Book Contest and Review: Vegan Unplugged

Even though you might be tired of hearing about it, we just got back from a trip to Vermont. I had planned to review this book on our return anyway, but after a lovely evening there without electricity*, it made me really rethink this book. We may be fortunate where we live in that we rarely have extended electricity outages. Then again, anybody remember the big outage of 2003?

When it happens, it happens. And that’s when you need a book like Vegan Unplugged. Vegan Heritage Press, who also published American Vegan Kitchen, generously sent me a copy to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do is comment to this post with a comment about the lights going out. It could be what caused it to happen, what you did when it did, what you ate, you get the idea. I’ll post the winner early next week.

Up top is the Pasta Puttanesca, which I heartily recommend. The fresh parsley is a ‘recipe upgrade.’ Besides the recipes, one of my favorite things about the book is the “Going Global” section which shows how to add some excitement to your pantry stash. It’s broken down into Indian, Middle Eastern, Latino, Asian and Italian, making it easy to to put together just a few ingredients and get a great result. This cookbook would be handy for anyone with a limited amount of time or space, as well. College students, for example, would benefit from this by using some of the ‘recipe upgrades’ provided. As the book suggests, it would also be handy for campers, boaters, or those on roadtrips. Jon Robertson, the author, has also started a new blog for the book, which you can see here.

VeganMoFo IV is just around the corner! I’m going to be blogging about some of my favorite things and also holding weekly book contests on Fridays, so be sure to check back!

Vida Vegan Con is next August in Portland! It’s sure to be an amazing time. I’m still trying to figure out if I’ll be making the trip to participate, but with those organizers, you know it’s going to be out of this world! It’ll be like the wedding of the century x 10,000!

And the latest news? I’ll be doing a booksigning at the awesome, all-vegan, Park + Vine in Cincinnati on Saturday November 20th from noon until 2:00 PM. Come on out for shopping and a sample!

Good luck with the contest!

*For the record, we had full stomachs, wine, a fire, candles and scrabble, so it was a typically wonderful vacation night for us.

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  1. Becca
    Posted October 25, 2010 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    I lived in University Heights, Ohio during the power outage in 2003, so I got to experience it. I’m having trouble remembering what I ate. What I do remember is how the community came together. Since there was nothing to do inside, everyone gathered outside. I met neighbors I had never met before. That week I was walking to work and a neighbor I had met saw me and offered me a ride. That was the last time I saw the community come together like that and it was the last time I ever got offered a ride there! It’s amazing how something like a power outage affects people.

    rebeccastar at gmail dot com

  2. Posted October 25, 2010 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    During the big power outage of 2003, my husband (a firefighter) had to fight huge house fires in about 90 degree weather with nowhere to cool off or to take a shower. I, however, joyfully remember being inventive with the food I had to create. I grilled bruschetta and all sorts of odds and ends that made cooking fun again. I felt like it was a chance to really reflect on my energy dependence and find the fun in things like board games again!

  3. Posted October 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to write about a blackout that happened when I was a teenager, because somehow it eclipses all other blackouts I’ve experienced.

    I was a surly teenager who didn’t speak too much to my parents – we just didn’t have much in common back then. So one night, in the middle of Winter, it was actually welcome when the power went out. I was at home with my boyfriend of the time, and my parents were home, too. Their old house only had one fireplace, in the lounge, so reluctantly we went to join them there. My Dad opened a bottle of wine, and we huddled in blankets, actually having a conversation for once. Somehow the wine led to scrabble, played by the light of the fire and a few candles, and I came to realise, finally, that my parents are actually really interesting people.
    It was the only time when I’ve been disappointed that the power came back on. :)

  4. Posted October 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    My kids got really freaked out by one blackout we had, so after that they used to go into the bathroom (no window) and turn the lights off to “practice” for the next time it happened so they wouldn’t be so scared. I don’t know where the idea to do that came from, who can tell what links kids minds make!

