Alan Roettinger, Extraordinary Vegan


Alan Roettinger is a writer, food designer, blogger, and public speaker. He has served clients as a private chef in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Raised in Mexico City, he acquired a taste for exotic food early on and soon developed a passion for flavor and beauty that drives his diverse, creative culinary style. Alan is passionate about empowering people to make smart choices in what they eat, and to enjoy eating well at home. His cookbooks, Omega-3 Cuisine, Speed Vegan, and Extraordinary Vegan showcase his ability to bring health and pleasure together in a wide range of dishes that are simultaneously sophisticated and accessible for the home cook.


Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and it’s time for my favorite subject—food on the show It’s All About Food. Thank you for joining me. It is September 24, 2013, and welcome to autumn. I love the seasons. I love the changes especially here in New York. I was away in California for about three weeks actually, and it was absolutely beautiful. We left the day it started to rain, and I don’t usually have that good timing when I’m traveling, but it was great to get back to New York and smell that fresh, clean autumn air. Do you know what I am talking about? That cool delicious change of season. How does the planet know that we’re changing seasons? Well, I guess it has something to do with the change of the distance between the sun and the planets and everything else going on, but I love it. And the great thing about the changes of seasons is the opportunity to enjoy different foods. Now, here it is 2013 and many of us have access to just about anything we want at any time seasonal or not, but I really like to go with the seasons. It’s nice have a change. It’s nice to get food when it’s at its peak perfection in terms of locality and seasonality, and you learn to appreciate food that much better when you don’t have it in front of you all the time. It’s all about making things special and extraordinary. But we’re going to get to extraordinary in just a few minutes. And I wanted to talk a little bit about what I experienced while traveling. I know I get a lot of questions about how to eat when traveling, and I have to admit I’m a human. I am not perfect, and although I try to do the best I can sometimes I do falter. And whereas the food that I think is not exactly what I want or is as healthy as I want, it’s probably healthier than most people. But, while traveling, especially in this particular instance where I didn’t have an opportunity to prepare my own food very often we would be eating out. And when you eat out, unless you’re really super, super vigilant, it’s really hard to avoid the evil three—sugar, fat, and salt or sugar, oil, and salt. And many restaurants tend to use a little too much of those things. And I could feel them. I know there have been some studies out recently talking about is salt good, and is salt bad? And all I have to say is when you’re not eating a lot of it and then you get food that has a lot of it you feel the change in your body. I can’t be good. I know I wake up the next morning, and I have dark circles under my eyes. It’s not a pleasant thing. And it’s so great to come home to my sanctuary here—my food sanctuary—and see all my friends, my herbs and spices, all organic, and start to purchase the simple foods that I love and nourish my body and kind of cleanse. So it’s great to be home. It’s great to be eating the way I like to eat. And although I did enjoy my trip and it wasn’t a vacation, it was work. And that’s another thing—when you’re traveling and you are not eating the way you want to you are more susceptible to all those little bugs and viruses out there, and, yes, I succumbed. I got a cold, and it was quite unpleasant, but the good thing is, I think, because my immune system is in a pretty good place, I got over it in about two and half days. And one thing I’m really vigilant about is green juicing. I haven’t talked about green juicing in a long time, but I juice every day. And when traveling—challenging—very challenging. But fortunately I was in an area where there were a number of Whole Foods, not that I am giving a plug for Whole Foods, but I do like that store for a lot of different things, and more of them are including juice bars, so I was able to have my daily fix. And it really made a big, big difference. Okay, let’s get to the fun part. I’m going to bring on my guest Alan Roettinger. He’s got a new cookbook out called, Extraordinary Vegan. He’s a writer, food designer, blogger, and public speaker. He has served clients as a private chef in the United States, Europe, and Australia. Raised in Mexico City, he acquired a taste for exotic food early on and soon developed a passion for flavor and beauty that drives his diverse, creative, culinary style. He’s passionate about empowering people to make smart choices in what they eat and enjoy eating well at home. His cookbooks Omega-3 Cuisine, Speed Vegan, Extraordinary Vegan showcase his ability to bring health and pleasure together in a wide range of dishes that are simultaneously sophisticated and accessible for the home cook. And Alan is my friend, although I’ve never met him in person, I love talking to him, and I think he’s probably been on this show as a guest more than any other person. So let’s welcome Alan. How are you doing today?

Alan Roettinger: I’m great Caryn. It’s good to hear your voice.

Caryn Hartglass: It is good.

Alan Roettinger: It’s been a long time.

Caryn Hartglass: Just like old times.

Alan Roettinger: Just like old times

Caryn Hartglass: And one day maybe we’ll meet in the middle somewhere and make that incredible, sophisticated, accessible, and extraordinary delicious meal.

Alan Roettinger: Fantastic. Sounds good to me.

Caryn Hartglass: But right now let’s just talk about dream about it.

Alan Roettinger: All right.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, so before we get to the book let’s talk about—I only want to talk about good things.

Alan Roettinger: Smart move.

Caryn Hartglass: Because I know you are really good—.

Alan Roettinger: Can’t control the bad things—they’re already done.

Caryn Hartglass: You’re really good about talking about the joy of all the good things that are on this planet. And a lot of people focus on the evil. I don’t want to do that. I don’t like doing that. So we just turned into fall, and throughout, I think, human existence, although we may not have a lot of documentation on it, people celebrate the seasons. They celebrate the harvest, being thankful for the food we have, and this is kind of a time—a harvest time. And I know in the Jewish holidays, I’m not a religious person, but I was raised Jewish, and I know all the holidays and like celebrating anything that has to do with great food. And this particular week is the holiday of Sukkahs where it is all about celebrating the abundance of food especially with root vegetables and the fruits that are coming out in the season—apples, pears, sweet potatoes, carrots, root veggies. And there are a lot of different harvest celebrations. Do you have any favorite harvest celebrations?

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. The wine harvest.

Caryn Hartglass: Wine harvest.

Alan Roettinger: I’ve really never experienced the harvest before I went to Europe. I grew up in Mexico, and we basically had the dry season and the wet season. And things grew up, you know, throughout the whole time. It was a very tempered climate, so you got pretty much everything. There were a few things that only grew in certain seasons, but I was just vaguely aware that you couldn’t get mangos except a certain time and things like that. Then I went to Switzerland, and I got there in late September. I was going to college there at the American college, and they had—right off the bat they had this harvest, and it was the harvest of the wine. And they had new wine, and they had roasted chestnuts on an open fire like the song, but like really.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Right—really roasted on a fire—right.

Alan Roettinger: It’s like it’s really there, and you could smell it in the street, and they’d role up a little cone of newspaper and stuff them in there. And you pop them open and things like that. It was a great harvest.

