vegansaurus!

04/29/2014

How to, yo: VEGAN PIZZA! Tips and tools from start to finish!   »

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I wish I could explain this logically, but it’s not really a logic desire. Here’s the thing: for as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle pizza. Something about that cartoon pizza, it just looked so good, and pizza in real life never quite measured up! I know I’m not alone in this.

Something changed once I started making vegan pizzas; they just had that ooey-gooey look to them, the very look I’d been striving for my entire life! Something about how the cheese melts and the vegan pepperonis bake in, it’s a visual and tasty delight! Of course, using vegetables on your pizza is much healthier, and I highly recommend it (I take mine with mushrooms, spinach, roasted garlic and sometimes pineapple). Or you can make your own vegan sausages with this recipe

That’s enough waxing poetic about my favorite 80s/early 90s cartoon, let’s get to the pizza dough part! I don’t like working with dough. THERE I SAID IT. I will always go for convenience when it comes to bread, pastries, pie dough and pizza dough! That is, until I stumbled across this pizza dough recipe by Bobby Flay! It’s really easy and you don’t even need a stand mixer to make it! 

If you do have a stand-mixer, you can follow the recipe as it says, but if you don’t, here’s my method:

In a small bowl, mix the yeast, sugar, warm water and olive oil. Let sit for a couple of minutes.

In a large bowl, add 3 1/2 cups of the flour and salt. Mix, make a well in the center and then add yeast mixture. Knead until all the flour is incorporated, adding the last 1/2 cup of flour if too wet. I find I usually don’t need it. Now follow the rest of the directions in terms of letting it rise! (When I make my dough, I add just a pinch of extra salt and about a tablespoon of dried rosemary.)

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When it came time to bake my pizza, I did at 450F, on a baking sheet, for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the bottom was nicely browned. If your oven smokes at high temperatures, you can bake at 400F for a longer period of time—just check the bottom of the crust periodically. If you have a pizza stone or fire brick oven, what are you reading this for? You are probably a pizza wizard and could be giving me tips! 

Now, if you choose to use vegan cheese, Daiya is probably the easiest in terms of melt and go. If you are a FYH soy mozzarella fan, but are exasperated by it’s melting abilities, I’d like to help you! You gotta melt it in a double boiler first (I shred it, or cut it up real small, then melt it). Once it’s melted, spoon it onto your pizza. Yeah, it’s an extra step, but it’s worth it! I like Daiya alright, but I get tired of it. Every time I use melted FYH soy mozz, at least three people on Instagram tell me I’ve been duped, that there’s no way my pizza is vegan. That my friends, I call a success! I have been thinking this homemade tofu chèvre would make a tasty addition for a very sophisticated pizza! 

I have some tips on shaping pizza dough here! Basically, it’s easiest to work with when at room temperature and DON’T TOUCH THE OUTSIDE CRUST! 

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As far as pizza sauce goes, I usually use jarred marinara sauce. The other night I made my own, and it was really easy! I sautéed, in olive oil, half a diced onion, three cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste (1/2 tsp of each, maybe) and 1 TB of Italian herbs. I added a can of diced tomatoes, and about 1/2 cup of white wine (totally optional, and red is great too), then let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a tsp of sugar if it’s too tart. I like my pizza sauce smooth so I blended it, but you could also just use canned tomato sauce! 

Sick of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol? Here’s my recipe for BBQ “chicken” pizza! 

As always, we love to hear from you! What are your favorite toppings? Do you have a recipe for a great gluten-free dough? Did you love the Ninja Turtles as much as me? Let us know! 

05/16/2012

How to, yo: Mold the best pizza crust!   »

I just had a pizza party with my family! And I broke my mom’s pizza stone, the night before Mother’s Day. I’m a terrible person! I’m not sure the iTunes gift certificate, coconut wax candle and cock blocker I gave her will make up for slamming her stone in the oven and demolishing it. It was an accident! But since she is a great person, she didn’t even get mad at me. My mom is the best.

I want to give props to Chef Mitch at Source for giving me the inside scoop on molding pizza crust. I was a pretty good home cook before; however, working side by side with him every day has taught me so much. If you come into Source, tell him you love the hints on Vegansaurus. It might render him speechless, which is no easy feat—that guy loves to talk! But I love listening, so it is a match made in restaurant heaven.

Now, whether it’s homemade or store-bought pizza dough you are working with, it is the easiest and best to handle at room temperature, so let your dough sit out for an hour or so. That way when you stretch it, it will stay where you put it. Also, play with the outside edge, which will be the uncovered crust, as little as possible. If you can get away with not touching it at all, that is great: It will make for a wonderful, light, “eggshell” crust that will rise beautifully and impress everyone. Shape and stretch your crust from the inside out. However you do this, DON’T TOUCH THE VERY OUTSIDE PART! That’s it. That’s all I’m trying to say.

