Many do it for the animals, but there are also those who choose to become vegan for the environment or for health reasons. In any case, it’s good to have a nice recipe book at hand to draw inspiration from, plus a few books to better understand the principles of anti-speciesism. Here’s what to read during Veganuary.
Books on vegan nutrition
We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, J.S. Foer
Foer’s latest book deals once again with the topic of intensive farming. Unlike “Eating Animals,” however, the focus this time is on environmental damage resulting from CO2 emissions resulting from farming. Page after page Foer insists on the urgency of a collective change, “the impotence of individual action is the reason why everyone must try.” In support of this is abundant data and results of internationally conducted research: 59% of all arable land is exploited to grow forage for livestock, animal husbandry is responsible for 37% of man-made methane emissions and 65% of man-made nitrous oxide emissions, two of the most present greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Just to name a few. The author does not wish for an entirely vegan world, but invites readers to decrease their intake of animal products, at least “for breakfast,” as the title suggests.
We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, Jonathan Safran Foer – ed. Hamish Hamilton – pp. 310
Empty Cages, Tom Regan
Many of the large animal product industries claim to treat animals “humanely.” Tom Regan’s “Empty Cages” debunks this myth by telling what lies behind the production of food and clothing, hunting, greyhound racing and other forms of exploitation. Explaining, page after page, how and why he changed his attitude towards animals, embracing the anti-speciesist movement and vegan nutrition: “Living in the city, I had no real direct knowledge of the conditions of farm animals. I understood that I had to make the invisible visible; I had, so to speak, to go into the stables and see what was happening there.” And he did, eventually becoming one of the world’s leading animal rights activists.
Empty Cages, Tom Regan – ed. Rowman e Littlefield – pp. 229
Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, Charles Patterson
Is there a difference between the way the Nazis treated their victims and the way we treat animals in today’s society? According to the American historian Charles Patterson the answer is no, on the contrary: the similarities are many, incredible but undeniable. You can already guess from the title, inspired by the story “The man who wrote letters” by Isaac Bashevis Singer, in particular from the passage that says: “They are convinced that man, the worst transgressor of all species, is the top of creation: all other living beings were created solely to provide them with food and hide, to be tortured and exterminated. In relation to them all are Nazis; for animals Treblinka is forever.” But what are the mechanisms that have ensured that man assumes the role of the dominant species of the planet? The author explains it in detail, describing the wrongs perpetrated on other animals throughout history.
Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust, Charles Patterson – ed. Lantern Book – pp. 296
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer
Again a book by Foer, the first written by the author on the theme of animals. In this case, it is an authentic, intimate and personal reflection on the relationship with animals and our choices at the table: the book opens with the memory of his grandmother who, despite her hunger, refused pork meat during the war simply because it wasn’t kosher. The reason? “If nothing matters, there is nothing to save.” Growing up and becoming a father, Foer learned about the quality of the product and its origin: he became an active and aware consumer and started asking himself questions. He understood that industrial farms are at war, a war that we “have allowed to be waged against all the animals we eat.” But that’s not enough: to understand more, the author infiltrated the food industries and farms of his country to see with his own eyes the (atrocious) living conditions of the animals. His is an investigation not only on industries but above all on our sensitivity to those who are “helpless” and “voiceless.”
Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer – ed. Back Bay Books – pp. 341
What Vegans Eat, Brett Cobley
Many are convinced that eating vegan is boring, or worse: difficult. But that’s not the case: vegan chef Brett Cobley offers many fun, delicious, easy recipes made with few ingredients. There is no need to resort to special products or complicated cooking to follow a plant-based diet, just a little imagination and some seasonal ingredients. The book is chock with colourful and tasty recipes, healthy but also simple, with lots of advice on the best supermarket products to buy: in short, a recipe book that’s suitable for everyone.
What Vegans Eat, Brett Cobley – ed. HarperCollins – pp. 208
Modern Vegan Baking, Gretchen Price
If you are sweet lovers, the volume by pastry chef and blogger Gretchen Price is the book for you: 125 sweet and savoury baked specialties are present in the Modern Vegan Baking, complete with step-by-step tutorials for better understanding of the preparations. The goal is showing how delicious vegan sweets can be, with all the necessary substitutions and modifications.
Modern Vegan Baking, Gretchen Price – ed. RockRidge Press – pp. 296
by Michela Becchi