I am not vegan. Or, at least, I never considered myself to be. Even when, a few years ago, we were forswearing just about all forms of food that you can generally buy at an average grocery store for the sake of our son’s digestive issues when he was a baby (this included no eggs, dairy, gluten, nuts and anything else that tastes good), I didn’t consider myself vegan — at the time I would still, occasionally, eat fish or other things off the restricted menu when we went out to eat.
Things have shifted more into the being-a-crazy-vegan department of late.
It all started when I tasted some amazing homemade vegan sausages at some event at my son’s school that were made by one of the parents in his class. That made me think well, if he can do that, I’m sure I can find a similar recipe and do it, too. This led me to finding an awesome vegan sausage recipe. Then came the fantastic black bean burger recipe from the Veganomicon. Later, we tried the chickpea cutlets, also from the Veganomicon. Pretty soon, I was making some kind of vegan meat thing on a regular basis. This coming from the guy who insists he can’t cook and blows something up when he’s in the kitchen (although, I still succeed in getting at least some of the ingredients all over the front of my shirt when I’m making one of these items).
Lately, we’ve made some of the breakfast recipes from the Rabbit Food Cookbook, which has a surprisingly normal-tasting French Toast (considering it’s made without eggs), and actually-pretty-good eggless waffle and muffin recipes. If we don’t need eggs for cooking, that led to the concept, well, do we need eggs at all? Sure, you can’t make scrambled eggs without eggs, but with tofu you can at least make scrambled something. So out eggs went.
That leaves cheese as the only thing left on the vegan no-no list. Having formerly been employed as a cheese cutter at Whole Foods, giving up cheese is not an easy task. Certainly on the list of foods that are procured through inhumane means, cheese probably ranks low on the list. Lately, we’ve been eating a lot of goat cheese, not because it’s any less dairy than cow cheese, but because goat cheese does not contain lactose. The problem with giving up cheese is that vegan alternatives to cheese are uniformly horrible, and often aren’t strictly vegan either. Many “vegan” cheeses contain casein (a protein that comes from milk) or rennet (an enzyme produced in a mammal’s stomach). I don’t imagine that cheese will be completely leaving our diet anytime soon, but, even so, the amount of food we make that has cheese in it, these days, is much less than it was maybe 5 or 6 years ago.
However, the real sign that we may be turning to the vegan Dark Side is the subject of this post’s title. For years, even when making vegetarian dishes, we only used mayonnaise when mayonnaise was called for. Vegenaise just sounds weird. And certainly not very appetizing. (Also, as it turns out, it seems to be spelled wrong — when I started writing this post, I assumed it was spelled Veganaise — you know, like the vegans. Turns out it’s Vegenaise. I’m not sure what a vegen is, but I’m keeping my original post title because Veganaise is more descriptive…) However, with the last empty carton of eggs tossed dutifully into the recycling — and with it, the vow to never get eggs again…probably — came the first appearance of a new vegan condiment in our refrigerator: Vegenaise. Is it edible? Well, we will see…