]e've sought to reconceputalize perhaps the most difficult cuisine
- soul food - a cuisine that traditionally isn't thought of as healthy
reminds us in the introduction to this innovative vegan cookbook
(and "uncookbook" since many of the recipes are raw) that
soul food originally was "the scraps that were thrown to the
slaves for their sustenance. Soul food was never meant to be healthy;
it was only meant to sustain life. The fact that folks made it taste
good was just a testimony to their creativity."
Daniels carry on this tradition of creativity with such recipes
as Southern Spiced Tea (flavored with fresh ginger and lemon juice),
Cheesy Grits (made with soy cheese), Raw "Fried " Green
Tomatoes, Waldorf Salad (made with a homemade eggless mayonnaise),
Hoppin ' John, Fried Tofu Fingers (which, incidentally, my kids
lapped up like most American kids eat chicken fingers), and Vegan
Sour Cream Apple Pie. Best of all, these delightful recipes are
almost all very simple to make and use ingredients found commonly
in most grocery stores.
" and "Sun " symbols next to each recipe indicate
whether the recipe is cooked or served raw. And some recipes, such
as the pecan pie, offer both raw and cooked versions. While Hutchins
is best known for raw foods recipes, he and Daniels were committed
to meeting "people where they are dietetically." Many
of the recipes had to offer cooked versions in order to truly replicate
the flavors of a Southern dish.
At a recent
Fourth of July party, we served several of these dishes to vegetarian
and omnivorous friends - all of whom grew up in the South. The Chopped
BBQ Po 'Boy was a big hit and would certainly have fooled even our
grandmothers into thinking that they were eating a fatty, meat-laden
sandwich.The Red Cole Slaw evoked wonderful childhood memories for
our Mississippi-raised friend who grew up on the spices of Old Bay
® Seasoning... And everyone devoured the No Bake Banana Cream
Pie, made with a nut and dried fruit crust.
But the biggest
hit - and the biggest surprise - of the day was the Raw Carrot Cake.
This easy-to-assemble dessert has a wonderful carrot/raisin/coconut
filling and is healthy enough that I felt no guilt eating a piece
for breakfast the next morning!
Soul Food Cookbook offers recipes for drinks, breakfast items, breads,
soups, salads, side dishes, sauces and dressings, entrees, and desserts.
It includes handy illustrations for making the raw pie crusts and
for assembling sandwiches. And it has a Food Products Index in case
you can't locate an ingredient at your own grocery store.
Daniels received high praise when they demonstrated the Black Eyed
Pea Croquettes at a recent Taste of Health food fair in Louisville.
By using inexpensive ingredients that are easy to find and even
easier to assemble, they have eliminated many of the excuses people
frequently offer for not eating healthy foods. And they are actively
working to break down the barriers that have traditionally kept
many African Americans from being interested in eating healthy,
plant-based foods. "In reinventing a cuisine that has sustained
us and our ancestors for hundreds of years we like to pay homage
to them for all that they have given us. We have a choice when they
didn't and we need to take advantage of it now," the authors
write in the introduction to this book.
For this Southern
boy, taking "advantage of it now " means that I look forward
to serving my family our next meal from The Vegetarian Soul Food
Cookbook. A Watermelon Smoothie,
Cow Peas and Brown Rice, some bluegrass music on the radio, a hot
summer night, and a Jethro Bodine-sized bowl of Raw Peach Cobbler,
and I 'll be in Southern bliss.
Meet vegan MD's and experts at the VegSource e-Vent weekend!
Imar Hutchins is a co-founder of Delights of the Gar-den, a
restaurant famous for raw vegetarian foods. He is author of Delights
of the Garden and 30 Days to Delights of the Garden. A graduate
of Yale Law School, and an accomplished artist who drew the cover
and interior illustrations for this new cookbook, Imar also teaches
raw foods preparations classes and lec-tures nationwide.
Dawn Marie Daniels has been cooking all of her life. An award-winning
editor of numerous books, Dawn is the co-author of the best-selling
book, Souls of My Sisters: Black Women Break Their Silence, Tell
Their Stories and Heal Their Spirits.
The Vegetarian Soul Food Cookbook can be pur-chased from Epiphany
Books, 767 Saint Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY 10031 or online at