I’m really glad I didn’t fly home this year based on the travel chaos caused by the weather; I drove. What I did get stuck with though was indoors for a few days during blizzard conditions and dangerous windchills; that meant that even though I was pretty close geographically to the Herbivorous Butcher, I didn’t get to go. At least I got to stop at one of my favorite independent bookshops on the way (Boswell Books in Milwaukee WI) and got the cookbook. The Herbivorous Butcher is a recipe book for a variety of home-made plant-based meats and some ideas for using them. This might just be my New Year’s project for 2023, getting a handle on home-made vegan meat substitutes that try to be actual meat.
The first chapter covers the basic meat recipes, and it covers ribs, ground meat, pork and beef steaks, deli meats, “sham”, and even fish sticks. The second chapter gets into some main dishes involving many of the first chapter items, then there’s also sections on sides and soups, sandwiches, snacks, and entertaining (basically bigger recipes for things like lasagna, casseroles, and brunch), and condiments. There are a few specialty ingredients required, but nothing you can’t find in an average sized grocery store, and a health food store (or the internet). There’s also an interesting combination of the Midwest (the shop is in Minneapolis MN) and Guam (the sibling owners are of that heritage). This comes out sometimes with things like “Lake Minne-Tom-Ka”; for those unfamiliar, Lake Minnetonka is a real place near the Twin Cities, and tom ka is the Thai soup.
My one complaint (before trying anything) is that there’s an odd inconsistency with using home-made and prepared ingredients. For example, there’s no recipe for vegan bacon in this book but several recipes call for it; there’s also a reliance on vegan cheeses (I’ve yet to find a commercial one that doesn’t taste like plastic nothing-ness) and egg replacements that are kind of specific (as in brand of egg replacer without alternatives). To be fair, there is a page at the end that names the authors favorite brands for most things. But I still don’t get why there are recipes for butter, broth concentrates and powders, and Worcestershire, but not turkey, bacon, or mayo.