Food Activism in the ĎHood
September 12, 2010
activists have long known that one of the most effective ways to
persuade people toward a plant-based diet is by serving them delicious
food. Besides being effective, itís also totally non-confrontational,
and you donít need to know the fine points of the issues, like why
even well-managed grazing is detrimental to the environment. Just pass
My neighborhood association gets together with a nearby church for a
combined annual picnic on the church lawn in September, which includes a
bake-off contest. Two years ago I entered for the first time with killer
vegan cupcakes decorated as professionally as I could manage. I learned
that the judges seemed to prefer plainer looking desserts, overlooking
mine and another even fancier offering to award the prize to a very
ordinary peach cobbler. Last year I couldnít attend the event, but
this year I came back with a bake-off entry I thought more likely to
succeed. I presented a vegan chocolate mousse pie (recipe below), in a
store-bought crumb crust, decorated with plain coconut flakes, and not
actually baked at all.
I won! As the judges chatted with me after announcing that my pie had
won, I revealed that it contained no dairy products or eggs and was made
with tofu. You should have seen the jaws drop! "Youíre
kidding," I heard several times. "It tastes so rich."
"I donít like tofu, but this is great!" The upshot was that
people who attended the picnic had a chance to actually eat tofu, and
the recipe will be published soon in the neighborhood newsletter. (And I
won a modest prize.) My winning led to some conversations about
vegetarianism as well. Unfortunately, I didnít get a photo of the pie;
by the time I thought about doing so, it was nearly gone!
If you like to cook, and can enter any local contests, it is a sneaky
but effective way to get a crowd to eat a vegan dish and find out that
eating vegan is no hardship. Just donít tell them itís vegan until
after the judging.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie
2 - 12.3 oz. boxes of Mori-Nu organic firm silken tofu
1 - 12 oz. bag vegan chocolate chips
1/3 cup + 1 T. liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave, etc.)
1 + 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 - 8" pie crust, graham cracker or chocolate
In food processor, process tofu until completely smooth. Melt
chocolate chips along with the sweetener in double boiler or microwave.
Pour melted mixture into the smooth tofu, add vanilla, and combine until
smooth. Pour into prepared pie crust, decorate if desired, and chill for
at least two hours. You should have some of the filling left over, which
you can serve as pudding later (or eat immediately!).
Decorations can include additional chocolate chips or shavings, fresh
berries, coconut flakes, nuts, or candies. Additional extracts may be
added to the filling, such as almond, coconut, or mint.