Part of my Vegan MoFo 2013 is doing blog entries dedicated to each year I've been vegan.
I began seriously considering going vegan in 1999. I was living in Philadelphia while attending college, and had made several friends through both school and the local punk scene who were vegan. I was volunteering on Sundays at the Wooden Shoe, an anarchist bookstore collective. We had recently stocked a new publication, an exciting, brightly-colored cookbook titled How It All Vegan, written by two sassy-looking, tattooed Canadian ladies [Tanya and Sarah] in cute vintage clothing. The first recipe I made was the banana bread. Then it was also the second, third, and fourth recipe I tried. I became a banana bread fiend! I made about a dozen banana breads for various friends as holiday presents. I quickly knew the recipe by heart.
Almost 14 years later, I still have it...
...and it has been well-utilized.
That Christmas, I flew to Sweden to spend the holiday with my extended family and possibly ride out the Y2K disaster in a country where Shit Gets Done. For the flight, I borrowed a book from my friend Chris. It was The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams. Reading it was the final push I needed to decide that my New Year's resolution would be to go vegan. I had already been vegetarian for two years at this point, and knew plenty of vegan people and establishments, so I'm happy to say my transition was pretty smooth, with the exception of my ex-boyfriend, who was a hardcore foodie and made fun of me for making the switch. But fourteen years later, I'm still vegan, and he's my ex-boyfriend, so there you go.

All these years later, I still own and reference my original copies of both books. The other day I cracked open How it All Vegan to make the faux feta (see the recipe for cold pesto salad below), and the wave of nostalgia made me realize I should blog about my dear old friends for MoFo. 

PictureHot sauce and How It All Vegan: kitchen essentials.
As you can see, the book has been well-worn and splattered with various ingredients. The spine has even broken at the page with the banana bread recipe, and if I'm not careful, some of the pages fall out! Tanya and Sarah's sage (har har) cooking wisdom has followed me from Philly to California to Hong Kong and back to California again, through countless moves, a blur of kitchens, and many phases in my vegan journey and my life in general. 

Tanya and Sarah released a follow-up, The Garden of Vegan, in 2003, after which Tanya left the world of cookbook writing to pursue a career in healthcare (go Tanya!). Sarah continued to cook, write, and blog about vegan food, publishing La Dolce Vegan and Vegan A Go-Go. I met Sarah at a release party for the latter book in San Francisco, and it was a wonderful feeling to tell her that it was her and Tanya's book that helped start my vegan journey. A few months ago Sarah announced that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer and has put her homepage and webshop on hiatus while she pursues treatment. Her candor, bravery, and honesty throughout the process has been inspirational and impressive, to say the least. I wish her all the very best luck in the world. 

There you have it- two books and three incredible women who informed and calibrated my moral compass. Thank you Sarah, Tanya, and Carol, for making me who I am today!


Cold Pesto Salad

1/2 lb. fusili pasta
1 serving of Classic Pesto from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan With a Vengeance (to taste)
1 serving of Faux Feta from Barnard & Kramer's How it All Vegan (to taste)
2 med. or 1 large bell pepper (whatever is seasonal and local)
1/4-1/3 cup onion
1 6 oz. can of sliced olives
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 barely-ripe small or medium Haas avocado (optional)

Cook the pasta and run it under cold water to cool it off and to halt the cooking process. Julienne the bell pepper and onion, and cut the avocado into bite-sized chunks. Add all the vegetables to the pasta, and then pesto and feta to taste (start with a half-recipe and work your way up from there). You can eat this right away or store it in the fridge for a great side dish or brown bag lunch.  Because the pesto freezes so well and the feta gets yummier the longer it marinates, this is something you can prep several days beforehand and throw together in 15 minutes. 


09/05/2013 9:10am

Ooh, I just got How it All Vegan out of the library. I usually prefer cookbooks with pictures but it seems like there's some pretty good recipes in there. I'm thinking I'm gonna be making pancakes from there soon!

09/05/2013 12:10pm

Excellent choice, Vixki!

09/06/2013 1:41pm

Dude, you should see my copy of VWAV - I had to buy a second one because the original, my first vegan book, is in 3-4 pieces. I still have it for nostalgia's sake though.

09/08/2013 1:18pm

Katie, I know- about once a year I debate buying a new copy but then decide it's just gonna get splattered and worn out like the old one anyway!

09/07/2013 4:19am

Aw man! serious nostalgia. I made the decision to finally go vegan because someone made the tofu egg salad from that book for a potluck. I was hooked! that faux feta used to be one of my faves! I might need to bust it out again.

09/08/2013 1:20pm

That's awesome! I can't even imagine how many vegans the combined forces of Sarah and Tanya have created. I don't know that I've ever tried the faux egg salad recipe, or if I have it was ages ago. I need to re-try it again! I'm a big fan of the faux chicken salad recipe with tempeh... it's probably the only reason I ever buy celery.

Comments are closed.