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Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time

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Protest Kitchen is an empowering guide to the food and lifestyle choices anyone can make for positive change in the face of the profound challenges of our time.

Our food choices have much more of an impact than most people imagine. They not only affect our personal health and the environment, but are also tied to issues of justice, misogyny, national security, and human rights. Protest

Protest Kitchen is the first book to explore the ways in which a more plant-based diet challenges regressive politics and fuels the resistance.

A provocative and practical resource for hope and healing, Protest Kitchen, features over 50 vegan recipes (with alternatives for "aspiring vegans") along with practical daily actions such as:

Substitute cow's milk in your coffee and cereal for any of a variety of delicious non-dairy milks. This will help lower the release of methane gas that contributes to global warming
Use a smartphone app when buying chocolate to avoid supporting African farmers who use child-labor, even child slavery, to supply cacao beans to the food industry
Make your own cleanings supplies and wood polish; it's frugal and avoids reliance on products that may be tested on animals

209 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2018

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About the author

Carol J. Adams

82 books288 followers
Carol J. Adams is a feminist-vegetarian theorist and author of books on eco-feminism and the links between species oppression and gender oppression.

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5 stars
57 (29%)
4 stars
91 (46%)
3 stars
38 (19%)
2 stars
8 (4%)
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2 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,761 reviews1,218 followers
December 22, 2018
recommended for: (almost) all human readers, adults and some older teens and even some younger teens, though see caveat at the bottom of this review

I’m a huge fan of these two authors, as vegan & intersectional activists and as people. I’m so glad that this vegan book is not only vegan but also intersectional. It addresses how our food choices can address not only our own health and the rights of animals but also the environment/climate change, and human rights, and also issues such as misogyny, racism, food justice, and compassion.

Normally, I can’t wait to read vegan theory books, but these days I’m more interested in fiction or maybe biography with a narrative, so I read through this book slowly, though I found it interesting and the further along I got the faster I read through it.

This book is particularly good for those considering veganism or those wanting to move in that direction, and for newer vegans, but I’ve been vegan for over 3 decades and I found some recipes of interests and new things to think about/things to think about in a slightly different way.

I love this book’s organization. I love how throughout the book, daily actions, 30 + 1 of them, are suggested. The chapter titles are How We Got Here, Eating to Combat Climate Change, Food Justice, Take Out Misogymy, Dreaming of an Inclusive Democracy, Cultivating Compassion, The Diet You Need Now. Feeding Your Resistance, Bonus Daily Action: Host a Communal Resistance Dinner. Each section how those proposed daily actions, and recipes. information, philosophical musings, and accuate nutrition information; it’s hard to describe without talking too much about the contents, but I appreciated the presentation. At the back there are also sections for Recommended Resources, Sources, Acknowledgments, and an index.

I love the cover image. There are no photos in the book and it has a rather spare look about it, but I found it attractive with an easy to read layout.

Given that the first 15+ years I was vegan I was an extremely active activist but in the last nearly 15 years I’ve slacked off quite a bit in my vegan outreach, and often feel guilty and sad that I do so relatively little compared to so many vegans I know (this goes for all sorts of activism for all the causes I believe in!) I very much appreciated the authors stressing how every time I eat (plants vs. animals) I am participating in an act of resistance. Every time I eat I am doing something. I am grateful for this reminder from the authors.

4-1/2 stars. The half star off is because I’m afraid it will get quickly dated, in a way, because current events are discussed, including the current (2018) Presidential administration. The basic premise of the book is good forever but the cute names used for some of the recipes and much of the other content place this book very firmly in the 2016-2018 time period. I’m afraid people outside of the United States, people that disagree politically with me and with the authors, and readers not too, too many years in the future might find this book dated. That would be a shame because the gist of the book is timeless and will always be helpful for those seeking out this subject matter.
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,049 followers
October 12, 2018
The title is great, but this is really just another vegan manifesto. If you've read enough about factory farms already, I'm not sure you need this book. It speaks extensively on using alternate milks, but includes almond milk, and when it gets to the water chapter never bothers mentioning the amount of water almonds take to produce. Environmentalists who are actually environmentalists know that the almond crops in California are having a direct and negative impact. So call me skeptical if a book touting itself as saving the planet wants to believe in its vegan diet so badly that it can't turn a critical eye at something like almonds! That's a warning sign to me.