Caryn Hartglass: We actually do have that here in New York City. The street vendors sell roasted chestnuts in a little paper package.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And it is one of the few things that I enjoy from a street vendor because it is kind of hard to get it anywhere.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah, well if you don’t roast it yourself which is a whole project you trust them to do it, and they had like one of those 50-gallon oil drums cut in half and the little fire in there, and they had a little grate and put them on there.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, the thing about harvest holidays, as every culture has them, every religion has them, we’ve been celebrating these things all throughout I think our human existence because food is so important, and it’s definitely worth celebrating. And it’s worth celebrating with wonderful, whole freshly prepared recipes, which, I think, is something we’re all working on getting back to.

Alan Roettinger: I know I am. I don’t know if you saw recently that basically everything that is processed has corn in it, and now corn is threatened. First of all, it’s GMO, and it’s got stuff in there BT toxin or whatever they put in there to kill the insects or repel the insects—you know?

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Alan Roettinger: Plus the round up ready—whatever that gene is—poison me, I don’t die. So it is kind of—you really got to get back to cooking your own food because you can’t trust the food system.

Caryn Hartglass: I want to think that we have a pretty good government, but there are a lot of things that they could do a lot better—tremendously a lot better. But the thing is they follow, to some extent, what the people want and what the people are doing. And it’s really up to us to set a standard. It’s really up to each one of us as individuals to support the products we believe in and demand the products that we want. And I want to think that there’s a food movement that’s happening. I would like it to go a little faster, but you’re right about corn. I heard something really wonderful that in California they used to grow a lot of sugar beets, and then at some point cane sugar from Hawaii and other places kind of took over, but now because corn is so used a lot as a biofuel, and I don’t want to go into the plusses and minuses just now about biofuel, but maybe I will in a moment, they’re growing—they’re bringing back their sugar beet production for biofuel instead of corn. It’s supposed to be a little bit more sustainable. Anyway—.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Yeah, well—yeah don’t get me started on that one.

Caryn Hartglass: I’d rather we move toward—.

Alan Roettinger: Let’s stick to the food for people.

Caryn Hartglass: I’d rather we move toward more public transportation, walking a lot more, and minimizing our energy use and saving delicious foods for eating. How’s that?

Alan Roettinger: You had me at delicious foods for eating.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. So let’s look a little bit about the word vegan and all of the adjectives that are put next to it to describe what kind of vegan we want to talk about. And let’s start extraordinary vegan. What does that mean?

Alan Roettinger: All right then. Well, extraordinary, you know, first of all, every single person is extraordinary, you know? Because there really is no such thing as ordinary. Ordinary means like every other one. You know, and really there is no such person. Every single person is extraordinary. Every single act is extraordinary. But then there is making it extraordinary—making it beyond just what people perceive as ordinary and make it something really special. And that all, you know, all that does is—all it takes is just a couple of steps, you know, adding a little something to your food that makes it surprise you to make it something different. And taking the time to do it right.

Caryn Hartglass: To get your attention and to shut your mind off from all of the ridiculous things it’s saying to you and have you wake up in the moment and go “Wow, there’s something exciting on my tongue.”

Alan Roettinger: It’s really good. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and it doesn’t take much. And I think that’s what, you know, what’s important for, like me, I’m trying to get more people cooking and eating at home because I know, first of all, that things will go better in general in your life if you do that. I mean, your relationships will be better if you turn the TV off and sit at a nice table and eat something that does stop you and go, you know, “Wow, this is really good. Thank you for making this for me.” You know, something like that will definitely influence the rest of your day—the rest of your, you know, your existence. And also it happens to be something dear to me, which is food, but I think that the more people that are involved in making their food the more they’ll become aware of how good it can be and the more they’ll demand those whole grains and whole beans and, you know, whole foods. And also, you know, if you involve your kids in the process they are much more likely to eat something they might not eat otherwise if they took a part in preparing it. Or if you grow food—if they are in the process of helping you grow the food, they are much more likely to eat something like a vegetable and less likely to say, “No, what I want is I want to go to McDonalds and get a hamburger.” Because they are involved in it.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m saying it all the time. You’ve probably heard me say it. People need to find their kitchen. And I love the idea of eating at home, making food, and there is something really romantic about people getting together and eating a lovely meal. And unfortunately there is a lot of grocery stores today and other stores that will prepare a lot of foods for you that you can bring at home and serve at a holiday dinner and dinner party, and sometimes they are really—it really saves time, and it’s convenient, but a lot of people depend on these things. And I think you really lose a big chunk of what eating around the table is all about when you’re not preparing the food.

Alan Roettinger: Absolutely. And there is a sense of community and a certain sense of gratitude, and sense of wonderment at the food itself that you just don’t get when you go out and buy it at a store. You just—take out menus or you eat it in front of a lit screen of some kind. And everybody has their own lit screen at the table.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh please, turn off those screens.

Alan Roettinger: And, I mean, we’ve all done this, but it is something that you, you know, it’s not like blaming the people for looking at the screens. It’s more like trying to entice them back. And the way to entice them back is to have something more interesting than what’s on that screen. You know, it has to be more interesting.

Caryn Hartglass: I mean, can you imagine people around the table, and they are all texting each other what they think about the food?

Alan Roettinger: Classic. Well, that’s what, you know, what you said is that, you know, there are two sounds I like when I cook for people. There is either the people going, “Mmm. Did you do this? It’s incredible,” and they were going back and forth about it. Or the other one, which was actually my all time favorite where the whole room just goes silent, and people are—they had this whole conversation going, and then they start eating. And then nobody is saying anything; they’re just eating and eating. You can tell that they are really just—they’re just stunned. They are just enjoying the food. That’s my favorite sound of all—the silence that falls over the dining room. And that only happens when somebody—whether it’s me or somebody else makes the effort, takes the time, puts the love into it, puts the attention there, and makes something. And it doesn’t really have to be, you know, I am not trying to turn people into master chefs. You know, a chef is a job description first of all. I know chefs that couldn’t cook to save their lives, and I know people who cook amazingly that will never be a chef because it is just somebody who runs a kitchen.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah

Alan Roettinger: And you don’t have to be that to make something that will do that, you know, do that trick to make people just go silent and eat and go, “Wow, this incredible.” Anybody can do it.

Caryn Hartglass: You wrote in the introduction of your book attention is the currency of love.

Alan Roettinger: How did you feel about that? Did you agree? I did kind of explain it.

Caryn Hartglass: Of course.

Alan Roettinger: But isn’t that it?

Caryn Hartglass: It is. We all need to pay attention. You know, when we invest our attention, when we invest our time in anything, we reap so much more from it.

