Interview and Giveaway with Bianca Phillips, Author of Cookin’ Crunk

Category: My Blog Comments: 60 comments Tags: , , , ,

C: What was it like being vegetarian and then vegan in the South? Have you seen a progression of healthier food options become available over the years? Or is it really hard to eat vegan in the South?

B: It’s super easy to be vegan in the South these days! In some rural areas, like my hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas, it can be a tad harder to find special vegan foods, like fake meats or soy yogurts. But at least one Jonesboro (population: 60,000) store sells vegan cheese (Daiya). Of course, if you’re eating healthier, whole foods, it’s easy to eat anywhere you go. But I do like my fake meat indulgences sometimes. In Memphis, where I live now, we have three totally vegan restaurants (one if which is all raw) and loads of places to buy vegan groceries.

But it wasn’t so easy growing up as a vegetarian in small-town Arkansas in the 1990s. I ate lots and lots of veggie burgers, mac & cheese, and ramen noodles (okay, okay, I still eat lots of ramen). It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come with vegetarian and vegan options down here.

C: Being from the South as well I’m really excited about your book. Even though I eat really healthy I’m always down for some comfort food! What are some of your favorite dishes from Cookin’ Crunk?

B: Definitely the Country Fried Tempeh Steak with Soymilk Gravy. It’s not health food by a long shot, but it’s good for the soul. I do provide baked alternatives to that and several other fried recipes for people looking to eat healthier. I also love the BBQ Tempeh & Carrot Sandwiches, the Country Potato Soup (it’s loaded with veggie bacon!), the Buttermilk Biscuits with Chocolate Gravy, and Spicy Seitan Hot Wangz.

C: It seems in the South more kids grow up cooking next to their grandmother’s, but the food isn’t usually healthy. When did you get interested in cooking? Was your family supportive when you went vegetarian?

B: I followed my mama and granny around their kitchens from a very early age. I was always inventing crazy new dishes using a TON of spices and seasoning salts, some of which were not even close to edible. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I developed a more sensible palette.

When I first went vegetarian at age 14, my mama thought I was crazy. But she eventually warmed up to the idea, and so did my granny. Now they love to veganize their dishes for me when I visit, and they even helped veganize some dishes for my cookbook. My mama’s cornbread dressin’ (in the book) is the best thing in the whole world…ever.

C: Do you have any advice for those who have to share holidays with omnivores?

B: I share holidays with omnivores! I’m the only vegan in my immediate family, but thankfully my mama and granny veganize all the holiday dishes for me (and no one else seems to mind that they’re eating vegan sides). I bring my own Tofurky to the table though. If your family is less inclined to plan their holiday meal around you, bring a few vegan dishes of your own to share. Maybe you’ll even change their notions about vegan food.

C: My favorite dish growing up was Broccoli, Rice and Cheese casserole. Do you have a vegan version of it in your book?

Check out this post for the recipe!

C: What do you do with your time besides make delicious vegan food?

B: I love to run in the mornings. And I spend lots of time chillin’ with my 2 big mutts (Datsun, a lab mix, and Maynard, a pit bull mix) and my 6 kitties (Akasha, Pandora, Polaris, Gelfling, Ozzie, and Seymour). By day, I’m an editor at Memphis’ alt-weekly paper, The Memphis Flyer.

C: Do you have any book signings or events planned for next year?

B: I have one more booksigning planned for 2012. It’s Friday, December 7th at 7 p.m. at Cosmic Coconut (an all-vegan juice and smoothie bar) in Memphis.

Thanks Bianca for stopping by and sharing with us! Be sure to LIKE her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter!

Now time for the giveaway! Please fill out the Rafflecopter info below to enter. US residents only. 

Tell us what you plan to make for the upcoming holiday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comment List

  • Bridgette 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I know what I could make… vegan lasagna with homemade sauce or gravy over mashed potatoes and turnips. But I want to see the book!! I live in TN… no vegan anything!! Thank goodness for Earth Fare and the farmer’s market. I am excited about this cookbook.

  • Jason 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I plan to make vegan deviled eggs for my parents’s dinner!

  • cate donoghue 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I am actually thinking about a really awesome vegan shepherd’s pie. 😀 This cookbook looks amazing. Help me, I’m in Georgia!

  • Joe Birdwell 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I want to make something sweet to take to the fam dinner.

  • Regina 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    Pierogis and cabbage rolls … first attempt at making them vegan.

  • Suzanna 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I love to bake, and this year I’ve already veganized three pie recipes. I live in TN as well, and it’s hard to please everyone’s palettes, but I love the challenge 🙂 I’ll be making another vegan pecan pie for family coming into town next week!

  • Sarah 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    Something vegan…I’m not sure what yet! Hopefully something from your cookbook!

  • Asia 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I’m not entirely sure yet, although I was thinking of a side of vegan mac and cheese.

  • Crystal S 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I’m planning on making pineapple glazed seitan, cabbage salad with hazelnuts and mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy! YUM!

  • Leia 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    A seitan roast of some sort, dressing, I’m not sure what else yet. XD

  • Larisa Maxwell 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I plan to make (eat) lots and lots of cookies.

  • Nanette Labastida 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I’m gonna make watermelon radish salad because the colors look so great on the holiday table. Roasted Brussels sprouts and cornbread stuffing

  • Blake @ Blake Bakes 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I plan on veganizing my old corn casserole recipe. Plus a million desserts!

  • Jill K. 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I want to find a great vegan recipe that approximates my mom’s super delicious pumpkin-cream cheese pie. I’ve found a few possibilities but am still looking.

  • Lisa 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I want to try that broccoli cheese casserole you talk about–we had it in my childhood, too.

