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Book Review: The Global Vegan Family Cookbook

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October 2, 2013

By Cindy Koczy, NW VEG Board Member

The Global Vegan Family Cookbook, written by Chef Brian P. McCarthy and published by Lantern, is the exciting new international follow-up to The Vegan Family Cookbook, a cookbook that has been a staple in vegan kitchens across the country since its publication in 2005.

Brian has been a professional cook since 1982. He and his wife had already dropped red meat, dairy, and eggs because of health reasons until, in 1995, they decided to adopt a vegan diet. “That was 18 years ago, and at the time we did not even know there was a name for the diet,” Brian said. And so his kitchen became the test kitchen for what would turn into hundreds of delicious vegan recipes, and his family would be the willing taste testers!

He resided in Hillsboro (where I met him eight years ago) before accepting a job last year as a chef for Bon Appetit Management Company at MIT and becoming an instructor for The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. He greatly enjoys the work and says "Cooking vegan food for MIT students is rewarding. While they feed their minds, I get to feed their bodies. The students are very educated, adventuresome, and respectful, and many of them eat vegan or vegetarian."

The Global Vegan Family Cookbook took him five years to complete, and I must say, it was well worth the wait! He cooks it up vegan from every corner of the world with over 300 recipes. You will enjoy his easy to prepare and follow recipes and international flair. Recipes come from Italy, Japan, Russia, Belarus, Africa, England, Greece, Hungary, Hawaii, Canada, Portugal, Switzerland, and everywhere in between. Look for scalloped potatoes, Quiche Lorraine, and a mushroom leek galette from France; a twist on Chinese Kung Pao with eggplant; a sweet mango lassi and unleavened cumin naan from India; bubble tea from Taiwan; a cornmeal Coo Coo dish from the Caribbean for those who like okra; and unique creations like eggplant with tamarind, spare “Ribz” with plum sauce, and even ginger apple soda. Brian hasn't forgotten his love for the Pacific Northwest - his blackberry pie and blueberry bon bons were inspired by local berries! His Thai pumpkin coconut sauce over tofu, brown rice, and veggies is delicious and my mouth waters as I look forward to the coconut lime bean pudding made with adzuki beans! I can't say I've ever tasted plantains with mole sauce, roasted yam enchiladas with tomatillo sauce, vegetable vindaloo, or Tandoori tofu, but I am inspired by Chef Brian's recipes and they will be in my future meal planning. There are also several useful bread recipes included. If you have been wondering how to make your own focaccia, pita, doughnuts, or ciabatta, or if you can't live without steamed buns - it's all in this book.

And who needs eggs, cheese, meat, and milk when the vegan diet has been proven to be the healthiest choice available? As I like to say, no animal has to die in order for me to live! We can choose to eat well with healthy ingredients that are good for all, human and non-human animals alike, and The Global Vegan Family Cookbook makes it easy and delicious.

Thanks Chef Brian for taking us on a culinary trip around the world. The book took incredible dedication and will result in many delightful, humane meals shared with family and friends. It's a win-win for all!

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