Vintage Vegetarian

When I started this blog, I was a little worried: “I don’t eat cans of cream of mushroom soup every day, how am I going to make this work?”  Like most people, my perception of old recipes are those infamous concoctions like Tuna Casserole and Tamale Pie, not the ones that are passed down and reused silently from generation to generation.  Looking back to my post from last week, I think Russian Tea Cakes are one of those silent recipes that has been brought to Christmas cookie exchanges and potlucks for years.

Kevin and I tend to eat a lot a lot of local produce, whole grains, and not much meat, which runs counter to our perception of ‘vintage’ food, I think.  Enter The Vegetarian Epicure, published in 1972.  I almost jumped for joy when I saw this book at a local thrift shop.  Indeed, as I flip through its pages, I find that most of the dishes have a very contemporary ring to them.  So in honor of breaking our preconceptions about vintage recipes, I bring to thee, Spiced Dal, a healthful, vegetarian, vintage recipe!

I followed the recipe quite closely although, I have to admit, I used generic lentils because I had them on hand.

The end product was a lovely and hearty dish with a wonderful depth of flavor.  I added a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten it up a bit.  Serve with rice, quinoa, or naan!


  1. Reply
    Camela Steinke April 15, 2010

    Awesome, I am always looking for more vegetarian recipes, especially ones using Dal

  2. Reply
    Tricia April 15, 2010

    I remember this book!!! We had it at the veggie co-op I lived in in Berkeley. Wow. That sounds ridiculous….

  3. Reply
    Shannon Olson April 15, 2010

    great blog! looks like lots of fun.

  4. Reply
    Kate April 15, 2010

    Oh yum! I love dal.

  5. Reply
    Coraa April 15, 2010

    I have that book! It’s awesome.

    (I am particularly amused by the bit in it about the pleasures of combining good food with good pot…)

  6. Reply
    theungourmet April 15, 2010

    I love the cover of this cookbook! What a nice recipe. I love its simplicity. I can imagine it made your home smell quite delicious while it was cooking. I think I may try this over the weekend. 😉

  7. Reply
    Liz April 16, 2010

    I love old cook books. I love the ideas and tips that they have in them. 🙂 Cool recipe!


  8. Reply
    alison April 16, 2010

    @Camela, Shannon, and Liz: Thanks for stopping by!

    @Tricia: I’m not sure I can picture you in a vegetarian co-op these days.

    @Cora: I’ll have to read the introduction — I did see that she was a film student at UCLA when she wrote the cookbook.

    @Ungourmet: It was a very simple recipe, although the spice combination made the daal have an amazing depth of flavor. We served it with brown rice and peas.

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