Friday, September 07, 2007

COOKBOOK | Punk Rock Veganism

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.

I'm talking about Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero [Cover taken from Isa Moskowitz's blog]

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.

Where food is concerned, I think they have the right idea. I know I'm going to get myself a copy of Veganomicon when it comes out. Along with the new Jamie Oliver -- Jamie At Home.

You guys have any favourite cookbooks to share?


Anonymous said...

You know those small Periplus cookbooks that are like 4 - 6 bucks per book?

That's where i got my brownie recipe from.

And even i cannot screw that up, so LONG LIVE PERIPLUS!

Er, i think it's called Periplus lah.

darkorpheus said...

Oh yes, I'm familiar with them. I have to order them for the store. ;p That are cheap, and pretty good. And definitely they are called Periplus.

Bybee said...

I objected to the book Skinny Bitch (they are vegans) because they didn't really write much about fresh fruit and vegetables. They merely made long long long LONG lists of brand-name organic foods that are probably expensive and hard-to-find if you live in a podunk town like I used to.

purplefugue said...

Those Periplus books are them. I'm not vegetarian but on old, all time favourite I keep going back to is The Joy of Cooking.

darkorpheus said...

Bybee Ha! I knew it! "Skinny Bitch" is a con! Like "The Secret"!

Did I mention we sold alot of the book since it was last seen on Vic Beckham's arms?

What's a "podunk"?

Indigo "Joy of Cooking" - ah, one of the American classics. I think I'm more bias towards Italian and British cookbooks myself.

I'm new to the cooking thing, but Jamie Oliver made me believe I can do it - and he dares to get his hands dirty. I'm with him ever since. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the title and the photos are gorgeous. Our favorite cookbooks at our house judging by the food smears in them, are Simply Vegan and Tofu Cookery. How it All Vegan and Garden of Vegan are pretty good too, but the other two are well loved go-tos for basic yumminess.

Bybee said...

"Podunk" means a really small town.
I didn't know Mrs. Beckham carrying that book around! And I bought it! I'm so ashamed.

darkorpheus said...

Stefanie "Veganomicon" is just a fun title, isn't it? Doesn't take itself too seriously. :)

I love the pictures too - am tempted to try my hand at the tortilla(?) But I'll probably need an oven. Hmm..

Er - "Tofu Cookery"? I wish people will stop feeding me tofu all the time. :(

ByBee "Podunk" - does it have the same connotation as "hicksville"?

You mean you didn't know about the Skinny Bitch and Mrs Beckham connection? Quick! Give it away!

Melwyk said...

Aaaiiieeee! I did not know Victoria Beckham has held on to "Skinny Bitch". I've had an ARC of it for a year and half now. Time to regift...

Somehow I'd missed the announcement of this latest Moskowitz cookbook. Must buy. I love her other two.

darkorpheus said...

Melanie *LOL* Oh yeah, it's on The New York Times Bestseller List. Kid you not.

Remember - Veganomicon out in bookstores November. Or earlier. Or maybe later.

Doc Martian said...

do you have 'the enchanted broccoli forest' and 'the tassajara bread book'? those are the two vegetarian oriented cookbooks that i always recommend. not that i'm a vegetarian, but i am vegetarian-friendly.