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Vegan Vittles: Recipes Inspired by the Critters of Farm Sanctuary Books

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Vegan Is A Dirty Word.......? : VEGAN VITTLES

  • Jan 5, 2003
  • by
Pros: versatile, delicious, well written, easy to read, uses common food ingredients

Cons: use of sugar cane and chocolate,

The Bottom Line: Finding it difficult to locate high-quality recipes for substitutes for animal products in food? VEGAN VITTLES comes to the rescue!

The following is an extensive review. I wrote this review after trying unsuccessfully to find reviews or write-ups containing what I needed to know about this book before purchasing it. This review is written for those who sincerely seek information on a GOOD vegan cookbook from someone who enjoys GOOD food, and are tired of expectations not being met when they purchase a new cookbook.

If you are NOT TRULY interested in this book, or you do not want to read a long review, then skip this. Please do not waste my time criticizing its length and/or rating it poorly due to length.


I am often amazed at the people who rant and rave about animal testing in cosmetics. They will carry on and on about the cruelty to animals being tested with chemicals, and occasionally other products which obviously use animals for their production such as fur coats.

However, very often, these same people think absolutely nothing of popping animal based products in their mouths or in popping dangerous chemicals and compounds in their mouths that have been PROVEN to damage the human body extensively- an example being sugar cane. Not wanting to harm animals yet thinking nothing of harming human beings seems to be such hypocrisy.

It seems that then there are all kinds of rationalizations and excuses that come up as to why they think nothing of animal product consumption or damage to themselves and their loved ones by eating unhealthy additives in their foods.


For years, I have lived a very "inconvenient" life compared to the rest of the population, meaning the average US citizen. My entire family has learned to cook and bake items from the very basics. We grind our own flour, make our own baked goods, have made our own soy milks, nut butters, even cosmetics from natural ingredients.

Because of deep health concerns, we have gone without the US considered "basics" for years- eggs, conventional dairy, red meats, poultry, hydrogenated oils, and convenience foods of all kinds.

Being a gourmet cook, I taught myself how to make recipes out of unusual ingredients that either rivaled basic junk food, or surpassed it even to the staunchest of junk food addicts. One of my most amazing successes was to make a "Devil's Food Cake" out of brown rice flour, carob, and honey as sweetener that fooled the most heavy junk food addicts I've known. The cake looks so much like the "Duncan Hines" ideal that people actually thought we started eating junk food!

Because of food combination effects, I also learned how to cook and bake without eggs and dairy products, a feat not easily accomplished when you are gearing toward the same finished product effect.

Over the years, after limiting our animal flesh intake to only lamb or venison (donated from hunters in the area that had too much) several times a year, we began to lose our taste for meats of all kinds, organic or not. It became not a necessity but a rich treat reserved for special occasions.

Fish intake fell over time to a good low of once a month or so. It was nice to not to have to depend on grocery stores to fulfill a weekly need for fresh animal flesh.

Because of our rural location, it is not uncommon for us to experience snow to the point of not being able to get to the store for long periods of time. Many times, I have had to go many months without a car or form of transportation, so I had to develop a way of life that greatly reduced dependence on grocery stores.

We did this with great success, making it necessary to only obtain fresh produce from time to time whenever possible.

After years of living this way, the arrival of our little daughter, however, greatly changed things. No longer could I spend the attention and time making soymilk from basics. I could not spend the time I wanted to making a lot of substitutes that I used to make. Our daughter took way too much attention and time.

However, this Christmas, after receiving a soy milk maker, which GREATLY simplified things, we were back on the road again to making our own meat substitutes and such at home.

That is where this book, VEGAN VITTLES by Joanne Stepaniak comes in.


I purchased VEGAN VITTLES from after reading through many many reviews and write ups of vegan books in various locations. I have been unimpressed with most vegan literature and books that I have read, many of them being either way too fanatical, or just plain boring with unimpressive recipes in them.

The reaction to this book was very positive in the reviews I read. I also know from experience that I really enjoy another book from Joanne Stepaniak called THE UNCHEESE COOKBOOK.

After having the book for a while, I have to say that this book, VEGAN VITTLES is another winner.

A paperback book with 175 pages, VEGAN VITTLES is the same size as the UNCHEESE COOKBOOK also by Joanne Stepaniak. The measurement is 8x7inches . This is important to note for me, because that allows both books to be next to each other on a bookshelf. The current retail price is $12.95, and it is from the BOOK PUBLISHING COMPANY from Summertown Tennesee, the same publisher who originated the now infamous THE FARM VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK many years ago.

The paper is a bright matte white with an easy-to-read font used, however, because the font is not very bold, older people may have a hard time reading it in a dimly lit setting.

