Sunday, October 31, 2010

A perfectly ordinary second first Vegan Month of Food post

On a perfectly ordinary day in a perfectly ordinary town a perfectly ordinary teenage boy walks down a perfectly ordinary sidewalk. His name is Sherman.

A perfectly ordinary name, except for the fact that his last name is "Tanch", which ordinarily would be pronounced "Tank". Sherman's parents were perhaps oblivious to the emotional scars the boy's classmates would inflict. Or perhaps they were terribly shortsighted, trading a moment of amusement for themselves for a lifetime of ridicule for Sherman.

Sherman was munching on 'fruit sticks' - a wonderful little snack he learned to make on his first adventure with Good Doctor Peabody. The adventure when the CHEST first opened for him ... and opened his eyes.

While he was walking the recipe for fruit sticks ran through his mind. Before meeting Peabody he would have allowed more ordinary things to play through his mind while he walked. State capitals. The periodic table. Counting to twenty in a half dozen languages.

Perfectly ordinary.

After Peabody, though, recipes. All was food.

The recipe was this:

adapted from Food and Cookery, 1911

1 3/4 cups pastry flour
3 T sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 T oil
1/3 c water
2/3 c raisins

Finely chop raisins. Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Rub oil well into this dry mixture.Mix water in so it is evenly distributed and forms a dough. Take half the dough and roll into a thin sheet. Distribute the chopped raisins evenly over it. Roll the remaining dough into a sheet and cover the first sheet of dough. Press the sheets together and cut diamond shapes. Prick each shape several times with a fork. Bake in 450 oven until the crisps are just light brown. Do not over bake.

A perfectly ordinary snack.

As perfectly ordinary as the phone booth Sherman enters.

A phone booth which proceeds to shimmer and disappear.

A perfectly extraordinary thing for a phone booth to do, really.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Road Map/Beginings

Vegan Month of Food 2010 starts Monday. As I've already mentioned I'll be participating. I've made a rough outline to ensure I get the structure I'm looking for. Or at least make a valiant attempt.

And there will indeed be structure. Rather than examining items (recipes and books and ideas oh my!) in my usual somewhat anarchic style I'm going with a plotted narrative. Complete with characters and cliffhangers and episodic storytelling.

Oh my.

I'll also be making plenty of gratuitous pop culture references, as verified by my making a Wizard of Oz reference just sentences ago. Not once, but twice! Because it amused me to do so. All while staying true to the theme of this blog. Vegetarian cookery as historical narrative. Which is a twenty-dollar over-educated phrase for 'interesting old vegetarian/vegan stuff'.

Sacrifices will be made. For example, in this post I've spent so much space telling you what I'm going to tell you that I'm running out of space to actually tell you anything. So I'd better start telling.

Best to start at the beginning. Two figures stand masked in shadow. Observing.

Observation is the entirety of their existence. If anyone knew of them they would be called  "Observers".

We humans are nothing if not literal.

Beyond space they watch. Beyond time itself. Eternal shadow. Difficult to see actually. Which shouldn't really bother us. They aren't really all that important. They show up again after the final episode but aren't much more than a framing device.

This is not their story.

On the other hand, about the fifteen year old boy they have been observing walking down the street munching on a snack we shall soon be hearing much.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

A 1910 List of "Vegetarian" Cookbooks

This list of  "vegetarian" cookbooks was printed in the May 1910 issue of The American literary magazine The Bookman:

Vegetables and Vegetable Cooking, Mrs. E. P. Ewing, 1884. [not veg]
American Salad Book, M. DeLoup, 1901. [not veg]
Fifty Salads, Thomas J. Murrey, 1885. [not veg]
Fruits: How to Use Them, H. M. Poole, 1890.[gelatin]
Vegetarian Savouries, Mary Pope, 1904. [no preview]
Novel Dishes for Vegetarian Households, Mary Pope, 1904. [no preview]
Vegetarian Cookery, F. A. George, ??. [1908, gelatin]
The Corn Cook-Book, E. O. Hiller, 1907. [revised 1918. lard/bacon drippings/some meat]
How to Cook Apples in One Hundred Different Ways, Georgiana Hill, ?? [1865].
How to Cook Potatoes in One Hundred Different Ways, Georgiana Hill, ?? [not veg].
Salads: How to Dress Them One Hundred Different Ways, Georgiana Hill, ??. [no preview]
Salad and Salad Making, Mrs. Emma P. Ewing, 1888. [NOT VEGETARIAN]
Fruit Recipes, R. M. Fletcher-Berry, 1907. [gelatin]
Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms, M. C. Cooke, 1894. [no preview]

The compiler of this list paid scant attention to whether the books listed were actually vegetarian cookbooks. Of the 14 listed 6 have meat dishes while another 3 use gelatin. I was unable to view any text from books noted with 'no preview'.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Savory Frijoles with Natural Rice

Adapted from New Age Vegetarian Cookbook (1968)

Savory Frijoles with Natural Rice

1 1/3 cups cooked rice (preferably brown rice)
1 can pinto beans
1 Tblsp margarine
2/3 tsp Vegex (see note)
3 Tblsp vegan sour cream (see note 2)
Chopped parsley, to taste

Drain and rinse the beans. Heat the margarine, Vegex, and sour cream in a pan over medium heat, stirring,  until the sour cream dries noticably. Stir in the beans and continue to heat until warm. Serve beans over the rice. Garnish with chopped parsley.