This outside crust here is a little extreme, as in, it’s HUGE. But the dough was cold and I had a hard time stretching it. You don’t have to go this big, but you know what they say: Go big or go home! The outside crust was so light and fluffy, I felt like a pro. Do you like how I made myself a half-cheese, half-veggie combo? I need options! And remember when some of you were like “Daiya is gross, it tastes like glue”? Well, I really like it. Follow Your Heart soy mozzarella is my numero uno, but Daiya is my mistress! They better not make me choose, because I love them both so much.

01/23/2012

Vegenaise coming out with some bomb new flavors!  »

Here are the new Vegenaise flavors, pictorially, because I’m sick and you should feel bad for me. I tried them all at the Fancy Food Show because I’m fancy and they were all outrageously delicious. Specifically the barbecue, which would make one damn fine bbq potato salad. And the pesto vegenaise, holy shit. UGH IT WAS ALL SO GOOD. I can’t think about it right now because they’re not all right in front of me and I’m already sick — what’s the point of being sick AND sad? HUH? 

Anyway, they should be showing their faces soon in grocery stores near you, let us know if you see them and then also, send them to us!

03/15/2011

Yummy vegan breakfast time!  »


Today we’ll be making the quick and easy cream cheese and jelly on toast! I forgot how much I loved this stuff! And boy, so simple: toast two pieces of pumpernickel bread, spread with vegan cream cheese, then top with your favorite jelly! Voilà! Yummy vegan breakfast time!

Today I used Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese but sometimes I use Tofutti cream cheese. I can’t decide which I like better but I think maybe Tofutti. No, never mind, I can’t decide! Stop pressuring me! 

To complete your morning, I suggest watching the Gummi Bears like I used to do every morning before school:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]

01/06/2011

Vegan Pizza Day! Praise Be!  »

So! You’re vegan and you love pizza? WHAT IS NEXT, you ask yourself? Well, the answer is: CELEBRATE VEGAN PIZZA DAY! Organized by our blogging BFF’s quarrygirl and the delightful Chicago Soy Dairy folks, this is sure to be an event to remember! Or, at least the extra 5 pounds on your ass will be all, “thanks, bitch!”. Kidding, fat asses are THE BOMB. Anyway, get ready for January 29th, 2011 when the vegan pizza eating, it shall commence! Oh, and if you see any vegan pizza places missing from their list, be a doll and add it

[photo from digiyesica! Delicious! Also, looking a little bit like Pizza The Hut. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!]

04/23/2010

Calorie count cage match: KFC Double Down vs. Vegan Double Down  »

Everyone and their dog knows that the KFC Double Down is cardiac arrest in sandwich form, and our vegan version isn’t doing much better. But we at least would never lie to you. Kill you, quite possibly, but never lie.

Unlike KFC, who would do both. Their marketing materials had clocked their version in at a lean-and-mean 540 calories and 32 grams of fat (practically diet by fast food standards), and now CityRag is calling bullshit. By their math, using published nutritional data, the KFC Double Down’s real calorie count? 1190 calories and 86 grams of fat—over twice as much as advertised.

So, not that you should care, I thought I’d run the numbers for one serving of our version to see how it stacks up.

  • 2 Gardein Chick’n Scallopini patties: 180 calories, 4g fat
  • 2 Tbsp Vegenaise: 180 calories, 18g fat
  • 25 percent of the batter recipe (plenty for one sandwich): 225 calories, 25g fat
  • 2 oz Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack: 140 calories, 14g fat
  • 3 strips Smart Bacon with cooking oil:  60 calories, 8g fat

Grand total: 785 calories, 69g fat. I think that means, we win! Or, we lose! Also, let’s be realistic. Neither of these counts include the vat of fryer oil we’re using. So add another 300 to 500 calories to both those numbers.

Moral of the story? There is none. Life isn’t Beatrix Potter, and sometimes we eat stuff that might kill us. The end. As long as it’s only killing ourselves without dragging any animals along for the death ride, I don’t see the problem. You know what, I think there is a moral after all. Mentos!

[link via Bacon-loving Hipsters Can Kiss My Vegan Ass]

04/05/2010

KFC to unleash the Double Down sandwich, we celebrate by cracking the code  »

Over at The Consumerist, they’ve been following KFC’s new (and revolting) Double Down sandwich. In case you’re new to the story, the Double Down is a bacon and cheese sandwich, with two slabs of fried chicken replacing the bread, and a mystery yellow substance they’re calling “The Colonel’s Sauce” (a name that implies more intimacy with the Colonel than, we hope, is actually involved). After months of rumors and marketing teasers, the Double Down is finally real, with a scheduled release date of Monday, Apr. 12 at a KFC near you.

