The only mention of "The Big Bang Theory" in Mayim Bialik's new cookbook, "Mayim's Vegan Table," is in her brief bio on the back cover. She doesn't prepare meatless meals for her colorful cast mates on the popular sitcom. "Everybody is pretty set in their cooking ways," she says with just a pinch of judgment in her voice.
And the star of '90s sitcom "Blossom" has a recipe that employs flowers, but her editor cut the zucchini-blossom dish from her book. (Will Blossom ever win?)
Thankfully, Bialik is multidimensional. In addition to yuking it up on sitcoms, she is a mother of two, holds a doctorate in neuroscience from UCLA, and is a vegan, which influences the blog posts she pens for Kveller.com, which provides the animal-free fodder for her new cookbook, which is stocked with recipes for everything from mac and cheese to baked ziti to Israeli salad. All sans meat. All sans dairy.
Q: What's the motivation for writing a vegan cookbook?
A: I'd been vegetarian for 20 years, then over time it grew into veganism because of ethical and health issues.
I wasn't looking to be a celebrity chef. I am a normal mom of two young boys and these are the recipes I make for my kids and my nonvegan friends.
Q: You write about stereotypes — "baggage" — associated with the vegan lifestyle.
A: A lot of people assume that being vegan is time consuming. That it's expensive and an elitist lifestyle and the food is gross. Those are the main misconceptions that I cover in the book. Being vegan is not always easy, but the fact that every major medical organization agrees that we should be eating more fruits and vegetables should weigh heavily on everyone and prompt us to expand our palates.
Q: Why the emphasis on fun vegan foods?
A: It's important for people to realize I am not depriving my children. We don't eat raw salad three times a day. They get to eat cupcakes. I just want them to know what fruit tastes like. In our house we have what we call "growing foods" and "fun foods." It's an easy way to approach eating.
Q: You refer to being a thoughtful eater in your book.
A: Being a thoughtful eater is not simply putting into your mouth whatever — and in whatever quantity — is in front of you.
Q: You're an advocate of the Mediterranean diet.
A: I've done a lot of research into that. I happen to be a Jewish person, and a there's a lot of Mediterranean food with Israeli influence. I stock the pantry with olive oil, nuts and seeds.
Q: How does your acting career affect your vegan lifestyle?
A: I go to a lot of Hollywood events where a lot of money could be saved by not serving huge hunks of meat. That said, in Los Angeles there is a lot of variety in eating.
Q: Your "Big Bang Theory" character, Amy Farrah Fowler, is a bit weird. What's the weirdest dish in the book?
A: Oh, probably the bread loaf shaped like a turtle.
"Mayim's Vegan Table: 100 Great Tasting and Healthy Recipes From My Family to Yours"
By Mayim Bialik with Dr. Jay Gordon
Da Capo Press, $21.99