• Jasmine Lenore

Family, food, & cooking



I remember as a little girl, my sisters and I used to read cookbooks. My mom and grandma loved cooking, especially around the holidays, and we, of course, loved to eat. We would gather around and choose yummy looking dishes and would hope my mom or grandma would try to cook them. My grandma was very old-fashioned and passed along recipes that were passed to her. She never really bothered measuring anything, and she always used what she knew.


My mom, on the other hand, explored cooking more. It became a hobby for her. She began to collect cookbooks from different types of people, with different backgrounds, cultures, and types of food. It was always fun reading the recipes. Now that I am older, I get to cook my own dishes. I still enjoy reading cookbooks, and I now save recipes to try on my own. I have found it interesting to see how cooking has changed over the years, and that, of course, means cookbooks have also changed.




Cookbooks were not always printed in nice fancy books with colorful pictures and elegant fonts. The first recorded set of recipes were written on a tablet in 1700 B.C. The recipes were different types of stews which a group of cooks from Yale replicated in 2018. As technology developed, naturally cookbooks evolved from clay tablets to paper.




The first cookbook recorded in America was American Cookery, by Amelia Simmons in 1796. During that time, cookbooks were only used by those who were wealthy, and since servants were not allowed to read, their mistresses would read the ingredients to them.


Back then, people such as myself and my mother would have not been able to use cookbooks, but times have changed.


Cookbooks today can be found in the average household and many of the recipes have changed as well. As the world evolved and developed new ways of doing things, many of our favorite dishes have changed with better ingredients. For example, the first book written in English, Forme of Curry, which was written by the chefs of King Richard II in 1390, had a recipe for apple pie, except it was not the tasty pastry apple pie we know of today. One of its ingredients included “coffin” which is made from sandalwood. Meatloaf and wedding cake recipes have also made a change over the years. Meatloaf was once made with eggs, nuts, and animal brains, while wedding cakes have not always been sweet and delicate. At one point, wedding cakes were made out of barley or wheat, and in England, guests were served a slice of “bridal pie” which was made of a mixture of offal, oysters, and pastry. Yum!





Thank God many of our favorite dishes have advanced over the years. Cookbook recipes have also expanded, now catering to more people who are looking for vegetarian or vegan options. Some of our favorite foods, even the ones mentioned above, can now be made using vegetarian or vegan alternatives. For example, if you grew up eating meatloaf but are now vegan, you can still enjoy the texture of meatloaf by using chickpeas, bread crumbs, garbanzo beans, and vegetables, and it can be healthier!


Vegan recipes have become popular over the years, changing the way we eat and how recipes in cookbooks are written. If you are looking for a great vegan cookbook, check out Sweet Potato Soul. It has 100 vegan recipes for those who love southern flavors. Below I have listed a few more of the best cookbooks out there. I hope you enjoy our selection and be sure to comment your favorite recipes!



Best Vegan Cookbooks


Living Lively: 80 Plant-Based Recipes to Activate Your Power and Feed Your Potential

by Haile Thomas





Plant-Based Diet Cookbook for Beginners:

500 Quick & Easy, Affordable Recipes that Novice and Busy People Can Do | 2 Weeks Meal Plan to Reset and Energize Your Body

by Wilda Buckley





Forks Over Knives―The Cookbook:

Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year

by Del Sroufe (Author), Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Contributor), Julieanna Hever MS RD CPT (Contributor), Darshana Thacker (Contributor), Judy Micklewright (Contributor)





Sweet Potato Soul:

100 Easy Vegan Recipes for the Southern Flavors of Smoke, Sugar, Spice, and Soul: A Cookbook

by Jenne Claiborne





Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Beginners:

70 Easy Recipes to Heal the Immune System & 28-Day Meal Plan Program

by Jane Mills







Cookbooks in General


Brown Sugar Kitchen:

New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland





Jubilee:

Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking

by Toni Tipton-Martin





Stir-Fry, Dim Sum, and Other Restaurant Favorites

by Naomi Imatome-Yun






Jikoni:

Proudly Inauthentic Recipes from an Immigrant Kitchen

by Ravinder Bhogal




1,000 Spanish Recipes

by Penelope Casas





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