Vegan Cooking Workshop

Livestock consume 70% of U.S. grain production.  Twenty million people die each year as a result of malnutrition and starvation.  Americans could feed 100,000,000 people by reducing their intake of meat by just 10%!

Well tonight I went to my first local vegan cooking workshop.  Way back during fall quarter of freshmen year I went to a campus involvement fair and signed up to get more information about vegan cooking.  I have been receiving their weekly e-mails every week since September 2009.  January 2013 was the first time I went. Better late than never, even if it is my last semester of college.  Turns out it was amazing and I really wish I would have started going many, many academic terms ago.

It was held in the basement of a local church that focuses on the university community.  A group of us cooked for about an hour and a half and served it to others that joined us for dinner.  Since we were cooking so much food (about 20 people cooking for 50-60 people) it is hard to get a hands on experience in all aspects of the meal, but at least it provides some ideas of meals to make later.  So the menu included:

  • salad with carrots, corn, & avocado with a olive oil and red wine vinegar based dressing with herbs
  • rosemary Focaccia bread rolls (which went really well with the salad dressing!)
  • greenbell pepper stuffed with quinoa, corn, & black beans
  • chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing

It was absolutely delicious (and 100% vegan)!  Now I am not a big green pepper, bread, or chocolate fan so I really was not biased in favor of this menu.  I was amazed at how delicious these foods with given they omitted some products I haven’t given up in my diet (namely dairy and eggs) and since these were foods I wouldn’t think too much of buying.  

Vegan Lessons:

I have been scared to buy quinoa because I don’t really know that much about it (yet), but tonight gave me a good springboard for adding quinoa to my diet.  I learned that it is really easy to make and it can be very versatile.  White vinegar with baking powder can replace eggs and butter in cakes because the chemical reaction creates the same leavening properties.  Bell peppers that have four “legs” that keep it so it can stand upright means it is a less sweet pepper and better for cooking.  When bell peppers only have three “legs” it will be a sweeter and better for eating raw.  Rosemary focaccia bread is amazing and I want to bake my own to dip in some olive oil 🙂  

I am glad I stepped out on a limb and finally went to this vegan cooking workshop even if it took almost fours.  It was great to learn some new cooking ideas and meet people with similar interests.  Not everyone was vegan or vegetarian (everyone was welcome) but when people consciously replace a few meals as vegetarian or vegan it contributes to a more sustainable lifestyle.  So I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and do something that interests you that maybe you have been apprehensive about or would like to learn more about, and to make a conscious effort to have one vegan or vegetarian meal this week.

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