Alan Roettinger: That’s right.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m tired of these sound bites on the news. I’m tired of music that is trivial that people throw together without much attention, without much art, without much love.

Alan Roettinger: To fill in the space that is only there because people are not paying attention. If you are paying attention life is fascinating. Everything, I mean, being at a bus stop, being in an airport, being in a normal, you know, kind of frame of mind you would be thinking, “Oh, this is boring. When will this be over? When can I get on my plane? When will I get there?” But when you are paying attention everything is alive, everything is moving, everything is exciting. It’s a beautiful life. And it’s only—.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s a beautiful life.

Alan Roettinger: When you put your love, which is your attention, you know, when you invest it in the world around you and in yourself and the people you love, your life becomes very rich. You’re very, very, very rich. And by the way, I have to take issue with something you said earlier because I was listening. You said, “I’m not perfect.” Actually, you are. This is the way you are supposed to be.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m extraordinary and perfect.

Alan Roettinger: And you are doing it perfectly. We are experiencing machines. We are feeling machines. And the more you feel, the more you open up and appreciate what’s around you, what’s being literally given to you in the moment, the more you are expressing the nature of what you are. It’s not a question of never making mistakes, you know? It’s a question of—because that’s how you learn. We all make mistakes, but that is not an issue of perfect versus imperfect. Perfect is the one who makes mistakes and goes, “Oh, wow. I shouldn’t have done that.” And then next time maybe you don’t or maybe you do it again and you go, “I did it again.” And eventually you don’t do it anymore because you learned. I mean, how cool is that?

Caryn Hartglass: That’s a good point. You know, I know a lot of us, especially us crazy vegans, like to think that we are vulnerable to some extent, then when we get a cold or we get advanced ovarian cancer or whatever it is.

Alan Roettinger: I got a giant kidney stone a few weeks ago.

Caryn Hartglass: You did not.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Seven millimeters.

Caryn Hartglass: Did it hurt?

Alan Roettinger: They had to go in and take it out.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, so you didn’t go through the pain of getting it out?

Alan Roettinger: Oh, I went through the pain. But when they finally realized—they did an MRI and saw that it was seven millimeters they go, well, you know, the doctor goes—the guy in the ER—and he said, “Well, you have two choices. You can try to pass this on your own, and maybe it will take, oh, I am going to say probably a week to a month. And it will hurt like this the whole time, and maybe you’ll pass it and maybe you won’t. Or we could knock you out, and I’ll just go in and take it out and put a stent in there, and in a week it will be over.”

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Alan Roettinger: I said, “Okay, well, how about B? Option B.” So that’s what they did.

Caryn Hartglass: Wow. Well, that was probably building for most of your life.

Alan Roettinger: No, no. I had one 15 years ago.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh you are kidney stone prone.

Alan Roettinger: I guess so.

Caryn Hartglass: What are you doing about it?

Alan Roettinger: Morphine.

Caryn Hartglass: People are concerned occasionally about kidney stones, and unless you’re not prone to kidney stones you don’t really have to worry about it, but oxalic acid is brought up a lot in spinach and rhubarb and those things. And do you watch it at all? Or are you just proceeding on?

Alan Roettinger: Oxalic acid. Well, you know, how do you get it out before you eat it? Or do you just not eat it?

Caryn Hartglass: Well, you just avoid the foods that have a lot of it—like spinach.

Alan Roettinger: Like spinach and rhubarb? What else

Caryn Hartglass: And rhubarb, and I am not sure off the top of my head. You’ll have to Google it, but—.

Alan Roettinger: Tell me kale isn’t among those.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, not really. It has some—not as much as spinach. And, again, everything I’ve read says if you are on an animal food centered diet you are more prone to it, and maybe you were building all the stones, you know, in your pre—.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. I’ve only been vegan for five years or four years or whatever.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I think you were building even that stone.

Alan Roettinger: Okay. So we can blame it on…

Caryn Hartglass: On your prior life. These things have happened.

Alan Roettinger: You know, I’m okay with, you know, vegan not being perfect. You know, I’m okay with that not being something that just fixes everything.

Caryn Hartglass: I think those were old—that was an old stone.

Alan Roettinger: Well, it was seven millimeter—it’s been building for a while.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Yeah.

Alan Roettinger: The other one I passed no problem. Well, I wouldn’t say no problem—pain, but it happened, you know?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. So anyway, the point is we are human. We are perfect, and we experience all kinds of fascinating things in our bodies. And by eating a healthy plant-based diet we can minimize some of those risks, but we are not going to avoid life’s experiences.

Alan Roettinger: No, and I don’t want to. I like my life experiences.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. I like most of them, but if I had a choice I wouldn’t have—.

Alan Roettinger: Well, some of them suck when they’re happening, but afterward you definitely are several steps ahead of where you were before you started. Admit it. I mean, it’s always—it’s not something you go, “Oh, I know what I will get have a kidney stone,” or, “I know what I’ll, you know, fall down and break something.” No, you never do that.

Caryn Hartglass: I want to experience that.

Alan Roettinger: But there’s always—when it’s over, you are always several steps ahead of where you were before. It always gets better.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, we are never the same person every day. We are changing.

Alan Roettinger: That’s right.

Caryn Hartglass: And every experience makes us different.

Alan Roettinger: That’s right, and it goes into the information that gets passed on. It really does.

Caryn Hartglass: All right. Let’s go back to the beginning of your book. At the very beginning you have a lovely forward by Dr. Neal Barnard.

Alan Roettinger: I know, isn’t it nice?

Caryn Hartglass: I’m going to have him on my program next month. And that was really lovely that he did that for you.

Alan Roettinger: I know. It was very, very nice of him. He’s a nice guy.

Caryn Hartglass: And he—in one of his very first sentences he was giving a number of different examples of people who experience tremendous physical improvements by changing their diet. And the first thing he mentioned was arthritis. And I have my own personal story, and I just know from first hand experience that when you put toxins in your body your joints are going to hurt. And it takes a while to get the toxins out. Now I experienced it through chemotherapy, and doctors won’t even acknowledge that the chemotherapy causes arthritis. They’ll tell you the chemotherapy cure is arthritis, but they don’t get it because I went in totally clean, arthritis free, I got the chemo, and then after I finished the chemo I woke up in the middle of the night and in the morning with pain in my hands and feet. And I went back on chemo. The pain went away, and then I got off it, and the pain came back. And it took literally a year for it all to go away, and I know that that’s what caused it. I know it’s an anecdotal story. The doctors will just go, “Ugh, you are just one case.” But it’s true.

Alan Roettinger: And the other big takeaway is that doctors really don’t know everything.

Caryn Hartglass: They’re perfect, but they don’t know everything.

Alan Roettinger: They’re perfect human beings, but they fail frequently. They do what human beings do very well.

