This is a punk vegan cookbook (If you just groaned and rolled your eyes after reading the word “vegan,” go to sleep for 10,000 years and then come back to this review). But this isn’t just a punk vegan cookbook. Almost twenty-five years ago, Soy, Not Oi! Was published. It had over 100 pages of recipes and essays and fun illustrations of punk vegetables, and it talked about social change while still being funny. It started out as anarchist cookzine, and eventually became something closer to a book. At 312 pages, Soy, Not Oi! Volume 2 is, without question, a hefty book. The Hippycore Krew who made the original still compiled it, and Eryc Why (if you read Razorcake’s Webcomic Wednesdays online, he’s the author of Big Black Bear) is still the illustrator. There are over 200 recipes from a ton of contributors, and it’s easily put into chapters like “Breakfasts,” “Saucecore,” and “Brewing”—Yep, a whole chapter on how to brew yourself at home. A lot of the recipes also have a “recommended listening” at the top of each recipe, which is perfect. Are you making red lentil chowder? Then the playlist is “BAD BRAINS, ALL DAY!” The cookbook ends with a memorandum to Joel Olson, the editor of the first Soy, Not Oi!. All proceeds that would go to contributors are going to his family.
When texting my friend Samantha, she sent me a photo of her apartment just scattered with piles of cookbooks. That photo alone made me anxious since I’m not much of a cook. I find making food intimidating because it’s fucking food we’re discussing here; the lifeblood of being a human! So for me, this is the perfect cookbook because it feels like my trusty friend, the zine, and is full of recipes from people I would probably hang out with. Plus, there’s this one illustration of a cute fat straight edge fish that makes me so happy I forget how scary using an oven is. –Donna Ramone (Culture At All Costs Publishing, 3457 Cooper St., San Diego, CA92104, soynotoi.com)