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Web Exclusive: Moosewood Memories

Famous foodies share their favorite Moosewood memories.

Moosewood Cookbook—that cozy, hand-lettered, and charmingly illustrated collection of vegetarian recipes—is one of the 10 best-selling cookbooks of all time. But more than being a publishing juggernaut, the book has changed lives. Ask just about anyone about Moosewood, from New York Times best-selling food writer Amanda Hesser to Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, and they’ll launch into rhapsodies about their favorite recipes and the book’s impact on them—and on the planet.

Here, some of those famous foodies share their memories of the classic Moosewood cookbooks. Read on for their stories, then click here to read tales from the original visionaries behind the famed Moosewood Restaurant in our November-December 2012 story, "40 Year of Moosewood."

Steven Raichlen: Television host and author of The Barbecue Bible and Planet Barbecue

Back when I was in college [Reed College in Portland, Oregon], I had a vegetarian girlfriend. Moosewood was one of our kitchen bibles. I still have a very stained dog-eared copy. Thinking back on it, this was great food—authentic and flavorful—and it not only filled the belly; it nurtured the soul.

Years later, when [my] daughter enrolled at Ithaca College, I remember the thrill I felt dining at Moosewood for the first time—like a legend come alive.

Paul Kahan: James Beard Award–winning chef and restaurateur

My family owned a delicatessen group. I was always around food but didn’t think it would be my path in life. But I joined a food co-op, bought the Moosewood Cookbook, then The Enchanted Broccoli Forest and got really interested in food—and decided not to be a mathematician. Mollie Katzen is the reason I’m cooking.

Cathy Walthers: Author of the best-selling cookbooks Soups and Sides and Raising the Salad Bar

Mollie Katzen was certainly ahead of her time, introducing delicious grain salads like tabouli to a nation just coming off of Birds Eye frozen vegetables. I still remember some of the recipes I made from it to this day, some 30 years later. I loved the lentil vegetable soup recipe, made with red wine and tomatoes for a deep, rich flavor.

Ann Vanderhoof: Author of An Embarrassment of Mangos

Moosewood was probably one of the first cookbooks I bought myself. I was newly married, had started to play in the kitchen, and the Moosewood recipes seemed both exotic and approachable (the latter reinforced by the handwritten style). As I flipped the pages last summer, it made me long for a bowl of chilled cucumber-yogurt soup, which I hadn't made in maybe a couple decades.