Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

Got a hankering for some Latin food, vegan style? Got a special someone you want impress with your culinary zeal? Well, pencil yourself in a couple of hours and go forth into Terry Hope Romero’s (co-author of the splendid Veganomicon and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) recipe for Chili Relleno.

Romero and her cooking partner and co-author, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, are women after my own heart: grown-up punk ladies with a passion for food and cookery that leaves the pomp and attitude behind. Their writing is fresh, funny, sans-b.s. and keeps in the mind the monetarily deprived cookbook reader who may not have the dinero for fancy ingredients and shiny equipment. Check out their website here.

Latin cooking is one of my favourite cuisines. Several years ago, I lived in a communal house with a man whose partner was Cuban, and several times a month our house would be happily overrun with Cuban drag queens who could cook like gangbusters. I have fond memories of learning how to prepare spicy black beans, rice and plantains from a lovely lady who could rock four-inch heels in the kitchen, then steer me through the meringue on the back deck a couple of hours later.

Luck for us vegans, the word is Romero is currently testing the contents of a vegan cookbook with a Latin focus. Tentatively titled “Vegan Latina,” the book is set to drop next year. I, for one, can hardly wait.

This recipe for Chili Relleno (as per Romero's blog) is a bit of a doozy and requires a hefty load of prep work. I suggest inviting over one of your best gals to work as your sous-chef, put a six-pack of your favourite microbrew on ice, and dig out your old Miami Sound Machine cassette before giving it a go. Totally worth it.

Next on Gone Vegan: Store-bought vegan cheese. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Photo credit istockphoto.com/DNY5