  5. Posted October 25, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    We had a power outage due to an ice storm in December of 2008. We had no power for a few days. I don’t really remember what we ate… Some stuff we were able to salvage from the fridge before it had gone too long–rice cooked over a camping stove.

  6. Posted October 25, 2010 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    I was not impacted by the power outage of 2003, but the power does go out in my neighborhood at least once per year. Although it can be scary, my favorite thing to do in a power outage is to appreciate what people would do before electricity existed. We use candles, oil lamps, and the fireplace for light and warmth. We make food without the aid of a microwave. It can be a fun, refreshing evening despite the lack of electricity.

    I would LOVE to dive into this book! My fingers are crossed!


  7. Posted October 26, 2010 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    The day after a big blackout/storm at college, I decided to go vegan. I’ll never forget running around the dorms in the dark and whooping it up into the wee hours(and then making such a great decision for myself the next day).

  8. Posted October 26, 2010 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Once there was a power failure, and our freezer died, and all the ice cream melted.

    It was very, very sad.

  9. Posted October 26, 2010 at 2:21 am | Permalink

    A few weeks ago, the power went out down our whole block, and we felt so helpless. I realized that we had nothing like candles, flashlights, or even batteries for a flashlight to have in handy at such a time. I said to my husband, “Next time we go out, we’re getting all the things we’d need in case of an extended power outage, I want to be prepared!”

    We still haven’t purchased anything.

    This post reminds me that I need to get a little more prepared…jeez, a flashlight at least!!!

  10. Posted October 26, 2010 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    I don’t remember the 2003 outage but I love when the power goes out. Light candles, read books life slows down. I’m always sorry when the lights come back on!

  11. Posted October 26, 2010 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    I remember the power going out when I was in high school. Nerd that I was, I did my homework by candle light — just in case we had school the next day. Even my mom made fun of me.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 4:43 am | Permalink

    During the ’03 outage we spent a lot of time sitting out in the backyard with the dogs listening to a battery powered radio.


  13. Posted October 26, 2010 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    We lost power in March, high winds blew trees down in the neighborhood. We lost power on Saturday afternoon and it returned on Tuesday morning (at 3 a.m., my blender turned out right when the lights came on…YIKES!) Before the power went out, I had cooked in bulk for the week. I had baked tofu, sauted beans, chili, stir-fried greens. So when the power went out we rushed out for big coolers and lots of ice. We kept everything in the garage and I would go down and grab something, heat it on the stove top (gas) and eat in front of the fireplace! (we did go to our local bar for WiFi, wine and a humus snack when we got bored :) )

  14. Posted October 26, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    When the big power outage happened, I was in a connecting airport as a teenager by myself. It was chaotic,and There was no access to money, no way to buy things, no cell phone-nothing. I ended up being put up in a hotel with a random teacher I’d never met. It was really unsettling because a man had approached me while we were trying to find something to eat. As I walked through the dark halls of our hotel with no phone, cameras and no one knowing where I was-I realized how vulnerable I was. Scary!

    I would love thi book because i never know what to make while camping!

  15. Posted October 26, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    There was a brown out once on the whole eastern side of the US and we spent some of the time outside but when it got dark we had to light a ton of candles. It looked like a cathedral in our house. We finally found a place that had a generator that was able to make food since we didn’t have anything that we could make.

  16. Posted October 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    We had a huge snow storm here once, more than 15 years ago (I was just an elementary school kid!) and my family lived way in the country; we had to stay with relatives for 3 months because we had no power! I’d love to check this book out 😉
    spaceyxlacey at gmail dot com

  17. Posted October 26, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    I remember as a 70’s child in England we used to get power outages all the time as part of the big strikes there. Luckily, we had a coal fire and we used to huddle around it, and I used to love hearing my parents chatting as I fell asleep on my mum’s lap. I’d always wake up in bed, in the morning, and all the power would be back on but I would miss the cosy feeling of the night before. :o)

  18. Carrie
    Posted October 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been really lucky with power outages *knocking on wood* but I do remember when the power was out due to Hurricane Hugo back in 1989. We went without for a couple of days, but managed to survive just fine. I heard that many others were without power for a week or more!

    scarriemom at gmail dot com

  19. Posted October 26, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Whenever there is a power outage my mom calls me up to go “shopping.” We don’t end up buying anything, but it gets us out of the house.

