Best Of…

People are passionate about their food choices. I have heard so many people say “I would die if I had to give up (insert meat, eggs, or dairy product here)”. Now, that’s passion – you’d give up your life for bacon? Seriously?

I personally don’t want to give up kale but if it was a life or death situation I think I’d find away to accept spinach instead. However, these exchanges have taught me that instead of focusing on what being vegan  removes from our lives – let’s celebrate what remains.

Most people eat vegan most of the time without even realizing it. By focusing on the vast array of delicious plant foods you can appeal to people’s palates without engaging in a political debate. Once they are full – it is much easier to talk about ethics.

Recently, I joined a book club. Not a regular, let’s all dissect the author’s description of melancholy on pg.29 book club, but more of a Best of Book Club (or the book report club as it has been called). We basically get together and talk about our favourite reads – or warn each other about disappointing diatribes masquerading as terrific tomes.

I digress, just to say that it seems people are as passionate about their favourite authors as their favourite foods. In fact, my friend who has a book review blog gets far more death threats in her comments then I’ve ever received on my vegan blog. The internet is an interesting place.
Last week, I had the chance to host our monthly gathering. Many of the members are new friends, who haven’t yet been exposed to my vegan culinary creations.

When I introduce new people to the idea of vegan food I like to stick with delicious plants – rather than trying to convince them that “daiya tastes just like dairy-based cheese” …”see, it melts and everything”.
To statisfy our need to nibble I prepared a platter of grapes, pears, figs, dates, almonds and pistachios.

In case our debates about protagonists and author’s voice became heated and required additional sustenance I turned to Angela of Oh She Glows who always creates incredible vegan dishes. The bookclub gathering was the perfect excuse to try her Stawberry-Oat Bars.If you can come up with an excuse (like – you’re hungry) then I highly suggest that you whip up a batch.

I have decided that most book clubs are actually a front for wine-tasting activities. As the host I was able to introduce the group to some fantastic vegan wines from a nearby vineyard. If you’re hosting a soiree or just looking for a tipple I suggest searching Barnivore to be sure you’re choices are cruelty-free.
What is a vegan event without hummus? – in case the vegan police showed up I thought I should be sure to have a bean puree of some kind.
Simple, Hippie Hummus
2 cups cooked chickpeas
juice of a lemon
3 tbsp raw tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp Braggs liquid aminos
1/4 cup water
1/2 bunch of fresh parsley
black pepper to taste
Puree everything together in your food processor until the desired texture is achieved.

It was a simple spread. It didn’t take long to prepare. And no one seemed concerned about the lack of animal parts.

My Best of Book Club generally focuses on fiction but I thought this would be an ideal opportunity to share with you my list of the Best Vegan Recipe Books (these are just my current favourites)
1. Viva Vegan
2. Ani’s Raw Food Essentials
3. Veganomicon
4. Becoming Raw
5. Ripe from Around Here
6. Vive le Vegan
7. Sweet Gratitude
8. Sweet Freedom
9. The 30 Minute Vegan
10. Eat, Drink & Be Vegan
I own over a hundred vegan titles but these are the ones I turn to most often. What is your favourite vegan book? What book do you recommend most often to others?

I think yesterday was apple love fest for Vegan MoFoers. A-K posted a raw apple persimmon crisp and Bitt featured homemade apple sauce. If you don’t regular read their blogs you’re missing out. Vegan MoFo is the perfect time to discover new bloggers to inspire your next meal.
P.S. I’m going strong and plan to post everyday this month (weekends too). So, please keep coming back for more.


  1. Posted November 5, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Great post! I think it is very important to focus on all the great vegan options out there.

  2. Posted November 5, 2010 at 6:40 am

    LOVE that humus recipe!!! YUM. You're my s-hero. I don't think I can do 7 days a week. I realize that this weekend I have to write a paper for a class I'm taking and have to prepare a lecture for a class I'm teaching. Hate when life gets in the way of blogging! LOL But I'll be back Monday. LOVIN' Vegan MoFo because I love reading daily posts from bloggers (like YOU) that I love!

  3. Posted November 5, 2010 at 8:39 am

    This is wonderful! And I've been meaning to get my hands on Ani's book. I definitely turn to the Best of Bloodroot vol.II for interesting meal ideas. In general, a lot of the cookbooks I have the arose from vegetarian restaurants tend to have fascinating combinations, but BR also organizes their cookbook by season and uses some out-of-the-ordinary ingredients.

