Friday, January 6, 2012


I feel like I just wrote a filthy word. =(
I am not a big fan of Vegan anything. The first time I ate at a Vegan restaurant, I was surprised by how wonderful everything tasted, but paid for it later on because the "fake" meats were made with things that my body was very much not compatible with. They also used a ton of sugar and salt to cover up the fakeness and processed taste of the things they were making.

I don't begrudge anyone's desire to eat cruelty-free, which means no meat, dairy, eggs, and probably a bunch of other things I'm missing. But, did you ever think about the effect of all the processed substitutes they eat have on the environment? It's not wind power that's manufacturing those tofurkeys. Hmm????

I'm not educated enough in the world of Vegan to really murder this way of life, but I'll admit that my handful of times trying to give it a shot left me with a less-than-plesant taste in my mouth.

Here I am today, and one of my old customers from my old job called to place a huge cupcake order for his agency on Tuesday. The stipulation is that 50% of the order is Vegan. I've made them Vegan cupcakes in the past. I went and bought a separate baking pan, mixing bowl, utensils, and beaters to make it. Did I really need to do that? Probably not, but my conscience wouldn't allow me to lie if they asked me if I used "clean" tools to make the cupcakes. Some people are just that anal about it. That's why I don't claim to be Kosher or Halal or anything of the sort because I don't need to be struck down dead by someone's angry God because I used a rubber spatula that touched milk and maybe bacon fat four years ago.

Anyway, I made a batch of Vegan chocolate cupcakes for him once and he said everyone went nuts over then. Considering the client base is made up of more than a handful of Berkenstock-shuffling tree huggers, and then maybe you can imagine my surprise and non-surprise. I love the tree huggers, I really do. I'm a semi-tree molester, myself, and I do nag people to try and be conscious of our planet. I was shocked because it was my first time baking Vegan and by Vegan standards, they thought my stuff was great. I was non-surprised because I researched the hell out of it, I bought the best ingredients, and I experimented and tossed out batches that didn't meet my standards.  I tweaked what needed to be tweaked, and following the rules I was given, I turned out a damn good product.

Now, if only I wrote down what I did back then....

Organization is not my strong suit. But, with that being said, I'm going to put my personal view of the Cult of Vegan aside and try to made a decent batch of cupcakes that are made with ALL NATURAL ingredients and not packages of fake butter or wannabe egg subsititutes. I'm sure there's a way to do this that won't go against what I believe in as a chef, but will still look and taste as great as my customers expect them to.

Vegan Challenge: Accepted

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