Chef and author Jenn Shagrinn published the cook book “Veganize This!” in January 2011. This week, The Examiner tried several recipes in this book and had great success. The recipes prepared include Vegan Ricotta that the Examiner featured this week. Ricotta is quite staple for many Italian-Americans who eat a traditional diet, and is something likely to be missed by Italians who go vegan. Shagrin is of Italian decent and her own cultural influence is apparent in her book.
Veganize This! Is quite user-friendly once the reader gets used to Shagrin’s writing style. It is really no different than other cook books in terms of one recipe calling for the reader to flip to another page to make a sauce or other ingredient that is a component of the primary recipe that is being prepared. For example, the Ricotta recipe includes a vegan egg substitute that is itself a recipe listed elsewhere in the book, but like the Ricotta itself, the egg substitute is easy to make, and the ingredients are easily found at most metro-Denver grocery stores.
Shagrinn’s book might have had higher sales if it had been written in a more traditional style. It includes jokes and personal statements that likely offended some who were thumbing through it at the book store or online.
” The author's narrative writing and jokes are weird, considering the context of a cookbook,” wrote a reader named Jacquie in a review on Amzaon.com.
Shagrinn does write wisecracks such as “Hail Seitan and all his followers” when introducing the section on recipes for Seitan, the popular, wheat-based meat replacement, and other recipes that include it. This was likely a turn-off to Christian readers and others who prefer not to read remarks that could be seen as inflammatory.
Another reader identified on Amazon as Sausoria918 wrote:
“From the cover and the typography, you'd think this was a cookbook for college students trying to be vegan while living in a dorm. If I had published it, I would have gone in a completely different direction and designed a book that was as upscale and sophisticated as the recipes…”
But like the Examiner and other wise readers, Sausoria advises not to judge the book by its cover. Veganize this received and an average rating of four stars on Amazon, where at least 19 reviews were written. The highest possible rating a book can receive is five stars.
“Veganize This!” is a book that a vegan can grow with. It includes many basic staples in the diet of a committed vegan, as well as sophisticated recipes that will challenge a well-seasoned cook.