Caryn Hartglass: So the point is people think when they’re aging aches and pains are natural. They are not. You can feel great for a long, long time, and all you have to do is be an extraordinary vegan and eat all these delicious foods that are in this book that we are going to be talking a little bit more about during this hour.

Alan Roettinger: Anti-inflammatory. Non-inflammatory. The combination is pretty good.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Alan Roettinger: All that dairy and stuff is very inflammatory.

Caryn Hartglass: Very inflammatory.

Alan Roettinger: And acidifying which invites disease. I mean, I’ve read that disease does not fair well in an alkaline environment.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. It just doesn’t like to be in there, so it doesn’t—.

Alan Roettinger: It loves sugar.

Caryn Hartglass: Sugar. Yeah. Okay. Let’s talk about some bizarre ingredients. I came up with that word bizarre. I am putting in air quotes here—quotes. And I find that more and more we are in some ways dumbed down with what we’re eating. Big agri business—they are growing less and less of variations of food. They’ll grow one kind of potato, one kind of rice, and grow a lot of it because it is more efficient and cost effective. It’s not that great for the environment. It’s certainly not good for us. And there is a wide range of all kinds of food out there—so many different varieties of potato, rice, every grain. There is a gazillion spices and herbs, and we don’t know anything about them. And then people can get frustrated when they open a cookbook and say, “Oh, I don’t know what this is. I don’t know where to get it.” But we really are meant to experience all of these things. And you have a number of interesting ingredients in your book that aren’t in your average, every day American cupboard.

Alan Roettinger: Like Absinthe?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Isn’t that something that kind of can kill you—Absinthe or it might be—.

Alan Roettinger: No, you know what? Well, it—well, you know, here’s the thing that doesn’t get out is that Absinthe was made illegal, and not in Switzerland but everywhere else, not because it had some kind of weird psychedelic, poisonous kind of thing in there. It’s strong. I mean, it’s 110-proof. So that’s—and yeah be careful. It’s twice as potent as your vodka, but it had wormwood in it, and they made up this whole thing that wormwood is poisonous, and actually it’s a tonic herb. It’s something that is used in old, old, old medicine. And it was something that the pharmaceutical industry which was just beginning to flower didn’t like that people were using natural cures. So that is how they—they made up this whole story, and of course people did get blind drunk on it because it is 110-proof, and not everybody knows what they are doing. And so they would get blind drunk, and they would do stupid things. But the same could be said of any other alcohol that you abuse.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Alan Roettinger: You know, binge drink and that happens.

Caryn Hartglass: So what does it taste like?

Alan Roettinger: It wasn’t Absinthe—it tastes a little—it is made of, what you call it– anise and green fennel and wormwood and other herbs. You know, it’s like an herb tincture basically, but it mostly tastes like fennel—kind of like fennel.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, “licoricey” flavor.

Alan Roettinger: But it’s not like Anisette or like—what do you call it? Pernod. Those are straight fennel. This one actually has—it has a little bit edge of bitter because of the wormwood, and it’s got a little bit of—so it’s an interesting flavor.

Caryn Hartglass: I drank a lot of Pernod when I lived in France.

Alan Roettinger: Pernod was what they were left with after Absinthe was removed.

Caryn Hartglass: Pernod and water, a little Patis, as we called it.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. It gets a little milky colored—yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, I’m getting nostalgic now.

Alan Roettinger: It looked—it does the same thing. You pour water in, and it gets milky. It’s the same stuff.

Caryn Hartglass: It gets milky white?

Alan Roettinger: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. I’m—.

Alan Roettinger: It’s a wonderful drink in the summer with ice.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I’m thinking I have—.

Alan Roettinger: No sugar is required. The traditional thing—they put a little sugar cube on that—it looks like a small cake, like a cake server with little holes in it, and then they pour the Absinthe over the top, and it dissolves the sugar, and it goes in, and then they use the…

Caryn Hartglass: Do you have somebody there that wants to say something on the show?

Alan Roettinger: No, they just, you know, every now and then an animal will walk by, and they have to set the parameters of, you know, where deer are allowed and they aren’t.

Caryn Hartglass: I thought the animal wanted to say something—the dog.

Alan Roettinger: Oh they always—no, they always want to say something, but they are really not too articulate. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what they’re trying to say.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. You know, speaking of dogs, I wanted to mention before when we were talking about paying attention to food, dogs eat in a certain way, and it’s appropriate for them. They kind of take big chunks and gulp it down. They are not into chewing. They are into eating quickly, and humans are not supposed to eat that way, and yet I see humans eat like dogs all the time.

Alan Roettinger: Well you know the secret, right?

Caryn Hartglass: What?

Alan Roettinger: If you allow some air—you see when people taste wine? Like at a wine tasting? They’ll take a sip, and they’ll swish it around in their mouth.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, with a little air.

Alan Roettinger: And then they’ll open their lips just a little bit to suck in a little air, and then all of the sudden all those little notes that have gone over your mouth suddenly come to life. If you drink something without opening your mouth you don’t taste it all or you get a very vague sort of taste. But if you drink it slowly and you let a little air in there, you get—it’s an explosion of flavor. Even water—even water tastes better if you drink that way.

Caryn Hartglass: With a little air.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, because most of our flavor is from smell.

Alan Roettinger: That’s right.

Caryn Hartglass: So I guess that is allowing us to smell the food.

Alan Roettinger: Flavor is the four five depending on who you believe or six tastes, and then the olfactory which has got thousands and thousands of notes that you can use. And combine those two together that the aroma and the taste, and you get flavor.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. So back to bizarre ingredients.

Alan Roettinger: Oh, yes.

Caryn Hartglass: Or not really bizarre ingredients, but there is a lot of different things that we can flavor food with. There’s curry, for example. You have garam masala in some of your recipes I believe.

Alan Roettinger: Mmhmm.

Caryn Hartglass: And there are a lot of different mixes like that, and even if it has the same name, a different brand makes it, it might taste different then—somebody else’s.

Alan Roettinger: A different brand and also a different origin. Different parts of India have a different mixture. The south Indians is much sweeter, and they use star anise and these things that in the north they don’t use at all.

Caryn Hartglass: So here’s a not too long story about just that. So we have some Indian stores around here, and occasionally I try something new. And I bought a madras curry. And I bought a lot of it. And then I discovered I didn’t like it because it had—it was a little too sweet.

Alan Roettinger: That’s the south.

Caryn Hartglass: And it just didn’t work. And then recently I was out and about somewhere, and I had this carrot puree that was used as a spread for the bread in the restaurant, and the light went off, and I thought, “I want to try that madras curry with carrots.” And it worked beautifully because the carrots, I guess, were sweet, and it worked.

