Reading and signing Saturday for local book “The Skeptical Vegan”

This week, we’re looking forward to this Saturday’s book signing at Downtown Ithaca’s Buffalo Street Books for The Skeptical Vegan. It’s a new book from Eric Lindstrom, a local designer and author whose Meaty Vegan blog has offered excellent tips on healthy and ethical eating for the last four years.

“The Skeptical Vegan” is on shelves now at Buffalo Street Books. Chickens not included.

Eric used to be an insatiable meat-eater who once ate 68 chicken wings in a sitting, but now he’s part of a growing trend, both locally and worldwide, toward eating fresh food made from good ingredients that don’t involve using animals in any way.

He and his family — including their dog — eat vegan every day, and it’s easy to tell from his blog and his new book that they’re not depriving themselves. They eat plenty of delicious food, including easy substitutes for the meaty dishes he used to crave.

Actor and outspoken vegan Matthew Modine says, “If you’re skeptical about a vegan lifestyle, Eric’s witty stories and personal anecdotes will make you a true believer.”

The book grew out of Eric’s blog, “The Meaty Vegan,” which has long focused on Eric’s determination to find “meaty” foods that don’t involve meat, but still satisfy the same desires. Cauliflower doesn’t sound like an obvious substitute for chicken wings, but roasting it creates a crispy, chewy, caramelized morsel that tastes just as great tossed in Frank’s Red Hot, the key ingredient in Buffalo-style chicken wings. (The wings themselves are almost just a delivery vehicle for the hot sauce and flavorful dressing.)

Rice paper bacon. Really. Photo courtesy of The Skeptical Vegan.

Not ready to give up bacon? Many skeptics will want to open the book right to the rice paper bacon recipe. Made from those discs of rice paper usually used for spring rolls, rice paper bacon hit the vegan blogosphere just last year, and became a quick sensation. (You can preview the recipe at theSkepticalVegan.com. Click the big “Bacon!” link.)

The assortment of recipes in the books ranges from the staple ingredient level, like how to fake bacon or how to turn jackfruit into unexpectedly plausible “pulled pork,” to finished decadent dishes like White Alfredo Lasagna and a vegan version of that Binghamton staple, the Chick’n Spiedie Sandwich.

Eric, who’s also the marketing director for the Farm Rights Animal Movement, also talks about commercial products like Beyond Meat’s Beast Burger (and their vegan chicken-free strips and beef-free crumbles), Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo (as well as their salad dressings and cookie dough), convenience foods that play a big role in helping regular people — not just those who have lots of time for cooking from scratch — go vegan.

Not sure where to stock up? Plenty of local stores and restaurants offer vegan food, even if they sell meat as well. GreenStar carries Beyond Meat burgers, the P&C Fresh has vegan Just Mayo, and of course fresh produce is always a good way to go.

It’s easy to eat vegan at spots like Bandwagon (the best veggieburger in town, bar none), Agava (try the tofu rancheros for brunch), CoreLife, and Pokeland, and most Asian eateries can do vegan, as well. Papa John’s Pizza is vegan if you leave off the cheese — yes, even the garlic dipping sauce. Or just visit Ten Forward, Ithaca’s fully vegan cafe above Autumn Leaves.

Eric will be reading from The Skeptical Vegan at Buffalo Street Books, where copies are for sale, and you can get your copy signed — this Saturday from 3-5pm in Downtown Ithaca. If you can’t get to the event, you can buy the book by calling BSB at 607-273-8246, order online, or grab the Kindle edition or hardcover from Amazon.

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