The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

7 Book Reviews from Vegetarian Journal Issue 2, 2011!

Posted on May 31, 2012 by The VRG Blog Editor

These reviews originally appeared in Vegetarian Journal Issue 2, 2011. To subscribe to the Vegetarian Journal, visit:

How to Grow a School Garden

By Arden Bucklin-Sporer and Rachel Kathleen Pringle

The authors of How to Grow a School Garden: A Complete Guide for Parents and Teachers are involved with the San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance. They strongly believe that it is important for children to spend as much time as possible outdoors, both to prevent obesity and to connect with nature. When children (and adults) work with school gardens, they hopefully develop a better understanding of the importance of nutrition and health.

The first half of How to Grow a School Garden focuses on creating and developing a school's garden space. The second half of the book includes tips on getting your community involved, raising funds to build and maintain your garden, designing a school garden, and finding the materials you will need. A handful of primarily vegan recipes using crops that may be grown are also featured.

Especially helpful is a section about making the case to build a school garden. Comments include the fact that students who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh produce and to express preference for these items. Making gardens also encourages creativity and cooperation.

Additionally, the book includes examples of letters to use as guidance when introducing the project to your community or going after funds. Sample garden designs are also offered, as well as lesson plans that teachers can use year-round.

How to Grow a School Garden (ISBN 978-1-60469-000-2) is 224 pages and includes color photographs that will grab your attention. It is published by Timber Press. This book retails for $24.95 and can be purchased online or at your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Vicki's Vegan Kitchen

By Vicki Chelf

Vicki Chelf has been a cooking teacher for years, and Vicki's Vegan Kitchen offers a wide range of healthful vegan options. Her creative recipes include Whole Wheat Waffles, Pumpkin Seed Paté, Rosemary and Garlic Focaccia, Petit Coconut-Ginger Scones, Arame-Orange-Watercress Salad, and Chestnut Porcini Bisque. The book also has recipes for Vegan Pesto, Homemade Stuffed Ravioli, Eggplant and Sun-Dried Tomato Pizza, Cajun-Style Okra, Bulgur and Sweet Potato Pilaf, Lentil Pie, Carrot Maple Cake, Melon Sorbet, plus more.

In addition to Vicki's recipes, I was especially impressed with her hand-drawn illustrations. Several of these depict step-bystep instructions to prepare dishes.

Vicki's Vegan Kitchen includes chapters about kitchen staples, cooking methods, and food preparation techniques, such as baking bread. Useful tips are also provided throughout the book. Although nutritional analyses are not provided, most of the recipes appear not to be high in fat.

Vicki's Vegan Kitchen (ISBN 978-0-7570-0251-9) is published by Square One Publishers. The book is 320 pages and retails for $17.95. Purchase this cookbook online or at your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Viva Vegan!

By Terry Hope Romero

Latin cooking can go far beyond chips and guacamole dips! Venezuelan-American vegan chef Terry Hope Romero shows you just how festive and inventive Latin cuisines can be with her new book, Viva Vegan!

Among the 200 recipes are Habanero-Melon-Papaya Salsa, Salvadorian Marinated Slaw, Yellow Chile Grilled Tempeh, and Chorizo Seitan Sausages. The book also includes recipes for Braised Brazilian Shredded Kale, Peruvian Potatoes with Spicy 'Cheezy' Sauce, Homemade Soft Corn Tortillas, Black Bean-Sweet
Potato Tamales, Corn-Crusted Pumpkin-Potato Empanadas, and so much more.

Nutritional analyses are not provided; however, most of the recipes are not high in fat. The cookbook includes color photos and offers helpful tips throughout.

Viva Vegan! (ISBN 978-0-7382-1273-9) is published by Lifelong Books and is 285 pages. It can be purchased online from The Vegetarian Resource Group
at Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Caribbean Vegan

By Taymer Mason

As the title implies, Caribbean Vegan focuses on cooking traditions from islands such as Barbados, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Grenada, and the French West Indies. There are over 125 recipes, including a chapter about condiments and sauces, which play a vital part in Caribbean cuisine. Learn how to make Jamaican Jerk Seasoning, Bajan Pepper Sauce, and Trinidadian Coconut Chutney. Breakfast options include Sweet Potato Drop Biscuits and Banana Fritters, while the entrées chapter lets you sample Jerk 'Sausages,', Lentil Roast, and Jerk Pizza with Sweet Potato Crust. For dessert, try Gingerbread, Barbadian Coconut Turnovers, or Piña Colada Ice Cream.

Caribbean Vegan (ISBN 978-1-61519-025-6) is published by The Experiment, LCC, and is 256 pages. It retails for $18.95 and can be purchased online or at your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Kansha – Celebrating Japan's Vegan and Vegetarian Traditions

By Elizabeth Andoh

It is often difficult to find great-tasting Japanese vegetarian food since many Japanese dishes contain fish sauce or broth. Fortunately, Kansha is a terrific book serving up Japan's finest vegan cuisine. This cookbook features stocks and soups, rice and noodle dishes, soybased entrées, desserts, and more. Some wonderful recipes include Festive Flower Sushi Rolls, Miso- Glazed Bitter Melon with Kabocha and Tofu, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Roasted Rice Dumplings with Sticky-Sweet Soy Sauce.

Kansha (ISBN 978-1-58008-955-5) is a 296-page hardcover book with color photos and is published by Ten Speed Press. It retails for $35 and can be purchased online or from your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Vegan Unplugged

By Jon Robertson with recipes by Robin Robertson

Vegan Unplugged – A Pantry Cuisine Cookbook and Survival Guide teaches readers how to prepare for an emergency, such as a hurricane or earthquake, as well as when you lose power at home.

Chapter 2, "The Five-Day Meal Box," includes menus and a shopping list for non-perishable items that can be stored in a 50- gallon lidded container. Dishes like Corn Chowder and Beat-the-Blahs Black Bean Patties, Curry in a Hurry, and Layered Tortilla Skillet serve four. Many of the recipes require short cooking times (using a camp stove); others, such as Chickpea Spread, Texas Twister Caviar, and Emergency Gazpacho, require no cooking at all.

Chapter 12, "Emergency Preparedness Guide," includes a disaster supply kit list. And Chapter 13, "The Animals Need a Plan, Too," reminds you to have an emergency plan for cats, dogs, and other animals in your care.

Vegan Unplugged – A Pantry Cuisine Cookbook and Survival Guide (ISBN 978-0-9800131-2-2) is published by Vegan
Heritage Press. It is 202 pages and retails for $14.95. You can purchase it online at or at your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Sunfood Traveler

By John McCabe

As raw foods establishments become more popular, Sunfood Traveler: Guide to Raw Food Culture, Restaurants, Recipes, Nutrition, Sustainable Living, and the Restoration of Nature will become a valuable resource. This new paperback guide provides information about where to find raw foods restaurants and retreats around the world, businesses that promote raw foods, raw foods websites, raw chef training, and so much more.

In addition, the book features a section called "Random Recipes for a Raw Kitchen" with approximately 70 dishes. These include Cabbage Pumpkin Seed Pâté, Sundried Tomato Butter, Stuffed Red Bell Peppers, Veggie Loaf with Gravy, No Bean Hummus, Marinated Mushrooms, Lemon Pudding, Apple Cobbler, Raw Ice Cream, and Holiday Nog.

Sunfood Traveler (ISBN 978-1-88470-209-9) is published by Carmania Books. It is 376 pages and retails for $13.95. Purchase it online or from your local bookstore. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

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