Cooking from books, the old-school way

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I love a good cookbook. Paging through a book of beautiful food photos is half the pleasure, and knowing all the potential that your shelf of cookbooks holds for delicious treats is a little bit exciting! Like most millennials, I only really started using the internet for *literally everything* as an adult. I was a bit of a bookworm growing up, and as I learnt to bake, I used my parents’ cookbooks to find foolproof recipes.

So when it comes to learning to cook good food, I can personally recommend the old-school way, if only because I’ll more readily trust a reputable cookbook author than a random blogger. After all, a recipe developer is much more likely to test their recipes thoroughly if they’re publishing a physical book (it’s an expensive and arduous task!). On the other hand, anyone can publish a recipe online, with zero budget: I learnt this the hard way, with one too many Pinterest flops.

Now that I’ve been cooking and baking for years, I generally understand how ingredients work together, so I wing it more often than not. But there are still some gems on my shelf that are either specialist cookbooks, or great reference books, or they’re sentimental in some way.

If you’re starting out exploring a plant-based diet, I’d definitely recommend getting a couple of good cookbooks to guide your kitchen adventures as you learn the ropes. Every year there are new vegan recipe books being published, but read reviews before forking out any cash.

I’ve bought quite a few vegan cookbooks over the years—some I have regrets about, others are absolute must-haves. Here are the ones that I can personally vouch for:

  • The Joy of Vegan Baking Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
    My very first vegan cookbook, which I bought in 2011. Very accessible recipes that turn familiar favourites into delicious treats that you’d never know were vegan.
  • Veganomicon Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero
    A little bit more old-school than most vegan cookbooks today, this book is still great, with loads of really helpful tips and techniques, and a wide variety of solid recipes for all skill levels. I like having it around as a reference cookbook.
  • The Homemade Vegan Pantry Miyoko Schinner
    The queen of vegan cheese reveals her secrets in this gem of a recipe book. This book is a must-have for anyone who loves the idea of making foods from scratch. You’ll find winning recipes for vegan milks, butter, cheese, yoghurt, mayo, tofu, tempeh, seitan, bouillon and more.
  • Isa Does It Isa Chandra Moskowitz
    You can bet that any cookbook from Isa will be a very good resource. She’s been publishing recipe books for the last 15 years, and all the recipes I’ve tried are easy, accessible and delicious.
  • The Oh She Glows Cookbook Angela Liddon
    A really nice cookbook that I used a lot in my first few years being vegan. They have a bit more of a health-focus, without relying on hard-to-find ingredients.

And here are some cookbooks that I’ve heard great things about, and that I’d put on my wish-list if I were you 🙂

  • The How Not to Die Cookbook Michael Greger & Gene Stone
  • Vegan 100 Gaz Oakley
  • BOSH! Simple Recipes Ian Theasby & Henry David Firth
  • Sweet Potato Soul Jenne Claiborne
  • Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking Dana Shultz
  • The Vegan Stoner Cookbook Sarah Conrique

Let me know if you have a great vegan cookbook you’d recommend! 

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