How to Get Your Vegan Kitchen and Home Ready for Emergencies

An interview with Robin and Jon Robertson — because an ounce of frozen kale is worth a pound of spoiled spinach

Marla Rose
Published in
8 min readJun 15, 2020


From ‘The Ball Blue Book of Canning and Preserving Recipes’ (1944). Photo: saltycotton via Flickr

I have long been a fan of Robin Robertson’s cookbooks, which cover a wide range of subjects and cooking styles, some of which are published by her husband Jon’s company, Vegan Heritage Press. I thought I knew all of Robin’s cookbooks but seeing as she has a new one coming out about every other week (okay, that is a slight exaggeration), it’s understandable that I only recently heard of Vegan Unplugged, originally published in 2010.

It was in a conversation with a friend about how to plan for the anticipated worsening coronavirus spread in the fall when she mentioned how she is digging into her copy of Vegan Unplugged, a collaboration between Robin and Jon, for tips and tricks. Unplugged is a thorough guide for emergency preparedness, which they were inspired to write after a week without electricity when Hurricane Isabel hit their community in 2003. You can also check out Robin’s very timely classic Cook the Pantry for recipes from Unplugged as well as some new ones and additional cooking options.

Obviously, Robin’s expertise is in recipe development and cooking, but her co-author Jon lends a lot of practical know-how for preparing oneself and our households for emergencies, whether they are natural disasters or pandemics, making this a very helpful resource for this historic moment. Unplugged is described as a guide for using whenever cooking becomes a challenge, relying mainly on pantry staples. The recipes and cooking tips also work when it’s not a crisis but access to vegan food is limited, like when visiting family members who don’t quite get the vegan thing. The challenge could be when you’re on the road, your power is out, or, I don’t know, a pandemic. If you believe that life is too short to subsist on dry nutrition bars and cups of ramen for days on end even in emergencies, Unplugged is the book for you. If you want to be better prepared for emergencies, it is even more useful.

The recipes are simple, delicious and flavorful, requiring a minimum of preparation, cooking time and clean-up to keep life easier and conserve resources like fuel and water for…