As vegans, we’re of course bound by blood oath to be outraged by meat surrounded by meat and drizzled in dairy, especially when mass-produced by a megacorp dedicated to poisoning as many people worldwide as possible. But sometimes something is just too ridiculous to hate, and like a game of culinary marry-fuck-kill, we saw the Double Down and chose “fuck.” So with that, I present:

The Vegan Double Down

It’s actually good! And by “good” I mean “not good.” Or a word that means a mix of good and not-good, where “not good” describes how you feel after downing this fistful of instant regret. Here’s how you can make your own and share my suffering. You know you want one.

First thing’s first. Start by getting your kitchen stocked with vegan substitutes.

  • Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini
  • Lightlife Smart Bacon
  • Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
  • Energ-G Egg Replacer
  • Earth Balance Natural Shortening
  • Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack

You can replace the shortening with canola oil or even Crisco, if you feel like taking your life into your hands. Before doing anything else, I fried up about six pieces of Smart Bacon, and thinly sliced the Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack using a mandolin. If you don’t have a mandolin, a cheese slicer will do the trick, or a sharp kitchen knife if you’re really patient. You should also thaw out the Gardein patties, which are usually kept frozen.

The Colonel’s Sauce
No one has any idea what’s in this stuff, so I basically went for “yellow”. 

  • 4 Tbsp Vegenaise
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp turmeric

Mix it up until it looks yellow. Adjust as needed.

KFC’s 11 Secret Herbs and Spices
The actual recipe is a closely guarded secret, but this is close enough. I adapted the recipe from KFCChickenRecipe.com with vegan substitutes where needed.

  • 1 Tbsp sage
  • 1 tsp ginger root
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder or cayenne
  • 1½ tsp thyme
  • 2 Tbsp garlic salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp garlic granules
  • 2 Tbsp onion salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp onion granules
  • 3 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp powdered vegetable bullion from Rapunzel, or any vegan “chicken-flavored” bullion.
  • 1 pack of McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix (available at Safeway), or 1 packet of any vegan tomato powdered instant soup.

Grind into a fine powder using a food processor or blender, and set aside.

Making the batter and deep-frying it all up

  • 3 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer
  • 4 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • ½ cup unsweetened, plain soy milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg replacer, water, canola oil, and soy milk. This is your “eggs and milk” batter.

Now is a good time to get your deep-frying apparatus into gear. If you own a deep fryer, you know what you’re doing here. For everyone else: melt the whole box of Earth Balance shortening in a wok or cast-iron pan on medium heat. Top it up with canola oil if the pool of oil isn’t deep enough.

Next, thoroughly mix together the flour with the “secret” herb and spice mix that you made earlier. Spread out the flour mix onto a long sheet of baking paper.

You basically want to coat the living hell out of the Gardein patties, then deep fry them until your kitchen smells like KFC. So: take a patty, dip it in the batter, then roll it in the flour/spices until it’s completely coated. Then take the same patty and repeat; you want to coat the coating.

Finally, drop in your patty and deep-fry it for a few minutes, until golden brown. You can test out your oil beforehand with a small glob of batter and flour. You really don’t want to cook them for too long!

Putting it all together then nomming the shit out of that
Now you’re ready to assemble your Vegan Double Down: two slabs of fried fake chicken, stuffed with fake bacon, fake cheese, and fake “Colonel’s Sauce”. Make it look pretty.

You will eat about half of this before realizing what a mistake it’s been. But until that moment, it will taste like sweet, deep-fried heaven.

03/10/2010

Product review: Reduced Fat Vegenaise!  »


Follow Your Heart’s new Reduced Fat Vegenaise has been floating around health food stores for a few months now, but is totally lacking visibility on the internets (well, besides here). It deserves more love! Made with heart=healthy flaxseed and olive oil, this stuff has about half the fat and calories of original Veganaise. This means you can put twice the amount on your sandwich/nachos/toast/spaghetti!

And what’s more, its taste is seriously on par with the traditional stuff. Weird, huh?! Find it at your local health food store. It has a yellow label. It’s adorable! A perfect dip for steamed artichokes!

This Vegansaur gives it five stars out of five.

[photo by Bryan!]

03/05/2010

Fake meats and smug vegans, elephant geniuses, killer snakes, your very own puppies AND MORE in today’s link-o-rama!  »


Pugs becoming men, men becoming wolves: Werepug Bar Mitzvah!

They are few, but crucial: Your vegan events!
Fun times at the San Francisco Public Library! On Saturday, Mar. 6 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Noe Valley branch (451 Jersey St. at Castro Street) Maya Donelson will host a workshop on rooftop gardening. And on Tuesday, Mar. 9 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Bernal Heights branch (500 Cortland Ave. at Moultrie Street), you can learn all about urban composting. Both events are free and open to the public.

