Get It Ripe
(Arsenal Pulp Press)
The best parts of jae steele’s entertaining vegan cookbook, Get It Ripe, are what’s missing from its pages: No judgmental preaching and lists of expensive ingredients that you’ll never find in Halifax anyway. steele, a registered holistic nutritionist, spends a good chunk of the book breaking down food choices, nutrition, digestive systems, grocery shopping, kitchen tools and preparation, before she even starts with the recipes.
Since high school, Toronto-based steele has been making her own cooking-related zines, and the cookbook’s chatty, straightforward tone has more in common with DIY culture than it does glossy food-porn cookbooks written by celebu-chefs. Recipes are often accompanied with personal stories; tasty miso gravy was adapted from an existing recipe while dancing in a friend’s kitchen in Sackville, New Brunswick, after seeing Arcade Fire play at the Halifax Pop Explosion (Sarah Neufeld from that band gives the book cred on the back cover). There are plenty of different tastes here; steele mixes up ethnic influences from Indian to the American south, and although tofu is prominent, those trying to avoid soy products can still find other sources of protein. An easy-to-follow book for anyone trying to eat healthier or for vegans trying to get some variety.
---Sue Carter Flinn