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« May 31, 2013

Vegan Secret Supper: Bold and Elegant Menus From a Rogue Kitchen

Vegan foods everyone would eat, supper-club tested
Review by Ivy Le

Vegan Secret Supper: Bold and Elegant Menus From a Rogue Kitchen

by Mérida Anderson
Arsenal Pulp Press, 224 pp., $26.95

Through recipes that were more approachable than I, an omnivore, anticipated, Mérida Anderson positions vegan cooking as a cuisine in itself, the next foodie frontier. Big, Instagram-pretty photos accompany nearly every recipe, enticing your inner glutton like a streetwalker.

Anderson is not a trained chef. She is a gourmand who gained her street cred through hosting a popular supper club by the same name as her book and blog in Vancouver, Montreal, and most recently in New York City. She doesn't believe in "substitutes," so this cookbook scarcely calls for dairy or meat replacements. The resulting meals are defined by surprising flavor profiles rather than righteous deprivation.

For example, I'd serve the blue corn empanadas with pecans, black beans, mole pipian, red cabbage, and avocado to anyone. Scratch that. Summer is coming to Texas, so I'd serve four courses of ice cream. The dessert chapter has three times the recipes as the other chapters organized by course, and it's separate still from the ice cream chapter. I'd serve Anderson's ice cream recipes for coconut lemon, lavender vanilla, avocado mint, and dark chocolate almond.

She addresses gluten and sugar intolerances while managing to avoid impossible-to-find ingredients. This is not a book for a new vegan looking for a daily meal plan, though a chapter on vegan pantry essentials would kick up your gourmet game. Vegan Secret Supper is an incredibly helpful book for someone who likes to host dinner parties where every single guest feels honored.

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