I, on a whim, googled "earliest vegan cookery book" and found a few interesting things that I thought I would share with you. The word vegan
wasn't coined until 1944 and vegetarian
wasn't coined until 1847, so it's not an easily googlable term. Cookery books as they currently stand are a relatively new invention, and older surviving books assume that you're not a complete beginner and can tell when things are done by eye, for example. Still, there are a few interesting things about.
Almond milk was commonplace milk in fancypants kitchens until refrigeration became widespread, and was used on fast days. An early recipe appears in Le Viandier
. Home made almond milk tends to be cheaper than shop-bought almond milk, and I've found that using scalding water produces a richer flavour.The hygeian home cook-book by R. T. Trall (1874)
is the earliest deliberately vegan book that seems to have been identified. The "preserving" section uses beeswax, but none of the food contains anything animal. It's full of ads for Graham products, as Graham (of the crackers fame) advocated vegetarianism (with milk and eggs permitted occasionally) as a means to prevent blindness by eliminating stroganoff by quelling sexual urges. Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets by John Evelyn (1699)
is a fine work by a "friend and contemporary of Samuel Pepys", the diarist. This is basically "a list of all the plants I like and how to eat them" in a rambling, conversational manner. It's a good read with interesting recipes, but you have to remember that the writer's English is a good three hundred years younger than your own English and so rules of style and spelling have changed. Might be of less interest to non-Europeans as hedgerow plants are different and a lot of ingredients mentioned are ones that only grow wild nowadays. Evelyn advocated removing meat from the diet, but apparently did not object to the odd bit of beef stock, so I would substitute that with a mushroom stock with a dash of a hearty red wine. Liber Cure Cocorum
from around 1430 is not really vegetarian in the slightest, but has a few nice looking deserts and soups as well as a recipe for curdled almond butter. It contains several recipes that specify almond milk instead of cow's milk. It's also written in rhyming couplets!
Anyway, historical cookery books are a peculiar interest of mine. If anyone happens to know of any others, or is interested in me mining for more, please post!