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Serving up creamy, rich vegan desserts since the beginning of ‘vegan desserts,’ and there’s still nothing better

Ramekin of chocolate mousse on top of The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, Vegan Pie in the Sky, Brooks Headley’s Fancy Desserts
Ramekin of chocolate mousse on top of The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, Vegan Pie in the Sky, Brooks Headley’s Fancy Desserts
Photo: Alicia Kennedy

Blending silken tofu up in order to create a creamy dessert is one of those things that sounds like only a vegan could love. Tofu, in my dessert? Yes, tofu in everyone’s dessert! It works perfectly, seamlessly every time.

I have long maintained that this is the absolute best, most fool-proof egg replacement in creamy applications. It brings bounce and density, tastes like only what you flavor your mixture with, and it is both cheap and easy, while the end result is incredibly impressive. Silken tofu has historically been my favorite way to make pumpkin pie, but this year I…


Romy Gill’s ‘Zaika: Vegan Recipes From India’ is all about creating big flavors with simple ingredients

A hand holding the book “Zaika” by Romy Gill, which has illustrations of various vegetables and fruits on a dark green cover
A hand holding the book “Zaika” by Romy Gill, which has illustrations of various vegetables and fruits on a dark green cover
Photo: Alicia Kennedy. `Zaika: Vegan Recipes from India` by Romy Gill © 2019 Orion Publishing Co.

“For me, to write this book was very, very important,” chef and writer Romy Gill tells me over the phone from her home in the United Kingdom. The book is Zaika: Vegan Recipes from India, and it is a homage to her mother and the way she grew up eating. She tells me that the idea that everyone in India cooks with ghee, butter, and other dairy products is a Western misconception. In her family, it was oil, and that’s why it was so important to her to make this a vegan book rather than vegetarian.

What she says is…


Vintage Veg

1981’s ‘World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking’ taught Western home cooks how to use spices other than salt and pepper

Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cookbook book cover is pictured, with an Asian-inspired font and illustration
Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cookbook book cover is pictured, with an Asian-inspired font and illustration
Photo: Alicia Kennedy

Madhur Jaffrey is the queen of Indian home cooking, a title she’s held for quite some time thanks to the numerous influential cookbooks she’s published. I have so many of her books that I’ve not actually used all of them, including World of the East Vegetarian Cooking. This is one that I just like to look at, especially for its kitschy illustrations that try to tackle the entire Western imaginary’s conception of the “East,” including the Middle East, South Asia, and onto Japan.

The book is a gigantic tome of 500 pages, first printed in 1981. By the time my…


Vintage Veg

A quirky, egg-free vegetarian cookbook from 1968 offers unexpected inspiration

A hand holding up a vintage cookbook with a quaint illustration of fruits and veggies on the front.
A hand holding up a vintage cookbook with a quaint illustration of fruits and veggies on the front.
Photo: Alicia Kennedy

When I bought Pegeen Fitzgerald’s Meatless Cooking: Pegeen’s Vegetarian Recipes, it was because it seemed quirky enough. Published in 1968, both the foreword and introduction are staunchly in favor of ethical vegetarianism. “As you know, I am a vegetarian,” she begins. “My belief comes not only from an innate reverence for life but from a love of animals.”

As I read a bit more about the author, I discovered she and her husband hosted a long-running radio show called “The Fitzgeralds” in New York. Their New York City apartment and Connecticut home were overrun by cats that their listeners had…


Vintage Veg

Revisting a 2003 vegan cookbook from the iconic organic, vegan restaurant that once stood in the East Village

A blue neon sign reading Angelica Kitchen
A blue neon sign reading Angelica Kitchen
Photo: Eden, Janine and Jim via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Out of all the vegan restaurants in New York City lost to time, I miss Angelica Kitchen most of all. There is a specific kind of mood, a certain tone in the weather, that can stir up a desire in me that could only be sated by a macrobiotic tempeh sushi roll and a slice of carob tart at this once-long-standing East Village spot. It was the first place I went when I became committed to veganism, and it represents a New York that was alive and weird. …


