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December 12th, 2006


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11:38 am - Baking brownies and seeking the vegan cookie
Last night, I went out shopping for groceries. I just needed a couple of things: milk, canola oil, and other odds and ends.

As I passed the bakery aisle, though, I thought about the craving Tina had been expressing for weeks: vegan cookies.

For those currently unaware of my living arrangement, I live with my vegan ex-girlfriend. It works out remarkably well, actually, despite the number of people who keep telling both of us that we're dooming ourselves to this or that terrible fate. We broke up almost two years ago at this point, and so far so good.

Living with a vegan roommate has had an effect on how and what I eat. I probably eat healthier by proximity, since I haven't cooked anything with egg in it for about three years, and I don't cook meat in the house (my initial reasoning was because I didn't want to use her dishes to cook meat, but it turned out that I really just like the fact that it's cleaner to never cook meat: no grease stains on the cabinets, no salmonella to worry about, etc.).

This also means that I have a really sharp eye for ingredients lists on food. Because Tina and I still occasionally share food and often make meals together, I tend to buy things that are vegan already. If I want to throw in something to make them healthy, like bacon, I can do that on my own (I do have pre-cooked meats in the house).

But in passing the baking aisle, I realized that I could slip down there and find some cookie mix that might just be vegan. I didn't have high hopes, but I knew that something might just be available.

So down the aisle I went, seeking out the cookie mixes.

Some cookies are automatically off-limits: most anything from Nestle, Hershey's, or other name-brand manufacturers. I give them a quick once-over and am happy to see the wonderful allergen lists that they now have, that include big bold statements of "contains milk" or "contains egg". I imagine that being vegan is much easier now that those quick-references are available.

I went digging instead through the cast-offs of the cookie world: the Kroger-brand mixes, the nameless ones that people avoid because they're "substandard."

There, I came across a lone package of "double fudge brownie" mix. Lo and behold, the mix was vegan! Sure, it required an egg, but that's easily replaced with a small thing of applesauce. They weren't cookies, but I didn't think Tina would complain.

I kept digging through the packages, looking for some cookies that would be vegan. No such luck, I was finding. I grabbed a bag of chocolate chip cookie mix, though, and found that, while the mix as a whole was not vegan, it was the chips that made it non-vegan. I suddenly realized that I had a mix that I could turn into a bunch of vegan chocolate chip cookies if I replaced the chocolate in the mix with chocolate that didn't involve milk. So I sought some (again, off-brand) chocolate chunks that didn't have milk in them out and figured I could trade out the chips.

Now despite the fact that this chocolate probably came from slavery in Africa (like most chocolate does), no animals were harmed in the making of the chocolate, just people (and who knows: maybe it's actually slave-free anyway), so I figure it's acceptable as "vegan".

When I got home last night, I told Tina that desert was on me, and went to work cooking my dinner and making the brownies.

I'll be making the cookies sometime soon, put I need to get a stick or two of margarine first. Then I need to separate out the offending chips and replace them with the non-offending chunks and I can bake up some warm cookies for Tina.

After I put the brownies in the oven, I said to Tina, "You know, I'm the best ex-boyfriend you'll ever have."

She smiled and said, "Well, you're the best one yet, but I'll let you know if you can't keep that title in the future."
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Music: "There's Something So Feminine About a Mandolin", -JB

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:December 12th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC)

Re: Vegan cookies

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The chocolate bars at the healthy-food places are incredibly overpriced, but (for example) the bags of chocolate chips aren't quite as bad.

I think applesauce is already pretty scrambled. :-) The tofu solution makes more sense to me.

Honey is the first example I can think of in the vegan gray area. Arguably even milk and eggs don't have to involve harming animals, but they're universally considered non-vegan. But I must be missing something about wine; I'm not aware of animal products there, except mead of course.

Oh yeah, and your post mentioned the allergy labeling on foods these days.... I just wish it mentioned what other animal products besides milk and honey are in there. "Natural flavors" and "enzymes" are always a big question mark for me.
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:December 12th, 2006 05:39 pm (UTC)

clarification

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Oh yeah, and your post mentioned the allergy labeling on foods these days.... I just wish it mentioned....

That is, I just with the label mentioned....
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 12th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC)

Re: Vegan cookies

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There's something with some wines that make them non-vegan, but it's not all wine.

I have a few lists of ingredients commonly referred to in the lists that are derived from animals in some way, if you'd like me to copy it for you. It might help you determine what enzymes you can and can't eat, as a vegetarian.

Of course, to quote Tina: "You can go crazy trying to be completely animal-product free." She's very right. One of those vitamins, I think D1 or D2 or something, is derived primarily from animals, and so if you get something that's "vitamin D enriched", you're getting animal products, like it or not.
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:December 12th, 2006 08:45 pm (UTC)

vitamins

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One of those vitamins, I think D1 or D2 or something, is derived primarily from animals, and so if you get something that's "vitamin D enriched", you're getting animal products, like it or not.

I'm don't know about sources of "enrichments", but the only vitamin that vegans have trouble getting is B12, and that basically comes from dirt. (Don't wash the veggies and you get more B12.)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 12th, 2006 08:53 pm (UTC)

Re: vitamins

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Hehe. Yes, but if you don't wash your organic veggies, you are more likely to get e. coli, or at least a higher chance of fecal contamination. So, um, I'll go with a little less B12.
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:December 12th, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC)

Re: vitamins

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Sorry, didn't intend to recommend not washing veggies. (Though it's probably fine if you they weren't fertilized.) Just giving an example.

Supposedly vegans are supposed to take B12 supplements. (Or eat dirt?) Since I get B12 from eggs and cheese I'm not concerned about it, and you are non-vegan enough to also not worry about it.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:December 12th, 2006 09:14 pm (UTC)

Re: vitamins

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*nods* I don't worry too much about it. The B-12 thing, though, is part of the reason I could never be vegan. Honestly, if you can't manage to survive on what you're eating, then you're eating wrong. And that's not me making a judgment, that's Mother Nature talkin' :)

Not that I'm any sort of paragon of healthy eating. But at least my vitamin supplements aren't required for me to prevent serious malnourishment. :)

Of course, I'd be amused to see "dirt pills" marketed to vegans and health-nuts. I guarantee that you could sell them for $25/ten-day supply. Or more.

Actually, it seems to be the organic fertilization process that's the issue with e. coli contamination :) Of course, I'm not going to suggest that non-organic fertilization is better, it's just that I wouldn't avoid washing (or wash less than I do) in either case. And I'll probably cook everything, too, even if it's not meat. :)
[User Picture]
From:smithing_chick
Date:December 13th, 2006 06:05 am (UTC)

Re: vitamins

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if you can't manage to survive on what you're eating, then you're eating wrong

I agree.

I also like to point out that we have teeth designed specifically for tearing & chewing meat, so between that & the nutrition deficiencies that happen with such diets it seems obvious that we're designed to be omnivores.

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