Win a copy of Bryant Terry’s new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine just by leaving a comment detailing your favorite soul food dish by Friday, March 6. Your pick doesn’t have to be one traditionally associated with U.S. southern soul food–just any food that warms your soul.
- My picks:
arroz con gandules, otherwise known as rice with pigeon peas with avocado, salt, and lots of hot sauce
ciabatta dipped in olive oil
sweet potato fries coated with panko and sea salt
I’ll pick the winner randomly after Friday. I can only ship to those in the U.S.Sorry, overseas/overborders folks. When you comment, be sure to sign in with your email address so I can contact you directly.
Even if you don’t win the copy, check out this book, which includes mouth-watering food and drink recipes like Cajun-Creole Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits, Frozen Memphis Mint Julep, Roasted Plantain Pieces with Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce, Sweet Cornmeal-Coconut Butter Drop Biscuits, and many more.
Collard greens with garlic! Good gracious. I only started making this dish recently, and I had no idea how easy, cheap, fast, and delicious it is!
Hoppin’ John, chocolate chip cookies, and lemon cucumbers from my grandma’s garden.
badgie523 AT gmail DOT com
My favorite soul food dish? Well, it’s a tie between stewed okra, corn, tomatoes, and onions and a big pot of greens (kale, collards, mustard greens sauteed with onions then cooked down in water).
I’m excited about this book! The more soul food I can make for the omni family that they recognize, the better.
My favorite food that warms my soul is a soup made with barley, kale, and tomatoes and just a little cayenne
I love collard greens. I could eat an entire supper of nothin’ but greens!
HI everyone. I attended the book release premiere party in San Francisco at the Museum of the African Diaspora last night. It was a beautiful event and it was PACKED with mostly brown and black folk. There were 300 tickets and it was SOLD OUT!
They showcased several of the recipes from the book. Yummy tempeh, hummus, butternut squash soup was available for us to try.
My favorite is okra and I can’t wait to try out the okra recipes… and of course the cornbread!
Without a doubt, pho. Warm, spicy, carb-filled (the noodles and broth are the best part) goodness.
I wish I had known about the event at MoAD! It sounds like it was fabulous.
Mel (and those in the East Bay Area),
I just got this message.
Thanks to all of you who came out yesterday to support the launch of Vegan Soul Kitchen. The event was a success.
If you didn’t get enough last night and want more of Chef Bryant Terry join us here at MoAD on Wednesday, March 11th at 12 Noon.
Bryant will discuss the journey behind creating Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine, his work with the Southern Organic Kitchen Project and, The Black and Green Fund.
Terry will be available to sign books after the talk.
matzoh ball soup! mmm.
Stewed okra with tomatoes 🙂
Fried chicken, no doubt. The crispy crunch of the skin, the juicy meat underneath…and it’s a soul food staple that goes good with anything.
My momma’s collard greans, mac n’ cheese, and candied yams…LOL, that’s all I need on my plate!
Greens and corn bread – yum!
Steamed greens and hoppin’ john with brown rice.
Macaroni and cheese – with whole wheat noodles.
My fav soul food dish is Gumbo! I love it with chicken, seafood, smoked sausage, etc…. I try it where ever it is available and I am going to New Orleans this summer to taste the real thing!!!!
chili w/ lots of veggies and corn bread
Coconut curried veggies with brown rice!!!!
Oh my goodness! How did I not know about this book? Thanks so much for posting about it!
Oh, yes, my most beloved soul & comfort food is mashed potatoes & turnips, with gravy, and biscuits on the side. Carbs and gravy and more carbs – does my soul good. Sometimes I’ll put sauteed spinach in the mashed potatoes, instead of turnips – also amazing! Thank goodness I quickly learned how to make vegan versions of these dishes!
oatmeal, semolina, or millet, cooked with soymilk, sea salt, and some organic fair trade sugar. [for the millet, of course, no soymilk or sugar]. preferably made by my mother..
warms the soul right up! right up!
kkonkina at gmail dot com
Oh this is on my list to buy. I can’t wait to try everything.
Mac & Cheese!