Alan Roettinger: Are sweet. Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: And it worked with it.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: So, you have to figure that out—right?

Alan Roettinger: You really just have to figure it out. This is, you know, we do come with an owner’s manual, but it’s not written. It’s called feel good, feel bad. You get it right it feels good; if you get it wrong it feels bad, and you have to kind of learn.

Caryn Hartglass: I learned a long time ago when I was in a painting class about color and intensity and how a particular color can look very different depending on the background of the color. So if you put a certain color red on a certain color blue and then put that same red on a different color green you will swear they are not the same red color. And it was fascinating to me.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Context.

Caryn Hartglass: Context. And so the same thing is with herbs and spices and other flavorings where you might try something and thing, “This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever had.” And then mix it with the right foods, and it becomes extraordinary.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Or sometimes like in Indian food there is this spice they use; it’s called “hing” or “asafoetida” in Latin, which means something fetted, something—you smell it. It smells really awful. It smells like, you know, really, really bad.

Caryn Hartglass: Is it fermented?

Alan Roettinger: I’m not sure if it’s fermented or not, but what it is is it’s the dried sap of the fennel plant—of an Indian fennel plant. And what they do is it comes—it looks like sort of like a really crummy amber, you know, and they grate it into a little powder. Or sometimes you can buy it grated, but then it has lost some potency. But then they put it in bean and lentil dishes to kind of help with the gaseous effect. Because it helps you digest them because it’s fennel, you know? And somehow, magically, when it is cooked in the dish, it gives it a flavor, and you know that’s what it is because you don’t put it in. It doesn’t have that flavor which is nothing like what it smelled. It’s really—it’s a unique, wonderful, kind of back note.

Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk more about gas and beans. Does this really help with gas? People ask me all the time. You know, and I know the common response is to soak your beans, rinse the water, drain the water, put new water, and people, you know, follow all these rules, and they still have gas.

Alan Roettinger: Well, my question is what else are they eating? You know? Because since I stopped eating animal products, especially like the dairy, I have had virtually no problem. None. And I was not that way before to put it mildly. My wife, you know, was always like, “Oh.” And even like, you know, the sweat doesn’t apparently smell as bad as it used to. And I don’t snore. She’s never hit me with the elbow in the middle of the night. You know, there are a lot of benefits to, you know, changing not just—it’s not about what you don’t eat. It’s really about what you do eat.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I’ve been eating clean food for a long time, and I have to confess that I still snore. But I’m perfect.

Alan Roettinger: That’s right. You are just the way you are.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s perfect snoring. I think I just live in a filthy city environment, and my nose rebelled against it.

Alan Roettinger: Well, that’s very possible, and I think we all snored when we lived in L.A. My son had asthma and doesn’t have it anymore. Or if he does it’s in remission or whatever you call it.

Caryn Hartglass: I think in our quest to get people back in the kitchen making their own food people have to know that not only are they perfect as a human, but some of the things that they try are not going to—that may not turn out as they expected, and you have to just keep trying.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Well, I mean, it does help to have—.

Caryn Hartglass: A good recipe.

Alan Roettinger: A cookbook that, you know, that you know that every recipe has been tried, and it works. Sometimes they don’t do that. Sometimes they just fire it off, and it doesn’t always work.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh please. I know that.

Alan Roettinger: I’ve seen recipe books like that. And then some, by some insecure chefs whom I will not name, that purposefully make it vague so that you’ll never be able to cook like them, and I think that’s just insane, but it happens.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah, I’ve heard people intentionally leave out and ingredient or two so you don’t get their secret.

Alan Roettinger: Or they don’t really—they’re not very clear. I mean, there is one, and I won’t say his name, but he was a French chef, and he had—I tried to follow his book when I was learning. And they would—you know—and then I saw him on TV, and he says, you know, “And then add a cup of wine,” and he pours like half a bottle. And, you know, I said, “Oh, that’s how he does his recipes. That’s why they don’t work. He doesn’t care.” Because he doesn’t want to you to cook like him.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Right.

Alan Roettinger: Only he is the expert, and that’s insane. Because no one will ever be able to reproduce what you do even if they follow your recipe exactly. They are going to do something that is going to be a little bit different, and that’s good.

Caryn Hartglass: Back to that carrot and madras curry story that I was talking about before, we just ate this dish, and what happened was I started out with carrots, and I belong to this organic delivery service and the juice box they have been giving me five pounds of carrots every week. And I don’t like to put carrots in my juice, so we’ve been having like too many carrots. And I made this big, before leaving for California; I cooked all these carrots and made this big puree. And then I had this wonderful frozen yellow pepper puree that I had picked up at the food expo in New York a few months ago, and I defrosted that and put it together and added a little soymilk. And it was a very simple soup puree thing like baby food almost. And I thought, “Okay, this is boring, but okay.” And then I discovered that madras curry, and I added it to that concoction, and I loved it. But I had a lot of it.

Alan Roettinger: That made a curried carrot puree.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. And then we froze it because we were leaving. And I just defrosted it. And we had a bunch of leftovers like rice, a little ratatouille, and this carrot—I want to say carrot slop but—.

Alan Roettinger: Puree. Puree sounds much more enticing than slop.

Caryn Hartglass: And we put it all together, and it made this like a, what were we calling it, a chowder or a—it was just phenomenal. So, the point is that food can—you can make a dish, and over the course of a few days or weeks it can turn into something really amazing. Just give it a chance. Play with it.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Yeah. Even if it doesn’t work the first time—keep at it.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Keep at it. Okay. I noticed something. I didn’t find any wheat or gluten products in your cookbook.

Alan Roettinger: Well, it says on the inside flap every recipe is gluten free.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, well I was look at the PDF. I didn’t notice that.

Alan Roettinger: And there is something else you might have noticed an absence of—tofu.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, there was no tofu.

Alan Roettinger: I did a search when I was done just to see how scarce—I wonder how many recipes I did with tofu—there wasn’t a single one. I was just, you know, creating recipes, doing some cooking.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s funny.

Alan Roettinger: And I’m not particularly a fan of tofu. I don’t dislike it; it’s fine. But when I cook I always do it in an Asian context because I feel like that’s where it really shines.

Caryn Hartglass: Belongs.

Alan Roettinger: That’s where it came from, and it does really well there with spicy sauces to, you know, soak up and do things with. But, yeah, but that was surprising. There is something extraordinary about that—a vegan cookbook with no tofu.

Caryn Hartglass: It is extraordinary because, well, you do have—I want to mention—you do have soy in your recipes. You have a tempeh crouton recipe, which is genius.

Alan Roettinger: Right. Right. There’s tempeh, and there’s soy sauce. And there’s miso.

