If you’re reading this you probably don’t really need reviews of books by Isa Chandra Moskowitz because you’ve most likely got your own well worn copies anyway. I’d been vegan for about 5 moths when I bought this book. I’d already got tonnes of vegetarian books and a few vegan books, and was managing pretty well finding things to cook, enjoying food and wasn’t feeling like I was missing out. But a quick flick through this amazing book told me that I was! For a start I hadn’t had anything interesting for breakfast while I was vegan. French toast! My favourite eggy bread could be made vegan! Hallelujah! That was the very first thing I made and I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
I’d heard of mysterious things like tempeh, nutritional yeast and seitan but hadn’t been inspired enough to find out more about them. And as I started to make things from the book, I started to trust that things I was really suspicious of, like using tofu in place of cheese, would work! I learnt that quinoa could be tasty, that pancakes, pizza, gnocchi and risotto weren’t lost to me forever and that you could even eat vegan omelettes. Even food that I’d never made before I became vegan, like waffles, biscuits and muffins lost some of their fear factor.
The very best things about Isa’s books is that you can trust them. The recipes will work. In other books, you look at some of the combinations or methods, and think you won’t like them. With Isa’s books you just know that everything is there for a reason and that unless they contain an ingredient you already hate, it will end up delicious. And in amongst the recipes are healthy smatterings of tips, chat and humour which help you to get a sense of the author’s personality without overwhelming and taking away from the food.
It’s really hard to pick a few favourites from this book (and God knows how I’ll do it with Vegan Brunch or Veganomicon), but here’s some:
Savoury crepes (what we call pancakes!)
Mushroom and sun dried tomato risotto
Millet and spinach polenta with sun dried tomato pesto
Mango summer rolls
Sweet potato hash with 5 spice and watercress
Stewed tofu and potatoes in miso gravy
Punk rock chickpea gravy
Chickpea hijiki sammiches