For me there is no question, black-eyed peas and rice with mustard greens and cornbread. It does a mind and body good! 🙂
sweet potatoes and mac&cheese
Okra both ways- fried or stewed in tomatos. corn fritters. candied yams, hot water cornbead, turnip/ mustard greens with a jalepeno floating in the pot licker. pan fried cabbage. fresh snap green beans with potatoes. purple hull peas. hot sauce hot sauce hot sauce. german chocolate cake. red velvet cake. sweet potato pie. banana pudding. pecan pie. peach cobbler. sweet tea COLD. kool aid- red flavor.
my omnivore sister said neck bones, hot link and half a pig foot, but i informed her this is a vegan site.
oh you said a dish. i was thinking of one of my family’s potlucks. but i want this book.
AND a tip of the hat to Bryant- Johnny Taylor is playing in the background. 🙂
Sarra — I totally posted about this book before; you don’t hang on my EVERY WORD? I’m heartbroken. Hehehehe.
I loooove collard greens!!!! (& yeah, I know I’m overseas, but if I win it can be shipped to my parents’!)
Hi all. If you don’t win a copy of the book, check out my blog (http://flavordiva.com). In a couple of weeks I will feature a review of Vegan Soul Kitchen and have a give-a-way drawing for the book. While, FlavorDiva.com doesn’t solely focus on vegan food, I definitely cover vegan food and include some vegan recipes or easily adaptable recipes.
Thanks Vegans of Color for an informative site!
As for my favorite “soul food”, my mind keeps going back to a great peach cobbler I made last summer with fresh picked South Carolina peaches.
As you might know, I think vegan cookbook giveaways are a fantastic form of blog activism!
My favorite soul food is red beans and rice. My husband makes an excellent version using liquid smoke to mimic the ham bone flavor and using Toferky brats for the sausage if he adds any “sausage” at all. He’s from NOLA and grew up eating red beans and rice so I trust his recipe more than some others.
I also love: hush puppies, sweet potato fries, black bean soup, and curried potatoes.
(Okay, in retrospect, I guess it would be totally dodgy if I won the contest, sigh… I’ll just have to hint about the cookbook for my birthday coming up! 😉
Johanna! I was just about to break my own shipping to the US only rule and ship it to you as a bribe! 🙂
Seriously, though, I’m sorry I didn’t link to your original post about this book. I should have.
Elaine, yes, I also should say I’ve stolen this idea from you before. I did a giveaway on my blog last year and our very own Noemi won Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. Thanks for a great idea.
A lot of these soul food ideas are making me very hungry.
mmmmmm…grits and greens please
yes I did win it, and made some very yum yum in my tum cupcakes for me and the kids. Arroz con gandules..mmm, or fried bananas, tostones–ah this thread is making me hungry.
Mac n’ Cheese hands-down, today and everyday. And the vegan varieties, particularly with cashew cheese, are scrumptious, delicious, and warm your entire soul. I think it takes us back our days as children when the hardest decision we had to make is what game we were going to play that day!
Great idea, Joselle (and Elaine)! I definitely gotta get my hands on this book.
I think I have a three-way tie: a) thai red curry (thai spicy) with brown rice; b) grilled vegetable fajitas con frijoles negros, guacamole, and habanero sauce; or c) flat bread falafel wrap with hummus and chili sauce. For dessert, a) raw “ice cream;” b) macadamia coconut carrot cake (via VwaV); or c) pumpkin pie… as you can tell, I hate chilis and coconut 😉
When I think of soul food, it reflects my multiracial heritage. So, my fav soul foods are hush puppies, bean burritos with plenty of hot sauce, and pancit with a healthy squirt of calamansi juice.
I’m excited for this cookbook, especially since I recently went vegan. Thanks for the opportunity to win it!
My favorites would have to be a Greens (collard, mustard and beet greens) with garlic and onion cooked down slowww served up with cornbread.
Collard greens cooked with onions and hot peppers is now my best dish. I grow my own here in Austin, Texas.
if our fav meals are any evidence of a future potluck, i’m going to have to bring a sleeping bag and wear pants with an elastic waist. lol
i’ve recently been introduced to the glory of short-simmered collard greens. they’re still a little crispy, i can taste the greenness, and the vinegar makes my mouth water just thinkin about it! throw a little louisiana hot sauce on top and some slow-cooked purple hulls with carrots and green beans and i’m right back in the south where i belong.
Shit! Am I too late?
My favorite soul food/comfort food dish is spicy lentil and vegetable soup. Ingredients – lentils, brown rice, bell pepper, kale, celery, carrot, corn, onion, garlic, cumin, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and hot sauce and/or pepper.
