When I was still a teenager, one day my aunt asked my mum if she was going to teach me how to cook. My mum took one long look at me (and I was pretending I wasn't eavesdropping) -- and she said, "She'll learn it on her own if she wants to. Otherwise there's no point."
Mum knows best. Trying to force me into the kitchen wasn't going to work if I did not believe in cooking. I understood some basics to cooking, and I wasn't afraid to try -- but it wasn't until I became a vegetarian that I had to take cooking seriously. Eating out is inconvenient where I work, and if I wanted to eat healthy, have more fresh vegetables in my diet, have a balanced meal everyday, I need to learn how to prepare lunch for myself. It was a challenge, and I struggle with it -- but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.
So, after four years, am I a good chef? Let's just say: I have many skills, but cooking is not among my best. But I get by.
I order cookbooks at the bookstore where I work. It's the more enjoyable part of my job. But sometimes -- sometimes I actually come across a cookbook that excites me.
After two years in the making, the cookbook has finally gone to print. It's slated to be released this November, and you can find some of the pictures inside the book here. Yes, a cookbook for those who prefer not to eat food that used to have a face or a mother. (Of course that's not the definition of a vegan and I'm not a vegan -- but you get the idea.)
It's punk-rock veganism at its best, and contains 250 recipes -- or "guidelines" -- because cooking (and punk-rock) is often about testing and challenging what is safe and known. Read it, follow the recipes if it suits you, or just experiment. Whatever fits you best.
Why do I like them so much? Isa Moskowitz had me when she said this in an interview with The New York Times:
“I think vegan cooks need to learn to cook vegetables first. Then maybe they can be allowed to move on to meat substitutes.”
When I read this, I just wanted to kiss her.
Note to my friends: Please stop feeding me mock-meat. Feed me vegetables. I want the crunch and flavour of real vegetables. You know, Vegetarian -- from the root word: vegetable.
You guys have any favourite cookbooks to share?