Isa Chandra Moskowitz Talks Appetite for Reduction

Vegan Cookbook extraordinaire Isa Chandra Moskowitz speaks with us about her new low-fat cookbook.

There’s probably no introduction needed for the author of some of the most popular vegan cookbooks on the planet, including Vegan with a Vengeance, Veganomicon, and Vegan Brunch. Luckily, Isa Chandra Moskowitz was able to take some time to chat with us about her new book, Appetite for Reduction, as well as talk about some other exciting projects in the works!

VegNews: Appetite for Reduction differs from your previous cookbooks a good deal. Did you have any reservations about writing a book about weight-loss?
Isa Chandra Moskowitz: It’s actually not a book about weight-loss (newsflash: I’m fat!). Rather, it’s a cookbook with low-fat recipes. It’s really about eating healthier and reducing fat intake because people should be eating healthfully at any size. I eat broccoli because I love it! I personally feel much better when I eat this way. I know that veganism as a weight loss diet is kind of the hype right now, but there are lots of us fatter vegans out there, and we too like to eat healthy and exercise. I’m trying not to stress out about weight so much, because that leads to some really unsavory behaviors and a bad state of mind.

VN: You're known for creating full-flavor, crowd-pleasing vegan recipes—was it challenging to maintain those expectations while lowering the calorie and fat content of the dishes?
ICM: It was actually a lot of fun to develop flavors without all the fatty ingredient crutches. At first it was a bit challenging, because really, you’re thinking, if this is going to be the first vegan food someone is tasting, you want it to be the best. So it was hard not to think “OK, coleslaw, let’s smother it in vegan mayo!” or something along those lines, because fat and creaminess are instantly pleasing. Once I figured out ways to get creaminess out of things like beans, and a small handful of nuts, it was on. Also, I really wanted everything to be whole-foods based. Often times, it’s really the texture of low-fat foods that’s a turn off, so I tried to build filling textures with methods like roasting and pureeing. I tried to make each recipe a mini-cooking lesson, so that you have new kitchen skills for life.

VN: What is your favorite recipe from Appetite for Reduction?
ICM: That is a really tough question, but I’m just answering it with the recipes I make most, which thus far have been the Edamame Pesto, Pot Pie Stew, and the Everyday Chickpea-Quinoa Salad, in some form or another.

VN: You've written books solo and with Terry Hope Romero—how different is your process when writing alone?
ICM: It’s so lonely! When Terry and I are working together we just tag team. Since I left Brooklyn, we’ll have hours-worth of video chatting, discussing nothing but hazelnuts—with a little gossip thrown in. Writing a book alone is more introspective, because you don’t have that second set of taste buds, which can be so fickle! Sometimes I crave nothing but black beans for a week, so that can make for some dull recipe writing. But the nice part of writing alone is that every recipe becomes your story and you never have to ask for permission.

VN: What's next after this? Any books in the works, and are you working on any other projects?
ICM: Terry and I are working on a pie book to end all pie books. And no, that’s not a low-fat book. I’m living in Omaha now, and I hope to have some kind of business here, so that’s been a hot topic in my life. I guess I plan on lots of travel in the next year or so, plus lots of recipe developing and hopefully many successful bake sales and fundraisers along the way.

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