I was also concerned by some of the recipes, bound for blandness due to bad technique. One soup that contains onions and garlic tells you to boil broth and dump everything in to simmer. Woo boy that's gonna be a bad soup that will give vegans a bad name. So maybe this isn't really a decent cookbook either?

Don't get me wrong, I thought the chapter on snacks for protests was a cute idea, and I appreciate one more version of the no bake power balls as much as the next sometimes activist, but I think the true core intent of this book is vegan proselytizing, and I've had enough of that approach from other directions to fill a hundred lives.
Profile Image for Peacegal.
9,942 reviews90 followers
September 30, 2019
Chances are, you know someone whose awareness of justice and environmental issues has been piqued by the current political climate. Maybe s/he is a radical retiree who is finding their protest sea-legs again, or a young person who has begun taking stock of how the current way of doing things might jeopardize their future.

And while these folks are getting out the vote, mobilizing against climate change, and resisting the values of Trump, there’s a very good chance they’re supporting—and even defending—one of the worst industries on the planet at least three times per day.

Of course, it’s much easier to rail against a fracking corporation or a President than to honestly appraise our own lives and habits. But if we sincerely care about issues like the environment, unjust working conditions, and animal welfare, we will need to start putting our money where our mouths are—and it doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult, as Adams explains. PROTEST KITCHEN takes a tone of empowerment and exploration as it invites readers one day at a time to try a new plant-based food item and be more attentive to the choices we make.

As was recently pointed out in this interview, activists from other causes can learn from vegans…who know a thing or two about taking the long view, celebrating incremental change, and finding common ground with those whose values and opinions are quite different from one’s own. And Adams reminds us that vegans need to keep learning, too—for example, are you unwittingly supporting slavery chocolate? PROTEST KITCHEN will give you the resources you need to make more ethical choices.

I liked that the book advanced the idea that every meal can be act of defiance. Not even the most dedicated campaigner can march in protest every day, but those of us who have the ability to choose what we eat have a very powerful choice indeed. We can either support a kinder and cleaner world or one that is antithetical to these values—all depending upon what we choose to put on our plates.

Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend PROTEST KITCHEN to those who disagree with its political leanings—although there is good info here for everybody, it would be too easy for the good stuff to get lost in the defensiveness the reader might be feeling regarding the other content.

I would strongly recommend it, however, to those individuals who are active in progressive causes and who either haven’t made the connection to what goes in their shopping carts—or have, and just don’t know where to begin. I am sorry I didn’t get to see the apparently lengthy recipe section in this book as I listened to it on Hoopla.
Profile Image for Barbette.
112 reviews3 followers
August 7, 2018
I became a vegetarian again two years ago and I hadn't looked back. But Protest Kitchen is just the push I have been looking for to move toward veganism. Chapter by chapter, Adams and Messina present information that will make anyone interested in justice and humanity reconsider a diet of meat and animal products. Better yet, they offer recipes and cooking tips that make a transition to a vegan diet easy. From the first recipe I tried, Simple Stewed Pinto Beans and Collard Greens with Tahini Drizzle, I have been impressed-they are all accessible, delicious, and easy to incorporate into your regular kitchen routine.
Profile Image for Midge.
20 reviews
October 14, 2018
A great resource for those who are feeling overwhelmed by politics and looking for ways to produce a meaningful impact at every meal. This book is packed with real-life, daily actions for combating climate change, social injustice, and human and animal cruelty. A must-read for progressives, vegan or not.
Profile Image for Jamie.
155 reviews
October 28, 2018
I really enjoy reading books about healthy food choices, especially ones that promote being vegetarian/vegan. This book was no exception. Although it sometimes felt that the political analogies the authors used to promote making empowered food choices were a little forced - perhaps just a way to make sure they were able to discuss their political agenda. Beyond that though, this was an enjoyable read that reinforced eating a healthy plant-based diet for ourselves, our fellow humans and animals, and our planet.
Profile Image for Amanda.
246 reviews16 followers
April 9, 2020
I really enjoyed reading this book! I love eating food and resisting oppression 😜

The recipes are simple and tasty. And the info and practical daily actions are empowering!

