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40 Years of Moosewood: Memories & Recipes from the Legendary Vegetarian Restaurant

The cookbooks that fed a generation—and sparked a vegetarian revolution—got their start at the improbable restaurant that became a legend.

Photo by Dave Burbank

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.But before there was Moosewood Cookbook, there was Moosewood Restaurant. Founded 40 years ago this coming January, the restaurant wasn’t just the origin of the legendary cookbook, but—judging by the thousands of food pilgrims who have turned it into a shrine—has benefited from the book’s success.So there was Moosewood: a batik-curtained, mostly (but not always) vegetarian restaurant started almost by accident in the basement of a defunct junior high school in rural upstate New York by seven friends—most of whom had no experience in the restaurant industry.Not the likeliest of recipes for a successful restaurant launch, never mind a 40-year …

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