April 18, 2014
BRYANT TERRY pretty much wrote the book on vegan soul-food cooking, by which I mean 2009's Vegan Soul Kitchen (Da Capo). Not that there were no well-done guides to vegan soul food out there, but Terry's had a huge impact in mainstream and vegan worlds - and on Takia McClendon. About the book that the New York Times said "makes Southern cooking healthy and cool," McClendon related in a phone interview that "it was my first cookbook as a vegan!" Terry, she said, is "someone who really taught me how to cook," inspiring her efforts to connect her community with soul food that tastes great but omits the health, environmental and ethical downsides of traditional fare.
April 11, 2014
I'D HEARD that "Noah" was made animal-free - using no real animals - and I was prepared for a big-budget CGI-happy spectacle, which I got. But I wasn't prepared for what Darren Aronofsky's movie turns out to be - a milestone in blockbuster veganism, in mainstreaming the idea of committed nonviolence. The stakes are set in the opening seconds: Among quick clips of the Fall is one of a hand reaching for an apple - except that the apple is beating, like a heart, both visually and audibly.
March 21, 2014
THE cheesesteak question for area vegans has long been: "Who's got the best vegan version in Philly?" That's aside from the other cheesesteak question for vegans: "Why would you or anyone want to eat a vegan cheesesteak?" This week, the first question was finally and decisively answered - and maybe the second one, too! A month ago, I announced the V for Veg/ Daily News Vegan Cheesesteak contest and asked you to nominate your favorite spots. Well, more than 1,000 votes were cast for 23 Philly-area venues.
March 14, 2014
WITH 23 venues competing and more than 1,000 votes counted in our contest for the Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly, our top three finalists have been selected: * Blackbird Pizzeria (507 S. 6th St.) * Cantina Dos Segundos (931 N. 2nd St.) * Hibiscus Juice Bar (4907 Catharine St.) Congrats to all! The three finalists will be judged in a blind taste test at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Grindcore House Cafe (1515 S. 4th St.). Thanks to everyone who eagerly volunteered to judge, but our judges are already lined up: Jonathan Bagot, of veganjawn.com; Uptown Soul Food's Takia McClendon; Christina Pirello, of "Christina Cooks"; and cheesesteak maven Frank Olivieri Jr., of Pat's Steaks.
March 7, 2014
AMY Farrah Fowler is a doctorate-holding neurobiologist on CBS's "The Big Bang Theory. " Contrary to the saying "I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV," actress Mayim Bialik, who plays Fowler, also has a doctorate in neuroscience. Unlike Fowler, Bialik is also a mom, and a vegan one at that, two areas she's combined in a new cookbook, Mayim's Vegan Table (Da Capo). Written in a warm, easygoing, earth-mother style, the book addresses readers curious about vegan eating - for themselves but, also, maybe, for their kids.
February 21, 2014
FROM THE BEGINNING, the Philadelphia cheesesteak has been evolving. The original sandwich that caught on at Pat and Harry Olivieri's South Philly hot-dog stand in the early 1930s had no cheese - much less "Whiz," which only came along in 1952. Provolone - sorry, John Kerry haters - * was the original cheese add-on, followed soon by American. Variants of the basic item flourished around town throughout the 20th century and are still going strong in the 21st. One variant that is showing up in more and more Philly joints is the vegan cheesesteak, a seemingly self-contradictory phrase, like "icy hot" or "nonworking mother.
February 7, 2014
"TASTY enough to turn Jay Z vegan!" That's a slogan Mickey Davis and Dorinda Hampton have not yet used to promote their Philly-based food line Really Fresh Vegan. But it's not out of the question. Davis, a/k/a "Black Key," is a Grammy-nominated music producer who's worked with Ludacris, 50 Cent and DMX. He told me how, as producer of the official B-side remix of Beyonce's 2006 "Deja Vu" single, he'd discussed vegan food with Jay Z, and got him to try some. Whether the superstars' December "22-day vegan challenge" was inspired by Davis and Hampton may never be known - until I get the chance to ask Jay Z himself - but Really Fresh Vegan aims for a big impact here in the Delaware Valley, where RFV sandwiches, snacks, juices and dessert items are increasingly showing up on store shelves.
January 31, 2014 |
Now that the food industry has heard the siren call for substitutions, there's no reason, if you're on a special diet, to miss much of anything. Vegan whoopee pies, gluten-free chicken nuggets, dairy-free ice creams, and wheat-free bagels abound. "These days you can go to a restaurant or market and know you have choices," says registered dietitian Tricia Stefankiewicz. "We've seen a big shift, even in the last two or three years. " Some of these edible oxymorons even taste good, or at the very least they can fulfill a craving.
January 24, 2014
SO: January 23 - too soon to call 2014 "the year of the vegan"? Not if you're New York Magazine , which noted last week that "news outlets on both sides of the Atlantic" have already declared it. And who am I to argue? Veganism is seeping into everyday life through so many channels, it's hard to keep track of the milestones. Two buzzed-about veganizations recently seen on Delaware Valley grocery shelves range from a jar of plain mayo to a line of artisan soft gourmet cheeses.