Caryn Hartglass: Genius. Genius. Tempeh croutons. I love that idea.

Alan Roettinger: Well, thank you. Genius, yeah, thank you. That was a compliment. Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. Yes. I was trying to stick that in there. I have an exclamation point next to my notes here—tempeh croutons. Yes. And, you know, soy gets this bad name from time to time. I think minimally processed soy foods, organic, non-genetically modified are fine. People have been eating them for centuries. And they—.

Alan Roettinger: Well, especially fermented.

Caryn Hartglass: And fermented is good.

Alan Roettinger: Fermented changes a lot.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s why you don’t like tofu.

Alan Roettinger: No, I don’t mind it. It’s very bland stuff. I mean, you have to do something with it to make it, you know, it’s like—like in Indian food they have paneer, you know, the homemade cheese. And by itself it is kind of bland. It doesn’t really have any—.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Alan Roettinger: But you put it in a spicy dish where it starts soaking up those juices and it’s, you know, it’s incredible. Of course they have to fry it first, and I used to fry it.

Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk about miso for a moment.

Alan Roettinger: Okay.

Caryn Hartglass: Let’s take a miso break. We are now going to take a break and talk about miso. I love miso. Now, one of the issues I have with miso is I really try and avoid salt in my recipes, and you can’t get miso without salt. And so I—.

Alan Roettinger: [Speaking simultaneously].

Caryn Hartglass: Excuse me?

Alan Roettinger: Then you don’t have to add any salt, you know, if you make something and put miso in it—.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I never—in general—don’t add salt to my recipes. They are bland and—not bland. They have flavor from quality ingredients and herbs and spices, but I tend to stay away from salt except when I use miso, and then there is obviously some salt in my recipes. But there are different kinds of misos.

Alan Roettinger: That’s right. Some are saltier than others.

Caryn Hartglass: And some are saltier than others. And I think that’s an important point because when I go to an Asian store, for example, even the organic ones are super salty. I don’t know if you have a particular brand, but I like—.

Alan Roettinger: You know I like Mellow White Miso for recipes because it is, you know, unobtrusive. It doesn’t really—they are in the little bits. And it’s not very dark. It doesn’t add a lot of color. Or brown rice miso—that is kind of nice. It’s a little dark, but, yeah, I mean, I like the ones that don’t add too much of that intense dark kind of—.

Caryn Hartglass: You don’t like barley misos and—.

Alan Roettinger: I like it, but I don’t try to—I use it specifically for some things, but not for recipes. And also I think it’s easier for people if they only have to go and buy one kind in the course of the using the book that they only really have to get one kind, so if they’re new to this, you know, it’s fairly easy to find.

Caryn Hartglass: I can imagine those who are new to it, all these different ingredients can be really overwhelming. But the beautiful thing about miso is it pretty much lasts forever.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah, well, it’s fermented. Keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out, but other than that, yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I keep it in the refrigerator, and I recently discovered South River miso.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah, that’s nice stuff.

Caryn Hartglass: And it’s pricey; misos are pricey, but they do have some phenomenal flavors.

Alan Roettinger: Did you have the chickpea one?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, that’s—and I can’t eat it right out of jar, although I do taste a little bit of it because it’s salty, but really good stuff.

Alan Roettinger: I must have a very high salt tolerance. I can spread it on my toast and just “mmm.”

Caryn Hartglass: All right. A couple other recipes I want to mention in the book. The Essene bread. Now, this isn’t the first time you’ve talked about Essene bread, but it’s quite a lovely little product. And it doesn’t have any wheat in it.

Alan Roettinger: It doesn’t have any—well, the Essene bread did. I mean, they used, back, and this was back, you know, in the time of Jesus.

Caryn Hartglass: The biblical Essene bread.

Alan Roettinger: Supposedly, I mean, this is from the Essene Gospel of Peace where Jesus gives the people of his time a few health tips, and one of the things he did was he gave a recipe for Essene bread. He told them how to make it. And you sprout the seeds of the wheat berries, and then once they’re sprouted you grind them up, and then you spat them together into a little cake, and then he would put it on a hot rock since, you know, I don’t live in the Middle East, I live in Colorado, I use a very, very low oven

Caryn Hartglass: You could find some hot rocks in Colorado.

Alan Roettinger: I’d have to heat them myself at this point.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Alan Roettinger: In the summer they could get pretty hot, but nothing like, you know, I mean, I could take them out to Death Valley to bake them, but no. But just do them in a low oven, and then you are retaining most of the nutrients especially the mixture that is in the inside of the loaf because it’s not really, you know, it’s not something you could make a sandwich out of. It’s a little bit gooey and a little bit chewy—very chewy. But you can slather it with some almond butter and some of that fig jam that’s in the book.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. I wanted to talk about that next. How did you know?

Alan Roettinger: Okay, well I won’t ruin it. But what I’ve done is I’ve taken it in the direction of the nutrient dense kind of thing, and I use quinoa and buckwheat and brown rice. Brown rice doesn’t really sprout because it’s not a—it doesn’t have all the stuff in it. But it gets tender, and when you blend it up it makes a nice paste. And then I also put sunflower seeds and walnuts and grated carrot.

Caryn Hartglass: Does it not really sprout because it’s heat flashed or something before it’s shipped?

Alan Roettinger: I don’t know what they do to it, but it doesn’t sprout. It definitely doesn’t sprout.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I think that’s it. Yeah.

Alan Roettinger: And the sunflower seeds look like they’re sprouting, but they don’t really sprout. I mean, they get the little germ that kind of sticks out, but it won’t grow into a sunflower seed sprout because it doesn’t have the husk.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh really?

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. It totally begins to sprout. I mean, it gets—the two halves spread open, and you get this little stem, but that’s as far as it ever goes. They’ll rot long before anything else would happen.

Caryn Hartglass: Now I sprout sunflower seeds from time to time, but I get them from a special place, and they come in the black protective covering.

Alan Roettinger: Right. Right. Yeah, they are shells. And like when you see sunflower sprouts in the store a lot of time they’ll be like a little mussel shell clamped on to some of them that didn’t come off.

Caryn Hartglass: Right, and those are the most delicious sprouts in the entire world—I have to say—sunflower spouts—love them.

Alan Roettinger: Okay. Well, if you say—I’m very fond of them. I didn’t think of calling them the most delicious in the world—I don’t know.

Caryn Hartglass: Of all sprouts, do you have a favorite sprout?

Alan Roettinger: You know, I like micro greens that are kind of like sprouts.

Caryn Hartglass: Sunflower sprouts were that kind of thing that when I put them in my mouth one of the very first times it made me stop and notice them.

Alan Roettinger: That’s true.

Caryn Hartglass: It was one of those moments.

