Saturday, March 21, 2009

Funerals and spreading the vegan love

Hopefully I don’t sound (too) offensive when I say that funerals and other death-related gatherings (sorry already!) are the perfect venues for spreading the vegan love. I’m serious. At least in Filipino culture, death is a reason for families, distant families, close friends, and friends you last saw 10 years ago to come together. It’s also a reason to promote veganism and dispel the myths that [a] veganism doesn’t exist and [b] vegan food tastes like crap.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my lola / grandma passed away. While my mom and her siblings were busy fixing certificates, cremation, obituary notices, etc etc, my siblings, cousins and I took care of running the thing. Someone took care of the slideshow of old pictures and documentation of the wake; another took care of getting a priest to celebrate mass (and playing the organ during said mass); another took care of flowers and I-love-you-Lola poster.

My sister, cousin and I headed the food committee and I very well made sure there was always something vegan for EVERYONE. My lola’s wake lasted for 3 full days, with the 4th day being the interment in the afternoon. So for 3 days we had to provide food for merienda / afternoon snack and dinner, for about 50 people each day. It was like a 3-day party with unlimited food.

Tips on veganizing funeral / wake food:
  1. The easiest thing is provide vegetarian junk food. Roasted peanuts, oreos, Oishi’s Pods, Boy Bawang / corn nuts, salted potato chips, you get the idea.
  2. For coffee – none of that instant 3-in-1 stuff! Even though a non-dairy creamer claims to be non-dairy, that devil’s powder contains milk derivatives. Brewed coffee is best so vegans can take it black. If you must cater to drinkers who can’t let go of the white stuff, have the creamer on the side.
  3. Bake something and make sure it looks pretty. No one will care that it is, God forbid, vegan. If something looks good, people will eat. Then tell that person that the food he/she just ate is vegan and let them marvel at your ingenuity. I baked a coffee cake, banana bars, cookies, and mini cupcakes. Make sure to serve desserts in finger-friendly bite-sized forms. Slice the cake / bars into squares, make your cookies and cupcakes tiny.
  4. Make sure you are in good terms with siblings, cousins, and aunts / uncles so they can help spread the vegan love, whether or not they’re vegan. I love that my family is supportive with my vegan baking business. They endlessly pitched the stuff I made to their relatives and friends. My goal wasn’t to promote my business but to promote veganism awareness. Now people know what veganism means and that vegan chocolate cupcakes exist in this world!
  5. In terms of savory food – pasta salads are good. Fried tofu too. Vegetarian pizza.
  6. Hummus is your best friend. Serve these with tortilla chips.

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