Ellen Kanner's Feeding the Hungry Ghost Teaches Readers on Seasonal Eats, Community & Food for the Soul

While Miami's vegan scene might be a little bit lacking, we have to give props to the dedicated herbivores working to educate the masses on the benefits of local produce, meatless Mondays and cruelty-free cuisine.

One such teacher is Ellen Kanner, blogger, columnist and now, cookbook author. Kanner has long been a force for healthy living in South Florida, and she's about to reach a broader audience with her new cookbook, Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner. In it, she schools readers on the four seasons, spirituality through food and greens galore.

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Kanner's recent appearance at the Gables branch of Books & Books drew a packed house. And there were plenty of vegan treats on hand, pulled from the pages of her tome.

After an introduction from Books & Books founder Mitchell Kaplan, Kanner took the mic and spoke about her gratitude.

"It's one thing to write about it, it's another to see this kind of amazing community support."

The book's title refers to the "hungry ghosts" of Taoist legend, spirits who were so hungry for more (in every sense of the word) that they wandered aimlessly, forever unsatisfied, desperate to fill the void.

Kanner says friends often asked her, was the book supposed to be self-help? A memoir? A cookbook? Or what? "It's a what," she quipped. Full of stories from her life, as well as a breakdown by seasons, Kanner says the book was a long-time coming. A vegetarian since 13, Kanner swore off meat due to her love of cows.

"I think we're as hungry for narration as we are for food," she told the audience.

Kanner also praised the burgeoning local food scene, citing the growth of farmer's markets, field-to-table and the closing of gaps between the grower and the consumer.

In addition to narration, story-telling and spiritual references Kanner's book offers recipes for vegan fare like "Down and Dirty Rice," "Unconventional but Seductive Veggie Paella," "When All Else Fails Pasta" and "DIY Matzo."

In the end, she says her book is about food feeding our souls and our bodies, nourishing us as a community and as individuals.

"We're better together than we are individually, and isn't that the whole point of being human?"

Kanner's book is available at Books & Books in the Gables and on Miami Beach, as well as online.

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Hannah Sentenac covers veg food, drink, pop culture, travel, and animal advocacy issues. She is also editor-in-chief of
Contact: Hannah Sentenac