20) Veganize an old family recipe.
My sisters suggested I veganize the star anise chicken we ate frequently as kids. I called mom and said I was coming up to the house to get the recipe. She said it’s so easy; she’ll just tell it to me over the phone. I cut her off and said ‘No, no. I’ll come up’. When I arrived dad was in his blue terry cloth robe and had just finished trimming his beard. Mom called from the living room that the recipe was by the coffee. Dad was standing in the kitchen grinning at me. When I picked up the old recipe card he said ‘Now, don’t get overwhelmed by all the ingredients.’
I did veganize this with extra firm tofu and brandy mixed with rice vinegar instead of going out to buy sherry. It smelled and tasted like the original but over all, I was underwhelmed by the experience.
Jesse’s leaving for school and we had a party last night to say goodbye. I finally decided what I wanted to make with the left over liquid from the Lovecraft beans. Pavlova! Fucking pav-lo-va! The one thing I thought would/could never be veganized. The dessert we grew up on.
I wanted to surprise mom so I didn’t call her this time to ask how she makes pavlova. I turned to the internet breaking my desire to only use cookbooks for this MoFo. I used the recipe from Australian blogger Like A Vegan. I whipped up coconut cream and bought really bland strawberries at the farmers market -strawberry season has long passed I don’t know why I thought they’d be sweet but the kiwi and defrosted blueberries made up for it. And the fact that pavlova is more or less made of sugar.
It cooked to a crispy dome that collapsed when I spread the coconut cream on it. I was so excited I blew the surprise by blurting it out to my sisters outside the bookshop. When I served it at the potluck, even though everyone knew it came from whipping up bean juice, they said it tasted just like pavlova. I don’t like being deceitful. I did that once in elementary school on ‘bring a food from your culture day’. I brought vegemite but told everyone it was chocolate spread. It was funny but I felt bad after because some of my classmates took big spoonfuls of it.
The biggest compliments came from my mom who loved it and Roz who said all these years because of her lactose intolerance she has never had the chance to try pavlova. Another vegan win! Actually even though Darby and I are technically the only vegans among the group, everyone made an effort to think about us with the dishes they brought. Meat and dairy was put on the side for the omni’s and we vegans had a serious spread to chose from, making me feel very grateful for the company we keep.