How fiction impacts the way we see animals

A young child sitting on a couch next to a window, reading a book.
A young child sitting on a couch next to a window, reading a book.
Photo: Josh Applegate via Unsplash

The idiosyncrasies of our attitude towards animals are perfectly encapsulated by fiction. Every time a story about an animal goes viral, I am reminded of particular pieces of fiction that have stuck with me all these years. Some of my earliest memories of animals come from the fictional world. Mickey, Dumbo, Simba, Sebastian were all deeply embedded in my consciousness before I had any real grasp of what mice, elephants, lions and crabs were really like. I work in an elephant sanctuary and it’s fascinating to watch people behold the real version of an idea they have had since childhood…


A rectangular sheet pan pizza with crispy, browned potatoes and basil and pine nuts, next to 4 retro Baby-Sitters Club books
A rectangular sheet pan pizza with crispy, browned potatoes and basil and pine nuts, next to 4 retro Baby-Sitters Club books
Photos: Laura Vincent

A richly satisfying vegan pizza recipe, in tribute to an unbelievably satisfying TV-watching experience

In Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited, Captain Charles Ryder realizes he will be returning with his battalion to the same castle where he spent much of his youth. This unexpected reminder of times past shakes him to his very skeleton, and the outside world is silenced as he’s left in a trance, absolutely kneecapped by memories. That was me, when I saw the distinctive handwriting of Kristy Thomas in the opening credits of Netflix’s new series, The Baby-Sitters Club.

The Baby-Sitters Club books were no mere source of entertainment during my formative years. They were a whole world operating…


Vintage Veg

Ginny Callan’s 1987 cookbook takes a seasonal, local approach to meatless cuisine that’s still refreshing over 30 years later

A hand holds up a paperback copy of “Horn of the Moon.”
A hand holds up a paperback copy of “Horn of the Moon.”
Photo: Alicia Kennedy

Ginny Callan ran the Horn of the Moon café in Montpelier, Vermont, from 1977 to 1990 — quite a run for a vegetarian space outside a big city, and she has two cookbooks to show for it: Horn of the Moon Cookbook: Recipes from Vermont’s Renowned Vegetarian Restaurant and Beyond the Moon. That first one came out in 1987, a decade into the restaurant’s run, and documents a specific seasonal and local approach to meatless cuisine.

“The café has struggled financially over the years,” she writes in the introduction. “It has had to compete with other restaurants that use cheap…


Vintage Veg

How ‘The Second Seasonal Political Palate’ helped me find a different way to write about food

A photo of the book ‘The Second Seasonal Political Palette’ featuring a black and white floral illustration
A photo of the book ‘The Second Seasonal Political Palette’ featuring a black and white floral illustration
Photo: Alicia Kennedy

When I found The Second Seasonal Political Palate at Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York City many years back, it felt like a treasure. I had only recently begun to collect and research vintage vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, seeking a political through line, and I knew the out-of-print early texts from the Bloodroot Collective were key to my understanding. A Feminist Vegetarian Cookbook, it announces on the top of the cover.

When I opened it up, the dedication was “For Alicia.” A sign, absolutely. Never mind that this was the second book, not the first. It was for me.


6 books for learning about how corporate food took over the world and what we can do about it

Photo: Pexels

While the COVID-19 crisis continues to ravage the global population, food workers in the United States have been especially hard hit. From the meat-processing plants deemed “essential” business to the farms where produce is grown, keeping the industrial food supply moving has meant many low-wage, mostly immigrant workers are putting their lives at risk so that supermarkets continue to be well-stocked.

That makes it more imperative than ever to read up on food justice movements and how industrialized, corporate food took over the world. Among Black farmers, especially, there has always been a radical element to working on the land…

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