For long-time vegans, some of the info is old news, but I found lots of good info that I had forgotten or um, “forgotten” like how child slavery is used by African farmers to supply us with cheap chocolate. I downloaded the app suggested and made a vow to only buy good chocolate from now on!
Profile Image for J.
1,874 reviews
January 25, 2021
I loved this. I've been following @iyeloveslife on Instagram and I applaud her activism regarding social justice and veganism and it made this title jump out to me.

One of the most disheartening things I hear from vegans experiencing compassion fatigue is that they start feeling overwhelmed by all the injustice done to animals and start to harden towards humans to a certain degree. For the most part, I've seen vegans at the forefront of progressive social issues... but sometimes the messaging has fallen short of being intersectional, which is why I think Protest Kitchen is such an important read for the community.

I learned so much about how social justice and veganism intersect-- and as a new vegan (as of Veganuary 2020)-- I'm grateful for this book that I was able to get as a free listen on Audible. I also recommend following @iyeloveslife on Instagram if this topic interests you.

4 reviews
January 10, 2019
Protest Kitchen is a book that I immediately wanted to like. As a member of the Food Ethics Council, encouraging producers and consumers to take a more consciously ethical approach to their food, the subtitle “Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time” was instantly appealing. And it comes with recipes! A social and environmental justice manifesto, a 30-day plan, and 50 recipes, all rolled up together. What’s not to love about that? The authors have impressive credentials: Carol Adams is the author of the vegan bible “Sexual Politics of Meat,” and Virginia Messina is a registered dietitian. Their aim is to position veganism within a broader context of protest against social injustice, and to show you how your kitchen can integrate with your daily struggle for a fairer, more sustainable world.

To some extent, they succeed. The main chapters cover the relationship of food to climate change, misogyny, inclusivity, compassion, improving your diet and overall self-care. The chapter on climate change covers a number of broader environmental concerns including biodiversity, water stress, chemical runoff, and the disproportionate impact of food and environmental injustice on the poor and vulnerable. Other social justice issues directly related to food include the exploitation of children in the cocoa industry, the psychological stress of working in a slaughterhouse, and the use of animal metaphors as a vehical for racism, exploitation and “otherness”. The impact of corporate control comes up frequently; in the US, for example, any action “intended to deter animal enterprises” may be regarded by law enforcement authorities as terrorism, and it is unlawful to photograph animals on industrial farms without permission.

Unfortunately, the arguments often lack rigor, and a critical reader will soon suspect that the book started from a viewpoint of “how to best support veganism?” rather than “what is the best diet for the planet?” The authors point out that factory farming, with its battery chickens, farrowing crates, intensive milk production, and other abusive practices, was a response to the rising demand for meat after WWII. They then move too quickly to the conclusion that all animal and fish farming is bad, so the only response is veganism. No consideration is given to the options for combining modern technology with traditional non-intensive farming methods, and there is little attempt to think rigorously about whether veganism will scale up to feed the 9.8 billion people that we expect to inhabit the earth by 2050. Arguments in favour of limited meat production made by Simon Fairlie for example, such as how to make the best use of non-arable land, are simply ignored. Other arguments also suggest cherry-picking: community gardens are encouraged, but there is no mention of the option of keeping your own chickens for eggs. Vegan food is better for you, but you will need to take supplements for essential vitamins. There are vague health claims like “just how much you can protect your serotonin levels by eating beans and berries isn’t known at this point. But there’s no doubt that these foods are good for you,” while the vastly more important issue of anti-microbial resistance doesn’t get a mention. Corporate bad behaviour is highlighted when it affects animals, but not when it comes to seed control by companies like Monsanto. Key food system issues that you would expect to see in a wholistic approach to food justice, such as organic farming, genetic modification, and the huge impact of food waste, are not covered.

