Like a Warm Hug
The Book: Vegan Brunch: Homestyle Recipes Worth Waking Up For – from Asparagus Omelets to Pumpkin Pancakes by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Da Capo Press, 2009)
Review by Marika Collins
Preamble/Overall Feeling: Vegan Brunch is brought to us by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, the friendly and funny founder of the famed Post Punk Kitchen website and forums, and co-author of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, and Veganomicon. This sunny book is written in a warm, humourous, unassuming tone – it's an excellent cooking resource for anyone, vegan or not, with a fun, positive, and welcoming feel. Visually, the book is like a warm hug, from its cheerful yellow cover to the bright colour blocking and colour photos within. It's well-organized, easy to follow, and its medium size makes it comfortable to hold in the hand.
Best Bits: Friendly and inviting, the book opens with a deliciously enticing ode to brunch – setting the tone for the entire book which is unabashedly brunch and breakfast oriented. A brief explanation of key ingredients used in the recipes comes next, followed by a fun section about how to set up and host a proper brunch. The recipes are sensibly divided into sections according to savoury, sweet, toppings, bread basket, and drinks – making it easy to pick and choose from amongst the categories and ensuring your brunch will cover all the bases. A multitude of variations and helpful suggestions are included throughout, including a hilarious open letter to the would be crepe-maker.
All the traditional brunch favourites are represented and then some. If you fancy the classics, they're all there, from Old-Fasioned Chelsea Waffles and Classic Broccoli Quiche, to Diner Home Fries and Biscuits with Smoked Almond Gravy. If you fancy something different, Isa infuses traditional fare with big personality, presenting us with the likes of Curry Srambled Tofu with Cabbage and Caraway, Chili Cashew Dosas with Spiced Apple Cider Chutney, Ethiopian Crepes and Chocolate Beer Waffles.
This is a test: Banana Flapjacks, Brazilian French Toast, East Coast Coffee Cake, Caramelized Figs, Cherry Vanilla Bean Sauce, Brown Sugar Peach Coulis, Baked Cinnamon Apples. If you can read through that list and not be instantly transported to a happy place, then maybe this book is not for you. That same list puts me squarely in the zone. This book, in fact, was given to me by someone who truly understands my deep appreciation of brunch – and if you love brunch fare as much as I do, I'm fairly confident you're going to enjoy this book. Beyond the celebration of brunch however, this book is about comfort food – and for that reason I think it's accessible to all.
Less-Wonderful Bits: White flour and sugar figure strongly but, to be fair, the book never pretends to be health conscious. Ed's add-on: The food photos (and there are many throughout) are a little hit and miss.
Whole foods focus?: No, not really.
Vegan-friendly?: Yes, totally, 100%.
Eco-conscious?: In that the book promotes veganism.
Web presence?: Yes.