Alan Roettinger: Pea shoots.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. They’re good. Yeah. All right.

Alan Roettinger: I like anything that is just growing. It’s fantastic.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Me too. Jam fig—fig jam.

Alan Roettinger: Jam fig.

Caryn Hartglass: In our quest to get people back into the kitchen, and people are really kicking and screaming for the most part, most people don’t want to get into their kitchen. They’re tired. They’ve got too much to do. They don’t really see the obvious benefits until somebody coerces them to get into the groove of making their own food.

Alan Roettinger: I have a friend who took out her kitchen. She had a contractor come and just remove everything and make it into a room of some kind. She doesn’t have a kitchen at all—doesn’t not have a kitchen.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s too funny.

Alan Roettinger: Eats out always.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s sad.

Alan Roettinger: Scary.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, I don’t know which is worse—not having a kitchen or having the most gorgeous kitchen with all of the best, All-Clad and Creuset and all the lovely—.

Alan Roettinger: And all in pristine condition because nobody ever uses it.

Caryn Hartglass: And never touch any of it. Which is worse?

Alan Roettinger: I know. I’ve worked in kitchens that were like that where I walk in, and I go, “Wow, this is great.” And you realize they’ve never used it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I’ve done that too. It’s—but maybe not having a kitchen is more honest, but then when you ultimately do want to find your kitchen you are going to have to rebuild it. But I am not going to worry about that.

Alan Roettinger: No, no. We don’t have to worry about this person. She’s not—.

Caryn Hartglass: You know, I don’t know about you, but I have managed to make wonderful meals with one electric burner and one pot.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: I don’t need a kitchen.

Alan Roettinger: No, you don’t need one. It’s nice to have one, but you don’t—.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s nice.

Alan Roettinger: And also now that I—unless I have—I am working with a millionaire who eats animal products, I don’t need but two knives—the long one, you know the chef knife, and a paring knife. And that’s all I need.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s a really good point.

Alan Roettinger: I don’t need a boning knife. I don’t need a fileting knife. I don’t need a clam opening knife. I don’t need—.

Caryn Hartglass: I suppose those knives might come in handy for specific purposes with certain foods. But pretty much, yeah, two knives will do it—a big one and a little one.

Alan Roettinger: Sometimes a serrated one if you want to cut bread or tomatoes.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah, serrated.

Alan Roettinger: If your knife gets dull and you need cut a tomato, you can use a serrated.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah, maybe three or four knives. Anyway—.

Alan Roettinger: I still have them, I just don’t need them.

Caryn Hartglass: So, there is a lot of jellies and jams out on the market, and now we’ve moved toward the availability of having jellies and jams without sugar. They are fruit juice sweetened pretty much. But I discovered making my own from dried fruit, and it’s the easiest thing. And I just do it with water and dried fruit. I do it with apricots. I do it with prunes. It is the most incredible, delicious thing. And you are just one notch up by using port instead of water. Oh my goodness.

Alan Roettinger: You are making it just a little bit extraordinary.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. Wow.

Alan Roettinger: It doesn’t take much. And I also add a little vanilla bean you might have noticed.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, vanilla bean too, but the port—.

Alan Roettinger: It’s optional, but I recommend it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Delicious. So it’s actually sweetened with grape just because that’s what port is right?

Alan Roettinger: Right. Yeah. And port is also a little more—it’s fortified, so it has got a little kick to it.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I mean why not—and it’s not hard to make. It really isn’t.

Alan Roettinger: No. No. The hard part is just cutting off the little stem end. Everything else is just so easy.

Caryn Hartglass: So, so easy. So I can’t encourage people enough to try these things. And the thing is, it’s just like anything, we’re already perfect as Alan has told us, but practice makes us “perfecter.”

Alan Roettinger: Well, yeah. There are two sides to the perfect. We are not perfect in the sense that everything we do comes out right. And we are not perfect in the sense that we never make mistakes. It’s just that when you see that we are the perfect vehicle for this consciousness. We are the perfect machine for living to the fullest. No other creature can get as much out of life as we can. And we have a very short time to do it. And if we apply ourselves we can really, really enjoy life. And that’s the whole point. This is why we’re here. We’re hardwired for this. So in that sense we’re perfect—we’re the perfect machine for accomplishing that purpose. And then we screw up, but that’s, you know—we get inconvenienced by other people, and they go, “Well, in a perfect world.” You know, describing a world that would be just perfect for us. You know, the lights always turn green as we approach. Everyone else stops. You know, but that’s not perfection. That’s convenience.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, wouldn’t that be nice though? Walking in my neighborhood here is hard still—.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah, unless you are one of those people that is coming the other way, and they have to wait for you to go by. It wouldn’t be so perfect for them, would it?

Caryn Hartglass: Well, no, but I would like to see a little more politeness and—you know—.

Alan Roettinger: Well, move to a small town.

Caryn Hartglass: Are they really more polite in a small town?

Alan Roettinger: They are. They are not as hurried as people in the big city are. They are not as on as tight of schedule. They are not freaking out about the minor things because—.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Freaking out about the minor things. And it’s all about paying attention. We talked about attention, and it’s the currency of love. Paying attention everywhere is so important.

Alan Roettinger: That’s the way farmers used to farm. They didn’t have devices to know what the, you know, they had to pay attention to the air currents and the way the clouds were forming and what the Earth felt like and the smell of the air and say, “Oh, it smells like rain. It smells like,” you know?

Caryn Hartglass: Well that’s like some of those skills are coming back into fashion with the biodynamic type of agriculture, and there are a lot of things that we haven’t figured out with high tech that the old fashioned techniques really are helpful where people really become so sensitive to the life all around them—the life in the soil, the life in the air, the life in the water, talking to the plants or just knowing what they are feeling, paying attention—attention, attention.

Alan Roettinger: Attention. Well, this is, you know, when you think about it, what is the one thing that people want more than anything else?

Caryn Hartglass: Attention.

Alan Roettinger: They want to feel good. You know? And if you stop paying attention you are not going to feel as good because your receptors are just dull.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s a—you have to put in to get out.

Alan Roettinger: That’s right.

Caryn Hartglass: All right, let’s talk about pistachios for a moment. I don’t see pistachios very often in recipes. They are super delicious, and they are absolutely stunning on poached pears.

Alan Roettinger: They are, aren’t they? You noticed that.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes, stunning picture.

Alan Roettinger: Thank you. Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I love making very simple poached pears; just poaching them in water is fabulous. But any addition—and, again, it’s like knowing the right things that will go with it. You can flavor the water with a variety of things, but you have some very lovely recipes. And pistachios…mmm.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah, did you see the pistachio crust on the fig tart?

