Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Kind Spark

I don't know about you guys, but I have a lot of cookbooks. The collection started before I was vegan, or even vegetarian, so I have everything from The New Best Recipes and Fix it and Forget it Lightly to my new classics like Veganomicon and Ani's Raw Food Kitchen. And frankly...we live in a small space now and there just isn't room to be buying every new cookbook I want. As it is, the cookbook space is fairly messy already

There is a second pile behind these...

And that doesn't even include those used most recently, which teeter atop the toaster oven.

Sadly, they don't get used very often lately. I've grown enough in my own cooking that I don't need them as much anymore, and I often don't have the time for following through recipes.

So new cookbooks, be warned, it takes quite a bit of scrutiny to make it into that messy pile nowadays. You've got to offer something special, really stand out, and probably have lots of colorful pictures too (I'm shallow that way). Of course a recommendation from a friend couldn't hurt either...

After sending off the winnings of my last giveaway to AutumnTao, she sent me back a lovely thank you note, and in part of it she recommended I give The Kind Diet a read. I was skeptical. First, I already know about being vegan, and a lot of the book is an explanation of the why and hows. Second, I didn't want to actually follow any diet. Third, it is written by Alicia Silverstone. Not that I have anything against her, but previous to now, I had no idea she knew anything about food. But it did focusing on cutting back sugar, something I need, and it did have pretty pictures. I wasn't convinced. Some of the recipes were so average, like Rustic Pasta, Granola, and Caesar Salad. But then there was the Seitan Polenta Casserole, Toasted Nori Burritos, and the recipe that finally won me over, the Rice Waffles with Vegetable Melange.

So I bought the book, and it isn't a diet plan (good). I read most of the first part, which was well referenced and had some facts and figures I hadn't heard before. As AutumnTao had indicated, it really did give me a bit of a spark, and made me want to get back into the kitchen and eating good whole foods. So I went ahead and made the Rice Waffles. These are not waffles made with rice flour. It is the easiest, most simple waffle recipe made with cooked brown rice. They came up nice and crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. Savory and decidedly dinner appropriate, the Vegetable "Melange" brought it all together for a really awesome meal.

I was pleased, Nick was pleased, and I am quite looking forward to the leftovers for lunch. I'm also looking forward to trying more of the book's recipes (although, I say that about every book I buy).

Yes, it is written by Alicia Silverstone, which I guess can be seen two ways. First, its great in the fact that it makes veganism more mainstream (I hear she was on Oprah the other day). On the other hand, it also makes it seem trendy. We actually have a friend who told us recently that he was going vegan "because it is trendy". Those are seriously his words. I want to think that is better than nothing it? If people are just going vegan because its "cool" and they aren't educating themselves and really caring, it seems like they're more apt to go back to their old ways and make veganism seem like something that isn't worth doing, is difficult, that isn't a lifetime choice. Anyway, I bought it because of the recipes, not Alicia did make me want to go watch Clueless again.

Anyway, I know I keep saying I am going to try blogging more, and I do mean it. I miss it and I have a huge backlog of lonely pictures waiting to be written about and posted. Until next time though, enjoy your cookbook stash and stay trendy!


  1. Good review! It must be a pretty decent book if it won you over like that. And that waffle is so unique, wow!

  2. Ha, ha, my cookbooks teeter atop the fridge!
    I liked the Kind Diet. Those waffles look yummy, I must try them.

  3. I love cookbooks! I have a lot too...I could spend hours going through them!!!

  4. So glad you're enjoying the book. As vegans, a lot of it is info we know, but for me, it's info I haven't visited in a while. It strengthened me and my convictions to re-read some chapters. I also learned a lot about sugar and food in general. I'm focused on the superhero part, trying to incorporate one macrobiotic meal a day into my diet. There's always room to grow and evolve, right?!

  5. Oh man, when we packed up the move (almost a year ago--yikes) I got rid of a BUNCH of cookbooks. Some I gave away as gifts (mostly to my sister who is a-I-could-never-give-up-meat-omnivore). I also checked out Silverstones book online. I liked how she talked about it not being a diet plan like we have come to think of diets, but as a way of changing ones eating habits for life. I haven't read it, but it's one I think I would check out of the library and copy down my favorite recipies. I love anything that uses brown rice because I just don't like to eat it leftover in original form. Is that weird?

  6. Hi Gina!
    I have alicia/oprah on my dvr and plan to watch it tonight. I have heard great things about the book from a raw friend who's been a raw vegan for decade+ so not someone whos into it b/c it's trendy. But i agree, it's lame when that happens. Trust me, Ive been a yoga teacher for 10 yrs LONG before it was so popular or trendy and it sickens me sometimes how commercial and anti-the-true-spirit of yoga it has become. Sigh. But hey, I should be glad about that and the vegan point, too, right :)

  7. Im so glad you liked TKD im dying to own a copy of it :)

  8. Clueless is one of the greatest movies of my childhood. But like you, I'm a bit hard on new cookbooks because we also lack space. But I have heard a lot of good things about this one...

  9. 放棄者不會勝利,勝利者永不放棄。.........................

  10. Hi Gina!

    I just wanted to let you know that you won a giveaway on last month. We sent you an email, but have not heard back! Please email for more details: support (at)

  11. Nice to hear your reviews on cookbooks. I just purchased my first raw food cookbook called Everyday Raw by Matthew Kinney. I also enjoy vegan cookbook Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson.

    I write vegan travel advice blog.

  12. I'm focused on the superhero part, trying to incorporate one macrobiotic meal a day into my diet.
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  13. The Vegetable Melange over rice waffles seems reminiscent of an Irish Boxty, which is traditionally a potato pancake topped with meat and gravy. I've made veg versions of Boxty that look like this except with more sauce. I like the idea of trying it with a savory waffle.