I've been a vegetarian since I was sixteen. In the late eighties, that was rough- even more difficult than being a vegan now. In the last year, I made the transition to vegan, but thanks to the work of innovative cooks like Isa Chandra Moskowitz, that just isn't hard anymore. The next challenge? Going raw- very difficult because apparently you need a Vita-Mix, a dehydrator (I don't think I've ever even seen one of those), a food processor, a grinder, and a bunch of other esoteric equipment I've never even heard of- right?
Ani Phyo earned four stars right off the bat by making almost every one of her recipes doable with a blender or, in many cases, a knife. There are maybe three recipes that absolutely require a dehydrator- and even that can be gotten around. For this reason alone, if you've been thinking about raw but you've been intimidated by all of the required equipment, check this out.
The recipes that I've tried- and I've gone a little crazy in the last few days- have been not only simple but really, really good. So far I have made her Miso Soup, Almond Yogurt, Black Pepper Cheeze, Nori Rolls, Coco Kream Pie (oh wow- so good), a bunch of her shakes and my version of her Sunflower Bread (hmm- how did I do that without a dehydrator?). Almost all of this has been accomplished with a blender, and I don't even own the legendary Vita-Mix. In other words, the majority of households can do this.
Every chapter opens with her thoughts and recommendations on environmentalism. I liked most of her suggestions, but I was a little put off by her statements that hers was not a "bargain body" and that she is thus willing to pay more for her premium produce. I applaud her- I even envy her and others like her- but I am disappointed that she doesn't touch on the readers who can't afford organic produce for the most part and live in areas with lousy public transportation systems and recycling. I shudder any time I read something that makes it seem as if health is only for the wealthy.
However, she didn't lose a star for that because her tone, as strident as it may have been at times, inspired me to find a work around for my dehydrator- and I did. Ever make yogurt using a heating pad? If you have a small enough pan- think one that fits into a toaster oven- and some tin foil- congratulation, you have the guts of a make your own dehydrator. I'm still tweaking mine, but I was very inspired by the results with my Sunflower Bread.
This is a soup to nuts guide to going raw, and it won't require you to reoutfit your kitchen. It may, however, inspire you to rethink your approach to food.