OKRA!!! cornbreaded fried okra, spicy pickled okra, stewed okra and tomatoes, okra corn casserole, chow chow on black-eyed peas. oh and sweet corn and okra relish on fried green tomatoes!!!!
Well, I missed the contest, so I guess I’ll have to go buy the cookbook! 🙂
But without a doubt – even tho I’m AA – my “soulfood” of choice is the South Asian dish of Khichdi (which is a lentil & rice based stew). There isn’t a week that goes by when i don’t make Khichdi. Nothing to do with my own cultural heritage, but it makes my Soul Glow.
Sorry for the delay.
And the winner is..SHERRIE!
Thank you all for leaving behind your yummy-sounding dishes.
And definitely pick up the book if you get a chance. I haven’t cooked anything from it yet but it looks great!
Howabout some criticism of the book? I finally picked up a copy a few days back and have a few problems with it. Firstly, a minor quibble is that the author is NOT vegan. But it does seem to be a trend for non-vegans to write veg cookbooks today. At least that means the market is good for veg cookbooks.
But his not being vegan brings me to the major problem with this particular VEGAN cookbook. The almost continuous G.D. references to dead animals!! From a BS review on the cover page by a “flexitarian” (no such thing, the word is omnivore), to needing a special cutting board for chopping up murdered fish, to shrimp eating in one of the first recipes, to frequent implications/recommendations as to what dead animal would go well with the recipes. NONE of that should be in a vegan book.
The other problem is that I expected a REAL vegan soul food cookbook and not a California/Soul fusion cookbook. I’m not saying the recipes are bad, I’ve tried 3 so far and they’re good (for what they are). But this ain’t the real southern soul food cookin’ I’ve known since I was a kid.
I know I’m a cranky old cuss, but am I being too hard on this book?
can we ban brivari from this blog. offering a critique is one thing, but this is pure hateration.
I don’t think you’re being too hard at all. It’s absurd for vegans to promote books that endorse animal consumption. Frankly, I’m astounded by the praise and advertising this book is getting from people who ostensibly think harming animals is wrong.
Proud Southern Vegan, I don’t think Brivari should be banned at all and I’m glad they commented because, now that I have a copy of the book, I have problems with it too. I posted this contest before I had a copy myself.
I don’t necessarily have a problem with cookbook authors not being vegan (Myra Kornfeld isn’t and her books are great and I took a class with her and really like her). But I would rather give money to vegans if they are going to make money out of being vegan.
I didn’t know whether or not Bryant Terry was vegan when I first heard about the book, although I had a sneaking suspicion he wasn’t from checking out his site. Still, I was excited about this book on the merits of recipe titles alone. They sounded good.
One thing that bothers me about the book is the one poem (not written by B. Terry) about gumbo, which talks about a crab leg reaching out from the lid of “primordial roux.” That’s a live animal suffering and being tortured as its being cooked alive and the poem romanticizes and sanitizes this animals death and makes it about grandma making lovely gumbo. I cringed reading that. I was bothered that it was in a vegan book. And, from what I’ve gleaned so far, there’s not really a discussion about animals, but, to be fair, I have not read the entire book.
Again, I put this post up before reading the book. I don’t know that I would do things differently because I still think it is inventive as a cookbook (the references to music, films and artwork) and I’m glad that its recipes ARE vegan (not even a drop of honey) and yes, I do like that the author is, not just a black man, but someone who speaks very eloquently about food justice, which is something I’d like vegans to do more of.
It is very complicated and I thank Brivari and Jason for bringing these issues up. I’d like to blog about it once I have time to think about it some more and read the entire book.
* I edited this comment after deciding I’m not going to curse or be hyperbolic when I blog anymore. I don’t know. I feel like some internet fairy just put a cuss jar by me.
I just reread my last comment and realized I might sound like Joe Biden back in the campgaign days saying Barack Obama sounds “eloquent.” Doh. I just meant that I like that a black male chef is writing a vegan cookbook. AND that he speaks very powerfully about food justice in interviews. Not conflating the black and eloquent statements a la Biden! 🙂
Hello Lovely Vegans,
Just thought I’d chime in after my assistant alerted me to the discussion going on here. I’m not going to spend too much time justifying my latest book-project because I’m hella busy. But first of all, I want to start by saying that I am your ally. At no point in Vegan Soul Kitchen do I write that I eat meat. And I don’t (mostly because of my compassion for all living beings that has developed from my Buddhist practice).
