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Want to get into vegan cooking? Chef Gina Overshiner recommends these cookbooks

Want to get into vegan cooking? Chef Gina Overshiner recommends these cookbooks

Gina’s Vegan A Go Go Gina Overshiner

Gina Overshiner is the chef-owner of Gina’s Vegan A Go Go.

Often parked at Cooper’s Landing in Columbia, Missouri, the food trailer that houses Gina’s Vegan A Go Go is appropriately painted a shade of “vegan green.” Chef-owner Gina Overshiner – who leads a plant-based lifestyle for both environmental and health reasons – serves a menu of elevated vegan comfort food for brunch or dinner, depending on the day of the week.

Going beyond tofu and beans, menu highlights include “chorizo” burritos, loaded nachos, the VBQ sandwich (a vegan take on the McRib) and oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies. Overshiner is happy to share three cookbooks that have informed her personal and professional foray into veganism.

Bad Manners

Bad Manners by Bad Manners, Michelle Davis and Matt Holloway (2021)

“I’ve used this cookbook [previously published as Thug Kitchen] so much that the pages are falling out. The series changed everything for me as I was trying to become vegan. [Back then] most vegan recipes had long lists of weird and expensive ingredients, and a lot of them required expensive cooking tools and expertise. Thug Kitchen was the first vegan cookbook that focused on readily available, common ingredients and really celebrated veggies. I also love the foul language.”

The Africa News Cookbook

The Africa News Cookbook by Tami Hultman (1985)

“I had Ethiopian food for the first time in 1987 [in] Washington, D.C. I loved it, but there was nothing like it in Columbia. I started looking for an Ethiopian cookbook and stumbled upon this one; it started my fascination with spices and different flavor profiles. I spent months trying to find some of the spices listed in the book – this was before the internet and Amazon. I finally found them at Soulard Spice Shop in St. Louis, and I was so excited to finally make the Ethiopian dishes I had dreamed about since D.C.”

Vegan Chocolate

Vegan Chocolate by Fran Costigan (2013)

“I’ve always been more of a cook than a baker – it would be hard for me to count all the times my baking attempts have ended in icky mush and tears – but this book has really helped me build my baking skills. Fran was an instructor at my Main Street Vegan Academy class in 2019, and I purchased her book there. The recipes are so clear and easy to follow that everything I’ve made, including Millionaire’s Banoffee Tarts (one of my son’s favorite desserts), has been great.”


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Jessica is a freelance writer based in Columbia, Missouri. She lives by the words of M.F.K. Fisher: "First we eat, then we do everything else."

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