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Recipes and Books archive: March 2009

Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine

by Bryant Terry

Vegan Soul Kitchen

I like Bryant. He’s a softly-spoken yet highly driven food activist from Tennessee via Brooklyn, and he says stuff like he means it. Although I’m a Londoner, we share a similar background – we were both drawn to food writing through strong convictions about the politics of food. The flavors and deliciousness factor came to us more slowly, the sweet tastes and aromas floating towards our senses as a secondary delight.

I’m excited about Bryant’s current explorations of Southern cuisine. He was initially drawn to this subject by the need to eliminate food poverty and the diseases related to poor diet, like diabetes and obesity. He wanted to find out old-fashioned solutions to food sustainability issues, to see how poor African-American people found ways to eat well on a tight budget.

But this book is a book of riches. Rich with stories, rich with personality, rich with real solutions and enticing recipes.

It’s a rare book of vegan food that will tempt a junk food addict. And a rare vegan cookbook in that it is acutely focused on one style of cooking, and a very American cuisine at that.

Classic soul food dishes like gumbo and grits are paired with awesome music suggestions, perhaps passed down to the author from his uncle, the legendary Memphis R&B singer and songwriter Don Bryant.

It’s a collection of food ideas that uses the scraps, transforms simple, cheap ingredients into wholesome, nutritious and downright lavish dishes, served with a side of memories.

Recommended reading. ****

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