The Cookbook: In a former life I was a meeting planner for Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA), a very worthy charitable organization whose conference that year was held in Milwaukee. In addition to providing high-quality education for attendees, we also hosted a fundraiser with a celebrity chef doing a cooking demo at the Milwaukee Public Market. We had no budget for the enormous fees that some of the big name chefs command, so we called in favors and wound up with a perfect fit in the lovely and talented Chef Wynnie Stein, a longtime member of the Moosewood Collective.
Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York, became well-known in the ‘70s as a very successful vegetarian, natural foods restaurant operating as a collective instead of a traditional business model. They’re still going strong, and have added cookbook-authoring to their menu of delights. Still not ringing a bell? How about this: The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. Found in many kitchens including my own, this famous and beloved vegetarian cookbook was written in the ‘70s by Mollie Katzen, an early member of the Collective (but no longer).
That evening Chef Wynnie prepared several dishes from the Simple Suppers cookbook while speaking about the emotional and health benefits that kids derive from having family dinners at home on a regular basis. Strong families are what PCAA is all about, so this special event scored a home run in terms of message and donations. And I scored a free cookbook, autographed by the chef herself.
The Cookbook Road Test stories usually get decorated with fast car photos, but since this one is all about a simple, family-friendly meals we’ve got a safe, sensible minivan instead.
- Indonesian Sweet Potato & Cabbage Soup – recipe tested and included in this post (keep reading)
- Easy Egg Rolls & Duck Sauce – recipe tested and included
The next few recipes are not included here, listed only to whet your appetite and give a broader sense of this cookbook's range:
- Pasta with Broccoli, Edamame & Walnuts
- Vietnamese Noodle Salad
- Black Beans with Pickled Red Onions
Keep reading for recipes, pictures galore, a cool playlist, and the verdict.