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Books Read in 2021

As always, I aspired to read more than I did, but War and Peace took a bit of time (though not as long as you’d think). It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down but also wanted to take my time reading because I soaked in every single word. But more on that below. 

In addition to the list below, Marcus Aurelius’ MeditationsThe Daily Stoic, and the Tao Te Ching — are all part of my daily practice. If you’re interested in tracking my reading list and reviews throughout the year, you can follow me on Goodreads


Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar — Historical fiction at its finest. Was hard to find a good translation in print, but it’s worth the search.

SPQR by Mary Beard — No one brings ancient history close to home like Professor Beard. I could read, watch, listen to her all day long.

Semicolon by Cecelia Watson — I love me my word books, so I was compelled to read this. Obviously, it’s punctuation — not etymology or grammar — but still a fascinating history about such a seemingly innocent mark.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (trans. Anthony Briggs) — The most defining book of the year for me was War and Peace. David read it 10 years ago and has never stopped talking about it, and so finally after seeing him watch the BBC miniseries starring Anthony Hopkins, I decided it was time, and now I haven’t stopped talking about it. And like him, I started a journey of learning everything I never knew about The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Age. I don’t just feel smarter for having read War and Peace; I feel like I’m a better person for having read it. The characters were the most human characters I’ve ever spent literary time with, and Pierre has a permanent place in my heart and soul. 

Face by Justine Bateman — Just thank you for writing this, Justine Bateman, and for inspiring me to reframe my thoughts (and judgements) about my aging face.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr — I loved his novel All the Light We Cannot See so much and was so excited when I heard about his new novel, especially the fact that it centered around people’s relationship to a single text across the ages. I preferred some of the narratives more than others, but it was a really unique narrative structure that I appreciated even if I didn’t fall in love with it.

The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy — Nothing worse than hating a character from start to finish. Still, I couldn’t put it down, because I didn’t want Sebastian Dangerfield to have victory over me, too. The most narcissistic, selfish, despicable character in fiction. Worth a read. ? 🙂

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte — I can’t believe it took me this long to read Anne, even after studying the Victorians in grad school (20 years ago). Anne was left out of my Bronte class, and what a shame. Perhaps it’s because I’m an adult and less inclined toward the soul-crushing sordid passion of Wuthering Heights, but Anne’s story is just more relatable and contemporary than that of her sisters’ most famous novels. I’m on a personal mission now to make sure to read everything I can of hers — and to make sure others do the same. 🙂 

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard — Thoroughly researched, inspiring, and overwhelming. Depressing at times, Leonard constantly pivots the reader back to what’s possible rather than what’s hopeless.

The Life of Johnson by James Boswell — still reading and plan to finish by the end of 2021. 🙂

What’s coming in 2021? High on the list: 

  • Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
  • First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country by Thomas Ricks
  • The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane
  • Plutarch’s Lives
  • The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius 
  • The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America by Janet M. Davis
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  • Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy
  • On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

That’s the start of my plan. We’ll see what happens! What were your favorite books in 2021? What books are you reading in 2022?


