Monday, 29 November 2010

Vegan MoFo Survey 2010

I kinda forgot about this, and now I look at it and it's 10 pages long! OK, not really.

The weather right now is horrendous. I've heard lots of people say they've never seen it this bad (though I thought last winter was about the same, but, to be fair, that happened in December, not November). Anyway, I had to drop my boss's dinner jacket at the hire place (he couldn't get there safely, and I live nearby). I thought I'd get a taxi, but it turned out that I would've had to have booked it about 3 hours in advance, so I ended up walking. Then I got the bus to Real Foods and did a bit of grocery shopping. I then walked home when it was hailing. The point of this story is that I got home cold and tired and ended up making pasta for dinner (and enough for both of our lunches tomorrow). Therefore, I have no pictures and nothing particularly interesting to talk about, so I decided to do the epic survey. So here we go:


1) What's your favorite spice or spice blend?
Hands down, without a doubt, cinnamon for sweet and cumin for savoury.

2) You have £20 to spend on fresh groceries and produce for the whole week (with a fairly well stocked pantry of dry goods, legumes, grains, and spices). What do you buy?
Broccoli, cauliflower, organic Pink Lady apples, chard, kale, tofu, green beans, onions, garlic, carrots, potatoes, orange juice

3) What's your favorite way to make tofu?
I think I have to go with scramble. Nine times out of 10, my tofu will end up as a scramble. I love it.

4) Vegan guilty pleasure?
Co-op donuts, Plamil chocolate spread

5) If you could make anyone vegan, who would it be?
My best friend Eva, just because it would be awesome.

6) If you could only read one other vegan blog, what would it be?
Mo Betta Vegan, without a doubt.

7) Were you always interested in cooking, or did veganism change the way you saw and interacted with food?
I'm a Southern woman, and so was my grandmother (as I've mentioned), so I grew up cooking. My mom was never much of a cook - she dumped things out of a can or a box and heated them up - apart from her famous lasagna, and my dad didn't cook anything but chili (until recently). So I learned from my grandma (dad's mom) from a very early age. My mom started working nights when I was about 10, and that's when I started cooking for my family. But I really cooked the way my mom did unless I was baking. That's when I made things from scratch with recipes. I mastered my grandmother's fudge and cherry pie pregan.
But veganism has changed the way I interact with food, in that I now actually cook fresh veg and can't even think of an animal carcass as something I'd want to put in my mouth. I think it's made me a better cook.

8) Excluding analogues, what new things have you tried that you probably wouldn't have as an omni?
Fruits and vegetables. Seriously - I almost never ate fruit and veg as an omni, and now I feel weird not eating something green with every meal. I even drink green smoothies (when commercially available - my immersion blender isn't up to that task).

9) What is the one vegan staple that everyone seems to love, but you can't get behind?
The only things that come to mind are things like quinoa, cashews, dates, etc., not because I don't like them, but because I'm sensitive to severely allergic to all of them. My cheese analogue recipe selection is severely limited, lemme tell ya.

10) What was your first "wow, I'm such a stereotypical vegan" moment?
Not my first (I can't remember that), but I definitely had one two weeks ago when I busted out my stash of nooch at work in an emergency "what will I eat for lunch" moment.

11) First recipe you veganized?
Chocolate chip scones. I think it was originally a Tyler Florence / Food Network recipe. They were the thing I was known for in my circle (and I still have a friend who'll message me to say she misses my scones!). When I first went vegan, people fretted over never getting another one of my scones, so I had to veganize them straight away to prove that I (and they) wouldn't be deprived.

12) What would you like to veganize, but haven't yet?
My grandmother's fudge. Now that we have access to vegan marshmallows and condensed milk, fantasy is starting to look like reality.

13) Favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?
Cast iron pans, immersion blender, and chef's knife

14) Most disastrous kitchen failure?
I'll be honest, I don't have a lot of kitchen failures. There aren't a lot of flaming pans and "ohgodI'mgonnadie!" moments in my kitchen. I think the worst thing that tends to happen is that my muffins come out gummy. I could be repressing some memories, though.

15) First vegan cookbook?
I think the first one I owned (rather than borrowed) was, funnily enough, a book by a UK author from which I never cooked because it was before I lived in the UK, knew from cooking with weight rather than volume, or ate vegetables. It was Easy Vegan Cooking by Leah Leneman, who I later discovered was a lecturer at my uni (I think in sociology or history - I think her academic work had something to do with women's studies) in addition to being a vegan cookbook author. The first vegan cookbook I owned and actually cooked from was probably Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

16) What question about being vegan do you HATE answering?
Pretty much anything from Defensive Omnivore Bingo:

I just have to mention this, because it's hilarious. When I told my sister that I made gravy for Thanksgiving, she asked me what I substituted for the fat. I was like, um...fat. She thought gravy only worked with animal fat. At least now she knows - fat from oil works the same way.

17) If you could tell the world one thing about vegans, what would it be?
Vegan =/= healthy - just because my cupcakes are vegan doesn't mean you can eat four. They do still contain fat and sugar.

18) Funniest vegetable?
The peen carrot:

19) What is a family recipe you have veganized?
I don't know that I have. I want to veganize some of my grandmother's recipes, but I don't have copies of them yet.

20) Weirdest food combination?
chocolate and Marmite - It was the best truffle I've ever eaten in my life.

21) Is there something you wish you could veganize, but can't/couldn't?
As mentioned above, up until recently, I really wanted to veganize my grandmother's fudge recipe, but it's made with marshmallows. Now we have the technology, it might be possible.

22) Favorite ways to prepare tofu, seitan, tempeh, any other vegan proteins?
I don't do it often, but just about anything beer battered is freaking awesome.

23) Are your pets vegan? if so, what do you feed them?
My cat lives with my parents and isn't vegan. Mike and I have decided that, if we get a pet in future, we'll be getting a herbivore.

24) Favorite non-dairy milk?
Alpro Soya unsweetened with vitamins, or Kara coconut milk / Alpro Soya vanilla for coffee and tea

25) What’s one “vegan myth” you’d like to squash?
Vegans are a bunch of skinny, malnourished, smelly, dirty hippies. Have you seen the number of vegan cookbooks devoted to baked goods?! And the most readily available vegan products tend to be junk food (it's easier to find vegan junk food than pre-made vegan meals or even meat analogues). There's a reason why Isa's just released Appetite for Reduction - a diet-friendly vegan cookbook. There's just far too much delicious vegan food to be had (which is another myth I'd like debunked - vegan food is bland and unappealing). And even the vegans who don't shower daily tend to take pretty good care of their hygiene. Honestly, as many vegan celebrities as there are, you'd think people would realise that the stereotype no longer has a basis in reality.

So, that's that. It took longer than cooking and photographing a decent meal. Oh well. I really liked the survey Mo did, so I might double post tomorrow and do that one, along with something of actual interest (like food, with pictures).

Also, I've just ordered Appetite for Reduction and The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur by Kelly Peloza as part of my plan to buy things for myself from the US and have my sister send them to me as my Xmas present (i.e., my present from her is that she's sending me my stuff). I'm super excited to get them both. Hopefully the one will balance out the other. Heh.

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