As a political activist who has attended more gala fundraisers than there are lawsuits against our former Orange President, I often wondered, as my comrades and I were served over-cooked chicken and tough fillet dinners, how can all of these kind-hearted, generous people, who care deeply about alleviating suffering, and the health of our planet — be eating animals?
Think about the last time you hosted a dinner party or an extended family meal. At what point while you were cooking or setting the table to be perfectly “just so,” did you think, Why the hell did I decide to do this?
My friend Patti says, “If you don’t hate your guests by the time they arrive, you haven’t worked hard enough.” Dinner Party Hosting Anxiety (DPHA) is a thing, experienced by even the most seasoned host. I blame Martha Stewart.
Last year, I debuted my first annual Essential Cooking Gadgets list for the vegan kitchen, inspired by my friend Jan’s wisdom that the right kitchen tools make all the difference. After trying her velvety New York-style cheesecake (made with her KitchenAid Mixmaster), I was sold. Although I’ve not eaten cheesecake in some time, I have held on to Jan’s advice, and assembled a group of reliable gadgets and appliances that make cooking easier and more fun.
In the early days of my learning-to-cook journey, (before Al Gore invented the Internet), I was a sucker for just about any cookbook that had “Vegetarian” in the title. My library was impressive. It took a cross-country move (i.e., packing) for me to realize I didn’t cook from most of those books. Some had a couple dog-eared pages with smears of dried sauce, signifying my go-to recipes. But the rest? Inspired writing, and hunger-inducing, air-brushed food photography do not always translate into useful cookbooks. I gave many of them away. (Today, I’d deposit them in my Little Free Library, but those weren’t invented yet, either).