I do write that I “used to be a vegan” in the opening essay because for
political reasons I choose not to label my diet. Period. And to be quite frank the word “vegan” has a negative connotation in many of the marginalized communities in which I am working to effect change.
Yes, I used to be a hardcore vegan activist, but after 9 years of doing work around health, food, and agricultural issues and trying to improve public health and access to just, affordable, culturally appropriate, and safe food in the most food-insecure communities, my goal is to bring EVERYBODY to the table to connect. How powerful would it be to have people who classify themselves as vegans and those who don’t sitting at the table eating delicious animal-product free food, having a civil conversation, and not screaming at each other?
I don’t do my work just to please vegans, although I really hope to. As I write in the introduction, this book is for everyone whether they consider themselves omnivore, vegetarian, or vegan. Although, I could present arguments for days about the health, environmental, ethical, and economic reasons to be a vegan, I did not want this book to be too heavy on the politics. From my experience, when you start at that place it comes off as proselytizing, and turns off folks who already imagine vegans as finger-wagging, dogmatic, self righteous zealots. I want to start at the most visceral place (the pleasures of the table) to help people think more about the politics of our food system and eventually be more active in creating a more just, healthy and sustainable food system for humans and non-human animals. But I want people to decide to shift their practices on their own.
I already have to deal with omnivorous people of color attacking me for promoting a “white, middle class, elitist diet.” Then I have vegans of color for whom I am hoping to bring more people into the fold coming at me because I don’t articulate the message in the precise way that they think it should be. Can’t a brother get a break?
Working in the deep-south and in many historically excluded communities across the country, I understand where most people are in their journey. I don’t know how many of the readers of this blog live outside of major metropolitan bubbles that have large communities of vegans, but when you visit most small cities in Middle America, this is alien talk. With the understanding that many people in my family and beyond will probably never give up meat, in the past I have offered recipes that use animal products with the idea that I wanted to “meet people where they are.” But I mad a decision not to do so anymore. I do, however, think it is important to provide information for procuring sustainably and humanely raised animals. Or should I respond like the far right have to this current economic crisis and do nothing? I don’t think so. I hope that new information about factory farming and the like will move meat eaters to consider giving up meat. I am not asking anyone to agree with how I choose to do outreach, I simply ask that you understand that there are more than one way to achieve similar goals.
The type of mean spirited responses that folks have advanced for things such as my mentor Peter Berley using the word “meat” in his endorsement (as a metaphor, mind you) and the poet Michael Molina offering a literary mediation that juxtaposes his grandmother making gumbo with the creation myth (it’s poetry don’t read it so literally) is the very reason that I fought with my editor for months to NOT CALL THIS A VEGAN COOKBOOK. When one chooses to work with a major corporation there are certain decisions about his artwork that are out of his hands. Having vegan in the title is a succinct way to describe this project, but this book is so much began than veganism.
Yes I might have reinterpreted a dish that included animal products in my new book, but at what point do I recommend a dead animal? It’s such a waste of my time to quibble over such minutiae in the larger scheme of things. People and animals are dying and we need to act fast. Some folks are so used to beefing, they start attacking their own team members over some “BS.” What good does it do to post anonymous rants that don’t offer constructive criticism. Have a conversation with me. Find out what my strategy is. Offer advice. Give me feedback to help tighten up my game plan so that we can be victorious. My efforts are altruistic at the core, as imperfect as they might be.
While I do ask people to consider the moral and ethical implications of eating other sentient beings in the introduction to the book, my decision to create a plant-based book inspired by African American cuisine was mostly driven by my desire to illuminate the history of black southerners being “green” (i.e., maintaining home gardens, eating lots of nutrient-dense greens, tubers, whole grains, and the like) before the industrialization of food and globalization of agriculture.
Ultimately, it is not my role to tell others how to walk their path. I can simply offer information to help them make a more informed decision. Ask anyone working around health and food issues in historically underrepresented communities about how tricky it is to change lifelong habits. Everyone did not enjoy the same privileges that I and (I would assume) many of the readers of this blog have, and I have to be sensitive to that.
Please excuse any incoherence in this response. I just woke up.
Let’s build yall,
Bryant terry aka clean and articulate black man
and thanks joselle for supporting my work. blessings.
my goal: to reach the masses. was just sent this link:
I’m glad to some critical discussion about this cook book over here at voc. There was a previous, embarrassing discussion over what makes a vegan cookbook “vegan” on another blog in regards to Soul Kitchen. I’ll have to take a look at the book now with the new info in mind before I decide to purchase it.
