Dairy-free diets are now in vogue. Soya yoghurts, almond milk, coconut ice cream, and tofu are widely sold in supermarkets. Vegan cafés and restaurants are popping up everywhere. And there's plenty going on in the media too: as celebrities ditch the white stuff, scientists debate the impact of veganism on climate change.
It wasn't always like this. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, eating a plant-only diet was seen as a far more radical and counter-culture choice than it is today. At that time, even lacto-vegetariansthose who eat dairy and honey but no meat or fishwere on the fringes ("It felt like we were a different sect of people," said Mary McCartney, Paul McCartney's daughter, of her vegetarian family in the 1970s.)
Vegans were ahead of their time. They were inventive, resourceful and creative. They squeezed vegetable juices, creamed cashew nuts into 'cheeses,' poured tofu into blocks (you couldn't nip out to the grocers to buy a pack), mashed lentils into rissoles and stirred up everything from sugar-free puddings to soups and goulashes. What they came up with was an affordable way to eat healthy dairy alternatives, without the added chemicals, sugar, and salt, which are now so often added to the processed versions produced by major food manufacturers.
This book is a collection of recipes from this time and gives them a proper context, referring to the communities and households who created the recipes and what it was like for vegans back then.
Seasonal eating was the thing: many people grew their own organic vegetables (there are lots of tips of ‘veganically’ grown produce and plant swaps going on in the old newsletters), and a good number of households were also on a budget, so seasonal produce made sense.
Examples: stuffed vine leaves; savory rice; sautéed veg; cashew nut cream; lentil pate; leek soup (all with vegan stock), buckwheat pancakes; mushroom and bean pate; wholemeal (cheese-less) pizza.
Watercress soup, tomato and nut savory (with shredded wheat biscuits), tomato and soya macaroni, lightly spiced rice, lots of salads with sprouted beans and lots of texture and flavor (and dairy-free dressings), vegan bread recipes, bean rissoles, tofu noodle soup,
Include: Goulashes, casseroles, bean-filled pies and pasties, potato bakes, root-veg stews with pulses and barley, wild rice salads, granola (without honey or egg white); sunflower seed bread; uncooked nut balls, barley savoury, baked whole-wheat spaghetti casserole.
Mushroom salad Quincy, Kabuli Chana, red cabbage and raisins; Sunday Dinner ideas, with tofu/soya proteins; hearty soups, stuffed capsicums. Also, to include: homemade spreads and sauces, such as: yeast and tomato spread, tahini sauce, rosehip chutney and so on.
Puddings and treats
Molasses flapjack; coconut slices, rock cakes, tofu cheesecake, fruit salads, apple crunch; raisin and nut cake; garibaldi biscuits; custard, egg-free banana cake, chewy oat biscuits dipped in carob; vegan scones with jam, halva; vegan brown bread ice cream, date cookies, raspberry tofu mousse.
Soya deserves a chapter of its own. It has come such a long way since the 1970s and it would be good to mention the rise in soya, from TVP, the early meat alternative, which was rehydrated and stirred into sauces and stews to the wide number of products available today. There are lots of recipes from this period, to include: soya burgers, soya custards, soya batter; soya casseroles; soya crispies; soya fritters. Dairy-free milks, tofu and ‘cheese’
Bibliography, further reading, links.