“Many people who embrace a plant-based diet do so for ethical reasons, and not because they dislike the flavor and texture of meat. But finding satisfying meat alternatives is not always easy for individuals who once enjoyed the flavors and textures associated with meat-based dishes, or for those who grew up with meat-based dishes as a traditional part of their family or ethnic heritage… This cookbook focuses on approximating the appearance, flavors, and textures of meat and the meat products that many of us grew up with.”
~ Chef Skye
Crafting Seitan: Creating Homemade Plant-Based Meats by Chef Skye Michael Conroy (author of other books including The Gentle Chef Cookbook and The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook) is a recipe book that teaches the reader how to create meat analogues at home.
While the book does a great job at presenting a comprehensive approach to meat analogues, where it shines is in its ability to educate the reader.
From Chikun, Beaf, and Porq, meat analogues attempt to replicate the texture, flavor, and appearance of a particular type of meat. While the target audience appears to be vegans, this book is also excellent for transitioning vegans, or simply the curious looking for healthier approaches to traditional meat dishes.
The book is broken up into three different sections. The first part explains essential ingredients and techniques. The second part presents specific meat analogues, followed by types of cuts and specific examples of recipes with the given technique (like making Chikun Souvlaki after learning how to make Chikun). The final part of the book is reserved for sauces, incidentals, and extras.
In this book, Chef Skye is successful at presenting not only clear instructions, but clear methodology of his process. In so doing, he opens the doors to homecooks from simply following a recipe, to understanding a technique. As they say, knowing a recipe means you can make a dish, whereas understanding a technique means you can make 100 dishes.
Because of this creative textbook-like approach, the book exemplifies the elegance of Chef Skye’s artistic vision: he is not simply looking to make good-tasting food, he is attempting to reconnect us with foods reminiscent of certain cultures, and recreate “foods that are familiar…and that evoke a feeling of nostalgia.”
In succeeding, Chef Skye shows us why he is a master of his craft.
ISBN 978-1-57067-396-2 ♦ $24.95 ♦ March 15, 2021 ♦ 208 pages ♦ full color