“I just took a $70 crap,” Hank declared, ever so eloquently, emerging from the kids’ bathroom. I felt like anyone would the morning after consuming 856 grams of sugar and four courses of beef the night before. I needed coffee. Coffee, step 1. Livin la Vida Vegan meal No. 1, second.
I flipped through the Vegan for Everybody cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, and landed on Classic Pancakes. I altered the ingredients just a bit … I used gluten-free flour instead of all-purpose, and coconut sugar instead of standard, but these puppies were perfect. The melted coconut oil and the batter danced on the hot iron skillet and created these crusty edges that welcomed us with open arms into this vegan venture.
I spread a bit of Nutiva Organic Vegan Shortening over the cakes, drizzled some organic maple syrup over that, dropped some blueberries on them and let the party in my mouth begin.
The best part, they were ridiculously filling. I couldn’t even finish the two I made. I added some Pecan Caramel Califa Farms Almond Milk Creamer to my coffee and called the first meal of the day good.
I had to help man a booth at a local music and art festival downtown, so I started to get a little panicky about lunch. Do I pack? Do I snack? I filled a baggie with a hearty nut, seed and dried fruit mix and headed out into the 80-degree day.
By 3:45 I was alarmingly sweaty and the 19 year-old hipsters were starting to seem less adorable. Luckily, my coworker is a 10-year vegetarian vet. As I got ready to leave, she told me about her favorite food truck, a vietnamese vendor who does vegetarian and vegan rice bowls. Yahtzee!
I text Hank: “Bringing home a late-afternoon vegan treat! Leaving soon.”
I walked over and ordered two rice bowls, one with lime tofu and one spicy, and put them in my front seat like precious passengers en route to heal a nation. I was starting to get ravenously hungry.
Each had a scoop of rice, cilantro and spinach, shredded veggies, peanuts and fried tofu.
I hated mine …
The interesting thing is, I would have never ordered that. Ever. And it was so perfectly satisfying and delicious. Happy discovery No. 1 and meal No. 2, done.
The challenge of the day was Hank’s aunt’s 55th birthday party. Buffets are built around two things: meat and mayonnaise. Every crock pot was brimming with coney sauce and pulled pork and meatballs. The bowls crowding the island packed with various noodles and shredded cabbages, all dressed decadently in mayo. And of course there was plenty of cheese. You don’t think about it, until you can’t have it.
I packed two kinds of hummus, guacamole, tortilla chips, sliced nectarines and blueberries, and three kinds of vegan cookies I picked up at the local natural grocery store. I was going to be damned if I let a party on the first day be our downfall.
But we made it. Once I had my goodies, walked out of the house and started dancing, I didn’t even think about the spread inside. The ladies of the family standing in a circle screaming Janis Joplin was the ideal distraction. And it’s an interesting case study in how much we focus on the food at social gatherings, instead of the social at the social gatherings. When you focus on the folks around you, stuffing your face carries a little less weight.
I extinguished my buzz on the drive home with half a container of veggie hummus and an everything cookie, and I didn’t feel deprived a bit. In fact, I’d say it was a little indulgent if anything.
Day 2, here we go …