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The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life: Cruelty-Free Crafts, Recipes, Beauty Secrets and More Paperback – November 11, 2010
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"Truly everything you need to know to be a happy, healthy vegan! It's like a visit with all your girlfriends across the globe, doing everything from sightseeing and cross stitching to protesting and baking. When you're ready to ditch the murder burgers, 'The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life' will be your fairy godmother lighting the way." ----Isa Chandra Moskowitz, author of "Veganomicon"
About the Author
Melisser Elliott is the founder of Sugar Beat Sweets and the author of the blog The Urban Housewife. She has won awards from VegNews magazine; has been featured by BUST, the Washington Post, Craft, Make, Cupcakes Take the Cake, All Things Cupcake, SuperVegan, Crazy Sexy Life, and Vegan Nutritionista; and has appeared on Everyday Dish TV. She lives in San Francisco, California.
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What I didn't like: I guess should have known this would happen, but I strenuously disliked the litany of torture that animals have to go through (Chapter 2). It was so upsetting to me that I had to fast forward through the chapter. As far as that argument goes, Melisser was preaching to the choir. On the other hand, her assertion that zoos and circuses are abusive just didn't resonate with me. I'm not convinced, without further evidence, that keeping animals in confinement and training them to do tricks is any worse than when I keep dogs and train them to sit before I give them a bonie. Modern training techniques are nowhere near as harsh as they used to be. Anyway, she didn't convince me of that. Moving on, I noticed that there are a dizzying arrays of products I'm supposed to examine carefully to make sure nothing living has ever touched them -- I'm supposed to buy expensive vegan makeup, and meanwhile ordinary chocolate has cockroaches in it. The problem of wading through all my body products and buying newer, more expensive ones seemed utterly insurmountable, although I can imagine using them up and working toward paying more attention to ingredients in the future. The crafts seemed geared mainly toward vegans, which was OK. The cross stitch pattern read, "Flesh is for Zombies. Go Vegan!" I thought it was cute, but I felt the omnivores in my life would find it pushy and vaguely insulting. I wouldn't display it in my house. And the page that I'm supposed to photocopy? Not happening on the Kindle version. So that one craft was out.
In the end, here's what I think: if you're interesting in vegan cooking, got get Vegan With A Vengeance and Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Isa's style is all positive, and she doesn't include a torture porn chapter about factory farming, she just writes great recipes. Like I mentioned, I marked almost all of Melisser's recipes to try, so if you want this book, buy the kindle version and skip straight to the recipes. Otherwise, this may be a good read for committed vegans but horribly daunting for someone who is just getting started and is slightly sickened by the major life overhaul she has to do if she wants to be vegan. I was so blissfully ignorant, thinking it was enough simply to eat a vegan diet! Here's me, starting to doubt my decision to become vegan: "What have I done? What have I done?"
The recipes are a nice mix between simple, quick eats and fancy, impressive entrees. I highly recommend this book and look forward to any other books Melisser Elliott comes out with.