Caryn Hartglass: I did, again—.

Alan Roettinger: It’s gluten-free.

Caryn Hartglass: Pistachios need a little more press. They are really quite good. Why don’t we see enough of them?

Alan Roettinger: I think people just don’t know that they can, I guess. They think it’s ice cream, and that’s it.

Caryn Hartglass: Right.

Alan Roettinger: And they think of it as a bright green ice cream—unnaturally green.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Exactly.

Alan Roettinger: Because when I make pistachio ice cream it is very pale green.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. Well, anyway—.

Alan Roettinger: Actually the base of the Absinthe ice cream is pistachios added to it for the green color, and then it really goes well with—the flavor of pistachios goes really well with the flavor of Absinthe.

Caryn Hartglass: All right. We just have a few minutes left. So let’s talk—.

Alan Roettinger: Really? Wow.

Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk more about—I know—we can babble all day, can’t we?

Alan Roettinger: I know.

Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk a little bit more about Alan Roettinger and your websites and your blogs and events and services and everything you’re up to.

Alan Roettinger: Well, I am moving away from cooking for millionaires and moving towards helping the average person learn how to cook and do this because I think it’s important. And I like normal people, average people, more than rich and famous people. They are much more available. They are much more—.

Caryn Hartglass: Appreciative?

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Well, not always. There are some that are very appreciative. But usually it’s, you know, I’m paying you and that’s all I need to do. But also—oh, well here’s an improvement over last we spoke. I do have only—I do have one website now, and it’s just And I have my blog; it’s going to be on there. I’m still working on setting this up, and people can sign up for my newsletter there. And they can access—they can send me an email or whatever and discuss what kind of options I have as far as coaching and consulting. And cooking classes—I am going to start—I have to figure out a way to make them universally available. Right now it’s just me in front of people, which I like. I really enjoy the direct contact with people. But I want to make this available to everyone. I want to teach basic knife skills—everything—so that you can get good. Here’s a cool thing—when you do something, when you practice a skill, you acquire a skill, you automatically want to practice it more because you can. There’s something about, “Look what I can do?” And it goes back to, “Look Mom, look what I’m doing.” And then the more you practice it the better you get. And when you get really good then you really want to practice because it feels great to be good at something. And then you practice it enough it becomes second nature, and then you can do it without even thinking, and that’s what I am aiming for. I want people to feel like they can go into the kitchen and make something, but without a recipe or without anything—just walk in because they know—they’ve learned. And then it’s—it’s beautiful. And then people are enjoying their life.

Caryn Hartglass: It is. And do you know, people that have studied culinary arts of thousands of years now, I think we’ve come to a point where there are some things that when done in a certain way, they are easier, more efficient. I mean, why reinvent the wheel?

Alan Roettinger: No, just learn how it turns.

Caryn Hartglass: What?

Alan Roettinger: Just learn how to use it—that’s all.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I mean, for example, I never had any culinary training, and I kind of figured things out on my own, and I have my own way of doing things.

Alan Roettinger: Me too.

Caryn Hartglass: And that worked fine. And now my partner Gary, he has trained in the culinary arts and sometimes he’ll, you know say, “Why are you doing it that way?”

Alan Roettinger: Don’t do it that way.

Caryn Hartglass: Do it this way, but, you know, some of the things I’ve learned from him are really amazing, and I’m glad I’ve learned them because they work better, and I’m not chopping my fingers off, you know?

Alan Roettinger: Oh yeah, don’t chop your fingers off. You have a weapon in that other hand. Be careful.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Anyway, so there is value to that. And people love watching people cook. We know how popular the food shows on Food Network and other networks are. And we really do need more venues and opportunities to learn how to make healthy food not just any kind of food and make it—.

Alan Roettinger: Right. How to make healthy food that is really good.

Caryn Hartglass: That is really good—makes your mouth water. I know we’re on the same path Alan. The food that we make is beautiful. It’s gorgeous. It’s full of love. It’s good for the planet. It’s good for our bodies. It makes us feel good. And underline delicious, delicious, delicious. It is delicious.

Alan Roettinger: We have taste buds for a reason.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, we do?

Alan Roettinger: It’s not a mistake. It’s totally, totally not a mistake.

Caryn Hartglass: We’re not gulping this food down and, yeah.

Alan Roettinger: Well, I’m not. I take the longest to eat of anybody in my family. I always have.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, what do you do when you’re travelling and eating?

Alan Roettinger: Oh, well, you know, it’s, you know, I take my trail mix with me.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh you have a recipe for trail mix in your book.

Alan Roettinger: I do. Yeah. Yeah. It’s my—.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s like a high-powered trail mix.

Alan Roettinger: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a—well because I use goji berries and mulberries and dried blueberries and currants and—

Caryn Hartglass: So here’s an example—trail mix—okay? There’s lot of different trail mixes in the stores, and why do you want to make your own trail mix? It’s not hard.

Alan Roettinger: It’s much fresher.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s fresher. You don’t have preservatives. Sometimes they add all kinds of stuff.

Alan Roettinger: And you can get the dried fruit without sugar. It doesn’t need it.

Caryn Hartglass: And it just—and you can mix the stuff you like together. Now, I think every home should have a variety of raw nuts and seeds because they are good for you—sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, and cashews. You should have all of these, and keep them in your refrigerator and eat them all the time. They are delicious. They are good for you, and then you throw them together—.

Alan Roettinger: And when people ask you where you get your protein—well, there it is.

Caryn Hartglass: There it is. There is one place anyway.

Alan Roettinger: In one place. Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And then when you’re ready for—you are going to travel, I mean, it’s a great airplane food to throw a bag of that together and have it on the airplane. It’s so good. And, you know, you want to get a little decadence you add a little dark chocolate chips in there.

Alan Roettinger: There is nothing decadent about that. That’s good for you. It’s got flavonoids and compounds that are good for your heart and your brain and everything.

Caryn Hartglass: There you go, nothing decadent. It’s all good food.

Alan Roettinger: As long as it doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it. You get the 70% or above—I use the 71%, little chip, and it’s not the kind of chips you put in chocolate cookies because those of formulated to not melt. This is just pure dark chocolate.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, Alan, I’d like to end on a very sweet note, and that is what we’re doing here.

Alan Roettinger: That’s it.

Caryn Hartglass: But we’re at the end, and thank you for joining me. This was so much fun. So thanks for being an extraordinary vegan and for writing the extraordinary vegan cookbook. All the best to you, and let’s meet for dinner sometime.

Alan Roettinger: New York probably. All right. Thanks for having me.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Take care. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and we’ve come to an end of It’s All About Food. Join me at Send me an email at, and remember, have a delicious week.

Transcribed on 10/22/2013 by Maggie Christiansen,

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