A Second Look at Older, Vegan Cookbooks

I want to take a second look at older, vegan cookbooks. It’s all nice and wonderful to review those CBs fresh off the press, but there are those tried and true books that I always go back to. Let’s hope that we don’t so quickly forget about these gems.  Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

The Millennium Cookbook, by Eric Tucker & John Westerdahl, M.P.H., R.D., C.N.S., Dessert recipes by Sascha Weiss, Ten Speed Press,1998.

This is one of my favorite cookbooks of all time.  The recipes are taken from the well-known, Millennium Restaurant, (formerly in San Francisco and now located in Oakland, CA.)  Each dish is timeless, elegant as well as absolutely delicious.  These plant-based chefs were dreaming up recipes for Chickpea Flatbread and Quinoa Pilaf long before they were fashionable.

I can’t wait for mushroom season to start in earnest, so that I can attempt to make their Chanterelle Mushroom Sorbet recipe.  They have illustrated the book beautifully  and have made the recipes easy to follow.  I only wish that there was a hard-bound version.  Sadly, my paperback copy is getting tattered and torn from so much use.

Crossroads, by Tal Ronnen, Scot Jones and Serafina Magnussen, Photos by Lisa Romerein,  Artisan, (Workman Publishing Company, Inc.,) 2015

This is another great, (ok…not so old,) cookbook that comes from a renown, plant-based restaurant, Crossroads, in Los Angeles, CA.  (Tal Ronnen is also the creator of Kite Hill, plant-based cheeses, of which I am very fond of.)

I’ve loved every dish that I’ve tried in this book, although, I tend to gravitate toward the pasta recipes, such as Chive Fettuccine with Asparagus, Morels, Prosecco Sauce and Pappardelle Bolognese.

There is a lovely section of alcoholic cocktails that I go to when I need a special drink for special times.  There is also a section on, “the basics,” which are anything but common, such as Demi-Glace made with Roasted Vegetable Stock and Walnut Parmesan.

This book will definitely find a permanent place on your kitchen bookshelf.  I’m also happy to say, it has a sturdy, yet chic, hard cover…nice.

Veganomicon, The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero, Da Capo Press (Perseus Books Group,) 2007.

For me, this is the all-star of the older, vegan cookbooks.  It got me started on my vegan venture and I am forever grateful to its authors.  I love the no-nonsense approach to vegan food that is combined with the fun, full-of-nonsense commentary.

Most of the meals are all down home goodness; easy to prepare and sure to make everyone at the dinner table is happy.  I’m always asked to make their Cauli-Pots recipe at holiday gatherings, along with their classic, Cheezy Sauce to go over the broccoli.

There’s great sections on casseroles and one-pot meals, as well as some really, yummy desserts, such as Vanilla-Yogurt Pound Cake.  (I was amazed at how good this recipe was the first time I tried it..no eggs, no dairy…unbelievable.)

Not every recipe is a, “just like Mom used to make,” kind of dish.  They’ve put some unusual things in there too and if you don’t have this vegan bible yet, you’ll just have to pick yourself up a copy to find out what else is in it.  All I can say is GOOD STUFF!

Stocking Up: How to Preserve the Foods You Grow Naturally, by the editors of Organic Gardening and Farming, Rodale Press, 1977

I know…this is an oldie…geesh 1977!  My owning of this book attests to the fact that I’ve been interested in organic gardening for a very, very long time.  I’ll have to admit that I don’t open this book very often, but there are times when the newer writers…well… they just don’t know.  Like how do you make real catsup, (not ketchup?)  Or what’s the best way to thresh your own grains? Or how do you build a sun dehydrator from scraps of  this and that lying around the homestead?

This book is near and dear to my heart.  The late J.I. Rodale and his son, the late Robert Rodale, founders of the organic foods movement, have always been heros of mine.  While this book is not just for vegans, since there are sections in the book on cheese making and teaching us how to dress and preserve meats and fish, it is still a worthy edition to your cookbook library.  I don’t know if this edition is still in print, but any good, used bookstore can probably find it for you.  If not, check out the latest, third edition.

Appetite For Reduction, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2011.

Everybody needs a low-cal, diet book for those Januarys and nervously anticipated, upcoming, social events.  This cookbook is great for those and any other day of the year, for that matter.  What’s really nice about this book is that every recipe is accompanied by its nutritional information, including calories.

I frequently use this cookbook because of this feature.  Now, has this cookbook made me any thinner?  Well…no.  But are the recipes absolutely delicious?  Yes, indeed!  If I made a commitment to only eat from this cookbook for a couple of months, then I probably would lose weight.  That would be no problem for me, with recipes such as Mango BBQ Beans, Curry Laksa, Portobello Pepper Steak Stew and Bhutanese Pineapple Rice.  Ya know…I DO have a special trip planned in May.  Maybe I’d better heed my own advice and start my weight loss program using Isa’s recipes…hummmm…food for thought.  If you’re looking to lose a few pounds, or just want to live the fullest of healthy lifestyles, then you really otta have this cookbook.

Do you have some favorite, older, vegan cookbooks.  If so, please share.

~ C



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