To be fair, however, I recall Mr. Bryant wasn’t given much leeway by the publisher in naming his book and was very reluctant to have it labeled as vegan. So the fact that it is called “Vegan” Soul kitchen vs. California(?) Soul Kitchen or something else is just an example of the marketing of veganism by yet another corporation.
Hi Bryant Terry and all,
First off I want to thank you, Bryant, for all the great food justice work you do. I think it’s very important to place an emphasis on making sure that healthy food is accessible to all. And you’re certainly doing an excellent job in that regard.
I would like for you to understand that there is a reason why veganism is generally looked at as a “white, elitist, etc” diet (it’s actually more than a diet) and a reason why vegans are seen as “finger-wagging, dogmatic, self righteous zealots” – Ouch! (whose words were those?), which is not the fault of veganism itself. One reason is because the major animal advocacy corporations, led by white, elitist, upper-middle class folks (often presented to the public as being “radical vegans” or just associated with veganism in general), aren’t sensitive to, and are ignorant of, other social justice issues, and therefore alienate many marginalized people possibly interested in veganism.
I think I can say with confidence that most, if not all, vegans on this blog (commenters included) reject any positions that these organization take that are insensitive, if not downright offensive, to oppressed groups (human and other animals).
Veganism, by it’s original definition is the prinicple of nonexploitation and anti-oppression, not just for other animals but for human animals and the planet (rather than the redefined version that solely focuses on nonhuman animals, sometimes at the expense of some humans). That’s why this principle is manifested in a diet that excludes all animal products and in the exclusion of as many animal products “as far as is possible and practical”, whether it’s for fashion, scientific advancement, personal care, etc. It’s because vegans, who believe in the priniciple of nonexploitation, don’t feel that nonhuman animals are here for us human animals to use.
Quite frankly, Bryant, (and I swear I’m not “screaming”) I think it’s insulting to get on a vegan blog and suggest that commentors’ valid concerns and criticism are “such a waste of my time”. I, for one, hardly consider my ethics and values (veganism) to be that or “minutiae in the larger scheme of things” or just “some ‘BS'”.
I think it’s safe to say that we all want peace, freedom, and justice for all. Perhaps that’s why vegans, myself included, who extend these values of peace, freedom, justice, nonexploitation, and anti-oppression to other animals, have a problem with any promotion of non-human animal exploitation, especially in a cookbook with “vegan” in the title. Once again, I acknowledge that you didn’t prefer it that way but surely you can see why vegans would be upset (and not just “finger-wagging, dogmatic, self righteous zealots”- again, Ouch!).
Personally I would be happy to have someone like you, with all the great work you do, as an ally but, with all due respect, coming on a vegan blog and trivializing veganism doesn’t seem like you’re serious about such an alliance.
Well said, Bryant!
Usually we at VOC get accused of infighting & petty divisiveness by white vegans; it’s interesting to see it coming from a black non-vegan this time around.
I think ThoughtCriminal brings up some really good points, Bryant; I can see that you’re feeling attacked & defensive, but to dismiss concerns as “BS” is, well, not that encouraging to me. I think if you read further on this blog you’ll find that we often have talked about the issues you mention, as far as access to food, race/class dynamics of veganism, etc.
I do appreciate the point that you tried not to have the book labeled as vegan — that does shed some light on the background of the issue (& as Adam points out, the way the publisher is trying to make a profit off of veganism).
Also, re: the poem — I haven’t read it, so I don’t know. But as someone who used to read a lot of poetry (& write some — but let’s not talk about that!!), I feel like to say “don’t read it so literally” is, er… well, obviously poetry often uses a lot of metaphor & simile. But a lot of the time it doesn’t, I mean, sometimes images are meant to be taken literally (or at least, in one sense). A crab leg squeezing out from under a pot lid sounds pretty literal to me. It doesn’t seem far-fetched to imagine that a lot of readers will read it just that way.
Looking forward to more recipes !
thanks for your thoughts thought criminal.
yes i think it is “BS” (and i was sarcastically referencing Bravari’s characterization of my beloved mentor’s kind words about a book that i toiled over for two years as “BS”) and a waste of my time addressing something as trivial as the fact that i used a dish with animal products as a reference for one of my dishes that DOES NOT INCLUDE ANIMAL PRODUCTS. and i stand by that.
i’m assuming that thought criminal and everyone else who visits this blog grew up vegan and never exploited non-human animals? i’m trying to recruit new members into the club. if helping people with a meat-centered diet transition to a non-meat, plant-centered diet by offering them somewhat familiar dishes makes me an enemy to vegans than i guess i am. . .
but i’m not!
that what i spent an impromptu essay written at 8am in the morning (see above) trying to explain.
maybe i need a fundamentalist vegan handbook so i can get this right. help me out yall. let’s work together.
