Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Veggie Hero: Isa Moskowitz

In the '80s and '90s I got my punk on, so it's no wonder that I picked Post Punk Kitchen founder Isa Moskowitz as this week's Veggie Hero. Isa is the author of the popular cookbook, "Vegan with a Vengence," and her second book, "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World," is due out later this year. A native of Brooklyn, Isa and crew produce the Post Punk Kitchen vegetarian cooking show, which airs in Manhattan via the public access channel Manhattan Neighborhood Network. She's inspired countless readers and viewers to rock out in the kitchen. Right on, girl!

Vegetarian or vegan?

How long have you been veg*n?
Vegetarian for 16 years, vegan for I don't know.

What inspired you to go veg?
My first inspiration was probably my love for my cat and subsequently my love for all animals. The second thing was probably Morrissey. What sealed the deal was meeting lots of really awesome vegetarians that made it seem fun and easy.

What's your best story of trying to find veg food?
I've never really had a problem finding vegetarian or vegan food. That doesn't make a very good story, I know but vegetables and legumes and rice are available pretty much anywhere. If I'm at some sort of function where I know there won't be anything I can eat I'll bring my own food but honestly if you ask nicely most people and places will accommodate your diet. I can't even remember the last time I had a problem with that. My favorite story though, is when I was a teenager one of my vegan friends went to a bar mitvah where there was nothing for him to eat so he ate the flowers from the table centerpieces just to prove a point. But I'm not recommending that.

How do you handle family holiday dinners?
Again, I don't really look at it as handling. I cook lots of food and everyone enjoys it. I think it's every vegan's duty to learn how to cook, and to cook well. But if someone else insists on doing all the cooking and they know that I am vegan then they will make something vegan for me. If they weren't planning on doing that then I most likely wouldn't attend. Who wants to spend the holidays with people that aren't willing to roast some veggies and boil some rice for you? I'd rather be home alone with my cat. With the advent of the internet it's easy enough to send them some dessert recipes that I'll enjoy, or they can just make something from one of my books.

What's your favorite veg food?
I guess autumn is my favorite time of year because you can't beat a warm fragrant soup with winter squash and a nice hunk of freshly baked bread as you sit around in your comfiest sweatshirt and fat pants.

Do you have a favorite veg book?
For fiction, I enjoyed the "Ethical Assassin" by David Liss. It's about an encyclopedia salesman in the '80s who gets caught up in the affairs of a vegan assassin. For animal rights, Peter Singer's "Animal Liberation" will always will hold the key to my heart. I read it when I first went vegetarian and it gave me a valuable ethical stance. It wasn't just a bunch of statistics and numbers that I'm likely to forget, but more a way of thinking that I still stick to today. And going even further back I think that the Frog and Toad books that I read as a child were a prelude to vegetarianism for me. In any case, the world would be a much better place if we were all as awesome as Frog and Toad.

Tofu or tempeh?
Why do I have to choose? Both! And grilled! Not together though.

What did you have for breakfast today?
I made big soft pretzels yesterday so I ate one this morning. And I think I had a banana. I'm answering this on a Monday though, if you asked me on Sunday the answer would have been scrambled tofu and challah fronch toast with bananas. The challah was homemade of course. Yums.


Carissa said...

That's right, folks, she got her punk on in parachute pants that would have made MC Hammer jealous! Love ya, Jill!

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