I am a cookbook whore, no denying it, I like them even if I never make something from it I can steal ideas, or just look at pretty pictures. That said, I have decided to make my first post a review of the first vegan cookbook I ever purchased, its also the first cookbook of any kind that I purchased. Simply Vegan by Debra Wasserman. The book was first published in 1991, and I picked up my copy in 1995 shortly after going vegan.
Simple is a good word for the cookbook, has few illustrations and the back has a nutrition section with a glossary and many charts and tables. There is nothing flashy in this book. The recipes are not all that flashy either. Most are very simple and are very easy to prepare, a good thing since at the time I still had next to no idea of what I was doing.
Besides being simple easy recipes, have a bit of a hippie 70s vegetarian sort of vibe to them, looking back on them now they feel a bit dated. They are not for impressing people with your culinary skills, its all about quick and relatively easy.
The recipes are divided up by beverages, breakfasts, sides, soups sandwiches, mains etc with a special section for tofu and tempeh. The chickpea dishes were always my favorite since I had not yet gotten over my fear of cooking tofu, the recipes introduced me to many ingredients that were fairly alien to small town Minnesota such as Bok-Choy, black-eye peas, and well chickpeas, a staple of salad bars everywhere but Minnesota, at least back then. A lot of the recipes also lack a bit of balance, such as maybe adding a vegetable in with the seasoned bunch of beans. There is also a desert section, in the shadow of books like My Sweet Vegan and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, the less said about it the better.
Looking back on it I am not sure I would recommend this book now, even though 13 years ago I was quite enamored with it, although it is a good way to look back at how vegan cookery has changed and evolved.