A little more than two months ago, I undertook a seven-day vegan trial to see if I could go without meat, dairy, and eggs at a college known for its cows, chicken, and cheese. After a few mishaps, I ended up finishing the week strong…and then embracing French toast, scrambled eggs, and milkshakes back into my life with a passion born of absence. And then I became vegan again. Permanently.
What the heck happened? Two things. First, I read Eating Animals, by Jonathon Soer. If you’ve picked up Everything Is Illuminated or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, you know he’s a fantastic writer who definitely has the necessary chops (hehe) to evoke the plight of the meat and dairy industries in a compelling and persuasive way. Second, I finally figured out the local bus schedule, which meant I could get to my town’s health food store, a veritable cornucopia of vegan options. Seriously, Graceland is to Elvis fans what this store is to veg-heads. I found non-dairy substitutes for foods I didn’t even know existed. WTF is TVP?!? (According to Wikipedia, it’s Textured Vegetable Protein, a “defatted soy product.” That explains… not much.)
Anyways, all was fine and merry until I came home for spring break, at which point my parents started heartily trying to convince me to return to my old ways.
After a big bowl of pho one night with my dad (tofu and veggie version for me, meat-lover’s delight for him), my dad asked coyly, “Do you want some frozen yogurt?”
I rolled my eyes. “Dad, for the thousandth time, I’m vegan.”
“I know!” He responded, throwing up his hands in mock-dismay. “Isn’t froyo made of soybeans?”
We skipped the froyo in favor of SoDelicious Butter Pecan Almond Milk Ice Cream. But I knew I had to get some good ol’ fashioned vegan revenge on the cad—err, my dad—so a couple days later, I announced I had made a special dessert just for my parents. Whenever I come home from college, I cook like crazy, so this wasn’t an out-of-nowhere proclamation.
“Something smells delicious,” my mom said, coming into the kitchen and sniffing the air.
I had spent the last two hours making Maple Bacon Donuts. The “bacon” was actually unsweetened coconut flakes, coated with liquid smoke, pure maple syrup, paprika, and soy sauce. One bite and you’d swear it was Wilbur on your plate. Making the donuts vegan was easy: I used Earth Balance, a non-dairy butter substitute, and flax seeds, which stood in for eggs. And a whole lot of other healthy goodies, like two cups of flour and three cups of sugar. Side-note: vegan does NOT equal nutritious.
As soon as my dad bit into the confection, his eyes rolled back into his head. I could actually hear his taste buds singing in joy; it was like a church choir had taken up residence in his mouth.
“Hallejuah!” he said. “These things are delicious!”
At which point I informed him he was eating desiccated fruit.
He admitted defeat by buying me an “Eat More Veggies” sweatshirt, pictured.
Herbivores: one. Omnivores: zero.