Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Laziest Vegans Top Ten Asks Gary Loewenthal

Gary Loewenthal is the central brain behind the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. The WVBS is a Vegan bake sale hosted by different groups all over the world, occurring between April 23rd to May 1st. In the first two years, the WVBS has donated $65,000 to different charities. Gary is also behind the non-profit Compassion For Animals. From Veganizing recipes on popular non-Vegan foodie websites, to doing good old fashioned vegan outreach on the streets of Virginia, Gary is a tireless advocate of Vegan food activism (and bunny rabbits!) But what kind of frozen dinner does he like?

What is your favorite veggie burger?
Any vegan burger from a burger joint that has a veggie option. The ready-made ones in the deli section of Whole Foods. I fear they're tasty because they're full of oil. Can I put in a plug for homemade veggie burgers? They're way under-promoted IMHO, and suitable for lazy cooks. Basically you mix everything together in a bowl, shape them into patties, then fry, bake, or broil them. There's a huge variety of recipes online and in cookbooks, so you're almost guaranteed to find one or three that you think are delicious.

What is you favorite frozen dinner?My wife and I probably rely a little too much on frozen Boca Chik'n Patties and Nuggets. But they're so handy! You can serve them open-face, on a bun, with barbecue sauce or secret sauce (Veganaise and Dijon mustard), topped with lettuce, tomato, and red onion, you can chop them up and put them on top of a salad - and much more!

What is your favorite ice cream?Purely Decadent with Coconut Milk - it's so rich and creamy!

What is your favorite chip or cracker?I know this is pedestrian, but I keep coming back to Saltines. Maybe it's because they're so neutral. Peanut butter, non-tuna salad, and everything else goes great with them. I like other flavors though, and buy them randomly.

For chips – Kettle brand; they’re so crispy! Addictive, too!

What is your favorite cereal?I like them all – I’m a cereal enthusiast! Various varieties of Bare Naked Granola are current favorites, but it changes over time. I find a midnight snack of Grape Nuts after a stressful day to be very grounding.

What is your favorite candy?The Go Max Go candy bars are rock stars, but I also like any bar that’s dark chocolate mixed with some other flavor – mint, lavender, raspberry, doesn’t matter – and dark chocolate assortments like you get in a gift package; those are fun.

What is your favorite cookie?I love anything homemade or bakery-made, but I haven’t found one packaged vegan cookie that I like. Friends say “You’ve got to try [fill in the blank], they’re so good!” And I try them and I’m like “eh.” For me, the gap between store-bought and homemade is huge. Possibly that was a subconscious reason for starting the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale – I wanted the public to see how good vegan cookies and other baked delights could be.

What three pre-packaged food items would you take to a desert island?After I built my water purifier, I would want organic peanut butter, whole wheat matzoh, and mandarin oranges.

Name a product you would like Veganized?Girl Scout cookies – all flavors. Imagine if every March, all the tables selling Girl Scout cookies outside grocery stores were totally vegan. What a great run-up that would be to the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale!

What are your favorite local and/or online stores for Vegan products?I’m biased toward Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe and Food Fight! Grocery because I’ve been to the stores and met the owners and they’re awesome! For things like shoes where I have to shop in person, it’s Pangea in Rockville, Maryland. Shout-out to all vegan stores everywhere, many of which have hosted bake sales!

I love supporting all local businesses that add vegan products. And an all-vegan Loving Hut restaurant just opened about a mile from my house, so I‘ll probably be a regular for life.

And that concludes The Laziest Vegans Top Ten. Thanks Gary!


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