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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegetarian Reading

Vegetarian Books

Each issue the VIP birds endeavor to soar to the highest literary peak to peck out the most unique, informative, and accomplished book that contributes to vegetarian enlightenment.

This month we feature a book with easy-to-prepare recipes for incredibly delicious non-dairy frozen desserts.

Vice Cream:
Over 70 Sinfully Delicious
Dairy-Free Delights
By Jeff Rogers

Celestial Arts, 2004
Paper, $12.95

We confess. We're criminals bearing the alias, "Naughty Vegans!" Our crime is enjoying Vice Cream too much.

We were completely innocent until we began our life of depravity in the fall of 2001. That's when we met the insidious one, Jeff Rogers, who came to Los Angeles with a box filled with samples designed to corrupt anyone who could not walk away from some of the best frozen desserts to invade this planet.

A mutual acquaintance put Jeff in touch with us so he could ask a delicate question: could he stay at our house while attending the first Worldfest vegetarian festival in Los Angeles? One of his goals was to introduce his creamy creations to luminaries in the vegetarian world. Included in his baggage was an enormous cardboard carton lined with styrofoam and dry ice and loaded with pint-sized cylindrical cartons filled with an assortment of unusual flavors of Vice Cream. He had even created Vice Cream labels.

Vice Cream Although he offered tastes to numerous people at the event who told him he must market this product, at the end of the day he found that the cartons were not quite empty. Not wanting his creations to go to waste, Jeff led a tasting session at our home that evening. As we sat around the dining room table tasting different flavors of Vice Cream and smacking our lips and moaning with delight, Jeff told us that he wanted to assemble his recipes into a book.

Returning to our home to attend Worldfest the following year, Jeff brought another huge carton with containers filled with a different assortment of Vice Creams. Again we were privileged to enjoy the leftovers of Strawberry Rhubarb, Concord Grape, Peach, Almond Date, and Vegg Nog. What a delight to eat these sinfully delicious frozen, all-natural desserts, some totally raw, but none with added sugars, stabilizers and the myriad of artificial ingredients in commercial ice creams!

Before he left our home, Jeff told us that he had enough recipes for a book and asked if we would examine his manuscript before he submitted it to a publisher. After reviewing his manuscript, we offered some suggestions and wished him success in his venture. When we received the news that the book was to be published, we experienced the joy of knowing we had played a minor role in its development.

A committed vegan and raw food disciple, Jeff states in the introduction to the book, "Sharing this healthful alternative to dairy ice cream has become a part of my life's work." In the book he provides recipes for over 70 vice creams that are totally vegan.

Instead of milk or cream, he employs nuts (especially raw cashews) to create a creamy texture. Sweetening is accomplished with dates and maple syrup while fresh fruits form the base of many of the recipes. Jeff Rogers

Recipes are divided into two main sections: one Vice Creams and the other Raw Vice Creams. The Vice Creams section features recipes like Chocoholic Delight, Espresso, Mocha, Black Forest, and Peanut Butter. Some of these flavors held an honored place in our freezer and were consumed voraciously.

The Raw Vice Creams, Jeff's passion, include delights like Kiwi Mandarin, Melon Mania, Concord Grape, Apple Strudel, and even Coconut Durian. The sweet memory of the Concord Grape has lasted long after we savored it in 2001.

What makes the book so engaging is the simplicity of the recipes. Most have between four and seven ingredients with some containing only three. The directions are clear and easy to follow, while assembling them takes just minutes. The longest aspect is waiting 40 to 60 minutes for the mixture to freeze.

The book opens with a section of Basics that includes information about sweeteners, extracts, juicing, nut milks, coconut, ice cream makers, blending tips, serving instructions, storage, and raw foods. Concluding the book is a Sauces section that offers seven simple, mostly fruity toppings that can be spooned over Vice Cream to create an even more decadent dessert.

Vice Cream serves a number of audiences. Vegans will appreciate the dairy-free recipes. Raw food enthusiasts will revel in the tasty recipes created only with raw ingredients. Non-vegetarians, especially those who are lactose intolerant, will be able to enjoy tasty frozen desserts they will be able to produce in their own homes.

Jeff Rogers has succeeded in his goal of sharing this healthy alternative with the public. There is no doubt that his creations are tantalizingly delicious. We have sampled many of these recipes and can only rave about the results.

We are committed "Naughty Vegans" forever. Long live Vice Cream!

Reviewed June 2004

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