A Gift. . .
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Soundtrack: “Back Water Blues” by Irma Thomas from Our New Orleans!
Gumbo Des Herbes = Gumbo Z’Herbs = Gumbo Zav = Gumbo Z
*Coarse sea salt
*1 large bunch collard greens (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped into
*1 large bunch mustard greens (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped into
*1 large bunch kale (about 1/2 pound), trimmed and chopped into bite-size
*1 large bunch spinach (about 1 1/2 pound), trimmed and chopped into bite-
*1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
*7 garlic cloves, minced
*1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
*2 large yellow onions, cut in 1/4 inch dice
*2 large red bell peppers, cut in 1/4 inch dice
*2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and chopped
*1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
*6 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoons f ilé
1 tablespoon hot apple cider vinegar
2 large scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
*In a large pot over high heat bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt.
*Add all the leafy greens to the water, bring back to a boil, and cook uncovered, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sulfur has escaped. Drain in a colander and cool.
*Transfer the greens to a cutting board and chop well.
*Combine 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the garlic in a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté for until fragrant and starting to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add the greens mixture, raise the heat to high, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes, until well coated with oil. Set aside.
*In a large pot over low heat, combine the flour and the remaining olive oil and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until caramel colored, about 25 minutes. Add the onion, bell peppers, celery, cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Raise the heat to medium and sauté, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot, until the vegetables soften, about 15 minutes. Slowly stir in the stock. Add the reserved greens, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until meltingly tender, about 45 minutes.
*Stir in the thyme and simmer for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the filé and the Hot Apple Cider Vinegar, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
*Serve garnished with scallions over long grain brown rice.
Filé is simply leaves of a sassafras tree ground into a fine powder. In addition to roux, filé is used as a thickener in gumbo and other Cajun-Créole dishes. Make sure you add it at the end of cooking, as becomes stringy if cooked.
Thanks for the recipe. It sounds delicious, and just seeing all those greens listed is making my mouth water.
I want to be clear that I never said you were an “enemy to vegans”. Please re-read my post if that’s the impression you got. I just feel that you’re minimizing the importance of veganism because of the way it’s often presented to the public, and are not only giving up (you said you used to be a hardcore vegan activist) on getting that “hardcore” message across because you assume that people in the communities you work with won’t want to hear it, but you also appear to be using “backlash tactics” (Thanks Dani) against veganism as a whole. The truth is, many people in many communities don’t want to hear a vegan (anti-speciesist) message. So what? Some people don’t want to hear a message of non-violence, or of anti-sexism, or anti-heterosexism, or anti racism. Does that mean that we abandon our own values and meet people where they are by suggesting that a little violence, or a little sexism, or a little heterosexism, or a little racism is ok, because that’s what’s familiar to them? Of course not. One doesn’t have to be a “finger-wagging, dogmatic, self righteous zealot” or a “white, upper-middle class, elitist” individual to stick to their ethics and values, without watering down their message, all while understanding where people are at and working with them. Surely you recognize that.
It troubles me that, because of the way veganism is portrayed in the media and by organizations (led mostly by the white, upper-middle class, elitist, people that are insensitive to other social justice movements) that people like myself, and others on this blog and elsewhere, have to defend ourselves against being associated with those types of descriptions, especially to a vegan ally.
One of my favorite activists, Cesar Chavez, was a committed vegan. He often “met people where they were at” but that didn’t mean that he minimized the importance of ending the oppression of other animals. Instead he believed, as I do, that all oppressions are connected and that without challenging all oppressions, we will never end oppression. As far as I know, he wasn’t born vegan, just as I wasn’t, which I find to be irrelevant anyways. I also wasn’t born, or brought up with, many of the values I hold dear today. That doesn’t invalidate those values now.
Thanks again for the recipe gift.