  20. Posted October 26, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    that pasta looks fab – definitely need the book.

    we had a crazy ice storm back in 01 and there were transformers blowing all over kansas city. we were one of the first to go so we didn’t know what was happening – our backyard was blue and things were flaming. my roomie and i called 9-1-1 cause we were freaking out. they told us to stay calm and then they hung up on us! only later i found out like everyone in kansas city was calling 911 so they just hung up on people who weren’t having a life threatening emergency!
    (we didn’t have power for 8 days)

  21. Posted October 26, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Phat Freddy and I work for the power company, so power outages are out business. He is the first responder during outages and I am the one who calls him out. So we are your friends in an outage. I am quite amazed at how quickly the outages are restored here in AZ. When I lived in Illinois we would often be out for many many hours and even days.

  22. Posted October 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    When the power goes out I try to sleep…I can’t deal with not knowing when the power will come back on, so sleeping is the way to go, lol!

  23. Posted October 27, 2010 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    The last time we had an extended power outage in my town, my sons and I decided to explore the town. We took binoculars so we could look at the moon, and wandered through a snowy January evening. Most people were huddled inside with candles, but we were outside enjoying the dark town and the snow.

  24. Posted October 27, 2010 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    We once had the electric go out due to an ice storm bringing down some wires – luckily some candles, a gas fireplace & a bottle of Norton made the evening bearable until it got fixed! :-)

  25. Posted October 27, 2010 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I lived on the Pacific NW coast literally 1 1/2 blocks from the ocean until this past July. I got to see a few amazing wind storms with winds up to 125 mph or more, accompanied–understandably–by power outages. I have kept a couple of battery-powered lanterns in case it happens inland. The first time it was terrifying, the next few times it was manageable. I had a gas stove/oven, so I was able to eat, but geez, the refrigerator and freezer! The longer the power was off, the more my heart would break. All my lovely frozen soups. Luckily, since the town is quite small, community always kicks in. When there are power outages, local restaurants with gas stove/ovens will make meals for the town. It is lovely and I miss it.

  26. Posted October 27, 2010 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    the lights went out for a long time after katrina. i honestly can’t remember what i ate, but i will always remember what it was like trying to clean out that fridge. it was full of food, no power for about two months, in hot nola summer weather!!!


  27. Posted October 27, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Just curious…I live in VT and last Monday night (Oct 18) we had an extended power outage…unusual in our ‘downtown’ in a town with a population of about 5500…the outage extended to about 2500 households, including folks in other towns. As yet, the cause is unexplained. We just lit the candles, and I kept cooking…our stove doesn’t rely on electronic ignition.

    Now, in 2003 I was living off-grid so I don’t remember…

  28. Posted October 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    When I was very young, there was a serious blizzard that hit our area in Connecticut. I don’t remember how long we were out of power. All I remember is using an oil lamp to play countless games of Uno with my family. That was also the one and only time my dad played a game with us.

    Almost 3 years ago, a terrifying ice storm blacked out my town in Missouri. A fallen branch snapped one of our wires in the back yard, so we ended up without electricity for 8 days. I hopped around, staying with friends or family who had power. I didn’t eat quite as well because of stress, working extra hours to cover all the people who couldn’t come in, and being at the mercy of other peoples’ kitchen contents. I ate a lot of beans and rice.

  29. Posted October 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    I remember lighting lots of candles with my family as a child and playing Chutes and Ladders with my little brother.

  30. Posted October 27, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t experienced any power outages lasting more than a couple of hours or overnight as an adult. As a child, though, we lived in Taiwan for a few years and every year there would be at least one typhoon that knocked out power for a few days. I wasn’t in charge of food then, but remember my parents clearing out the fridge and freezer and barbecuing pretty much everything. We kids thought it was great fun; I imagine my parents had other sentiments about it.

