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Hidden vegan history in non-veg cookbook

A Brief History of Vegetarianism in Maine

An unexpected essay titled “A Brief Vegetarian History of Maine” by food writer Avery Yale Kamila is included in the just-released Maine Community Cookbook Volume 2: 200 More Recipes Celebrating Home Cooking in the Pine Tree State. The essay’s inclusion in this non-vegetarian cookbook, featuring a number of vegetarian and vegan recipes such as vegan crab cakes and vegan pumpkin pie, demonstrates the widespread interest in this long-ignored cultural history within the small, rural state of Maine. According to Kamila, her research suggests that many other American states have as-yet untold vegetarian histories waiting for researchers to recover.

"The fact that non-vegetarians are interested in this long-suppressed history is a positive sign," said Kamila, who lives in Portland, Maine. "While Maine history books all omit the state's fascinating plant-based past, the cookbook's inclusion of this hidden vegetarian history means progress is being made in countering the inherent violence of the carnist worldview. Carnism fosters the cultural myth that vegetarianism and veganism are fads or diets. In contrast, vegetarian and vegan history telling helps reveal vegetarianism as a social change movement active for more than two thousand years. In order to break through the carnist worldview in America, the long history of vegetarianism and veganism in individual states needs to be documented and exposed."

Writing in the essay (see attached photo) about Revolutionary War veteran Captain Peter Twitchell of Bethel (who was a new vegetarian in 1820), Kamila observed that “The temperate meals Twitchell outlines would be called vegan today.” In the essay, Kamila also writes about the meals eaten by vegetarian doctor Horace A. Barrows, vegetarian publisher Jeremiah Hacker, Christian prophet Ellen G. White, organic farming advocate Helen Nearing, PBS cooking host Toni Fiore, and vegan celebrity chef Matthew Kenney. Kamila continues working to unearth the centuries-old stories of vegetarianism and veganism in Maine. She has published a number of columns about Maine’s hidden vegetarian history in her regular vegan food column appearing in the Maine Sunday Telegram newspaper and other Maine newspapers, including the Waterville Sentinel and the Lewiston Sun Journal.

Edited by Margaret Hathaway and Karl Schatz with an introduction by Don Lindgren, the cookbook is published by Islandport Press, which also published the 2020 companion cookbook, Maine Bicentennial Community Cookbook, where Kamila contributed a vegan recipe and a paragraph about Maine’s plant-based history. The latest cookbook is currently ranging between No. 23 and No. 26 on Amazon’s list of best sellers in the category of New England cooking. 

~ Maine's Hidden Vegetarian History Project ~
by Avery Yale Kamila
Wabanaki nut milk is America's original milk -
Maine’s pioneer vegetarians -
Jacksonian health reformers prescribe the vegetable diet -
1834 Graham riot in Portland -
Maine’s 19th century vegetarian newspaper -
20th century Good Life gurus ate no flesh -
Significance of 1975 World Vegetarian Conference in Orono  -


Avery Yale Kamila

PO Box 4242

Portland, ME, US, 04101


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