Your new favorite cookbook is now
* The award is Beard;
James Beard: see
2003 James Beard Awards
Apologies to Ian Fleming and the James Beard Foundation; some temptations
are too formidable to resist.
Crescent writes children's books, magazine articles, and even the
occasional novel as well as cookbooks.
Learn more about her work and life at
dragonwagon.com. Or take a
Fearless Writing ™ course with
her: details, including some workshops that mingle culinary touring
in Italy with writing, at
And yet another
one: Passionate Vegetarian was
named the 2003 American
Vegetarian Association Book of the Year.
Peanutty Note from Crescent, Summer 2005
I've been caught out in an old chestnut about peanuts --- that they
were native to Africa. My error was noticed by the diligent (and
well-informed!) reader Kristina Rieck. Kristina, who is also a high
school teacher and an organic gardener, points out that in fact
peanuts are native to our hemisphere,
primarily tropical and sub-tropical regions of the Americas.
Rather, peanuts traveled to Africa and other regions of
the world from the Americas, via the early Spanish
explorers and traders. Eventually, they became a well-loved and
integral part of many African dishes. It is true, though, Kristina
added, that during slavery times in America, some Africans did bring
peanuts with them, and sometimes to parts of the Americas where they
had not yet been grown.
Kristina sent me this info awhile back, but it's taken me
awhile to get it up here (and in fact to update the site generally)
because I have been under a deadline for a book which will be
published in fall 2006. Its working title:
Cornbread and Everything. Her comments fascinated me
when I first got them, but even more so now, because
Cornbread and Everything has
brought home to me as never before how many, many foods the Americas
gave the world --- roughly a third of the major food crops
now domesticated worldwide! Corn, peanuts, tomatoes, peppers,
chocolate, most beans, squashes, potatoes... and that's just for
I was and am triply fascinated by Kristina's sleuthing,
actually. For, after Cornbread and
Everything, I am going to be working on a reissue
(really a wholesale redo) of a book I first published many, many
years ago, back in 1972, The Bean Book.
Because I know now (as I didn't then) that peanuts are actually a
legume (bean) and not a nut, I had already been thinking about
peanuts recipe-wise, and I am very happy with this new revelation.
Really, in almost every plate of food on which we sustain
ourselves, we taste the world, history, trade --- humanity in all
its colorations, agriculture ad culture. Just plain everyday
ten years in the making, which is ...
|"...seasoned by a story of shared
food memories, love, loss, joy, renewal"
...epic... part novel, part cookbook and part memoir"
to vegetarians and carnivores alike"
aromatic, visually stimulating "
|"...lyrical, wide-ranging... a
|"...an excellent resource
... every page has something worth
(Seattle Times) |
|"...an invitation to dine on
wonderful foods with thoroughly tested recipes.
In paragraphs introducing
(them)... Dragonwagon tells stories, gives food histories and makes
you feel like she is right there in the kitchen."
Of course, it's
--- more than 1,000 of them in Passionate
Vegetarian (and some here, like the
Chocolate-Raspberry Dream Mousse.
The latter is vegan; some of the other recipes use dairy and eggs, but all
offer many variations, and are:
for everyday living. Ingredient lists are always
reasonable and understandable; you won't have to search high and low for
something esoteric... comfort food that's easy to prepare, and deprives
you of nothing..." (amazon.com
"...creative, inspiring, and
exuberant... seductive, sexy, utterly delicious "
Biscuit Cookbook Catalog)|
"...fun, easy to follow...
interesting and delicious... and the results are out of this world.
creative, and full of life ...bursting with ideas, delectable dishes from
all over the globe. "
Krasner, author of The Flavors of Olive Oil)|
passionate... Her food is boldly seasoned and draws from a variety of
demurely encyclopedic, conversational yet fastidiously detailed. The
instructions are so thorough...
spunky international flavor ... also
plenty of hearty down-home fare...practically
guarantee perfect results."
You'll also discover
recipes from readers,
like Dee W's Great Big Wok of Asian Noodle Soup.
Contribute one today! (Drop it via e to
Well, is there "a" PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN
But of course! Though many people
meet that description, PV's
author is Crescent
Dragonwagon (CD, or Dragon, to friends).
Culinary adventurer, writer not only of cookbooks but of children's books
(many), novels (two), numerous magazine articles for publications ranging
from the New York Times Book Review to Cosmopolitan to
Fine Cooking, she also teaches Fearless Writing™ , a workshop she developed.
CD, after 33 years in the Ozark Mountain town of Eureka
Springs, Arkansas, is taking a year or so at large (NEW! Read all about it at
Of Moose and Men (and Women), and Bi-Coastal Cornbread). Meanwhile,
catch up with your peripatetic Dragon via now
appearing at... or join her for a book signing, class, or this
winter's Passionate Italy Tour ...scroll
down for more.
Above, Crescent and her much-loved late husband,
Ned Shank, about three months before he lost his life in a bicycle
accident on November 30, 2000. Photo, Bruce Crabtree.
is also this site. Browse. Spend a little time. Poke around.
But just to get you started, check out:
|Addenda / errata,
also known as House of Corrections.
Little picking things (okay, mistakes, misprints, etc) that'll be
fixed in future printings of PV.|
|A more-or-less quarterly
essay by CD,
telling the larger
story behind a recipe (like Melting to
Joy and Snow Ice Cream), or which look behind and deeper in another
| An entire
Culinary Alphabet for Vegetarians
with on and off-site links for everything from How
do I add pizzazz to cooking vegetables? to
What is this thing called protein?
using some of the alphabet's ingredients and techniques.|
occasional link to an archived (but at one time, live) interview or some
such with CD. ||
Join Crescent Dragonwagon
for a culinary & literary tour,
in Passionate Italy
CD brings the take-off-the-emergency-brake-hit-the-accelerator-and-let-'er-rip
creative joy of her acclaimed
Writing™ workshops to Italy's
Emilia-Romagna twice this year. All this and truffle hunting too! Check
out the details of this incomparably delicious trip.
(Above: a glorious fruit market in
Bologna. Photograph, David Koff).
Maybe most of all, PASSIONATE VEGETARIAN
is an outlook: feisty, sensual,
adventurous, life-affirmative and downright celebratory. It’s knowing that
how and what we eat and cook changes not just our own hungers and health,
but those of the world: one plate at a time.
So, again ---
you are welcome
The soup is simmering, the bread is out of the oven, the salad greens are
washed and the dressing whisked.
Your place at the table is set.
get delicious. Let's cook. Let's feast. Together.