Shiitake on a Shingle

My husband often jokes these days that we are turning American. Before becoming vegan, if you’d asked me about American food I’d probably have said it was just like English food but sometimes included sickly sweet marshmallow dishes on a main course plate. I had no idea just how different it can be. I’ve no idea how many vegan cookbooks I’ve got, but it’s a safe bet that over 90% of them were written by American authors. Most of the authors I have tested for are American or live in America, so I suppose it’s fairly obvious that we’re eating lots more American dishes. After all, I tested over 100 dishes just for Tami’s upcoming book, American Vegan Kitchen so I’m coming much closer to understanding some of the great dishes that are eaten all over America but aren’t really known here, or at least, eaten in a different way. Biscuits and gravy, Sloppy Joes, Hopping John, macaroni cheese served as a side, Reuben sandwiches, and so many more!

Shit on a Shingle is another dish I’d never heard of before becoming vegan. It’s a common US dish and seems to have associations with the military. From what I can understand, it’s a sort of beef stew served on toast. I’ve now managed to try three vegan versions of it and they’ve all been totally different. The first one was from Cozy Inside and used beans and TVP. The second one was from American Vegan Kitchen and used seitan. This third version is from Urban Vegan, and unsurprisingly, uses shiitake mushrooms. Don’t ask me to pick favourites; they’re all so different and I really enjoyed all of them.

Previously, when I thought of cuisines that lent themselves well to vegan cuisine, I’d have said Indian, or Thai. And of course they do. But I’m so pleased that veganism has helped me to embrace another cuisine that I’d never thought about before. Now pass me those measuring cups and that liquid smoke, I’m off to broil some eggplant.

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