  31. Posted October 28, 2010 at 4:21 am | Permalink

    The lights went out on July 4th this year. We had just moved to a small town, and we were in so many ways still in the dark, and decided to drive until we hit the big city. We ended up meeting up with friends who had waterfront views of the fireworks, and together we sang and ate and watched the best fireworks show the city has had in a long while. That night had enough warmth, love and life to help us through the night when we came back to our (still) unplugged home.

  32. Desina
    Posted October 28, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink

    That was an amazing night.

    I still have the waybill from my final delivery as a bike courier that day. That’s because that was also when the power went out. I was lucky, because although right after I delivered and got onto the elevator the power went out, I wasn’t stuck nearly as long as some people I heard about. Of course, at the time, I thought it was that elevator only.

    I spent the night on a patio in a local music establishment. People went home to get candles and flashlights so we could find our way to the washrooms and hang out in the pitch black bar. The bar fed us with whatever they had available.

    There was a great sense of community and people helping each other out. Those who could only get home by transit were offered places downtown to stay the night. Riding down the dark main street of Chinatown, I saw candlelit tables on the wide sidewalks, like low-tech cafes.

    The next day, I was the only courier that my company bothered to have working, just in case. As it was, I only had one call, and that was one they’d normal send a subway rider on because it was so far, but I figured I might as well enjoy it.

  33. Posted October 28, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The power goes out here several times every winter. Having a plan and foods available that can be prepared is really important. I’d love to have some new ideas from this cookbook. The longest it’s been out was 7 days! That was a challenge.

  34. Posted October 28, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The last time we had an extended power outage was during the crazy hurricane season of 2005. We broke out the Coleman stove and lantern and cooked Linguine Alfred and saute shrimp (for our friends who enjoy meat), opened up a bottle of wine and sat around by the lantern and enjoyed each others company. We really had to plan to get through the 5 days of feeding ourselves and teens!

  35. Posted October 29, 2010 at 1:13 am | Permalink

    Haha! Well we actually lived in Cincinnati for a year in 2008 moved there from New Orleans) and a hurricane (Ike) followed us up! Didn’t expect that. Power went out for 5 days……first time we’ve been without power for that long! (and I love Park & Vine)

  36. Anonymous
    Posted October 29, 2010 at 2:10 am | Permalink

    During the 2003 power outage, we weren’t supposed to drink water from the tap because it was contaminated. My husband and I walked to the gas station to buy some bottled water and all they had left were the flavored ones. An elderly man seemed so sad that there wasn’t any plain water. I offered the flavored and he said, “My dog won’t drink that.” As an animal lover myself, I still get teary thinking about it.

  37. Posted October 29, 2010 at 4:28 am | Permalink

    My first 4th of July in California our power went out because of the wind…in 100 degree weather…in the middle of the day…for several hours. Good times.

  38. Posted October 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I was in Ontario during that outage. All the traffic lights were out and there were guys in the street directing it in the 100 degree weather! My dad ran a couple cold water bottles over to the. =]


  39. Posted November 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    When I was ten, the lights went out in New York City. We ran to my friend’s 5th-story-apartment window as the most horrendous sound emanated from Con Edison and the smoke stacks began blowing out some crazy black smoke. Then we watched in awe as the lights went out across the NYC skyline and finally in her apartment.

    I remember eating dinner by candlelight that night, which of course, my friend and I thought was very cool and romantic. But I can’t remember what we ate, because all of my memories of this night are about the darkness. We weren’t scared. We hoped it meant we wouldn’t have school the next day, and we thought the whole thing was great fun!

  40. Posted November 3, 2010 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    I remember living in the dorms my freshman year when we had a power outage. It was on this day that I met by best friend. We were all sitting out in the hallway chit chatting and she and I struck up a conversation. From that day forward we were pretty inseparable and you always saw us around campus together or headed out to some event together. She is now the god mother of my son and I love her like she were my own sister.

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