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Southern vegetarian cooking?

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  • Sue Cummings Jun 21, 2000 07:17 PM
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Most of you probably think this is an oxymoron. But, having grown up in the South, I often crave the dishes I ate then. And, having been a vegetarian for 18 years (okay, now I'm really scaring you) I find myself with a growing collection of traditional recipes I've modified to be meatless yet still satisify my craving for downhome Southern food.

So I'm wondering, why not put a book together? Would any of you chowhounds (few of you who are veg, I know) buy it?

Has anyone ever seen a book like this? Has anyone ever eaten at a restaurant that serves this kind of food?

I know it is impossible to find in New York...that's why I end up cooking it at home.

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  1. Hoo boy. Got some good news for you, I think. First of all, I'd be first in line to buy your book! I do have one that's "soul vegetarian," published by the Israelites, who run two awesome restaurants in Cleveland that I visit nearly every day when I'm back there. There's also a similar restaurant in Chicago. They serve BBQ tofu and wheat meat, cornbread, collards, cole slaw, eggless salad, "fish" cakes, amazing lentil and grain burgers, awesome cakes for dessert...the list goes on, and I'm about to drool on my keyboard! I've found a sort of similar place very near where I work. It's called the Uptown Juice Bar, and it's actually downtown (the original is in Harlem, hence the name) on Chambers St. between W.B'way & Church. It has a more Carribean slant, but they have greens, soy mac'n'cheese, bbq soy meats, etc., in addition to lots and lots of curries, pastries, juices, etc. The food is crazy cheap and very good - lots of committed carnivores happily eat lunch there daily. Also, have you tried Kate's Joint/Corner at 4th & Ave.B? It can be a little hit or miss, but they've got these unbuffalo wings and mock popcorn shrimp that drive me into a frenzy, as well things like fried unchicken and chicken-fried unsteak with all of the trimmings. Sorry to get long-winded, but I love to discuss this stuff!

    3 Replies
    1. re: Lauren

      Lauren, I would love to see your Israelites cookbook. Leave it to the rastas to figure this one out.

      I have used the Southern recipes in Sundays at Moosewood, but found them to be a diluted mix of influences from different regions. For example, I consider buttermilk an essential ingredient in cornbread; their version used chiles, I think, which is definitely a southwestern thing.

      I will have to try the Uptown Juice Bar. On the rasta food tip, I have also been meaning to check out Strictly Roots in Harlem, 2058 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard.

      There's a real interesting discussion on the South regional board about the nuances of difference between soul food and southern food.

      1. re: Sue Cummings

        Here's a link to the Soul Vegetarian cookbook order form. I highly recommend getting it. It's vegan as opposed to ovo-lacto vegetarian, but don't let that scare you off. This is good stuff - the last time I was visiting my parents, I got a big batch of take-out bbq/potato salad/slaw/velvet cake for us all. My father's response when I asked how he had liked it all was that it was excellent, but that he was confused - when had I gone back to eating meat and dairy?

        Link: http://www.ios.com/~dckog/Ckbkfrm.htm

        1. re: Lauren

          I seriously need to buy this..... I'm (almost) vegan, i.e. i splurge on egg whites sometimes. (yes i know i can use tofu for a scramble). But i'm seriously lacking in the comfort food category!!

    2. Would I buy it? Yes!

      - VF

      1. Sundays at Moosewood contains a southern section with lots of delicious recipes. I highly recommend that book to anyone interested in vegetarian versions of a wide variety of ethnic/regional classics.

        1. I would totally buy it! Especially if you could replicate the unchicken wings at Kates Joint!

          Red bamboo is soul food or southern? Its pretty good either way. Old Devil Moon has pretty good options too.

          1. As a New Yorker transplanted from Hotlanta (and a born-and-raised vegetarian), I would LOVE a cookbook like this!

            1. this all-veg book is by the lady who won the "jerk chicken" throwdown with bobby flay:
              http://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Vegetari...
              it's okay.
              and this popped up when i searched for that book
              http://www.amazon.com/Cookin-Southern...

              also check out books by jessica b. harris. they are not veg, but they are well researched and veg-heavy. request them at the library?

              1 Reply
              1. re: soupkitten

                the GRIT, a vegetarian restaurant, in athens ga,- has a cookbook out a few years back.. the authors are jessica greene and ted hafer. HIGHLY RECC.
                they have been in business for over 20yrs

              2. I'd love a book like that! Incidentally, there are also two Israelite vegan soul food restaurants in Atlanta as well, and they're delicious. Get the kalebone and mac & cheese, you won't regret it. And I second kewpie, the Grit in Athens is glorious, as is the Flying Biscuit in Atlanta.

                1. This (newly revived) post is almost ten years old! Too funny.