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The Enchanted Moosewood Series

January 6, 2010

Even though I’ve never led a meat-free existence, I remember vividly the moment The Moosewood Cookbook came into my life.  “Moosewood?” I asked my mom, picking up this oddly titled book that was sitting on our kitchen counter. “What’s a Moosewood?”  Moosewood was, of course, a small, humble vegetarian restaurant that had quietly existed in Ithaca, NY, owned and operated by a collective of participants. I opened the cookbook, and fell in love. Cream of Broccoli Soup, Spinach Cheese Calzones, Szechwan Eggplant and Tofu, Zucchini Feta Pancakes, Cottage Cheese and Apple Pancakes. They all sounded so appealing, and so, well, kind-of holier-than-thou in a GOOD way, and so do-able. And I was entranced by the whole handwritten, crunchy-granola feel of the writing, the doodley sketches, the ultra-homey feel of the book. It felt like a cool club to be part of, and I wanted in — not the vegetarian part, just the Moosewood part.

The cookbook that launched 1,000 vegetarians.

The book, and those that followed, became mainstays of my young cooking years. And when I was 20, for the holidays, my then-boyfriend gave me my very own copy of Moosewood, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, and Still Life with Menu, the other two (wonderfully titled) original books in the Moosewood trilogy. The skies parted, doves sang, I felt like I had reached some sort of grown-up landmark.

The fact that the books were vegetarian added to their intrigue, but I don’t remember feeling any sort of pressure about it all. Shortly after, I also become addicted to Deborah Madison‘s books as well. And actually, the original Moosewood books’ author, Mollie Katzen, has now gone on to write books that include non-vegetarian dishes, as has the Moosewood collective, who continued to create their own cookbooks. As has Deborah Madison. So go figure.

One of the great things about being at Cookstr is the ying yang of seeing all the newest books as they launch themselves into our culinary consciousness, and rediscovering (and in some cases discovering) the classics of past decades. Some recipes certainly can feel dated, but the vast majority of them still sound great to me.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 7, 2010 1:53 pm

    Hi Katie,
    Thanks for this great post! My goal continues to be getting everyone (including vegetarians, some of whom often find themselves eating fewer actual vegetables than one would think) eating more vegetables and – more of what I like to call “garden- and orchard-based” foods. I want to get everyone loving the leafy greens and earthy grains and tasty nuts and legumes, and to have these items become the majority of everyone’s dinner plate. As you’ve mentioned, I included a few meat recipes in my most recent book, as I have many readers (old and especially new) who are beginners and omnivorous and want to learn to cook the things they love to eat. I’m hoping that meat-lovers (and also occasional meat nibblers, such as myself) will gain enough knowledge to know how to source it sustainably, and to learn how to eat less of it and avoiding buying if from fast food outlets. If this sounds contradictory, we can talk about it more. It’s a discussion worth having – a big-tent conversation toward our common goal of sustainability, regardless of our food choices and tastes.
    Thanks again, and cook on!
    Mollie K

  2. February 6, 2011 4:52 pm

    I love the moosewood cook books. One of my favorite recipes out of them is the calzones.
    ~thechildcooks

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