Local author Marian Frances White returns with Island Vegan, a cookbook full of unique recipes celebrating her 40-plus years vegan


Filmmaker, writer and chef Marian Frances White has made quite the name for herself in Newfoundland and Labrador. You may recognize the name from The Eldamar Cookbook: A Fine Vegan Cuisine, released in 1995, or her 1996 published poetry book Skinny Dipping. The talented writer is back again with a modern take on vegan cuisine in Island Vegan, a cookbook full of unique recipes celebrating her 40-plus years vegan.


White, originally from Carbonear, studied journalism at Carleton University in Ottawa. The move away from home led her onto a journey of traveling the country and exploring her artistic side, officially moving to Vancouver in the 70s. While on the west coast, she was drawn to the kitchen, experimenting with vegetarian and vegan food as a chef and learning her way around a cutting board. Years later, White would go on to publish The Eldamar Cookbook, highlighting fine vegan recipes. 

“I didn’t complete my journalism degree,” White shared during an interview with The Newfoundland Herald, “which meant that I didn’t get on the wall in our household. That’s always been a bit of a funny story for me. Maybe that’s why I started branching out and doing so many other things.” 

In 1996, she published her first book of poetry, Skinny Dipping. The following years would be filled with published works including a second poetry book, a children’s book, and 10 editions of Newfoundland and Labrador’s A Woman’s Almanac, just to name a few. 

In 2000, White was named Artist of the Year by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, which wouldn’t be her last award. Just this last year, she took home the 2020 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for her most recent work, Island Vegan. 

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“It’s worked for me. It’s not necessarily going to work for everyone, but one thing is for sure, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food,” White shared. 

“I love the whole concept of plant-based because it’s on this earth and I love the fact that we can live from what the earth produces. You slice an onion, you can put it in water and it will keep sprouting. There’s a life that continues and I appreciate that.” 

Island Vegan is comprised of over 100 unique and mouthwatering plant-based recipes, incorporating a blend of local and international flavours. 

White has put together a collection of tried-and-tested dishes, from soups and main courses to desserts and pastries. The cookbook also includes an array of full-colour photographs taken by local photographer Jackson McLean.  

“I’m thrilled to have received the 2020 Gourmand World Cookbook Award. I like having a bit of a storytelling flair even in my recipes, so I think that maybe caught their attention,” White explained. 

“I have my roots, going back to time spent in Jamaica, which the early vegetarian movement in Newfoundland was partially born out of that connection. So, I have a couple of recipes in there with ackee, which is a Jamaican fruit.”


The unique flavours are prominent throughout the pages, with the recipes featuring health-conscious and fresh ingredients. On that note, The Newfoundland Herald asked White about a very serious scenario: If the world was ending and you had to choose your last meal out of Island Vegan, what would you choose?

“I love a really tasty garden salad, then there’s really nice complementary dishes like my gratin de chou-fleur, which is a cauliflower bake and that is one of my favourite dishes. If I had to set my table from Island Vegan, I would have a salad, I would have the gratin de chou-fleur, and I would have my pâté there on that plate.

“It’s a great thing to pull it all together and make a book from your kitchen recipes and have it be used so extensively now, it’s wonderful and very gratifying,” White shared.

You can purchase your copy of Island Vegan through Breakwater Books Ltd., Amazon, Indigo or select local stores including The Bee’s Knees located on Water Street. 

“I’m very blessed in this life,” White remarks. “I’ve gotten to fulfill so many of my dreams and I’m still working on a few more. It was coming back here to Newfoundland that enabled me to really dive into the various art forms and start to realize my potential and my creative dreams. I’m very thankful for that.” 

You can also check out Marian Frances White’s previous and upcoming work via her website www.marianfranceswhite.com 

For more by Krystyn Decker, click here.

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