Alternative Vegan, review by Barbara DeGrande

Alternative Vegan

Book: Alternative Vegan: International Vegan Fare Straight from the Produce Aisle, by Dino Sarma.

What is offered within the pages of Dino Sarma’s Alternative Vegan cookbook is not so much a collection of recipes as a way of experiencing food. Heading straight to the produce section of your local market will keep you healthy and help you remain within your budget; with Dino’s help, it will also keep you interested and satisfied. His friendly, conversational manner is engaging and entertaining, like having your own vegan cooking professor at hand. Each section is not so much a recipe as it is a story, a journey with an incredibly genuine person who obviously embraces life full throttle. There is always room for changes, for substitutions, or for experimentation. This is, after all, more guidebook than bible, and the journey to be charted will be uniquely your own.  It includes:

  • Cooking Techniques such as deglazing, sweating, and popping,
  • Basic Kitchen Tools,
  • Substitutions (what to do when you run out of this or that),
  • One Pot Meals, including the delicious VennPongal and Dino’s One Soup,
  • Salads, basics, and more complex dishes,
  • Sauces,
  • Easy to make vegan fare,
  • Food to Impress.

If you want to live without tofu, seitan or faux foods, then Dino’s cookbook is perfect. It is also a great way to eat if you are on a budget. The use of spices and special techniques render some of the most humble ingredients into delicious dishes, and the author’s New Delhi origins flavor many of the entries. There are no full color photos included, but one hardly misses them at all. If you are new to veganism, this one will get you started on the right path; if you are more experienced, it will make your life much tastier, healthier and economical. Dino’s book will introduce the reader to new spices, new tastes, and a fresh way to approach eating and thinking about the food on your plate.

“Speciesism”, review by Brandon Becker

Speciesism

Book: Speciesism by Joan Dunayer

Dunayer’s Speciesism dismantles speciesist ideology and develops an egalitarian animal rights philosophy.

The opening chapter defines speciesism and, with comparisons to racism and sexism, logically argues that excluding any sentient being from the moral community is speciesist.

The first two sections are Old Speciesism and New Speciesism. Old speciesism is the status quo, rights for only human animals. Dunayer shows how this philosophy disregards the interests of nonhuman animals, whom the law regards as property and exploitable resources. Old-speciesist advocacy is about modifying the conditions under which nonhuman animals are enslaved and murdered. New speciesism extends rights to some nonhuman animals, primarily on the basis of their being “human-like.” Dunayer makes the case that this philosophy creates an unjust hierarchy in which human-like rather than sentient is the standard for personhood. In contrast, sentience-based arguments break down the species barrier.

The final section, Animal Equality, develops a nonspeciesist framework with rights for all animals. This philosophy accords all sentient beings equal consideration and respect. Liberated from property status, nonhuman animals receive all applicable rights as persons under the law. Nonhuman rights to life and liberty restrain humans from breeding, confining, exploiting, or intentionally and needlessly killing other animals. Joining these basic rights is a nonhuman right to property, understood as including nonhumans’ bodily secretions (e.g., milk, eggs, and honey), what nonhumans build (e.g., nests and dens), and their natural habitats (“undeveloped” areas communally owned by their nonhuman residents). Without the right to property, other animals have no legal protection from humans who assert property rights to expand industrial civilization, displacing nonhumans from their territory and destroying their means of survival. Nonspeciesist advocacy, such as promoting veganism and animal rights, erodes speciesism and advances nonhuman emancipation.

Written clearly and concisely, this book lights the path to justice for all sentient beings. Advocates for nonhuman animals will greatly benefit from this rational, motivating, and compellingly argued book.

“Animal Equality”, review by Brandon Becker

Animal EqualityAnimal Equality is the definitive book on speciesism and language. Joan Dunayer examines the many ways that humans exploit other animals while exposing the deceptive language that conceals, euphemizes, and obscures institutionalized cruelty and injustice.

Reading this book has caused me to overhaul my own language usage to rid it of speciesism. In doing so, my nonhuman animal advocacy has become much more effective. Dunayer provides a style guidelines section and a thesaurus of terms to avoid with suggested alternatives to aid other advocates in doing the same.

Animal Equality is an inspirational call to speak with fairness and act with respect for other animals. If we are serious about rights, equality, and justice for all sentient beings, our movement needs to avoid language that fosters oppression and instead use language that encourages liberation.

I highly recommend this book to all advocates for nonhuman animals.