All the best.
i recently attended a talk given by mr. terry in portland and he is brilliant. i also heard him doing an interview around the time his book first came out and he was talking about animal rights and the interviewer was being very rude trivializing what mr. terry was trying to explain. i think he is going to do a lot to educate people about veganism and we should support him.
you stole mine! arozz y grandules rock! 😀
my second choice: spicy greens, black eye peas and rice, and fluffy cornbread on the side
I’m excited to see this book. My gf went vegan 2.5 years ago and I am still having trouble figuring out ways to make some of my favorite things without milk and eggs. (I am vegetarian)
arroz (my bad)
wow, I just read all the comments in the thread . . . I too shudder at the idea of a crab trying to escape being boiled alive wrapped into a “loving memory” . . .
Bryant’s struggle with the term “vegan” reminds me of the struggle with the term “feminism”, so much to reconcile, so much to claim a right to and to demand be examined and let go of in so many movements, so many terms . . .
thanks for this discussion and this post. I am going to buy this book and keep thinking . . .
That is easy, Southern Fried Tofu. Especially if it is served with some black-eyed peas and some collards. Mmmm.
Thank you for your responses. I’m very concerned, however, that you choose to “provide information for procuring sustainably and humanely raised animals.” Would you support and encourage environmentally-friendly and “humane” types of human exploitation?
I fail to seek how not challenging exploitation of animals will lead in any way to their non-exploitation. You’ve clearly deprioritized animals in your activist agenda, and, quite frankly, your decision is nothing but speciesist. Advocating the non-exploitation of animals (i.e., veganism) is never easy, so please don’t use that as an excuse.
I’ve read all the comments here, on other sites, and discussed this book with friends and family. And I have to say that the thing that makes me mad about the book is that it is written by a non-vegan who is simply trying to make a buck off of veganism. I still can’t tell from Bryant’s comments if he does or does not eat animals. But what I do think is very important is that we not do more to stereotype vegans negatively. And if you are vegan, which again I’m still not clear on, but you don’t use the word because you don’t want to be stereotyped then I think it’s really a cop out. If you (the collective you not just Bryant) live a vegan lifestyle then I think it’s important to talk about it honestly and use the word vegan when doing so. It helps bring a normalcy to the word and change the stereotype when people see other people who are just like them using the word. But that is just my two cents on that. From what I’ve heard the food in the book is good, but time consuming. I personally prefer to buy from vegans whenever possible (hence my huge collection of vegan cookbooks most which have never been used). For this reason I will not be buying this book but I might look for it in my local library and give a couple recipes a try.
@ alicia: i’m offended that you think i’m trying to pimp vegans. i do not eat animals, and i do not need to reduce my identity to a word or a title for you or anyone else. i’m a complex human being. Vegan Soul Kitchen is slow food. don’t be mad. slow down. blessings.
Wow Bryant I’m very surprised at your interpretation of my comment. I had to re-read it to make sure that you were reading the right comments. I never said you were “trying to pimp vegans” as you so eloquently put it. I simply discussed my preference to buy from vegan authors and pointed out the growing trend of non-vegans publishing vegan cookbooks. Furthermore I didn’t ask you to reduce your identity down to a word or title. As we are all complex human beings it is impossible for us to drill down who we are in just one word or title yet how we label ourselves does help give the world a clue about who we are and what we stand for whether that title be black, white, vegan, vegetarian, male, female, mother, father, student, entreprenuer, chef, animal lover, the list could go on and on and on. As I said in my previous comment I heard that the recipes were actually good, but time consuming and I was willing to try to find a copy of a library and give it a try but now I am so put off by the author that I will just pass on the whole thing all together. I’ve never encountered such a rude and defensive response from a fellow author before.
Hey Alicia, ask your agent and/or publicist about the cookbook and the viral/whisper marketing campaign they’re running! That’s a big part of why there’s so many folks raving about how good the book is and it’s also why I never bothered to respond to the rude messages claiming to be from Mr. Terry. I’d hope (at best) they’re being written by some of the shills hired by the publisher and at worst written by someone on Mr. Terrys staff.
A side note to the person claiming to be Mr. Terry… are you including sea animals in that comment that you don’t eat animals? If so, why the need to keep a cutting board for fish in a VEGAN cookbook?
@brivari: I’m not psychic or anything but I’m almost certain Bryant Terry is speaking for himself here.
As for the fish/cutting board thing, I honestly don’t recall seeing that in the book. Since B. Terry already denied that being in there an earlier comment, it would be good to back that claim up with a page number or something. I’m not saying the book is beyond critique–far from it–I just don’t recall seeing that in there. So, if it is, please point it out with the page number.
