This exceptional book brings together Bryant Terry’s passion for flavor and deep experience of food activism in such light and subtle measures that you could be fooled into believing the author is purely taste-led. You’d be wrong.
Bryant is into food because it’s a tool to connect people, and to explore our shared and unique histories and cultures.
Much of the lightness of the book comes from the pure deliciousness of his meals. These recipes prove that refraining from animal products can lead to flavors so awesome, they will satisfy the taste-buds of the most avid meat eater.
There are musical suggestions that accompany each recipe, and they’re well-considered, revealing the author’s lifelong appreciation of music, particularly records by African American artists.
Which is perfect, because the style of the cuisine explored in this book is Southern, but minus the meat! Seriously, you have to have a bold streak to go to the deep southern states of American and cook the traditional recipes people remember from their grandma’s, but without the animal. And still win. Believe me, this vegan stuff is good…
The first section of the book focuses on how the recipes are built, dissecting the layers of salt, fat, herbs, and acid, looking closely at ingredient groups like grains, vegetable proteins, and greens, and considering how processes like caramelizing can be utilized to add deliciousness.
Bryant remembers the politics of food, gently, about food poverty and food deserts, about farm workers and fair wages, and organic ingredients for healthy people, healthy souls and healthy planet. And about the balance of healthy and hearty, culture and cuisine.
I am delighted I discovered Bryant many years ago through his first book, Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen (written with Anna Lappe, another brilliant food activist in New York). Since that book and subsequently meeting him in San Francisco, Bryant has consistently inspired me through tastes in his writing, through his observations and wisdom, and more recently, through his tweets!
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