Elizabeth Castoria, former editorial director of VegNews, has recently debuted her first book, How to Be Vegan. The title is a reflection of the intent of the book, in that it doesn’t just teach readers how to eat vegan, but live vegan as well. Castoria says, “It’s six chapters: an introduction, [a] food chapter, one on veganizing the non-food parts of your life, one on travel, one on manners, and then the fantastic recipes. It really kind of goes over all the things to start thinking about if you want to give this whole thing a try.”
Lia Ronnen and Judy Pray, Castoria’s publisher and editor, respectively, asked her if she wanted to write this book, to which she replied (internally, of course), “I mean, REALLY, what else do you want in life?!” She added, “I’ve been exceedingly lucky, and I’m super super grateful for having had this opportunity.”
Though it was a long road to publication after the initial offer, she enjoyed every moment of it. “The whole process was a joy,” Castoria said. “From getting the call…to sitting in a coffee shop tickety typing away for hours on end, to getting to see the first versions of designed pages, and then finally to getting the final, incredible book in hand, everything was a total dream come true.”
Although her favorite chapter is, unsurprisingly, the one about food, Castoria says, “I love the whole freaking thing. I’m a little biased, of course, so it’s possible that other people will be better suited to making this kind of call, but for me, the fact that all my info, tips, and jokes come wrapped up in an adorably designed package is pretty much my favorite thing of all time.” Her favorite page, she adds, is the “Should I Get a Burrito Flowchart?” Now, while I love me a good flowchart, let’s be real, the answer will almost always be “yes.”
“I think that for a lot of folks, not cooking with animal products seems restricted, so in the food chapter I listed a bunch of possible dishes, combinations, and fruits and vegetables to give readers a good starting point,” Castoria added, “and then, of course, they can flip to the back and try the amazing recipes that Robin Robertson made for the book. And then they will be stoked.” Check out Robertson’s most recent blog recipe for Banh Mi Crostini to get a taste of the yumminess you can find in Castoria’s new book.
Besides some awesome recipes, Castoria wants her readers to finish the book thinking they could successfully lead a vegan lifestyle. “The point of the book is that it’s not scary or weird or difficult to be vegan (even if you just eat one vegan meal per day—that’s still better than zero vegan meals),” Castoria said. “In fact, it’s fun. There’s chocolate and booze, so it can’t be too bad, right?”