Hard Head Vegan – the Basics

“Hard head chicken don’t make good soup.”

Can’t tell you how many times, as a child, I was thus admonished.  The message: stubbornness doesn’t pay off.  Pointing out the metaphor’s glaring flaw—as the chicken, I’d rather not be in the pot, and if a hard head saved me, then bring on the stubborn—didn’t help my five-year-old cause.

Fast-forward 15-plus years, when the presence of diabetes on both sides of my family acts as a sharp wake-up call.  Fresh off to university, and miles away from home, I do what I’d tried in my late teens.  I go vegetarian, against familial concerns that I would lack protein.  Waste away for want of ox tail.  Die.  “I’ll never give up eggs and cheese,” I reassured my horrified loved ones.  “That’s way too extreme.”

A year and Erik Marcus’ The New Ethics of Eating later, my fridge was cleared of critter by-products and fertility related bits, too.  There I was, chomping on avocado and cashews where I once used cheddar, and learning tough lessons about medium tofu.

Bidding bye-bye to animal products has never felt hard.  “Do you miss it?” people have asked, whispering it with clandestine naughtiness.  I don’t know what kind of chops they have at dinner; mine were tasty, but certainly no more orgasmic than any other type of food.  Don’t get me wrong; I did enjoy non-vegan meals.  But, having made a commitment to my personal well-being, and taken a stance on which types of animal farming practices I will and won’t support (basically none), I make my decisions based first on health, then on ethics and finance, then educate myself on how to get the tastes I crave within those guidelines.  Being hard headed, I’ve been determined to have my veganized, 100% whole grain cake and eat it, too.

Hardheadedness has led me to make some fascinating discoveries.  Seasonings and fat make food taste good.  Animal bits are nonessential to most favourite recipes.  Substitutions are almost always both possible and delicious.  Vegan processed food is often junk.  Rice-based vegan cheeses are often inedible.  Earth Balance and most it touches = love.

This page is an outlet for my hardheaded devotion to the food I want, the way I want it, according to my standards for health, ethics, and taste.  ’Cause I likes my food.  Thick, chewy brownies, pound cake full of fat, creamy cheesecake topped with drunken berries (and bereft of detectable beany notes), tangy barbecued tempeh and crisp garlicky tofu that hits the savoury spot.  There’s a fallacy that vegans are a joyless, emaciated bunch.   I can’t speak for everyone, but I was joyless long before I made the switch.  Emaciated?  Tell that to 2008’s thrift-store-abandoned jeans and whichever slimmer hindquarters they now adorn.

Back to the blog.  Here you’ll eventually find recipes, reviews, and rants, both happy and grumpy.  Is vegan pound cake with soy yogurt and silken tofu really pound cakey?  What happens when you’re too cheap to buy the $6 chocolate chips and you’ve got cookies on the brain?  What if I don’t exactly follow the recipe?  This hard head vegan may not taste good in a soup, but she’s determined to make good food choices, and good food.  Here, you can read about how.

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