Saturday, May 23, 2009

PETA's Vegan College Cookbook: A Review

I wasn't a vegan as an undergrad, a fact I am sometimes grateful for when I see the food offerings on campus these days (and when I think of how hard it was even to get a decent vegetarian option back then). While things are getting better these days, vegan options are still few and far between. To make matters worse, dorms have pretty much restricted cooking appliances to a microwave and a kettle (unless you want to use the communal kitchen at the end of the hall, which no one ever does). So, until you can get an off campus house with your own stove, what's a college vegan to do?


One answer is PETA's new Vegan College Cookbook--275 recipes all made (well, almost all) in the microwave. Written with wit and flair, the book makes no apologies for what it is: a collection of recipes that make liberal use of fake meat, dairy, eggs, and cheese (there is even a comprehensive mini encyclopedia of all the vegan alternatives available). The recipes are comprehensive, including the expected lunch, breakfast, and dinner; but also with sections devoted to salads, soups and stews, drinks, dips, snacks, and desserts. If you've ever been a student you will appreciate the special spotlight on ramen noodles.

For those of us with access to a stove, this book is probably of limited use (though there are some good ideas for quick and easy snacks and drinks), but I think the book is perfect for college students (and I should know--I teach them!). While I would like to see more focus on fresh veggies and perhaps some raw dishes, let's not kid ourselves: cleaning out the crisper is not high on the "to do" list for freshmen. The great thing about the book is that you don't have to be a culinary wizard to execute these recipes. So, kids, if you are college-bound (and if your parents are wondering what you will eat whilst at school), consider PETA's Vegan College Cookbook.

13 comments:

Lizzzzzzzzzzz said...

I'm sure this is a perfectly decent cookbook. However, I find it extremely unnerving that you are willing to support anything made by PETA.

PETA constantly associates hyper-sexualized women with violence, letting people know that it's ok (by them) to be aroused by women in violent situations. This kind of thinking is despicable, and I would hope that you would not promote an organization that feels the need to present their (anti-violence?) message in such a way.

Anonymous said...

how about all the animals they kill?
peta may have great ideas when it comes to publicity but they have no idea what it means to be vegan.

Jain said...

A differing opinion on People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: I'm a woman who credits PETA with bringing veganism to the mainstream. Their ads are clever, attention-grabbing, and effective. As long as consenting adults are involved, I don’t care how they present their message. If this book helps one student to eat more ethically, I support it, too.

Anonymous slipped in while I was typing. Huh?

Karoumy said...

Microwaves are not for cooking.

nick said...

Well said Jain.
I completely agree.
Anonymous, before blaming PETA of just killing animals, read in to it about why they do some of the things that do. Here's a nice article for you: http://blog.peta.org/archives/2009/03/why_we_euthaniz.php?c=euthanasiag0309&gclid=CLHWloXhrZoCFQOuFQodCyldcw

Alison said...

I am ambivalent about PETA (actually, I appreciate the extreme, because it makes us normal fools seem perfectly reasonable).

However, this is a great idea for college students. I actually was a vegan when I entered College. However, after a semester in the dorms I lost the Freshman 15 (vs. gaining the Freshman 10). My mom started sending me food and eventually reconsidered and started to eat dairy. Later I found out I was lactose intolerant and had to start eating some other animal products. Who knows what my path might have been if I'd had a swanky PETA cookbook?

Mike said...

I'm on the side that finds PETA's ad campaigns despicable. I'm not sure why people think it's okay to promote the de-victimization of animals while re-victimizing women's bodies and sexuality... Are we really willing to continue to comodify female bodies and promote heterosexism in order to promote vegetarianism/veganism? Doesn't that simply redirect oppression and violence in a different direction?

rob said...

This post isn't about PETA ads. It's about this particular cookbook. Personally I think PETA does some good things, and some things I disagree with. This particular item that they produce is positive, so yay!

Mary said...

Like Alison, I was vegan when I began college, but fell off the wagon and began eating eggs and dairy because I didn't have a kitchen, regular access to a grocery store, or the time to plan meals and think about what I was eating. A book like this might have given me some ideas.

(Don't worry, though: now I'm an ass-kickin' vegan grown-up with a well-equipped kitchen and a natural foods store!)

BellaTrixx said...

as a vegan graduate student, this sounds like a clever idea. sometimes you are just in such a rush that it is difficult to come up with something for lunch. and a veggie subway is not that exciting day in and day out. i say applaud them for doing something right. thanks Vegan Dad for the review. :)

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of the cookbook. Not just for students but for cooking in motels in the middle of nowhere when vegan restaurants are just not an option.

zerbert said...

I recently bought this cookbook for my sister who just finished her second year in college. She's vegetarian. Hopefully she'll find it useful next year!

Tara said...

I know I am late to the game but I bought this cookbook a month ago and love it. I am not a college student but I am a busy professional who just can't find the time to take on more complicated meals all the time (plus the kitchen gets HOT with the oven in the summer).

I consider this cookbook and Veganomicon my go-to books. Sometimes, you just need quick, easy, and cheap. This fits the bill.