Baffled by what to prepare for dinner? Turn to Nava Atlas, a prolific writer of vegetarian cookbooks whose website is filled with recipes, cooking tips, and a section for veggie kids.
Atlas became a vegetarian in high school because she’d always been repulsed by meat, and then learned about the health, ethical, and environmental factors over the years. Her husband encouraged her to write down her recipes since he liked them so much. Her first book, Vegetariana, came out in 1984, and a career was born.
The couple decided to raise their sons vegetarian.
“We told them we didn’t believe in eating our animal friends, but what they decided to do outside of our home was up to them. Our younger son, at 10, became our first vegan. We all followed suit quickly, and we’ve been vegan ever since, nearly 8 years now. Our sons are now 18 and 20 . . . I can’t imagine either one of them ever wanting to eat meat, nor straying from the vegan path.” said Atlas.
Plant-based foods are more popular today, even if people don’t intend to go completely vegan, and Atlas said people no longer look at her strangely when she says she is vegan.
“There is a certain admiration for what people suppose is a very disciplined lifestyle, though I never feel in any way deprived,” she said.
Atlas thinks more youth are going veg, and many colleges are accommodating this kind of diet.
She added, “there is a slowly growing awareness that what we put on our plate can be not only one of life’s simple pleasures, but a powerful political statement.”
Atlas has two new books coming out: The Vegan Holiday Kitchen (working title- Fall 2011) and one on women writers. She is active with visual art projects as well.
To get a taste of Atlas’ delicious cooking, try her seitan and polenta skillet with fresh greens recipe. One more tip for recipe seekers: VegDining.com’s new Veg Cookbook Recipe Finder, an index of over 80 vegetarian cookbooks with more than 15,000 recipes, and more on the way. It does not include actual recipes but a quick way to locate them.