The book is also badly edited. Some claims are backed up by footnotes, but some are not – for example the claim that “North Carolina lawmakers have put extensive limits on lawsuits against farm owners” regarding waste spillage from pig farms; similarly there is no source given for the link between chocolate bars and child slavery. There are lists of resources in the back, but you can’t count on the web sites referenced in the text to appear in those lists. The list of cookbooks doesn’t include any online recipe sites, which just seems perverse; you’ll need to make your own list as you read through the text.

The recipes themselves are useful and interesting, and there are some that I will definitely try. I prefer recipes that highlight the natural taste of vegetables, and feel there are too many that focus on vegan substitutes for meat and diary products, but they might be helpful for people who really can’t live without the taste of bacon and mayonnaise. There are useful guidelines, for example a table of different plant milks and what they are best used for. But again, one runs into claims that are just wrong: dried beans do not provide “slower carbs” than tinned beans. If you buy low-salt tinned beans, they’re essentially the same. And it seems odd for a book on health and social justice to advocate ready-to-eat cereals and pre-washed bags of vegetables; just because something is vegan, it doesn’t follow that it is either nutritious or ethically produced.

The thing is: more vegans in the world is actually a good thing. Given that the world does produce and eat far too much meat, it is undoubtedly good for a larger proportion of people to be vegan in order to offset the die-hard steak-eaters on the planet. It is true, as claimed, that “replacing animal foods with plants is the most effective dietary change you can make for the health of the planet”, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that a vegan world would be better or more sustainable world. (To illustrate why you can’t make this assumption: it is also true that the most effective thing I can do for the planet is not to have children, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that the entire human race should have no more children.) We need more rigorously-argued, clear-eyed books and great recipes that help us move in that direction. Unfortunately this one needs to be taken with more than your daily allowance of salt.
Profile Image for John Brownlow.
10 reviews
January 17, 2019
This is not a cookbook, although there are some vegan recipes in it; it's an interesting look at how food, a central element in all our lives, is inextricably linked to many social justice issues. It's thought-provoking and well worth a read whether you are vegan, or thinking of going vegan, or not and if you want to understand how our food choices have wider consequences.
Profile Image for Jim Thompson.
318 reviews1 follower
December 8, 2020
This is probably better than the three stars I'm giving it. It was a perfectly nice book but didn't do a lot for me.

I won't say it didn't do anything at all. There's good stuff in here, and some of it was good to see, good to read through.

The authors-- both of whom I have read before, but neither of whom I have read a whole lot-- present veganism as part of a sort of intersectional way of life. They connect it-- legitimately-- to misogyny, racism, class struggle, environmentalism, while also making the case (mildly) for veganism along more traditional lines (health, compassion for animals, etc).

It's not bad, but the target audience seems to be left-minded activists who are perhaps open to but not yet involved in veganism. It's a lot of basic "how to" stuff, a lot "hey, try a vegan milk" and "tofu is good" and so on. The parts where they really connect veganism to other pressing issues are interesting and important. The intro-to-veganism stuff is interesting and important too, just not terribly interesting to me. I've been vegan for a very long time and about 40% of this book just wasn't for me. Which is fine.

Mostly, as I was reading this book, I was trying to think of who I might be able to hand it off to, who I know that is activism-oriented and wants to change the world but hasn't really considered how veganism ties in. Most of the activist types I know are already somewhere on the veg path, if not already entirely vegan, and most of the people I know who are not veg really just kind of don't give a damn about a better world (or at least not the kind of better world this book is aiming for), so my list of potential readers is short.

The end notes style here is one I hate, by the way. It's clearly meant to make the read feel more fluid, but it doesn't do that for me. There are no footnotes, but there are sources cited at the bag with page number references, which just makes you have to work a lot harder if you want to know where they're getting their info from. I get it, and I suppose it can work with some books, but I don't like it and I especially didn't like it here.

