Wednesday, 14 December 2016 16:13

Vintage Vegan: Recipes from the World's First Raw Vegan Restaurant

Written by Emily Brickell
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It’s always exciting to see hard work come together when we receive the finished copies of our books. One of the most recent to touch down in the Plexus office is Vintage Vegan, by Vera Richter, a title that I’ve been working on since starting here as an intern in March.

On the surface, it’s a raw food recipe book, but its significance goes much deeper. Vintage Vegan is a collection of recipes from the world’s first raw vegan restaurant, opened in California in 1917. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that the raw food movement is an emergence of recent years, but Richter takes us to the roots of this long-standing dietary choice, showing us her early interpretation of raw veganism. In Richter’s time, California was a hub for individuals following raw food diets and embracing what were considered ‘alternative’ lifestyles. Her restaurant, The Eutropheon, became a place for influential figures in the alternative lifestyle movement to meet and exchange ideas.

Richter’s recipes return to the essentials of raw foodism. Fewer ingredients were available when Richter was writing these recipes, almost a century ago, but she manages to produce tasty and filling recipes that have stood the test of time to be as satisfying today as when they were first conceived. Most of the ingredients required can be found in any supermarket, so not only are her recipes are easy to execute, they are also very economical. This was no doubt an important consideration for Richter, as her cafeteria-style restaurant served hundreds at a time.

Months of proofreading and editing Vintage Vegan left me eager to try out some of Richter’s recipes for myself. I have chosen one that particularly appealed to me, a peanut butter confection (to be found on page 88). This recipe demonstrates the wonderful simplicity of Richter’s approach, requiring only two ingredients – dates and peanut butter.


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I used the dates that were most readily available to me, Sayer dates, but I would recommended using a more meaty, juicy variety such as Medjool to make your treats feel even more indulgent. Peanut butter could be substituted for another nut butter, if desired.

The method was fairly simple, the dates had to be chopped in a food processor and then stirred into the peanut butter to combine, before rolling and shaping. Unfortunately I found myself lacking when rolling them into equal sized balls; although a straightforward task, my treats emerged rather non-uniform. I made a last-minute decision to coat them in ground almonds to add an extra dimension to the taste.


          


Although my substandard food prep skills leave these less aesthetically-pleasing than Richter no doubt intended, the finished result was delicious! 10 out of 10 for Vera Richter’s Peanut Butter Confection from the entire Plexus team, who sampled the fruits of my labour this morning.


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Have you been trying out any recipes from the book? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Buy your copy of Vintage Vegan here.
Read 667 times Last modified on Wednesday, 14 December 2016 17:04

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