to ensure more followers. They allow for no kind solutions. My friend has a large chicken coop in her backyard and thrills to few eggs they produce. I’ve tasted the honey from several friends’ hives. They are good people doing good things and they love their dogs, cats, horses, chickens, bees.

Wayne said...

Jean- I think Faust was referring to my Sam Raimi comment more than the nom nom nom. But I have to admit, I use the phrase "nom nom nom" in real life far more often than I should.

Jean Kazez said...

There's nuthin wrong with expanding horizons, developing new types of cooking. It doesn't mean everying else has to be left behind.

One of those cookbooks has music suggestions to go with each recipe. That's my idea of fun--no hair shirts, no self-flagellation, no vegan vestal virgins. Is there a way to cut back on animal products even more than I already do and still have wonderful food? I'm not averse to finding out.

Jean Kazez said...

That last was to RTK. Wayne--Oh...now I get it. But what does "nom nom nom" mean?

Faust said...

I was refering to both. I love Sam Rami and Vegenomicon gave me a good chuckle.

But nom nom nom is an internet meme like YTMND.

e.g.

http://www.omnomnomnom.com/

Jean Kazez said...

I hate to ask, but....

YTMND?

Faust said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YTMND

Wayne said...

nom nom nom has a long history actually.... its etymology is traceable to Sesame Street, with the Cookie Monster going Om nom nom nom nom on the cookies. Since then, its developed into something of an internet meme... Usually having something to do with a cute animal eating something.

www.cuteoverload.com <---my wife's favorite website.

rtk said...

I'm a glutton for that cuteoverload stuff. I can't get enough. Especially advice to cats from dogs. Friends send me some every day and now I can forward Wayne's choice to them.