Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Vegan Food, A Beginner's Experience

My topmodel girlfriend and I recently attended a cookery course. A vegan cookery course.

All in all, it was interesting, but not exactly convincing. Ultimately, the revelation was that vegans can eat somewhat tasty food, but it pales to dark shades of grey in comparison with actual, delicious, omnivore food.

Let's start with presentation. I've been convinced for quite some time that vegans are physically incapable of making their lifestyle look good. I know that there are plenty of delicious vegan recipes out there - but the way most vegans present their cause makes it seem like a dull, new-agey, moralistic affair. If I book a cookery course at a local education center, I don't need to be proselytized. I know all the arguments already. I just want to cook, learn some fundamentals about vegan cooking, eat some good food, and generally have a good time. More specifically, I really don't need a rant against microwaves (not related to veganism in the slightest), Monsanto (somewhat related, but still not the point), dairy (the antichrist and Klassenfeind of practically every alternative ideology of nutrition).

In short, if you want to pitch your food to me, then seduce me with its delicious taste, not with various intellectual and moral reasons for why I should accept second-rate dishes.

Since we're talking about the food itself... well.

The first recipe that really stood out was a vegan "meat ball" thing. It was funny because the teacher insisted it tasted "almost like real meat balls", when in reality it had nothing whatsover to do with real meat. It's always funny when people who have not actually tasted meat in 5 years think they know how it tastes, and think they know it better than a notorious carnivore such as myself. But still, this recipe made it into our treasury. It's easy to do, (somewhat) good for your health and extremely tasty, especially if you combine it with a perfectly non-vegan, dairy-based garlic dip.

The second one is more of the "fascinating" variety. They called it "vegan mousse au chocolat". To be honest, if you served that thing to me in a restaurant under that name, I'd probably sue you for fraud, gross misconduct and crimes against humanity. It's based on avocados, chocolate (big surprise), and dates. I mean, it actually tastes just fine, I might make it for myself some day. I ate some of it this morning as a bread spread. It just doesn't have the intensely chocolate-y, fluffy, deliciously unhealthy qualities of my cream+eggs based mousse au chocolat.

You can get by on vegan food. You can survive, probably even without getting deprived of B12. If you really want it, and are prepared to put in the hours of searching, you might even find a few recipes that are genuinely great. But if you're a real connaisseure, a gourmet with a deeply rooted love of extremely delicious food - those soy and almond milk recipes just won't cut it.

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