Here is the outline of the table of contents:

Introduction to Farm Sanctuary
Vegan Kinship
What is Veganism?
But What's Wrong With Dairy Products & Eggs?
Eating Well, The Vegan Way
Substitutes for Animal Products
Glossary of Special Ingredients
Hidden Animal Ingredients
A Week of Daily Menus

Tips & Tails (Handy Hints and Basic Recipes)
Breakfast & Breads
Uncheeses, Butters, & Spreads
Hearty Soups & Stews
Salads & Dressings
The Main Dish
Sauces, Gravies, & Condiments
Happy Endings

Index by Main Ingredient
General Index
Mail Order Sources for Vegan Products
For Further Information About the Farm Sanctuary


Because I did not find the information I really wanted to know about this book, I am going to review this in depth for those who truly want to know if this book is worth the trouble of getting it. I am supplying the kind of information I was hoping to find, but didn't- all in one place.

Each section or chapter will be titled with recipes listed. Following that, my impressions of the section will be included.


The first five sections in this book were quite a surprise to me. Lacking the usual wild-eyed fanatacism, the first few sections of this book outline the story behind why the people involved with its writing became vegan. The book is written in honor of THE FARM SANCTUARY in WATKINS GLEN, NY.

In the first five sections, you will find background on THE FARM SANCTUARY, a place where animals rejected and tortured by the animal industries are brought, nursed back to health, and then loved. The public is invited to interact with these animals to bring an element of reality to people as to what truly happens in the animal industry- especially the meat, eggs, and dairy industry.

The stories are not at all sensationalized to manipulate sympathy. Rather they are told with simple accounts of the experience of the farm owners and some of the personal looks into the lives of some animals that they rescued.

I am impressed with the approach. It is common sense, well-balanced, and very objective, lacking the usual over-passionate zeal that turns so many unknowledgable people off from vegan causes.

There are also a few articles from different people on veganism, explaining why they and others have joined the cause, what to expect and how to prepare if you are just starting.

Again, well-written and reader friendly.


This is an extensive listing for ways that you can substitute for any animal product that you may be used to having the use of. Substitutes for all kinds of products include cheese, milk, butter (in recipes and as spreads), yogurt, sour cream, cream, evaporated milk, pudding, custard, ice cream, eggs (in baked goods, and for thickening), honey, meat, MEAL TYPES (how to reorganize meals to refocus the main attention from meat).

This section is excellently done, and all kinds of alternatives are mentioned. I am very disappointed, however, on sugar cane products are pushed, as they are just as dangerous and even more damaging to the human body as many animal products. The objection to mainstream honey production is understandable, but plenty of decent humane beekeepers still exist. We have found that they truly have a respect and love for their bees.

Other than that, this section is excellent.


A very good glossary to familarize anyone with many ingredients found in the book. Detailed explanations make it very useful.


The hidden animal ingredients page is very scant in information. I am disappointed in this, it is almost useless, but not quite.

The daily menu page lists a week of daily menus to help you get started in refocusing your meals around new entrees and meal features. A nice addition to the book.


This is one of the most valuable sections of this book. Tips for making soups in a blender, pressing tofu, and recipes for basics make this very valuable and versatile.


All of these recipes are great, easy to use, and I find them very useful. Having made SEITAN the hard way for years, the time cutting methods Joanne shows in this section are worth the price of the book.


Recipes included in this section are:

Basic Nut Milk, Velvety Cashew Milk, Sweet Almond Milk, Walnut Milk, Split Second Soymilk, Carob or Chocolate Milk, Rice Milk, Sumptuous Strawberry Shake, Creamsicle Frappe, Fruit Smoothies, Cashew Almond Nog.

I have used many of these recipes with delicious results. They do not claim to be identical to dairy, but I find them to be excellent alternatives.


Recipes included in this section are:

Eggless Omelets, Breakfast Tofu Scramble, Phenomenal French Toast, Banana Flapjacks, Applejacks, "Buttermilk" Biscuits, Pecan Sticky Buns, Muffins That Taste Like Donuts, Yankee Corn Muffins, Orange-Pecan Muffins, Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake, Date & Nut Bread, Banana Tea Loaf, Pumpkin Bread

I have used a made a good portion of these recipes and have found them to be delicious and worthy of the time to make them. My only objection to this section is again the inclusion of cane sugar products- we merely substitute honey for the sugar.


Recipes included in this section are:

Incredible Almond Creme Cheeze, Carrot Butter, Classic White Uncheese, Crock Cheeze, Melty White Cheeze, Tofu Ricotta, Swiss Fondue, Creamy Cottage Cheeze, Onion Lover's Chip Dip, Glorious Green Olive Dip, Green Bean Pate

I have used about half of the recipes in this book with great success. I have found them surprisingly popular with my son and husband who used to be big cheese eaters. They do not have the strech or chewiness that cheese does, but the flavor is really nice in many of them. It takes a while to build up a love for some of them. Many recipes use nutritional yeast and miso for flavor which surprisingly work well.


Recipes in this section include:

Sadie's Vitality Broth, Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Cheddary Cheeze Soup, Lima Bean Soup, Mark's Miracle Black Bean Soup, Elegant Broccoli Bisque, French Onion Soup, Potato Kale Soup, Stick-To-Your-Ribs Chili, Chuckwagon Stew

I have only made a couple soups from this book so far, and they have been very nice. I tend to embellish them a bit more with herbs and spices, as that is my passion. I plan on working on this section a bit more over the next few months.