Each cooking class is fully interactive. While I am demonstrating, you can chime in with comments, questions, and ooohs and ahhhs the entire time. Not only does this increase connection among the students, both my assistant and I see your questions and make sure we answer all of them.
You can participate in the class using Zoom on your computer, tablet or mobile device.
Upon completing your registration, you receive your confirmation email, which includes the link to our Zoom class, along with information and recipes. Each class is officially a go once a minimum number of slots are filled — at which time the recipes appear on the document. My goal is to have the recipes available to you at least 5 days before the class to give you enough time to order / shop for ingredients, should you choose to cook along.
While I love to see the faces of my students, the use of video during the live class is optional. NOTE: Even if you opt to show your video, for the class recordings, which go out to the general public as on-demand classes, NO ONE'S video is shown except for mine.
We do our best to prepare you in advance so you are ready for when the class begins. If you have issues during the class, my assistant is there to help you. Sometimes it's an issue on the user side, and when there's an issue on my side, we do our best to mitigate it right away. One of the benefits of live classes is that they're in real time, which means it's a live feed. Sometimes technical issues are out of our control, but so far, we've never had any real issues that took away from the purpose of the class.
Absolutely! Unless something goes horribly wrong (and it rarely does), each class is recorded, and students receive the class recording within 2 days of the live class.
While I do send a reminder email out a couple days before our class, I encourage you to add the class to your calendar as soon as you register.
Some students love being able to cook along; some students love to just watch. It is entirely up to you how you want to enjoy the class.
You can decide in advance which dishes you want to cook along with. You might choose to cook along for just one of the dishes or all of them. Whatever you decide, I suggest you have your mise en place all ready. That is to say, have all the ingredients measured and prepped as much as possible. (Mise en place is a French culinary phrase meaning "everything in its place.”)
Ultimately, what we take away is based on what we give, so I encourage you to be present and engaged in the class. But, for my part, if you know me, you know I'm pretty passionate about many things, and I can’t help bringing my love of food, history, language, animals, film, literature, and food lore to each class. My aim is that you walk away with a richer understanding of food, cooking, and eating than before you arrived. More than that, you will get helpful step-by-step instructions about each dish I'm demonstrating and a clear up-close view of all the ingredients and procedures. The best part is that I, too, make mistakes, and you see me make them live in real time. That's how we learn the most.
I'm thrilled to say that many students are regulars and repeats, and you will no doubt get to know some fabulous people when you attend these classes. I encourage engagement and follow-up, including posting photos, questions, and comments on our private Facebook page. Many friends and family members join from different cities, then share a virtual meal with each other once the class is over. (That makes my heart sing.) So, yes, despite being online the classes foster connection.
I have found that 90 minutes is the ideal amount of time to spend in a virtual class. It gives us time to settle in and for you to ask questions throughout without feeling rushed. It also gives us time to enjoy an occasional bonus cocktail by our resident mixologist (my adorable husband), but we like to honor your time and keep the classes to 90 minutes.
Absolutely! Once you are registered and the class is a go, you are officially enrolled. That means the recipes, resources, video recording, and even the chat transcript are yours to enjoy. You will receive a follow-up email whether you are in the live class or not.
Because the value of the classes includes exclusive recipes and resources as well as the live class / video recording, once a class is officially a go and you get access to the recipes, you cannot be refunded. However, if the class does not meet the minimum sign-up threshold and I cancel the class, you have the option of getting a full refund or switching to a different class. (This is one of the reasons I don't share the recipes until I know we've reached the minimum threshold.)
After the live class is over and enjoyed by students in real time, each class gets converted into an on-demand class so that others may enjoy the recipes, resources, and video recording. Most live classes become on-demand classes within 2 days.
No animal products are ever used in my recipes, so yes, all the classes are vegan / plant-based, which means nothing that comes out of or off of an animal. I've written three cookbooks (The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, and Color Me Vegan), and two lifestyle books (Vegan’s Daily Companion and The 30-Day Vegan Challenge), which also include recipes. I'm also always testing and developing new recipes (as well as modifying and perfecting old ones) to make sure students get the best, clearest, easiest-to-follow recipes — qualities that have become trademark in my work.
While living compassionately and consciously is not about being perfect, and while some students may not have access to the same bulk stores and package-free ingredients as me, I make an effort in my classes to use (and promote) as little packaging and plastic as possible, which is why so many of my recipes and menus are for how to cook and bake homemade and from-scratch!
My classes span a huge range, and your suggestions are always welcome: *Different types of cuisines (Italian, Thai, Asian, Mexican, etc.) *Particular ways of cooking and eating (Quick & Easy, Oil-free, By Color/Phytochemicals, ) *Cooking with specific appliances (Air-Fryer, Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker / Crockpot, etc.) *Homemade from scratch (Seitan, Tempeh, Tofu, Miso, Nut Cheeses, Nut Butters, etc.) *Various holidays and seasons (Mother’s Day, Easter, Passover, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Summer, Fall, etc.) *Focused on meals (Packed Lunches, Breakfast, Brunch, Fancy Dinner, Quick Dinner, etc.) *Cooking with specific foods/ ingredients (Aquafaba, Beans, Spices & Herbs, Greens, Lentils, Grains, etc. *Baking from scratch (Pizza Dough, Breads, Pretzels, Bagels, and Biscuits, Cakes, Pies, Cobblers, etc.) *And everything in between.
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