Blog Takeover Alert!
Taking over the Earth Balance blog this week is Vegan Crunk blogger Bianca, an 8-year vegan, 18-year vegetarian from the Mid-South, not too far from the muddy banks of the Mississippi River. And that means cornbread, butter beans, and collard greens. Today she lives in Memphis and is the author of Cookin’ Crunk: Eating Vegan in the Dirty South, filled with yummilicious veganized soul food and country classics.
Here’s the Earth Balance Interview with Vegan Crunk:
Earth Balance: Tell your story. How did you become vegan?
Vegan Crunk: I went vegetarian in 1994 after spending a week with my best friend’s Indian family. Before that, I knew I didn’t want to eat animals, but I was 14, and I didn’t know what vegetarians ate. Spending a week with them showed me a world of meatless options. I went vegan in 2004 at age 24 as a way to take my animal activism to the next level. I’d gotten involved in local animal rights organizing, and it just made sense. Once I knew about the horrors that go down at egg and dairy farms, I just couldn’t eat that stuff anymore.
EB: What food do you always, always have in your fridge or pantry?
VC: Earth Balance® Original Natural Buttery Spread (for real, not just brown-nosing!), a tub of miso, tamari, sriracha, a few pounds of extra-firm tofu, lots of jams and jellies, and homemade pickles.
EB: What’s your personal favorite vegan snack?
VC: Popcorn!! I usually pop it in my theater-style popper with coconut oil, and then I sprinkle liberally with popcorn salt and nutritional yeast. I usually spray a little non-stick cooking spray over the salted popcorn to help the seasonings stick.
EB: What role do Earth Balance products play in your cooking and baking? Do you have a favorite?
VC: I use Earth Balance® Original Natural Buttery Spread and Earth Balance® Organic Coconut Spread for EVERYTHING! Sauteeing, baking, schmearing on toast, melting over corn on the cob, you name it. I also keep a Tupperware bowl of Earth Balance® Vegan Aged White Cheddar Flavor Popcorn on my desk at work for snacking. It seems to stay fresher longer than the popcorn I make at home.
EB: Veganism seems to be “hip” now. Do you agree? What’s that like from your perspective?
VC: Veganism is the coolest! When I would tell people I was vegan back in 2004, I would always get “What’s vay-gun?” (No one could ever pronounce it!) or “Where do you get your protein?” These days, when I tell people who eat meat, they usually come back with “Oh, I wish I could be vegan, but I am trying to cut back on meat.” They know it’s super cool.
EB: If you had a restaurant, what dish would always be on the menu?
VC: Vegan mac & cheese!
EB: What’s the best piece of advice you’d have for someone wanting to go vegan?
VC: Don’t think too much about what you can’t eat. Think about all the new foods you’ll be adding—nutritional yeast, quinoa, seitan, tempeh, etc. I encourage new vegans to try at least one new dish every week.
|Bianca Phillips is the author of Cookin’ Crunk: Eatin’ Vegan in the Dirty South, a collection of veganized soul food recipes. She blogs daily at Vegan Crunk (http://vegancrunk.blogspot.com). By day, she’s the associate editor at the Memphis Flyer, an alt-weekly newspaper in Memphis, Tennessee.|