Sarah Kramer reveals her strategies for travellers in her pocket-sized new cookbook, Vegan A Go-Go.
In her newest venture, cookbook superstar, Sarah Kramer takes vegan cooking on the road. Vegan A Go-Go is a pocket-sized resource that combines tips for the vegan traveller, a collection of favourite recipes from Sarah’s cookbook trilogy – How it All Vegan, Garden of Vegan, and La Dolce Vegan– plus 20 new recipes to explore, whether on the road or in your own kitchen.
While she was in Toronto promoting her new book, I had the opportunity to interview Sarah about the book and her reflections on the last decade spent creating vegan recipes and sharing them with the world.
Vegan A Go-Go is described as a cookbook and survival manual for vegans on the road. What inspired you to create a travel book that contains the “best of” recipes from the trilogy?
Sarah: Every holiday season I am inundated with emails from readers who have travelled to visit family and who desperately need such-and-such recipe from one of the cookbooks. They usually want to impress their family or make something special for whatever occasion it is they’re celebrating and of course most people don’t travel with their cookbooks. So they email me for the recipe. We designed VAGG (Vegan A Go-Go) to be small enough to fit into your back pocket and take with you on your travels.
Your first book, How it All Vegan, was released almost a decade ago. How has your approach to vegan cooking and eating evolved over the years?
Sarah: In my early years, my cooking style was about cooking in bulk for the least amount of money-lots of giant pots of chili or stew that would last me through the week. These days I’m not so stressed about how much ingredients cost because I have a few more pennies in my pocket, so I usually make a meal with that evening’s dinner in mind.
Has travelling as a vegan changed over that time?
Sarah: Well, being vegan 10 years ago was a lifestyle that not many people knew about. Now Oprah is talking about being vegan on daytime TV. That indicates a shift in pop culture, making it easier for vegans to find food. I travel quite a bit to promote the books and finding vegan food is a lot easier than it used to be, because most people understand that concept and either provide a vegan choice on the menu or can prepare you something vegan-friendly.
Who did you create Vegan A Go-Go for?
Sarah: I created VAGG for the fans. It contains amazing recipes and fantastic tips for “being prepared” while travelling, but does not provide a ton of information on becoming vegan or vegetarian. How it All Vegan is the book I wrote with information about “becoming vegan.”
La Dolce Vegan included a number of recipes contributed by members of your online community at GoVegan.net. Vegan A Go-Go also includes submitted recipes. How does this approach affect the creation of a new book and benefit the final product?
Sarah: Actually, all four of my books have reader contributions. It’s so much fun and an honour for me to test my readers’ recipes because they spent hours in their kitchens perfecting them and are so proud to share them with me and the world.
Do you have any advice on following a vegetarian diet for health?
Sarah: Becoming Vegan, by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis, is a fantastic book about vegan nutrition.
Do you have any advice for staying healthy as a vegan on the road?
Sarah: I have a whole section in VAGG about how to stay healthy but my number one tip is to get a neti pot. Keep your nasal passages healthy. They’re the gateway to health.
You’ve said that two of your favourite restaurants are in Toronto, Fresh and Live. What are your favourite dishes?
Sarah: I love the Green Goddess bowl at Fresh. Yumtastic!
VegNews magazine voted you “comeback of the year.” So what does this “comeback” include?
Sarah: I don’t know why they are calling it a comeback. To quote LL Cool J, “I’ve been here for years.”
As for projects in the works-I have a new wall calendar coming out in June and I am about to start work on a children’s book with Sho, Mo and the Monkey Bunch. That will be out in the fall or 2010.
I really enjoyed chatting with Sarah. How it All Vegan was my very first vegan cookbook and definitely supported me in my personal journey to becoming vegan!
Thank you Sarah.