Sarah Kramer's first cookbook was a compilation of recipes she made with her friend as an inexpensive Christmas gift for friends and family. It was so popular that she ended up making another thousand copies and selling those online. After that, she got a publishing deal and four books later she is a vegan cookbook guru.
In addition to the four award-winning cookbooks, she has also written articles for VegNews and Herbivore Magazine, spoken on NPR and other radio stations, owns a tattoo shop with her husband, and sells her own photography. Her fun, retro style is often added into her cookbooks with cute pin-up photos.
Sarah Kramer was raised with a vegetarian mom who kept her informed about food, but never forced her to eat anything. When she was in her 20s, she was sick with chronic fatigue syndrome and a doctor told her to drink milk and eat liver. Instead, she did research and decided for herself that a plant-based diet was the better way to go. On the new diet, she got up out of bed and never looked back.
Sarah Kramer's attitude toward veganism is extremely positive-- she sees it as a "compassionate lifestyle choice." She regards veganism as an ethical choice and treats food with respect, without feeling guilty for eating anything she wants to eat.
Because Sarah Kramer is such a great role model for aspiring vegans everywhere, I asked her to answer a few questions for us and enlighten us more on her beliefs and upcoming projects. I hope you love learning more about her!
1. Are your four cookbooks written with different types of readers in mind, and if so, who are they best for?
The recipes in all 4 books have easy to find ingredients so you don't have to run all over town trying to find obscure ingredients.
How It All Vegan was written for newbie vegans.
The Garden of Vegan was written for those who are a little more comfortable with their veganism.
La Dolce Vegan was written for vegans who are busy. Almost all the recipes in LDV can be made in under 30 minutes.
Vegan a Go-Go! is a "best of book" with the best recipes from the first 3 books as well as 20 new recipes. It's perfect for when you go visit friends or family and you want to make good food but don't want to truck all your heavy cookbooks with you.
2. You were lucky enough to be raised as a vegetarian. How do you think raising children to be conscious of their food choices affects them in adulthood?
Absolutely. My mother always included me in the conversation about what she was making in the kitchen. I understood where my food came from and was included in helping with the shopping and preparation.
My Dad was a meat eater outside of the house and if I was curious about what he was eating (such as a steak) my mother was quite forthcoming with what it was. She'd say "Your Dad is eating a steak and that comes from a cow." It made quite an impression on me, especially because I loved animals and didn't want them to be harmed for any reason.
Treats at our house were carrot sticks and homemade banana chips. I didn't realize there was a whole world of junk food out there until I started public school in grade 3 (before that I went to an alternative school). At first I was excited to dig into my friends exotic meals of Kraft Dinner and sugar cookies but I very quickly realized that junk food makes you feel like shit and quickly ran back to the healthy whole wheat cucumber sandwiches my mother made for me.
Even now I don't have much of a taste for junk food. Sometimes eating an orange is too sweet for me.
3. Some people worry that maintaining a vegan diet can be hard over the long-run. Have you had any trouble remaining a vegan for the past 20 years or so?
Not at all. I don't understand that mentality to tell you the truth.
4. If you were going to pick one dish to wow people with (only telling them it's vegan after they're wowed, of course!), what would it be? One of my favourite dishes to serve non-vegans is the Maple Apple Dip from How It All Vegan (pg 173) with a plate of fresh sliced apples. It's a lovely simple but delicious recipe that kids and adults quickly fall in love with. The look of shock on peoples face when you tell them it's vegan and that it's also made from tofu!! It's priceless.
5. I love to hear what people's favorite go-to meals are. What do you love to make in a pinch?
My quick and easy meal is beans and rice. In my pot and onto my tummy in 15 minutes flat. :)
6. I know one of your goals is to help people make the transition to veganism as easily as possible. What are your best tips for people who are becoming vegan?
My biggest tip is to do it on your own terms. Don't let others sway you in one direction or another. Do your research. Understand for yourself why you're on this path and remember that each day is a new opportunity to be the best vegan you an be.
Thank You, Sarah Kramer!!
Sarah Kramer Interview: February 20, 2009