Recipes in this section include:

Hot & Sour Seitan Steak Salad, Vegan Antipasto, Greek Salad, Caesar Salad, Spinach Salad With Citrus Vinegarette, Cold Pasta & White Bean Salad, Fiesta Coleslaw, Sweet Pepper & Basil Potato Salad, Italian Dressing, Citrus Vinegarette, Dill Vinegarette, Thousand Island Dressing, Creamy Herb Dressing, "Sea" Sar Dressing

Since I did not purchase this book until winter, salad making is not a high priority so far. I have tried several recipes from this section so far, but mostly dressings. They are great tasting and well rounded.


Recipes in this section include:

Happy Hen Salad, Fowl Play Tempeh Salad, Messy Mikes, Welsh Rarebit, Grilled Cheeze Sandwiches, Kale & Kraut Sandwiches, Better Burgers, Easy Garbanzo-Oat Burgers, Vegan Lox & Bagels, Gyros, Tempeh Tacos, Bean Burritos, Fajitas

I have made several of these recipes (a couple of them are also in the UNCHEESE COOKBOOK) and they have been excellent filling sandwiches. It takes a while to adjust from the "meat" texture to these if you are making a sudden change, but otherwise, they are loaded with flavor and texture of their own.


Recipes in this section include:

Marinated Tofu, Tempeh, & Seitan, Broiling or Grilling Marinated Tofu, Tempeh, & Seitan, Southern Fried Tofu, Oven Roasted Tom Tofu, Chick Peas A La King, Cauliflower Paprikash, Classic Quiche, Stuffed Omelets, O-Konomi-Yaki, Unstuffed Shells, Macaroni & Cheeze, Chili Bean Macaroni, Not Your Mama's Meatloaf, Unbroiled Cabbage Rolls, Pot Roast, Hot & Sour Noodles, Barbecue-Style Braised Short "Ribs", Seitan Mushroom Stroganoff, Pilgrim Pie, Spaghetti with Meaty Mushroom Sauce

Every recipe I have tried from this section has been filling, delicious, and the plates licked clean! The meals are easy to make, the ingredients easy to have on hand, and they seem to be a hit with everyone here.


Recipes in this section include:

Velvety Cheese Sauce, Roasted Garlic Gravy, Golden Gravy, Rich Brown Gravy, Mushroom Gravy, Tomato Pasta Sauce, Hollandaze Sauce, Tangy White Bean Sauce, Spicy Peanut Sauce, Tunisian Cream Sauce, Ravigote, Vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce, Low-Fat Egg-Free Mayonnaise, Tofu Sour Cream, Tofu Sour Cream Spread

I have only made a few recipes from this section so far, but they are fantastic. The Vegetarian Worchestershire Sauce, Low-Fat Egg-Free Mayonnaise, and the Tofu Sour Cream recipes are favorites around here. They are difficult recipes to find - especially all in one book.


Recipes in this chapter include:

Cheezecake Praline Tarts, Edna's Peach Kuchen, Lemon Cloud Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Ultra-Fudgey Fudge Brownies, Judi's Lemon Date Squares, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, Grandmother's Spice Cake, Aunt Bunny's Carrot Cake, Mile-High Carob or Chocolate Layer Cake, The World's Best (and Easiest) Chocolate Pudding, Celebration Cake, Vanilla Nice Cream, Fruity Nice Cream, Orange "Buttermilk" Sherbet, Frozen Maple Custard, Mocha Nice Cream, Rich Fudge Frosting, Cream Cheeze Frosting, Sea Foam Icing, Heavenly Coconut Icing, Citrus Whip, Lemon Curd, Tofu Whipped Topping

This section brings mixed reaction for us. I find that they include cane sugar way too much to be of value as they are without adaptation. However, I do like that Joanne does include on occasion carob AND chocolate (chocolate being as damaging as cane sugar), as well as several maple syrup recipes in here.

I have only been able to use three recipes as they appear in the book, having to make some changes to all others. Of course, I find that with most cookbooks, but I am disappointed in the lack of healthy alternatives in this section.


Despite some shortcomings with this book, I find that on the whole it is one of the most valuable and important cookbooks that I own. Not only does it have healthy alternatives to many common food sources (which are not healthy), but they are easy to make, taste great, and are not made of obscure ingredients.

This is an excellent cookbook to have if you want to save money, survive rural conditions and still feel like a royalty, honor veganism, and serve meals that honor your convictions that will appeal to almost anyone- even meat eaters.

I find that little notes and interesting chef tips scattered throughout the book make it fun to read as well as interesting. The personal stories of the animals add to its charm.

I can not recommend this book highly enough to anyone seriously interested in using meat and animal product substitutes that will not leave them feeling like they are missing something.

VEGAN VITTLES is a top choice winner in my vast collection of cookbooks!


One thing I have noticed about many of the cookbooks from Joanne Stepaniak and a few others from BOOK PUBLISHING is that they have a tendency to include many Jewish substitution recipes- which many of that tradition will find helpful at family gatherings where you want to eat vegan, but still participate in holidays. This cookbook has a few, but there are more in Joanne's other book I will review eventually called, VEGAN DELI.


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