Vegan Cookbook

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The Jewish Vegan Cookbook by NewKosher.org contains over ninety vegan recipes and holiday menus inspired by Jewish cuisine including vegan brisket, matzoh ball soup and more! The book also contains articles and essays on Judaism and ethical eating by renowned authors and activists.

This book is great for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike who are interested in learning more about Jewish culture.

From the Introduction:

A Vegan, Kashrut Cookbook. What are you talking about?

When we first announced that NewKosher was publishing a Jewish vegan cookbook, a lot of people met us with skepticism. “How are you defining kashrut” was the most common question.  “Who would buy a vegan cookbook, anyway” was another common concern. The truth is, a vegan diet and traditional Jewish law go hand-in-hand. And with our society’s move toward a  healthier, more sustainable culinary lifestyle, it only makes sense to showcase how traditional Jewish recipes can be (or already are) complimentary to a vegan diet In this book you’ll find two constant values, which we at NewKosher hold true to in every project we develop:A belief in inclusion. Our recipes were submitted by professional chefs, stay at home parents,  single people living on microwave food and the proverbial rice-and-beans diet, raw foodies, “meat” and potatoes Midwesterners, soul food southerners and Tex Mex enthusiasts. If it’s vegan, and reflects the spirit of Jewish cuisine, then it’s in this book. All our recipes are original, just as the members of the community we have created online are as original as it gets. We’ve also included the names of the people submitting each recipe, our way of saying “thank you for being a part of the NewKosher community”. (…)

What is Jewish food?

The words “Jewish” and “kashrut” are often times confused. They are really two different things. What most people think of as Jewish food is actually Eastern European: matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, borsht and kugel. But fried artichoke hearts in lemon-caper sauce from the Jewish Italian ghetto and cumin spiced vegetable kebabs from the Middle East are just as Jewish as chopped liver.

Three different things have influenced Jewish food: region, kosher dietary laws (kashrut) and tradition.

Region: Since the Roman destruction of Judea and the expulsion of Jews from the empire, Jewish communities created in India, China, Europe and Africa led to new forms of Jewish cuisine. As Jews left these regions to explore the possibilities of North America, South America, Australia and the Pacific Islands, so too did traditional Jewish foods undergo massive change. This is best seen in the preparation of the Shabbat meal. While Jews of the Middle East would have festive salads and stuffed grape leaves for Friday’s Shabbat  dinner, Eastern European Jews would have prepare roasted meats and regional vegetables.

Kashrut: One of the most misunderstood parts of Jewish cuisine is the law of kosher, otherwise known as kashrut. These are a set of dietary restrictions set down in the laws of Moses and further expanded upon in the Talmud (a latter Jewish writing considered to be the oral code of law, contrasted to the Bible’s written code). Kashrut primarily deals with how human beings consume animals, including prohibitions on eating pork or shellfish, refraining from meat with blood, not mixing meat and milk, and slaughtering animals in a specific way. Other laws include not eating insects, using different cooking containers for dairy and meat meals, and refraining from cooking on Shabbat. We’ll go more into the kashrut of veganism later in this chapter.

Tradition: The Jewish calendar is filled with reasons to celebrate and Jewish food reflects each of these moments. On the holiday of Tu B’Shevat, families gather together to eat nuts and fruits.  Shavuot, celebrating the giving of the Torah to the Jewish people, has a tradition involving dairy dishes like cheese blintzes. Passover is famous for its use of the unleavened bread matzo and Hanukkah, making the miracle of oil, is a buffet of fried treats like latkes and jelly doughnuts. (…)

How can veganism and kashrut work together?

Throughout history, people have lived on a plant-based diet. Kashrut reflects this idea by making the eating of animal products far more complicated than that of non-animal products. In fact, the only law in Judaism regarding the eating of fresh fruits and vegetables is to make sure that they are free of insects and worms. In this way, a vegan diet makes perfect sense from a Jewish perspective.

As an added bonus traditional Jewish observance requires separate dishes and cooking utensils for meat and milk-based food, keeping a vegan home eliminates this issue. While veganism is practical from a Jewish standpoint, there are also some higher ideals in the Jewish/vegan lifestyle. Some argue that G-d’s initial intention for humanity was veganism, as read in the Torah portion Bereshit (Genesis 1:29) where G-d says that we may eat every seed bearing plant and fruit from any tree. Others argue that Judaism and environmentalism go hand-in-hand, and that veganism is the best way to prevent environmental devastation from factory farming and other animal-based industry.

Conclusion

Like any other lifestyle choice, it’s important to know that the decisions to keep kashrut and to be a vegan are up to you. While some say that Jewish veganism can bring you closer to G-d’s ideal and others simply can’t stand the idea of bringing harm to animals, whatever choice you make is entirely yours.

“The Jewish Vegan Cookbook” by NewKosher.org  (Kindle Edition) is available for iPhone,  iPod Touch,  iPad with free Amazon app (download app – here), get Amazon app for BlackBerry – here,  for Android – here and for PC– here

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 189 KB
Publisher:  PunkTorah (March 14, 2011)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
Price: $7.99 (Buy now)

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