Sprouts Illustrated

a tomato in a toque reads How to Cook Cheap Fast and Vegan

credit to Sarah Conrique and Graham I. Hayes

The Vegan Stoner is a collection of delightfully illustrated recipes produced by the same folks who run the eponymous blog.

They may call it stoner food but I refer to it as bachelor food. It is the type of thing that I ate when I was living by myself and my silverware drawer was full of plastic cutlery that I had stolen from Starbucks. Or rather, it’s what I wish I ate. At that time I did not have the innate sense of how to create something both tasteful and healthy. The Stoner crew, Sarah Conrique and Graham I. Haynes, not only manage that here with lentil topped baked potatoes and carrot pizza but also manage to do it in 7 sentences or less. It’s a cookbook that can get daily use, the kind you grab when you realize you only have a half empty container of almond milk, ketchup, and 4 items in the cupboard and you’re hungry, now!

Surely, this is a situation stoners often find themselves in, but, let’s be honest, they are by no means the only ones.

A loyal fan of the blog will recognize a few of the recipes here. The published book, however, also treats you to the ganja-fueled adventures of a cohabitating group of vegetables. In each chapter there are a few scenes of bead-wearing mushroom relaxing on a bean bag or a grumpy pear smothering his emotions with food. In addition to learning what my life would be like if all of my friends were sentient produce, I also got a glimpse of something more relevant: how much our culture has progressed into foodieism. I own another cookbook targeted at a similar crowd called the Starving Students Vegetarian Cookbook. You know what type of recipes it includes? Beans on toast. In this one you get a vegan Hollandaise Benedict.

I myself am an unabashed foodie. I realize it is politically problematic, but I can’t deny who I am. And despite its reliance on canned goods and shortcuts, the Vegan Stoner Cookbook is one I would be proud to have in my kitchen. If nothing else, it’s the cutest reference for rice and bean cooking times and water ratios in existence.

You can sample the Zucchini Bean Balls and Baked Banana Cake from their book, as well as their adorable drawings, on their blog.

Even more? Here are some bloggers trying out a few recipes:

The Divine Ms. K. enjoys the VS peanut stew
The Pantry Pocket instagrams the Tempeh Rueben
Painted Whales tries the Lentil Loaf


Twin Peaks as written by Raymond Carver.

Cover of Pacific by Tom Drury
Pacific by Tom Drury

Tiny Darling is father to Micah Darling. Micah is brother to Lyris Darling and Eamon Hammerhill. Lyris and Micah are both the children of Joan Gower, who plays sister Mia on the television show “Forensic Mystic.” Tiny was once married to Louise Norman, thrift store owner. This is just a segment of the web of relationships that tie together Tom Drury’s Pacific.

Each person has a first name and a last name. Each possess a weight in the text. As Eamon says, “everyone must have an arc and a conflict.” These characters and the entire novel are a series of tiny details shellacked together. Scenes are specific, most a span of minutes only. Together these details repeat, clump together to create a work.

If there is a plot, it is this. Micah moves from tiny Stone City to L.A. to live with his estranged mother. His father starts a career as the white hat equivalent of a bandit. A stranger from out of town sets up a shady business selling Celtic antiques. Ex-sheriff Dan Norman investigates. There are drugs and sword fights and beach volleyball. Mystic elements abound. And funerals and a good bit of TV watching. It is a small town after all.

The end is unsatisfying–how could it be otherwise? One does not read a book like this to finish a plotline. One reads it to hear Tiny’s parting advice to his son (“Put your head down and random in the solar plexs. It’s unexpected.”) One reads it to probe the tensions between Louise and Lyris, the daughter she could never have. (“‘I get afraid sometimes.’ ‘Of what?’ ‘Oh, that I will be left, or that it’s the end of the world?’ ‘Yeah,’ said Louise. ‘Yeah.’” ). All an ending is in this context is a television being turned of, replacing these curious lives with a blank screen.