BOOKS: Dining With Friends

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2005:

Dining With Friends

The Art of North American Vegan Cuisine
by Priscilla Feral, Lee Hall,
& Friends of Animals Inc.

Nectar Bar Press, 777 Post Road, Suite 205, Darien, CT 06820.
164 pages, paperback. $19.95.

This marvelous collection of vegan recipes might be called a
fusion cookbook, since the recipes explore a wide variety of
sources, among them Italian, West African, and Mexican.
Not being qualified cooks ourselves, we gave Dining With
Friends to Leroi Willmore, the gourmet chef who also runs the
Barnyard Donkey Sanctuary, near George in the Cape Province of South
Africa.
Explains Willmore, “The Sanctuary was started in 1995, as a
direct result of our history and involvement with the National SPCA
over the years. We found a need to care for the amazing amount of
abused and neglected donkeys we came across in the townships and
poorer parts of the country.

“Only when the donkeys learn to trust humans again do we put
them up for adoption. We have homed thirty-eight donkeys since the
inception of the sanctuary and have had to repossess only two donkeys
from foster homes. The restaurant is an effort on our part to raise
funds to cover our day-to-day expenses.”
We subjected Dining With Friends to the judgement of a
critical panel of dedicated South African meat-eaters, whose taste
in food is conservative in the extreme.
We assembled the panel to enjoy a six-course meal of recipes
prepared from the book. Willmore went to great trouble to ensure
that the dishes were authentic to the book, no mean feat in a nation
where many of the ingredients are not readily available.
The meal extended over three hours. The dishes were
vegetable bisque, toast caps with cilantro pesto, Italian vegetable
and potato stew, and stuffed bell peppers with tofu and vegetables.
For desserts there were blackberry and raspberry flummery and apple
cinnamon crisp. Vegan butter was provided for the bread.
The doubters were pleasantly surprised. The average rating
on every dish exceeded 8 out of 10.
Anyone who thinks that vegan cooking is boring, bland or
tasteless should try these recipes. Actually, everyone should try
them.
Our one constructive criticism of Dining With Friends is that
there should be a photograph of each dish, so that one can use the
visual aid to decide which recipe to choose.
We doubt that our guests will change to a vegan lifestyle,
as this involves making a philosophical choice involving much more
than diet. But none of them will ever feel compelled to ask again,
as one guest did before we started, “If you take all the meats and
dairy products out of a meal, what is left?”
–Chris Mercer & Bev Pervan
Cape Town, South Africa.
<www.cannedlion.co.za>

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