All that said... a decent book by two people who deserve a ton of respect for their many years of work in the field. Also, I love the cover. Seems like a minor thing, but I really love the cover. And including recipes for "Trumped Up Vegan Cutlets a L'Orange" and "Drain the Swamp Kitchen Cabinet Compote" and "Tiny Little Chocolate-Nut-Cherry Thumbprint Candies" and "imPeach Crumble" is pretty funny, even if I'll probably never make any of those.
Profile Image for Chris.
150 reviews2 followers
July 17, 2020
I'm not going vegan after reading this book. However, what it accomplishes is making the reader more mindful of their food choices and how food is political at various levels. Some of the reasons to switch to veganism are a bit of a stretch. My takeaway is that maybe I can largely remove meat from my diet (difficult because a number of my favorite dishes to make are meat-oriented) and help lead to an impact on farming that contributes to greenhouse gasses, mistreats animals to keep up with high demand, and takes up land that could be used for more plants. They book was helpful in making me more mindful and was a very easy read.
22 reviews
May 26, 2019
I was lucky enough to see Carol Adams speak about this book a couple of months ago, and she and the book both radiate so much positive energy about veganism. No preaching or shocking cruelty to unveil in here! Just gentle affirmation of your desire to do right by the world around you and how our diets can be a simple way to make positive change when things can otherwise seem so overwhelming. The recipes look delicious and simple, too. I particularly appreciated the inclusion of a chapter on self-care.
Profile Image for Dani Scott.
384 reviews
June 15, 2019
If you're considering going vegan, or even vegetarian, this is a perfect book to give you momentum. The recipes are simple and yummy, but more importantly, at least for me, are the clear, well-researched chapter starts where the authors describe the link between what we eat and social ills. I am a vegetarian and have been considering veganism for a long time. This book cinched it for me. Really glad I picked it up!
Profile Image for 🩵 d .
62 reviews21 followers
April 20, 2020
This book had a lot of potential but it’s mainly a collection of simplistic vegan propaganda. The transition between topics is abrupt and choppy, arguments aren’t fully made, counter arguments aren’t addressed, and the authors are a little too passionate (vitriolic) in their platform for veganism.

That being said, the recipes sound delicious and the recommended resources are a valuable guide. However, you could do your own research and stumble across them.
Profile Image for Nital Jethalal.
28 reviews
May 19, 2019
While there's a lot of basic material in here that already-veg people may find redundant, this book is written well and concisely and its lens of looking at food consumption through lens of colonial history is particularly helpful for illustrating the broader point that food choices are not strictly personal. There's a much broader system to consider.
May 2, 2021
I would recommend this book to anyone that needs a fresh and innovative view on vegan diet. I liked how the book explored intersting aspects of plant based diet, from the impact veganism has on gender relations, racism and mental health, alongside the more obvious relations betwen vegan diet and environemntal issues or human health.
44 reviews1 follower
November 8, 2018
Love this manifesto for protecting the earth, animals, vulnerable populations and our sense of ourselves as compassionate beings. Wish there were a few more recipes but appreciate the many helpful tables, charts, and suggestions that help the reader make the transition to a vegan diet.
Profile Image for Caroline.
238 reviews3 followers
November 18, 2019
This is a good beginner’s why-to on going vegan and what your dinner has to do with being an activist.

Audiobook. Unfortunately there seem to be a lot of visual elements and a reference section—I’ll get a print copy from the library at some point.
January 6, 2019
Must have book for activists!

I love Carol Adams' books and this by far is her best one for these turbulent times! Excellent as always!
Profile Image for V Massaglia.
318 reviews3 followers
March 28, 2019
A very informative and inspiring book. I learned a ton!

Profile Image for Lola.
341 reviews4 followers
December 27, 2019
Veganism as activism. Great book for vegan noobs, otherwise a nice gift for would-be-herbivores needing context.
157 reviews1 follower
April 5, 2020
A great overview of how vegan cooking can act as resistance against populist politics.
Profile Image for Shannon Schmoll.
12 reviews1 follower
July 12, 2020
I think it brings up some good points, but I don't feel like they are fully fleshed out in this book. The tips for being vegan are helpful though.
Profile Image for Bernadette.
374 reviews
July 15, 2020
Very enjoyable, informative, thought provoking discussions of living one's values daily. Delicious, easy recipes.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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