Vegetarian Journal 2006 Issue 4


The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

By Peter Singer and Jim Mason

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter is a fantastic read. This book is sure to make people think about the ethics behind their food choices. Peter Singer, known by many for his book Animal Liberation, and Jim Mason, Singer’s co-author for the book Animal Factories, step-by-step analyze the environmental, moral, and health implications of various foods that three very different American families purchase.

One family is pressed for time and very conscious of the financial cost of the food they purchase. They tend to buy mainstream-type foods, including meat sold at a discount in stores such as Wal-Mart or in buying clubs.

The second family is somewhat split. The father leans toward a vegetarian diet and is greatly concerned with environmental issues, while the mother and two children tend to place less emphasis on ethics when choosing the foods they consume. The wife and children are aware of many ethical issues due to the father’s influence but, nevertheless, continue to consume some ethically questionable menu items.

Finally, members of the third family are all vegan, and I know them personally. This family primarily buys organic vegan foods, and they are greatly concerned about genetically-modified foods. Their food choices are highly motivated by personal ethics.

In reviewing each family’s food selections, the authors show that there are many different types of ethical issues to consider. Readers will begin to contemplate issues such as whether it’s more ethical to consume organic food that has been shipped by truck for hundreds of miles or better to consume locally produced foods that may or may not have been grown organically. They will also begin to think about the conditions under which food producers work and, for that matter, the conditions under which animals raised for food are living. Finally, readers will learn that ethical decisions are not always black and white or easy to make.

The Way We Eat (ISBN 1-57954-889-X) is published by Rodale. This 328-page hardcover book retails for $25.95. Look for it in your local bookstore or order it online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Amazing Disgrace

By Catherine Dimercurio Dominic

What a joy to find a novel featuring a vegan main character! If you’re looking for a pleasurable page-turner, Amazing Disgrace fits the bill.

This book centers on a couple questioning their religious beliefs as a result of various happenings in their life. One consistent theme throughout the book is the fact that the man has strong vegan beliefs and works in a no-kill animal shelter. Whenever a situation demonstrates his vegan values, it is done in a positive and accurate way. For example, at the start of the novel, the woman says, “You’re a vegan. Every aspect of your behavior is an action for the good of another being.”

Amazing Disgrace (ISBN 1-59414-466-4) is a 392-page hardcover book published by Five Star Publishing. Look for this book in your local bookstore or online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

The Nut Gourmet

By Zel Allen

Anyone who enjoys eating nuts will love to own a copy of The Nut Gourmet. This vegan cookbook serves up almost 150 recipes featuring nuts, including appetizers, soups, dressings, spreads, entrées, and desserts.

Among the unique offerings are Pistachio Pea Pâté, Mango Macadamia Soup, Strawberry Pine Nut Dressing, Pecan Praline Pumpkin Bread, Savory Cashew Cream Sauce, Hazelnut and Mushroom Curry, Cranberry Walnut Pie, and Cherry Almond Mousse.

This book features several full-color photos, as well as nutritional analyses for each recipe. There are also sections on storing, buying, cracking, and measuring nuts.

The Nut Gourmet (ISBN 1-57067-191-5) is 224 pages. It is published by Book Publishing Company and can be purchased from VRG, P.O. Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203 for $25, which includes postage and handling. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Organic, Inc.:
Natural Foods and How They Grew

By Samuel Fromartz

The organic foods industry has experienced incredible growth in recent years. Today, customers will find organic produce and food items in local supermarkets and through large buying clubs.

With this growth have come changes throughout the industry. What was once a relatively small number of family-run farms producing organic products now includes many large corporate owners. As a result, some would argue that parts of the industry have betrayed the founding ideals of the organic movement.

Organic, Inc. looks seriously at the issues facing the organic industry today and yet remains a pleasant read for the consumer.

