Day 12: Tell us about your favourite cookbook!
I’ve been waiting for this prompt all month just so I can rave about Miyoko Schinner’s The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples! When the book was published and I began reading reviews, I knew I needed it on my shelf. And then, serendipitously, Steven’s mom gave it to him as a birthday gift in August! Needless to say, I quickly appropriated it for my own. (To Steven’s benefit, of course, since he reaps the rewards of my pantry staple-making!) How do I love this book? Let me count the ways.
- The design. This is a beautiful cookbook. The layout and photography make me salivate, and not just because all the food is so good. The homey, down-to-earth styling is a perfect fit for the topic of this book. I love the subdued color palette, too.
- The concept. I’ve always been enamored with the idea of a home-grown and homemade pantry. Making one’s own staples is budget-friendly, eco-friendly, and downright fun-friendly! Although not everyone might agree, I find it enormously rewarding. Miyoko takes this concept and makes it accessible, which is crucial. The vegan diet is often viewed as one of privilege, and the [arguably unnecessary] act of making one’s own staples smacks of too much empty time and too much money to spend on “weird” ingredients. But Miyoko starts with the basics and builds on them, and for the most part, her recipes don’t require expensive or “weird” ingredients. (With a few exceptions — fermented tofu liquid, I’m lookin’ at you!) She takes pains to make these recipes simple and doable, hitting back at the notion that only obsessive foodies would have the time or the inclination to make basics like soymilk and mustard.
- The recipes. The design and the concept would mean nothing if the recipes didn’t stand on their own. Happily, they do!
Truthfully, I’ve only skimmed the surface of the recipes. I have grand dreams of cooking my way through the book, though. And, importantly, just reading through this book has given me more confidence to try my hand at pantry staples I’ve avoided in the past. Here’s what I’ve made so far.
- Almond Milk, p. 54 (and my own Simple Vanilla Oat Milk)
- Unpork, p. 116
- Classic Pancake and Biscuit Mix, p. 158
- Biscuits from said mix (they were amazing!)
- Sausage Spice, p. 125
- Blueberry jam, inspired by her easy cheat method
…okay, it’s a short list. But everything has been excellent. The Unpork is incredibly easy to whip up. It’s just another take on seitan, but the pulling and stretching method gives it a stringiness reminiscent of pork. That evocative name — Unpork, very much not pork — is a great reminder of why I’m vegan. I Instagrammed this photo right after I made it.
I met that big ol’ piggy at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary during their open house last month. A total sweetie!
The recipe yields a fair amount, so I immediately froze six big pieces. A few weeks later, I used them to make a BBQ “pulled pork” sandwich. It was so easy! I just thawed them a bit, sliced it very thin, and heated it up with some BBQ sauce. Yum yum!
I love this cookbook so much that I’ve been known to take it to bed with me, just to flip through it before going to sleep. I’ve taken it on car rides, just to have something to look at. I can’t get enough of it! And I’m excited to start stocking my pantry with even more homemade staples.
If you have this book, what are your favorite recipes?
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