So I’m trying to add more vegetables into my diet, and trying to eat less* processed food, and generally edit my unhealthy habits, for a healthier life. Without doing anything crazy like cutting out coffee or booze, of course.
Vegetarian cookbooks often involve long moralizing harangues on converting to vegetarianism, or attacks on meat-eating cavemen types, which is sort of frustrating when I’m just looking to eat a bit healthier. Sometimes — especially in the books that promise to be easy — recipes involve taking a soy-chicken cutlet, battering it in fake egg and gluten-free panko, and frying it in canola oil. Which doesn’t really seem much healthier or less processed, and also, if something is called FAKE CHICKEN, I probably don’t need a special book to tell me to prepare it like chicken.
But when I got Alternative Vegan: International Vegan Fare Straight From The Produce Aisle on my Kindle, it was quite a different experience. First, the recipes seemed like things I would want to eat. They had ingredients I like! With actual flavor! No eating a bowl of quinoa and unseasoned tofu! And no fake-meats!
The author was just so cheerfully chatty about substitutions, and excited about variations, and had such lovely stories about the recipes’ inspiration, that reading Alternative Vegan felt like talking with a foodie friend. I kept reading, and kept feeling like a friend was talking to me…
Then I realized that I’d met the author, Dino Sarma Weierman, at a party at Nate and Andrea’s place a couple months ago, where he’d had enthused about food and adding vegan meals to an omnivore’s diet with me! It took me a surprisingly long time to catch on to this. I mean, how many flamboyantly hospitable foodie vegans called Dino are there?
The cookbook has the same enthusiasm for cooking and sharing food that a chat with Dino has, and the book’s been such a great help in turning vegetables from a side dish into a main dish.
*I gave a lot of thought to whether this should be less or fewer, but actually, I mean both food that is less processed and fewer foods that processed.