Chapter 1 50 staples Before I get to the recipes themselves, I want to outline the Raw 50 staples, and the steps you can take so you're ready to make raw meals. There is information on outfitting your raw kitchen and a raw staples shopping list. Certain raw skills are necessary, like sprouting and germinating seeds, and I go into them here. I also go through and describe commonly used raw ingredients like raw dairy products, water, kefir, salt, natural sweeteners, miso, flax seeds, fruits, oils, and raw preserves so you're all set up and good to go. I also give my personal answer to the question Vegan or not? Outfitting the Raw Kitchen I remember my mother's kitchen. There were pots and pans to cook in, lidded glass casserole dishes to use in the oven, and lots of Tupperware for leftovers. On the countertop was a toaster, right beside the blender. Well, at least I still use a blender. Over time, our kitchens become the place where all sorts of gizmos and gadgets accumulate. If you've been cooking for even a few years, look around your kitchen and you're sure to find appliances and utensils you rarely use, tucked away in a cabinet or taking up space on a countertop. Now is your chance to replace them with something new, something you'll actually use. Doing away with cooking means doing away with many things: toasters, microwaves, even pots and pans. I use my stove to heat water for tea. I don't really need my oven at all. You may have a well-outfitted kitchen for cooking, but there are a few things you probably don't have that you'll want to invest in if you're going to be preparing your own raw food. Here are the key pieces of equipment you'll need: Blender There are blenders, and then there are blenders. I remember the flimsy one my mother used, and I have destroyed many of my own over the years. But since blending is a cornerstone of raw-food preparation, you can't make a better investment than purchasing a nearly indestructible, top-notch blender. I have two favorites: the Vita-Mix or Jack LaLanne blender. Juicer When I wroteEating in the Raw, I didn't even own a juicer. My favorite drinks were the smoothies I made in my Vita-Mix and those I bought from the juice bars throughout New York City. At the time, I thought it was just easier to let someone else blend fruits and vegetables into sumptuous, savory, nutritious drinks. When I bought my juice at the juice bar, though, I had no choice but to drink it right away; juices start to oxidize as soon as they're exposed to air. In as little as twenty minutes they can lose most of their nutrition. It's a case of diminishing returns: the longer you wait to drink them, the less nutritious juices become. Having my own juicer would assure me of fresh, more nutritious juice right when I want it. But the juicers I had heard about and seen in use cost a small fortune! Then I learned about Jack LaLanne Power Juicers. Now I'm hooked. This juicer does everything the $500 and $600 juicers do for less than $100, so this is an investment definitely worth making. Dehydrator The dehydrator is to a raw foodist what the oven is to Betty Crocker. Yes, you can get by without one, but so many of the really incredible things you may want to makefrom fresh fruit preserves to breadscall for a dehydrator. If you don't want to shell out for the versatile top-of-the-line Excalibur, buy a cheaper one with a reliable thermostat to start. You'll find reasonably priced dehydrators, as well as the Excalibur, on CarolAlt.com. Do look for some extra Teflex sheets too (in addition to the one that comes with your dehydrator). Teflex is a nonstick material used like wax paper, which keeps your dehydrating fooAlt, Carol is the author of 'Raw 50 10 Amazing Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, And Drinks for Your Raw Food Lifestyle', published 2007 under ISBN 9780307351746 and ISBN 0307351742.