By now you’re all well aware that I eat a plant-based diet (painfully obvious), but what you might not know is that I rarely attend vegan events (with a few exceptions) or hang out in vegan circles. Most of my friends are omnivores, and I refuse to sequester myself from the real world, which clearly isn’t quite as plant-centric as I am. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this, and as a result end up talking about nutrition with tons of people who still eat a lot of animal products.
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding the idea of a plant-based diet is that we only eat weird, unrecognizable meals. The truth is that most of the meals I eat are pretty similar to meals I used to eat in the Standard American “Healthy” Diet, and the transition to being plant-based is much much easier than most people think it would be. The real key is finding recipes and meals that are familiar and non-threatening and Laura Theodore aka “The Jazzy Vegetarian” does a nice job of that in her new cookbook “Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites.” She’s translated comforting classics like potato skins, rocky mountain toast (aka egg-in-a-hole, one of my old favorites before I stopped eating eggs, macaroni salad, spaghetti and “meatballs,” shish kabobs, and asparagus with vegan hollandaise. Most of the recipes in the book are ludicrously simply to prepare and accompanied by a nice photo, a big plus in my book.
Perhaps the most valuable part of the book, however, isn’t the recipes themselves. It’s the “Menus Made Easy” section at the front of the book, which presents various scenarios and lists the recipes in the book that can be made in concert with one another. Some scenarios include a picnic, a BBQ, a “wheatloaf” and potatoes dinner, and Thanksgiving. She even includes a music choice for each one – I’m not that into jazz, but I think it’s a great idea nonetheless. Following one recipe can be simple, but choosing a full menu of healthy foods to entertain guests while staying true to your eating principles is tough, and Laura’s lists of suggested recipe combinations could end up being a major time-saver.
I go through a lot of cookbooks, some of which I rarely use, but I can see myself going back to this one over and over again, especially that super-helpful front section. I highly recommend checking this one out, it just may become a staple in your house and help convert some omnivores over to a more plant-based way of life.