Vegex is a yeast extract similar to marmite or vegemite. It is commercially available, although the alternatives may be easier to find without resorting to buying over the internet. Another good substitute in this recipe is Better Than Bouillon No-Beef Base.


I generally DESPISE recipes that attach the word 'vegan' to an ingredient without providing more guidance, yet I'm doing that myself here. There are plenty of recipes for sour cream taste-alikes floating around the net to try out. When I see 'sour cream' in a recipe my mind reads 'plain soy yogurt', so that's what I use.


No, you didn't miss a post. I haven't reviewed the book this recipe comes from yet. Time issues. Again, my adaptations were modifications to fit the way contemporary cooks go about the business of cooking. If I was making this as a meal I would tweak the flavors quite a bit. As is it seems terribly bland. Could definitely use some cumin and oregeno ....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nut butter with sprouts and vindication

Just a personal history note today. Don't worry, I'll get back to the other stuff. Just indulge me a bit. It will soon be over. :)

Some time in the early 90s I developed a taste for a particular sandwich - peanut butter and alfalfa sprouts on a garlic bagel. I'm not sure when I first tried this combination or why I thought it would be a good idea. The way the counter help stared in disbelief when I'd order this little piece o' heaven I could have been sprouting a second nose or something.


Guess it is odd. Probably not a combination too many people have tried. Or so I thought.

This afternoon I was researching old vegan cookbooks when I ran across this suggested make-ahead lunch on page 70 of the March 1981 Vegetarian Times:

"nut butter and sprouts"

Not  exactly what I came to call "lesser sandwich of the gods" - the garlic bagel is absolutely essential - but the world still seems a little less bleak knowing there are others who have eaten of the PB&sprouts tree.


"Lesser sandwich of the gods" suggests a question - is there a "greater"? Yes, there is. Apple butter and almond butter on whole wheat.

But I should really be getting back to larger topics ...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Peanut Soup

Adapted from A Vegetarian in the Family (1977), page 25

2 servings

1 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup peanut butter
scarce 1/2 cup soymilk
1/4 tsp chili powder

Bring stock to boil in a pan. Whisk in the peanut butter. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add soymilk and chili powder. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Add salt to taste.


Most of the dishes in this book are fairly everyday type food. There is little in the way of flash or flair. What intrigued me about this dish are its (unstated) African origins. It stands out compared to other more humdrum dishes.

The original recipe calls for 1/4 tsp salt, which I have changed to 'season to taste'. Peanut butter usually contains salt, as do many stocks. Additional salt will often be unnecessary.

Note 'natural' peanut butter should be used. Peanut butter should contain no more than 3 ingredients: peanuts, oil, and salt. Any additional ingredients are usually unnecessary.

Other than eliminating the additional salt my 'adaptations' are merely 'fixing' the quantities listed so they fit contemporary recipe style (e.g. '1 cup' instead of '1/2 pint')

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Vegan Month of Food

Rear View Vegetarian will be participating in Vegan Month of Food 2010 this November! I'll be posting daily (or at least intending to post daily). On this blog vegan MOFO becomes the 19th Century Vegan Month of Food. Although most meat-free cookery guides from that era are decidedly ovo-lacto vegan recipes are not unknown. Can I keep up the pace and post at least one a day? We'll find out starting November 1.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Retro Review: A Vegetarian in the Family

A Vegetarian in the Family
by Janet Hunt
96 page mass market paperback

This slim volume is more a book of ideas to get a fledgling cook started than one meant to be referred to time and again. Although it does contain full-fledged recipes with ingredient lists and quantities, a fair number of recipes are are bare bones. In  'Nut Milk' on page 16 for example, the reader is directed to whisk ground nuts (as in 'ground with a grinder', not 'peanuts') into fruit juice. No quantities are given. Suggestions for tasty nut/juice combinations are made but no other guidance is offered.
A handful of recipes require 'soya meat'. Agar is used in one recipe. TVP is mentioned in passing (but never actually called for). For these specialty ingredients the reader is referred to their local health food store. The majority of the ingredients used would have been widely available from everyday grocers (even in 1977!)
This is a British cookbook. I have an American edition which was apparently printed simultaneously with the UK edition. There are at least two revisions with increased page counts and a name change from 'A Vegetarian ...' to 'The Vegetarian ...' I'll be posting an updated recipe or two from the book some time in the future after I have a chance to try some out.


Compiled from used book lists and Google book searches. Other than the book I purchased I have never seen any of these titles.

Animal friendly meals for all seasons 1998
365 plus one vegetarian puddings, cakes & biscuits: 1994
The vegetarian in the family 1994
365 + 1 vegetarian starters, snacks and savouries 1992
Green Cook's Encyclopedia 1991
Celebrity Vegetarian Cook Book 1988
Fast and easy vegetarian cooking 1987,1989
365 + 1 vegetarian main meals 1987
Thorsons guide to the very best of vegetarian cooking 1987
The caring cook 1987
The vegetarian lunchbox 1986
The compassionate gourmet 1986
Vegetarian Pâtés & Dips 1986
The holistic cook 1986
The very best of vegetarian cooking 1984,1991
Vegetarian snacks and starters 1984
Natural Sweets 1984
The Complete Vegetarian Cookbook 1983,1987
Vegetarian dinner parties 1983
Italian dishes 1983
Pasta dishes 1982,1987
Pizzas and pancakes 1982
Quiches and flans 1982
Simple and speedy wholefood cooking 1982
The wholefood sweets book 1981
The wholefood lunch box 1979,1983
The raw food way to health 1978
A vegetarian in the family 1977,1984