It’s in the front matter, the “Raise your stock: Essential gear for your kitchen” section.
@ alicia: first of all, i apologize if my comment came across as rude.
i do feel defensive but more hurt when i get what i perceive as snide comments from those who i feel that i’m in alliance with. you would think that my new book is “the meat eater’s manifesto” from some of the comments that i have gotten from a few folks who identify as vegans. not many. but some. i’m open to critiques and constructive criticisms. i have less tolerance for vitriol.
yes, i did take offense to your comment that “the thing that makes me mad about the book is that it is written by a non-vegan who is simply trying to make a buck off of veganism.” is it that absurd for me to interpret that statement as you seeing me trying to pimp (i.e., exploit) people who identify as vegans for my financial gain?
if you want to know if i am a vegan or anything else ask me. do i eat animals? no. and i choose not to identify as a vegan.
i do mention keeping a cutting board for seafood in my home in VSK because my fiancee eats seafood and i want to educate meat-eating readers about sanitation and safety. i also make some references to meat in my new book because i realize that there are lots of meat eaters reading it (i have gotten dozens of emails from meat eaters who are considering being at least a vegetarian and at most a vegan). i REALLY want vegans to buy my book and enjoy some tasty slow food that i created. and i wrote VSK for everyone whether they consider themselves omnivores, vegetarians, or vegans. i want to bring everyone to the table. and i’m more concerned about non-vegans being exposed to this project because they need the message more than those who already get it.
@ brivari: this comment and others made on this site are from me. my assistant alerted me to the thread. can’t speak for potential impostors posing as me elsewhere. i responded on this blog because i really care what my vegan brothers and sisters think about my work and this book project. if i were trying to get over i would not take time to be in dialogue. b, it seems that you care about these issues and are a smart person, so i would love to connect to get ideas, if that makes sense. by the way, i wish my publisher was not so cheap and would hire some shrills to get the word out about my book. alas, it’s good to dream.
fyi to everyone reading this: i do not eat animals period. since becoming a vegan in high school have i eaten fish? yes. some of us backslide as they say in the southern church.
since my book has come out i am more firmly committed to decreasing suffering of all beings than i have ever been. why, because i have gotten several respectful emails from people who have helped me consider how i can be a stronger ally to animal rights activists and vegans and tighten my own game up. and i really appreciate those conversations.
when people approach me as a human being that is trying to figure it out, i am much more open to listening then when i am screamed at.
so if anyone is interested in building, please email me throuh my website and let’s talk about how i can spread the message and bring everyone to the table. i abhor the negative culture that comment sections on blogs foster in general. so i have asked my assistant to discontinue alerting me to “interesting” discussions taking place on blog comments sections.
i want everyone to know that when i first started promoting my new book i took some hard hits (nasty, mean, and ugly) from some hosts of national talk shows and other journalists when i tried to discuss animal rights and the like (of course they edited those parts out out). so it made me hesitant to talk about them in subsequent interviews.
for those that don’t know journalist and their editors can mangle ones words and thoughts. so don’t believe everything you read or hear.
i’m getting stronger and more savvy about handling these types of situations. this has been an interesting journey.
from my heart,
Hello. thanks for this post bryant. the discussion that has abruptly emerged here, makes me think: it’s so amazingly weird how hard dialogue is amongst people. You really solved the unclarities on here in a constructive way. The unclarities that have evolved from the assumption which some people brought uo in here, that as you nicely put it to “get to one table” was – in their eyes supposedly – impossible. Through books such as yours it becomes possible to get omnivores, vegans, and any vegetarians to and around the vegan table. That’s just so great. Thank you for that. I really like that “getting all to one table” picture.
I’ve been trying to cut further and further back on meat for a while now, and just have not gotten to the point where I’ve given it up completely. But I cook predominately vegetarian meals, and probably eat meat less than once a month, even if I sometimes make it for others. I personally appreciate the tone of the author for not preaching to me. Reducing meat consumption across a wide demographic can sometimes mean even more than convincing a few to give it up completely. If this really were about effecting real change, small steps taken across the bored would be embraced.
[…] blog rules: check out that list of veganized Filipino recipes in the sidebar. There’s also veganized soul food, & of course loads of other cultures’ foods have been veganized by people of those […]
Sorry I’m late to the table. Thought there might be interest in this review of “Vegan Soul Food Kitchen,” from a small New England newspaper.