Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tricky Vegan

Sometimes we don't know we'll like something until we've tried it.  But often our own preconceived notions prevent us from trying new things in the first place.  This is definitely true when it comes to vegan food for a good percentage of the population.  Many people seem to think that in order to be vegan, a dish must be weird, gross, and flavorless.  I am not the biggest fan of fake cheese and meat, or even of tofu, because I myself find those "foods" to be weird and gross.  However, when one uses regular foods to create vegan meals, the results are anything but bland or yucky.  Rather than relying on cheese, butter, or meat to add flavor to a meal, vegans use real spices and rich and flavorful ingredients to create their meals.  Vegan baked goods, for example, are very rich and decadent. 

It's hard to convince people of all this without getting them to try the food!  This is why I am a fan of serving vegan food without the vegan disclaimer attached.  This past week my students earned a breakfast party.  I brought in whole wheat bagels, Tofutti "cream cheese," Earth Balance "butter," strawberries, black berries, and orange juice.  The kids ate everything and thought it was a fantastic breakfast.  At the end I mentioned that everything they had just eaten was vegan, and they couldn't believe it.  A healthy meal that was vegan and tasted good?  Impossible!  I often hear my students telling people about the fact that I am vegan (and crazy).  Then they go on to describe the vegan foods I have brought in for the class, and the fact that the food has actually tasted pretty good!  Once in a while we have to find tricky ways of exposing people to new things.