Eating Earth

By Lisa Kemmerer

Eating Earth focuses on environmental problems stemming from eating animal products produced through animal agriculture, fisheries, and hunting. The author clearly states that animal products, whether organic or local, whether hunted or purchased, whether chicken or fish or yogurt, harm the environment and that humans should eat plant-based foods if they really care about Earth. The book is specifically written for environmentalists and includes numerous charts and graphics.

Part I is Farming Facts and offers the thought that "though dietary choices tend to be inherited and habitual, we make many choices within this given framework." The author states that morally speaking, this ability to choose is critical. She also points out that those living in poverty often do not have this choice.

Lisa mentions that "cheap meat, dairy, and eggs are an illusion." There is an environmental cost to consider. Seventy percent of US grain is fed to farmed animals and 60% of EU grain is fed to farmed animals. Fishmeal (produced from small fish "accidentally" caught when catching larger fish) is also fed to farmed animals. "Worldwide, animal agriculture contributes more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere (through the use of fossil fuels) than any other single source." Interestingly, "It takes longer to fatten grass-fed calves for slaughter" resulting in more methane emissions than grain-fed calves. Also, "A farm with 5,000 pigs produces more raw sewage than a town of 20,000 humans."

Part II is titled A Fishy Business. The author states, "Thanks to human pollution, all fish are contaminated with mercury — it's only a question of degree." She then points out that omega-3 fatty acids are readily available in plant foods. Also, "About five million longline hooks are dropped in the ocean every day, dangling an estimated one billion plus razor sharp hooks...they are intended to catch large predator fish, such as tuna and swordfish, but they are indiscriminate." The author continues and says, "Aquaculture (fish farming) now represents more than 30 percent of total fish production...Fish farming also decimates wild fish populations." Factory farmed fish such as salmon generally are carnivorous and depend on wild-caught populations to feed them, such as tuna in South Australia, shrimp in South Asia and parts of Latin America, and eels in Europe and Japan." As a result, fish farms consume more fish than they supply. "It takes 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of wild fish to produce one eatable pound of farmed salmon." Farmed fish are also treated with chemicals and antibiotics. Finally, in 2011 fish production topped beef production.

Part III is Hunting Hype. The author points out that, "In the US, wildlife conservation was established by hunters for hunters because of hunters." For example, "The National Wildlife Refuge System (funded by President Roosevelt) specifically protects targeted species for hunters." Wildlife services keep the numbers of certain species in check using leg-hold traps, neck snares, aerial gunning, and other methods to bolster the number of hunter target species. One result is that the killing of non-hunter target species actually leads to an increased birthrate of those animals. This is a survival instinct.

The writer states that, "In contrast with hunters one hundred years ago, people hunt today largely because they enjoy the experience." They use high-tech weapons and spend a lot for their experience. "Deer hunters, for example, spend on average $40 per pound of venison acquired." Lisa also states, "If deer (and other hunter-target species) are at risk of overpopulation and starvation, shouldn't FWS (Federal Wildlife Services) stop eliminating (and start protecting) their natural predators?"

Finally, the author says, "Through their affiliation with hunters, contemporary environmental organizations continue to propagate the myth of the "environmental sport hunter." This includes the World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club, and National Audubon Society.

Eating Earth (ISBN ISBN 978-0-19-939184-4) is a 147-page hardcover book. It is published by Oxford University Press and retails for $29.95. You can purchase this book online or from your local bookstore.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Tal Ronnen

Chef Ronnen opened Crossroads, a Mediterranean fine dining vegan restaurant, in Los Angeles, California in 2013. His dishes are works of art, as the 125 photographs in this book demonstrate, and now you can prepare his cuisine at home. Please note that these dishes are gourmet (not quick and easy) and some are high in calories.

There are many unique recipes in this book, including Lentil Skillet Bread, Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad with Chili and Cumin, Tangine Flatbread with Eggplant and Minted Spinach, Mushroom Farro Soup, Spiced Chickpeas, Fig Caponata, Polenta Fries, Gnocchi, Pumpkin Parfaits, and Decadent Dark Chocolate Cake with Figs and Hazelnuts.

The book also provides instructions on how to make fresh pasta at home, a section on making cocktails, as well as many other helpful tips and step-by-step instructions. Nutritional analyses are not provided.

Crossroads (ISBN 978-1-57965-636-2) is a 304-page hard-cover book. It is published by Artisan Books and retails for $35.00. You can purchase this book online or from your local bookstore.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

The Classical Vegetarian Cookbook

By Ron Pickarski

Ron Pickarski is a veteran Executive Chef, IKA Culinary Olympic Gold Medalist, and creator of vegan food items sold under his Eco-Cuisine® line. Pickarski has written a new vegan cookbook for consumers that includes over 400 recipes with multiple variations as well. Please note that this is a gourmet cookbook. Photos are included.

You'll find numerous helpful tips and recipes ranging from salads, dressings, and condiments to side dishes, sauces, soups, sandwiches, entrées, pastries, and other desserts. Sample dishes include Asian Coleslaw, Coconut Lemon Cream Cheese, Squash Polenta with Fennel, Cajun Roux, French Curry Sauce, New England Sea Vegetable Chowder, BBQ Tempeh, Seitan Swiss Steak, Italian Pistachio Pilaf, Florentine Cookies, Mango Sorbet, Lime Torte, Brownies, and much more.

The Classical Vegetarian Cookbook (ISBN 978-0-692-41536-8) is a 400-page hardcover book. It is published by Eco-Cuisine Inc. and you can purchase it for $38.97 at

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.

Eat Like You Give a Damn

By Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten

The founders of Herbivore, a line of message wear and clothing that promotes a vegan lifestyle, have written a vegan cookbook further demonstrating their ethical values. Eat Like You Give a Damn has beautiful photos throughout and offers a wide range of creative vegan cuisine, including Ranch Scramble and Sauvie Island Strawberry Pancakes for breakfast, Brussels Sprouts Slaw with Walnuts, Apricots, and Garlic Aioli, Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup, Polenta Fries, Sweet Potato Ravioli with Popeye Pesto Sauce, Roasted Beet Burgers, Savory Chickpea Pancakes, and Fudgy Brownies.

Eat Like You Give a Damn (ISBN 978-1-57067-313-9) is a 182-page book. It is published by Book Publishing Company and retails for $24.95. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.


By Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

Vedge is an extremely popular vegan restaurant in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The owners have written a cookbook so that you can enjoy their cuisine at home. The book offers small and large plates. Small dishes include Daikon "Summer Rolls," Roasted Sunchokes with Smoked Paprika Aioli, and Kohlrabi Salad with White Beans and Horseradish. Large plates feature Hearts of Palm Cakes on Curried Lentils, Squash Empanadas with Green Romesco, and Korean Eggplant Tacos with Kimchi Mayo. Other recipes include Pho with Roasted Butternut Squash, Napa Cabbage Funky Kimchi Stew, Roasted Asparagus with Hazelnut Picada, Apple Cake Fritters with Waldorf Frosting and Chocolate Stuffed Beignets.

Vedge (ISBN 978-1-61519-283-0) is a 240-page book. It is published by The Experiment and retails for $19.95. You can purchase this book from your local bookstore or online.

Reviewed by Debra Wasserman.