How to Bake Your Own Vegan Redemption

Sometime in early 2001, my husband put down his copy of Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation and declared our vegetarianism was not enough — we needed to go vegan.

I was vegetarian when we met, a little over a year earlier, and having finally met someone who could cook, he soon joined me as a fellow vegetarian. Transitioning to veganism seemed a logical (if daunting) next step, and we plunged in.

In brief, our foray into veganism lasted about a year, and to be frank, it pretty much sucked. Part of this was due to circumstance; I was prescribed a drug that left me with no interest in cooking, eating, or even shopping for food. But for the most part, it was because a lot of vegan recipes call for foods I don’t find appetizing under the best circumstances. Flax oil, powdered egg substitute, casein-free soy cheese… Nayonnaise? Does anyone eat that if they don’t have to?

So, when I saw Strict Vegan Ethics, Frosted With Hedonism among the New York Times top emailed articles this week, I was intrigued. I’d baked a vegan cake once. It was chocolate, with whole wheat flour and Ener-G Egg Replacer powder. We ate it — mostly because it was my husband’s birthday cake — but it was less than satisfying.

Below the photo of a hot punk girl offering the camera a cupcake, the article opens:

Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a vegan chef, does not particularly like to talk about tofu. Ditto seitan, tempeh and nutritional yeast.

Wow. If only God had made me a smidge differently, I’m pretty sure I’d be in love right now.

The rest of the piece was a revelation: vegan baking with white flour and no weirdo egg replacements? Could a vegan baked good be, well, good? I had to find out.


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