Vegan/vegetarian books

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Vegan/vegetarian books

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mar 28, 2007, 8:54 am

I don't have many books on this subject, though I love books and I love food! I don't like recipe books being the sort of cook who just combines stuff she has to hand. I was taught to cook when quite young - traditional Irish meat-based stuff - and have just adapted over the years to less and then no meat, dairy etc and incorporating new techniques, ingredients, cuisines. So I would like to know what books any self-respecting vegan/vegetarian should have besides recipe books? And if there are any recipe books that might be of use to someone like me?

Cheers, Anne

mar 28, 2007, 10:46 am

I've advocated it before, but Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser is a real eye-opener. The opening chapters cover the history of the meat industry and the origins of McDonalds and it's absolutely fascinating stuff even if you're not vegetarian.

Another one that I've read good reports about (it's in my ever-growing mountain of unread books) is Not On The Label: What Really Goes Into The Food On Your Plate by Felicity Lawrence which apparently has lots of scary facts about packaged and processed food.

I have to be honest here and say that my most used recipe book is not actually a vegetarian one. It's a basic 1000 useful recipes (no touchstone), that I've used to find out how to make white sauce, pancakes, scones and loads of other things - indispensable!

mar 28, 2007, 12:36 pm

I can think of a lot of books, but I guess it depends on what aspect you are interested in. If you are interested in the animal rights aspect, then I suggest books by Gray L. Francione, especially Rain Without Thunder: The Ideology of the Animal Rights Movement and Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog?.

If you are looking more for the nutrition aspect of things, I recommend Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis or Becoming Vegetarian by Vesanto Melina depending on which suits you. I have the former and I love it. It is very helpful for those quick questions about nutrition.

If you are looking for a general, "why veganism is good for me, the animals, and the world" type of book, I have heard good things about Vegan: the New Ethics of Eating by Eric Marcus.

I'm sure I will think of more later, but I hope that helps.

mar 28, 2007, 12:40 pm

Oh, one more that I haven't personally had a chance to read yet, but has come highly recommended to me is The China Study by T. Colin Campbell. It approaches veganism from the health aspect.

Redigeret: mar 28, 2007, 12:44 pm

I enjoy history, especially medieval and Renaissance history, so I like Vegetarianism: A History by Colin Spencer. (Touchstone title won't load correctly, sorry.) It's an interesting study of vegetarian eating throughout the ages, starting with palaeolithic times and on into the modern day, with a focus upon Europe and the U.S. (and some detours into India, etc.). Good reading!

mar 28, 2007, 1:28 pm

Hello everyone! I'm not a vegetarian, but I joined this group to post.

My Year of Meat is a novel about two women involved with a TV cookery programme sponsored by the American beef industry. It's a bit preachy in places, but I enjoyed it. I'm amazed only one person on LT has it - it's a really good read.

The vegetarian cookbooks I most use are Cranks Fast Food and The New Tastes of India, both of which have quite a few tasty vegan recipes (and I say that as someone who for whom the words "vegan" and "tasty" don't often go together!).

I'd be interested in other people's recommendations for vegetarian cookbooks. What I like is simple, tasty, well balanced recipes, and what I don't like is ersatz non-vegetarian food (e.g. using soya-cream instead of real cream).

mar 28, 2007, 1:44 pm

byzanne, I think I know the sort of thing you mean by recipe books that would be useful to someone like you, who doesn't follow recipes.

My favourite cookbook (utterly non-vegan I'm afraid) is Appetite by Nigel Slater, which I guess I would call "inspirational". Half of it is about food and cooking generally, and half of it is relatively simple recipes, each followed by half a dozen or so suggestions for varying the recipe. There's lots of digressions and general ramblings about tasty stuff, and the attitude throughout that cooking should be relaxing, enjoyable and intuitive, about eating stuff that you like, not about following complicated recipes or trying to impress other people. It also has loads of mouthwatering photos. I can never pick it up without wanting to cook something, or at least eat something! It would be good if someone could write something vegetarian along those lines.

I used to have a book called The Junk Food Vegetarian which had the right attitude, but I wouldn't recommend it because it was aimed at people who were new to both vegetarianism and cooking (i.e. teenagers).

apr 1, 2007, 5:30 pm

Thanks everyone for all these suggestions - lots there.

Akiyama: I like the sound of the Nigel Slater book, I have read Toast: The Story of A Boy's Hunger so I think I would like his approach - I just hope it won't have too much meat etc. in it. I'll take a look at the library. I like reading about food which gives me ideas so that sounds good. And btw, vegan food is tasty!

The other books people recommend sound good too - I think I will keep a look out for the Colin Spencer book in particular and the Eric Marcus one too.

Thanks again, and any more suggestions welcome!

apr 2, 2007, 1:06 pm

FYI, the Erik Marcus book is available as a free download on

apr 6, 2007, 12:33 am

Vegan Freak is a book I enjoyed. Your basic going vegan book with funny commentary and aimed more towards the punk rock group. Diet for a New America is great and along the lines of Fast Food Nation.
hmm. Maybe not a book, more along the lines of a booklet is Vegan Passport, a booklet translating what you can and can't eat into nearly every language.

Redigeret: apr 21, 2007, 4:05 pm

I have found Animal Ingredients A to Z (touchstone is for the 2nd edition, the most recent edition is the 3rd) very useful in determining what all of those strange sounding things on the ingredients lists actually are. It is a small book, which can easily come along to the store with you, and help you avoid eating something that you may not want to eat. There is a similar thing available online for free from the Vegetarian & Vegan Foundation at . They even offer a handy, printable PDF version.

Others have already said it, but I too must cast my vote for Fast Food Nation, it is fantastic! Schlosser presents his case in a very calm manner, without seeming too preachy or angry.

I am not a big fan of recipe books either; the Internet has made them rather superfluous, for me at least. I also find that non-vegetarian cookbooks work just fine, as any recipes that sound good can easily be made vegetarian.

Redigeret: apr 26, 2007, 5:57 pm

I want to recommend The China Study again, because it was such a great book. I liked all the science showing that veganism really is good for you.

I also like books by John A. McDougall. A lot of them do have recipes, but they have a lot of information, too. I especially like The McDougall Program: Twelve Days to Dynamic Health.

jul 12, 2007, 1:52 am

Animal Liberation by Peter Singer is one of the great books that gives a moral underpinning on why people choose to go vegan.
I am currently reading Vegan Freak and would second the recommendation already here.

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