cover image Veganistan: A Vegan Tour of the Middle East and Beyond

Veganistan: A Vegan Tour of the Middle East and Beyond

Sally Butcher. Interlink, $30 (192p) ISBN 978-1-62371-759-9

“I have long maintained that the Middle East is Allah’s gift to the non-meat eater,” writes London restaurateur Butcher in this fun and enticing volume that expands on the territory she covered in Veggiestan. Breads, preserved and fermented foods, salads, and desserts get equal helpings of sass and invention. Home cooks can use a “big, fat, purple eggplant” for a surprising carpaccio that can be either raw or grilled, and a refresher course on hummus is offered because “you can’t actually pen a vegan cookbook without mentioning the stuff. It’s against the law.” Butcher shares a “secret” seitan recipe and manages to re-create the flavor of a typically lamb-based Persian “truck driver” stew using legumes and potatoes instead. Throughout, Butcher complements the recipes with bits of lore and culinary culture: cinnamon shows up in some fatty-meat and cooked-cabbage dishes because it can mask unpleasant smells, and any dish with a fat- prefix is devised to use up stale bread, as in fattoush. An expert guide to grilling vegetables and unique beverage concoctions including a sage cocktail and spiced brandy cream round things out. The result is a vegan cookbook with real universal appeal. (Feb.)