It might be hard to imagine, but in 1999, Portland had maybe two all-vegetarian restaurants. Back then, Josh Hooten was a new vegan who struggled to cook for himself—and to pacify his omnivorous girlfriend, Michelle Schwegmann, who begged Hooten to eat eggs so that the pair could go to brunch.
These days, vegan options grace even the lowliest food cart menu, and Hooten and Schwegmann comprise one of Portland’s biggest vegan power couples, hawking cruelty-free tees and faux leather handbags at Herbivore Clothing, an all-vegan shop the pair founded in 2002. The store also sells dozens of cookbooks—so when a publishing company asked Hooten and Schwegmann to pen their own tome of recipes, the duo knew they needed to make theirs unique.
“I thought back to when I went vegan, and I didn’t have any vegan friends, and there weren’t any books: What did I need?” reflects Hooten. “We wanted to take away as many obstacles as possible, and show that this isn’t hard.”
This concept became Eat Like You Give a Damn: Recipes for the New Ethical Vegan, published July 2015. The cookbook teems with easy, crowd-pleasing recipes like sweet potato fries, skillet taco pizza, and snickerdoodle cookies. Many dishes may look familiar to Instagram followers of @herbivoreclothing, where the couple posts envy-inducing photos of their daughter’s daily school lunches.
“This is what a family of ethical vegans looks like,” Schwegmann says, of both the cookbook recipes and lunchbox snapshots. “We’re just like everybody else.”
A vegan family? More like the vegan family: the trio are influential players in the national vegan movement, crossing the country for events and conventions, sponsoring marquee events like the Vegan Beer & Food Festival, and co-creating the world’s only “vegan mini mall” with Food Fight! Grocery, Sweetpea Baking, and Scapegoat Tattoo. (Unbeknownst to most omnivores, gaggles of global tourists gather at 12th & Stark to visit this cruelty-free enclave.)
But despite designing “go vegan or die” stickers, “bacon had a mom” shirts, and a book titled Eat Like You Give a Damn, Hooten and Schwegmann buck the sanctimonious vegan stereotype. Their cookbook is fun, friendly, and colorful, chockfull of sly humor and Hooten’s gorgeous photography.
“We’re trying to say that being vegan for ethical reasons is cool; it’s attractive, it’s normal; it’s okay,” Schwegmann says. “It’s not extreme, like I was afraid of. We’re nice, normal people. We try to be funny. We make mistakes. It doesn’t have to be this perfect thing. It doesn’t have to be wearing all black, or drinking green juice all day long."
There’s absolutely no green juice in ELYGAD (though there is a lone kale smoothie), nor are there complicated instructions for dehydrating flaxseed chips or fermenting seaweed. Instead, you’ll find simple recipes for staples like sage gravy, lentil-apple sausages, and tempeh bacon strips.
“I fully admit that I loved meat, cheese, and milk,” Schwegmann says. “I still love meat; I just love vegan meat. I’ll never say no to a Tofurky sausage—sorry, never gonna say no. It’s okay to have been like that, and it’s okay to be the way we are now. It’s evolution; if we all stayed the same our whole lives, we’d be pretty boring.”
Even if you're not ready to evolve into an ethical vegan, there are plenty of reasons to pick up a copy of the Herbivore cookbook: maybe you're searching for fun new ingredients, maybe you're hoping to healthify your evening meal a bit, or maybe you're just craving cappuccino-orange chocolate chip cookies. If it's the latter, don't worry—we've got you covered.
Cappuccino-Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies
This amazing cookie is a version of a Julie Hasson recipe. Julie has written many cookbooks and founded Native Bowl, a popular food cart in Portland. Her baking prowess is legendary. When I first made these cookies, I shared one with my neighbor, who promptly exclaimed, “This cookie is worth the price of the book!” I knew we had a winner. These are serious cookies for serious cookie lovers.
- 3 tablespoons hot water
- 1 tablespoon flax meal
- 1¾ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon finely ground coffee beans
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups brown sugar, packed
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup vegan semisweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup plain or vanilla nondairy milk
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Put the water and flax meal in a small bowl or measuring cup and stir to combine. Set aside to thicken, about 5 minutes.
3. Put the flour, coffee beans, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
4. Put the brown sugar, oil, vanilla extract, orange zest, and reserved flax mixture in a large bowl and stir until smooth and well combined. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Stir in the oats, and chocolate chips, and milk just until evenly distributed.
5.Use ¼ cup of dough for each cookie. Arrange the dough on the lined baking sheets at least four inches apart to allow the cookies to spread. Press the cookies down with the heel of your hand until they are about ½ inch thick. Bake for 14 minutes, until puffed and golden brown (they’ll still be soft to the touch). Let cool completely on the baking sheet before removing.
Per cookie: 305 calories, 4 g protein, 12 g fat (4 g sat), 49 g carbohydrates, 177 mg sodium, 50 mg calcium, 2 g fiber
Hungry for more herbivorous recipes? Order Eat Like You Give a Damn through the Herbivore website, or pick up a copy at their Stark Street storefront—if you ask nicely, they might even autograph it for you!