I went vegan just after college graduation in the Fall of 1990, and truly, I don't remember too much about college, it happened a LONG time ago. However, I do know I lived in a dorm for four years, where I shared a sparse, dirty kitchen with a couple hundred other dorm kids. If we wanted to cook, we could "check out" cheap pots and pans, or use a microwave (mostly for popcorn), but besides that, the pickin's were pretty slim. Up in our dorm rooms, we were allowed a mini fridge, but nothing that plugged in and heated up, so crock pots and other cooking devices were a giant no-no. Since our school required students to sign up for the campus meal service run by Marriott, we really didn't have much need for cooking. If we missed a meal we'd generally order a pizza.
Here Vee contemplates "Me So Corny" Thai Tomato Soup, page 121
The point of all of this boring memory lane biz', is that Sourcebooks recently sent me a copy of their latest 336 page cookbook, PETA's Vegan College Cookbook to read and review. Back in my hey day, we didn't have a lot of vegan options in the cafeteria besides the salad bar, french fries, bagels, dry cereal and orange juice, but these days? I dunno, there's gotta be at least soy milk and one vegan option at every meal, huh? This cookbook has a very noble goal, helping kids be vegan at college, I can't argue with this, I love the vegans. In my fantasy world, everyone is vegan and I hug you all day long--hug, hug, hug.
However, even with this great and important mission, the recipes in this cookbook leave me a little less than enthused. In college, I might've been wildly distracted by any and all upcoming beer bong festivities, but I think it's safe to say, my palate was still a bit too sophisticated for the majority of these recipes. Here are a few of many, so you get the drift: Ramen Holiday (ramen noodles with frozen veggies), Strawberry Field Greens Forever (chicken strips, bagged greens, sliced strawberries, Italian dressing), Nutty Professor Almond Latte (almond milk, instant coffee, sugar), Salsa for Beginners (vegan cream cheese, prepared salsa), and One-Handed Tater (nuked potato, ketchup/mustard).
Not to write this book off completely, since I do think it has a potential audience, just maybe not who the authors intended. This could be a great starting point for a child who is beginning to be interested in the kitchen, y'know, like a "Tween" or maybe someone just a tiny bit younger. Most of these recipes require little oven action, so they could be made with minimal supervision, and they would probably tantalize the younger set with their hip names and directions. Like if i was 11, I think Legume Va-Va-Voom would be a very cool vegan dinner to put together with friends on a Friday night play date.
If this review left you puzzled and/or dazzled for more info about this cookbook, other less snarky reviews can be found on several blogs including: helloveggie, eatingconsciously, thesaladgirl, cookeasyvegan, and everydaydish. Or, if you want your own copy and live in or around the US (so I can mail cheaply), I will happily send you mine (since I'm no longer a "Tween" and have also recently graduated from beer bong interest). Please leave a comment on this fine review telling me something I don't already know about you. When I post again in two weeks or so, I'll use some random generator action to choose the lucky, lucky recipient.