It’s safe to say I’m an Isa/Terry fangirl. Who isn’t? They both make veganism delicious, accessible, and empowering, not to mention a little bit punk rock. It isn’t just the recipes–it’s the ideas, the methods, components that I always return to. The books are well-organized with useful serving suggestions, menus, and solid indices. I use them all regularly, buy them for friends and family, and share recipes posted on theppk.com anytime someone asks me about vegan cooking.
So… I have to pick one?
Vegan With a Vengeance was the first vegan cookbook I bought for myself. I used it before I even went vegan (but was cooking for my longtime-vegan boyfriend). It came highly recommended by no less than John Darnielle on his old site Last Plane to Jakarta (maybe on the forums?) – specifically for the tofu ricotta recipe. Somehow, I needed that in my life.
Immediately I loved her approach to cooking. No apologies; endless room to make it your own. It resonated like whoa. My first copy got unbelievably filthy and filled with notes. The black eyed pea-quinoa croquettes with mushroom gravy were divine. I make the rum chocolate pudding cake all the time, though never with rum (amaretto or bourbon, depending on what I’ve had on hand). The maple-walnut cookies were my first-ever success with vegan baking; I made that thing my own and baked several dozen batches of what turned out to be chocolate chip trail mix cookies over the years for friends and for myself. (OK, a lot for myself.) The tofu ricotta was some kind of miracle at the time.
I know the books have become more refined and, in many ways, more interesting since that first one, and I’ll admit I use Appetite for Reduction or Vegan Brunch (shout-out to that book for basically being a bunch of mini-recipes that can be used for ANY meal, honestly) or Vegan Eats World (my mom made the BEST SPANAKOPITA EVER from there) or Isa Does It (signed copy from an event in Santa Cruz! so dorked out!) probably more often now, but you can’t forget your first. It’s not why I went vegan – Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals is what finally pushed me over the edge – but it sure as hell made me feel like I COULD do vegan, easily, creatively, joyfully. Thank you, Isa.
Note about the pictures: uhh… some of my books are hiding. So this is only part of my Moskowitz/Romero collection. They are all well-loved.