Extremism is in. Whether its political views or diets, everyone is polarized these days.
When it comes to food trends, people seem to be either going over-the-top decadent (the latest in Toronto is Asian ice cream and desserts...like this:
...or to the opposite end of the spectrum, such as raw, vegan food like this:
If I have to pick a side, you know where I am going! The latter, of course!!
But there is another diet trend in Toronto, which, I guess is sort of the happy medium: vegan comfort food.
Now, personally, I have little interest in this because I find it tends to mean vegan junk food, and junk food is junk food in my book. It may be better for animals and the planet, but its not better for the body.
Nevertheless, there is clearly a market for it, and I suppose its a good way to get carnivores who have previously given no thought to what they consume an accessible way of becoming more conscious of what they eat, if only for ethical reasons (though I don't get why people would care about the health of animals and the earth, but not of their own body).
The Edgy Veg is a cookbook by fellow Torontonians, and bloggers, Candice Hutchings, and her husband, James Aita, which claims to contain "138 carnivore approved vegan recipes." I would say it definitely can be described as catering to people looking for vegan comfort food.
Now that I think about it, the polar opposite of this might be Paleo since that tends to be a very health conscious, high meat diet (assuming you believe eating large amounts of animal protein, especially red meat is healthy...which I don't).
Anyways, there is a lot to like about this book. It begins with a section on how to prepare to start cooking the recipes, with lists of kitchen tools, pantry staples, and vegan substitutions. Then there is a chapter on the 'basics', such as pizza dough, seitan, vegan mozzarella, several types of veggie bacon, dairy-free sour cream, and a bunch of sauces. These items turn up as ingredients in a number of the recipes later on. I love that these base items, such as seitan and vegan mozzarella are relatively simple, since making them homemade might seem intimidating (at least to me!).
There are lovely photos of almost all the recipes and tips under the "Hack it" section at the bottom of the pages. Many of the recipes sound amazing and I plan to try such as the mushroom bacon, Eat the Rainbow slaw, Buffalo Cauliflower Wings 7 ways, What the Pho, and Garlicky Green Beans to Keep the Vampires Away.
The recipes span many different cuisines, and cover most of the food that's trendy (at least in Toronto) such as pho, ramen, Chinese/Thai/Indian, and fusions of many of them. Their are chapters for brunch, soup, salads, munchies, mains, sides, beverages, and desserts.
My one criticism is that many recipes use white flour and white sugar. Even organic versions of refined flour and sugar are absolutely void of nutrition and spike blood sugar levels. Nevertheless, you can substitute whole grain flours and healthier sweeteners in most of these recipes easily.
Also, be aware that substitutions for animal proteins are sometimes made with non-proteins (i.e. buffalo cauliflower, carrot lox). So be aware that you will likely have to add a protein somewhere else in your meal.
Do I recommend this cookbook? Absolutely! The recipes are approachable and appealing to even picky, closed-minded carnivores. Its perfect for people scared to eat vegan because they perceive it to be nothing but sprouts and seeds. Good job by my fellow Torontonians!!
Disclosure: I was sent this book to review but all opinions on this blog are my own.