Organic, Inc. (ISBN 0-15-201130-3) is published by Harcourt Trade Publishers. This 320-page hardcover book retails for $25. Look for it in your local bookstore or order it online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

The Vegan Family Cookbook

By Chef Brian P. McCarthy

The Vegan Family Cookbook serves up more than 400 recipes. Many are the usual standards, such as Hummus, Lentil Soup, Potato Salad, and Red Beans and Rice. However, Chef Brian P. McCarthy offers readers a variety of unique recipes, including Breadsticks made from pizza dough, Adzuki and Peanut Soup, Spaghetti Salad, Potato Bread Stuffing, Pumpkin Pancakes, and Cinnamon Rolls. Many of the recipes are also quite easy to prepare, using few ingredients. Please note that nutritional analyses are not provided.

The Vegan Family Cookbook (ISBN 1-59056-087-6) is published by Lantern Books. This 332-page book retails for $20. Look for The Vegan Family Cookbook in your local bookstore or order it online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

The Trader Joe’s Adventure

By Len Lewis

I was pleasantly surprised to come across a copy of The Trader Joe’s Adventure while walking the floor of the American Booksellers Convention. Trader Joe’s stores are popping up all over the United States, and they are doing an incredible amount of business. If you’re like me and interested in learning about why this chain of stores has been so successful, you should read this book.

You will quickly find out why this retailer generates sales per square foot that are twice the industry average. This is despite the fact that they generally choose locations that are off the beaten path and maintain stores that are far from huge in size.

Readers will also learn how Trader Joe’s decides which products to offer in its stores, as well as how the company continues to find unique products manufactured around the world and then sell them at reasonable prices. Also, discover how this retailer maintains a loyal customer base while doing very little advertising.

The Trader Joe’s Adventure (ISBN 1-4195-0013-9) is published by Dearborn Trade Publishing. This 232-page hardcover book retails for $24.95. Look for it in your local bookstore or order it online. Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Benny Brontosaurus Goes to a Party!

By Rey Ortega and Lauren Everett Farnsworth

We were thrilled to receive another children’s book from SK Publishing. Benny Brontosaurus Goes to a Party! is about a herbivorous dinosaur who is new to the neighborhood and is invited to a Tyran-nosaurus Rex birthday celebration. Benny is very worried that he won’t fit in. Though the authors never use the words “vegetarian” or “vegan,” Benny turns down a slice of the birthday cake because it is made with pterosaur milk and velociraptor eggs. Our 8-year-old test subject said, “I liked that story. He’s a vegan.… That story’s short.”

We and our young test subject wait anxiously for the next installment in the SKP Vegetarian Children’s book series.

Benny Brontosaurus Goes to a Party! (ISBN 978-097283405-6) is published by SK Publishing and Graphics. To purchase this book, visit Reviewed by Charles Stahler.

Excerpts from the 2006 Issue 4:
Vegan Tamales
Cecilia Peterson makes this popular Latin American party food.
How Many Adults Are Vegetarian?
Charles Stahler considers the results of The VRG’s 2006 national poll.
Gluten-Free Cuisine
Avoiding gluten is easier with tips from Nancy Berkoff, RD, EdD, CCE.
2006 College Scholarship Winners
Meet the two young women who received this year’s awards.
VJ’s Essay Contest Winner
Rebecca Sams shares a story of conviction and camaraderie.
Review: Attitudes, Practices, and Beliefs
of Individuals Consuming a Raw Foods Diet
Dietetic student Vrinda Walker examines the views and habits of leaders in the American raw foods community.
Nutrition Hotline
Is there any truth to those claims that garlic is good for your health?
Note from the Coordinators
Notes from the VRG Scientific Department
Veggie Bits
Vegan Cooking Tips
One-Pot Wonders, by Chef Nancy Berkoff.
Scientific Update
Book Reviews
Vegetarian Action
Plenty’s Programs Bring Soy Production
to Underdeveloped Countries, by Cecilia Peterson.

The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.

Thanks to volunteer Stephanie Schueler for converting this article to HTML.

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Last Updated
Nov. 21, 2006

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