  • Todd 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    Aside from a ton of cookies, hope to make various Vegan dishes for a plethora of family get together this holiday season!

  • moonsword 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I would love to try Rose’s recipe for Seitan Braciole. It was a traditional dish my Sicilian grandmother used to make every holiday and I miss it so I may just dive in and give it a try. 🙂

    Many thanks!

  • Melissa 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I’m probably going to make vegan lasagna.

  • Beth 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I love Bianca! And I’m making a chocolate chestnut tart for Xmas…. yum!

  • Terri Cole 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I want to make a vegan pumpkin pie, but the one I made for Thanksgiving was a miserable failure!

  • Carl 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    Not specifically a traditional holiday dish, but we are going to be making a classic Indian Vegetable Stew. Thanks for the great looking book.

  • jayedee 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    last year, i made kind of a vegan pie by layering stuffing, diced tofurky, mixed veggies and mashed potatoes all sandwiched between pie crusts. served it with a yummy vegan gravy and everyone loved it….i think i’ll make it again, this year for Christmas dinner!

  • Jared 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I’ll be baking some cookies (maybe cut-outs or no-bakes) for a holiday party next weekend!

  • Amy Moseley 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I am so excited about this cookbook! My family is from Arkansas and I want my youngest, who is vegan, to enjoy some southern cooking with us. 😀

  • Deborah Stelzle 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    always like to get new ideas to what to make

  • Beth 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I haven’t decided yet!! Maybe some vegan mac n cheese and a vegan cheesecake!!

  • Corrine G 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    A veganized version of my stuffing recipe.

  • Herbivore Triathlete 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I will be making PIE and cookies!

  • Lydia Claire 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I’d love a vegan version of fried chicken.

  • Katie B 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    I’ll be making a field roast with vegan mashed potatos and gravy!

  • Anne 30 / 11 / 2012 Reply

    chocolate peppermint cookies!

  • Andy C 01 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    A Parmela heavy version of my momma’s spinach casserole!

  • Elizabeth 01 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I am thinking about a vegan sheperd’s pie topped with mashed sweet potatoes. I really need this book since I live in south Mississippi!

  • Beth 01 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I made a really delicious raw pumpkin cheesecake for thanksgiving. Now i’m on the hunt for a mint chocolate cheesecake. maybe I can tweak the pumpkin recipe myself. hmm..

  • Ellery 01 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I plan to veganize my old favorite fudge recipe!

  • Billie Jean 01 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I’m thinking maybe some vegan maple baked beans!

  • Joe Birdwell 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    My favorite version of Vegan Country Fried steak comes from altering the recipe for the chickpea patty in the Veganomicon , I am intrigued as to how the Tempeh version compares.

  • Mrs. GV 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    The last few years we have made breakfast for dinner on Christmas day, because the Christmas meal was always almost exactly like the Thanksgiving meal we just had a month before1

  • Tasha 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I’m excited to try out some down south comfort vegan food !!!!

  • Tasha 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    Vegan Mac & cheese for sure !!!

  • Samantha Remington 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    Lots and lots of Christmas cookies!

  • Cadry 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I’d like to try my hand at a vegan French silk pie. I’ve been meaning to make one for a while, and it would be fun to indulge in a cruelty-free take on an old favorite.

  • Genevieve 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I will be making lots and lots of cookies.

  • bitt 02 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    lots of christmas cookies!

  • Kerry M 03 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I am making a Gardein Roast, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, and cheesy biscuits… all vegan of course. 🙂

  • Monica G 03 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I will be baking up a storm for sure. I’ve been away from an oven for “way” too long… Essentially vegan everything: chocolate chip cookies, crustless pumpkin pie, coconut macaroons, chocolate fudge, oatmeal cookies, fruit crumbles, and much more; some savory, most deliciously sweet.

  • Cee 03 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I’ve already made some spiced pear muffins, hazelnut brownies, and banana bread, and I have sweet potato casserole and roasted brussels sprouts on my list so far.

  • Susan 03 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    Lots of roasted squash!

  • Eric 03 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I’m going to make at least one pie, one batch of cookies, vegan gluten steaks, vegan ice cream, vegan sticky toffee pudding, whipped potatoes and gravy, vegan bacon, MAYBE a vegan mock turkey and hopefully lots of other wonderful things!

    Oh, and black-eyed peas for New Year’s!

    and I’m going to use the left-overs to make other yummy things too 😉

    I”M SO EXCITED ! ! !

    I like the holiday season and hope you have a nice holiday season.

  • Andrea R 04 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    Cinnamon rolls for the morning for sure! Dinner is still in question….

  • Annie 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    The photos are killing me! Delish!

  • Brittany B. 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply


    • Brittany B. 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply

      Oops! It didn’t post it all. I plan on making lots and LOTS of cookies!

  • Laura B. 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply


  • Jennie 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I’d love to make monkey bread Christmas morning, but I’m a little bit scared of making my own bread dough. We shall see.

  • Dina Payne 05 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I would love to make an amazing salad or some winter root vegetables.

    I am going to dinner with family, I always want to show them how

    delicious vegetables are.

  • Kelli Doussan 06 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    I plan on making (all vegan of course!) garlic roasted brussell sprouts, sweet potato casserole, cornbread dressing, a delicious daiya/eggplant dish, vegan crabcakes with rameloude sauce! And some kind of delectable dark chocolately dessert-havent decided yet! But. oh yes, it will be good! 🙂

  • I just made the pumpkin cheesecake from Vegan Pie in the Sky this past weekend, and I would love to make it again for the holidays!

  • Christy Morgan 07 / 12 / 2012 Reply

    Congrats Herbivore T., you are the winner!

Leave a Reply


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.