  4. Posted November 5, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I love this post! I completely agree that its necessary to focus on what vegan meals can offer rather than what is eliminated. I've heard people say they can't live without meat, yet I've always said that I'd give my life to save the life of the bacon on their plate.

    I think my favourite vegan cookbook is Veganomicon for its variety, as well as Ripe from Around Here for its focus on local foods. I would love to get my hands on a copy of Ani's Raw Food Essentials though.

    I hope your book buddies enjoyed that delicious-looking spread!

  5. Posted November 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    I've been a bookworm since birth, so this is a tough question for me! That, and the fact that my vegan cookbook collection rivals yours. 😉

    My favorite vegan cookbook is probably Eat, Drink & Be Vegan, but maybe it's Vive Le Vegan. This is really too difficult a question to answer!

    As for which vegan book I recommend most, it's probably The Great American Detox Diet by Alex Jamieson. For those who are interested in health, wellness, and committing to a vegan lifestyle, I find this one highly informative and easily accessible. The Engine 2 Diet is also really useful for newbies who need the info in the most basic and enthusiastic way possible.

    The fiction book I recommend most is The Book Thief. It's gorgeously written and from such an interesting point of view!

  6. Posted November 5, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I used to get frustrated when I had book club because we never talked about the books. And I had usually busted my butt the night before finishing it.

    If I came to your club I would be a happy eater! I agree not to push fake stuff on omnivores, let plant foods to the persuasion. Because no matter what everyone could stand to eat more of them.

    Love all your book suggestions. I am hooked on Sweet Gratitude of course. When I first started into veganism, How It All Vegan was my favorite.

  7. Posted November 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Thanks for sharing the books! I love the spread ideas for sharing the plant-based, bountiful possibilities of food. When I go to my writers' group in town, it's usually very 'standard' fare, but I've read them some of the articles that I've written for 80% Raw, and they've been very open and receptive. Our home is too small (one room cabin) to host a meeting, but maybe one of these days I should host one at the library and make a spread a bit like you show. My personal constraints of gluten free and very low sugar might be stretching it, but I'll do what I can!


  8. Posted November 6, 2010 at 4:59 am

    I want to join your book club! I think I need to start a virtual book club, because they don't really have any here, and I love stuff like that. I think I just miss grad school.

    I'm all about just showcasing delicious food and not making a big deal of the vegan thing when serving omnis. Once they eat it and they love it then I gently remind them it's vegan – it seems to work!

    You are a rock star blogging every single day! I'm not sure if I'm going to do every day, but maybe!

    I love the idea of sharing your favourite cookbooks of the moment! I may have to snag that idea…Mofo oblige!

  9. Posted November 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    You're right. So many times when people think "vegan," they only think of what's missing. My experience as a vegan has been the complete opposite. I eat so much more of a varied diet now than I ever did when I ate animals.

    My top two favorite cookbooks are "Vegan Table" and "Veganomicon."

  10. Posted November 6, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    You're right. So many times when people think "vegan," they only think of what's missing. My experience as a vegan has been the complete opposite. I eat so much more of a varied diet now than I ever did when I ate animals.

    My top two favorite cookbooks are "Vegan Table" and "Veganomicon."

  11. Posted November 7, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Great post! I have never participated in a book club. I would have to say that my favorite vegan cookbooks are Vegan Planet & Veganomicon.

  12. Posted November 7, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I love all of your book suggestions!

    Mihl – I still can't get over you post including the coconut jam.

    JL- what a lovely comment. I have enjoyed all your MoFo posts. I can't wait to see what you create next week.

    Rachel- I have seen BloodRoot in a couple of stores but it is really nice to have your recommendation. You'll love Ani's book.

    Nicole – some people had never tried fresh figs. I think they were surprised by the texture.

    Vegyogini- I'm glad you're on Team Dreena with me. Your other suggestions are fabulous. I can't wait for Alex's new book to come out.

    Bitt- you're invited to the club any time you can make it. HIAV was my first vegan book too.

    Ela – my place is less than 600 square feet but I've decided not to apologize for where I live or what I eat. I just try to celebrate what I have.

    Shellyfish -xoxo

    cadryskitchen – I'm so glad we're on the same page.

    Joi – Robin Robertson is amazing. I love Vegan Planet.

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