On Thursday, Mar. 11 Blood and Sunshine will release their latest E.P., Change Is in the Weather, at 9 p.m. at Thee Parkside in San Francisco. Why should you care? First, because half the band, Joseph Macrino, is vegan and loves your Vegansaurus. Second, because he and James Brennan (the other half of the band, no doy), have decided to plant a tree for every 200 miles they travel on tour. See how much they love the environment? A LOT, is how much. The show costs $6, which in this economy is basically nothing, so go already!

Next Saturday, Mar. 13 from noon to 2 p.m. the PETA Pack—which includes Friend of Vegansaurus’ Cinnaholic—is having a bake sale in front of the PETA Oakland office, at 538 Grand Ave. The proceeds will benefit PETA’s Investigations and Rescue fund.

Also on Saturday, Mar. 13 is the next meeting of the Bay Area Vegetarians book club! The book is Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz; be at Vegi Food at 2085 Vine St. (at Henry Street) in Berkeley at 1 p.m. to discuss it. RSVP here.

Farm Sanctuary’s California Country Hoe Down is coming! Friend of Vegansaurus’ Melisser (of Sugar Beat Sweets) went in 2008 and had a great time, and photos from 2009 look pretty great as well. Tickets are on sale for the May 1 through 2 event right now, and I hear they go fast, so if you’re interested you should probably buy them soon.

Help the great state of Indiana end live bait dog training by sending an email to Natural Resources Commission and Governor Mitch Daniels. This practice is seriously vile: people throw a wild-caught coyote or fox into a pen with a pack of dogs to “train” the dogs for hunting.

It is lengthy, and debatably important: Your vegan weekend reading!
Well fuck, salmonella’s been found in MORE FOOD. This time it’s in hydrolyzed vegetable protein that was made in a Basic Food Flavors plant in Las Vegas (Woo!). I guess HVP is a food, however much it dyslexically looks like HPV? Anyway, the products being recalled include some from Follow Your Heart, so be safe and check your packaging, OK?

Problem: we’re all Fat and awful. Solution: extrapolate results from experiments on fruit flies, because science!

But Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, believes in a “pathway to end animal testing” and needs your help making this a priority for lawmakers.

If food is religion, then vegans are obviously terrible, self-righteous proselytizing zealots. "It’s just food," after all.

WHO WANTS A PUPPY? Uh, me! AND YOU! Get over to the East Bay SPCA, they have pit bull puppies right now! [thanks, Brittney of Eye on Blogs!]

Vice interviews the Rosaire family, who run a circus-cum-exotic-animal-sanctuary. Vice would like you to know that this issue is not as simple as “circuses are bad, free the animals,” you small-minded PETA assholes.

Meanwhile, elephants are proving themselves even smarter than anyone thought, most recently at math. Probably elephants have greater math skills than me, because they weren’t societally conditioned to hate and fear it.

According to a survey by Canadian bacon company, 43 percent of respondents would rather eat bacon than have sex. Ugh, that’s cool ‘cause I’d rather not have sex with you bacon-crazed grossies. Arguably, this is a reason against moving to Canada.

Shamu is too depressed over Tilikum killing that lady to Tweet anymore.

You’re kidding—poop from all the animals crammed into “megafarms” is a major pollutant? It’s causing huge environmental problems? And agricultural interests are fighting every effort to regulate the disposal of all this poop? I AM SO SHOCKED RIGHT NOW.

Continuing the fucked-up news, the Grayson County Humane Society/SPCA shelter in Leitchfield, Ken., was broken into last week. The perpetrator(s) “brought a very cat-aggressive dog into the office, beat her severely, and then released two cats from their cages.” the perpetrator(s) took money from the shelter and left; the dog killed the cats. Here is further information about the crimes and donating to the organization.

Hey everybody! Starting today, it’s open season on wild Burmese pythons in Florida for the next six weeks! If you have a Florida hunting license, you can chop a snake’s head off with a big knife! It’s totally cool, though, because thanks to irresponsible snake-buyers, Hurrican Andrew, and participants in Florida’s “active exotic animal trade,” plus the pythons’ crazy-high fertility, there are snakes EVERYWHERE, ruining Florida’s natural ecosystem and begging to be murdered. Anyway, they are naturally vicious—one time a family pet got out of its cage and strangled a toddler! KILL ‘EM ALL BANG BANG BANG.

Never mind Florida, actually, let’s go to Argentina! Buenos Aires is now bursting with veg restaurants, and it sounds (and looks!) goddamn amazing.

Less fancy but still reportedly delicious is Chipotle’s Garden Blend burrito. Holy shit they charge $3 for guacamole at this Chipotle in New York, I am SO SORRY you guys.

Thanks to officials in the Obama cabinet, the U.S. government supports the international ban on Atlantic bluefin tuna. Sorry, sashimi-crazies. May I suggest learning to enjoy vegan sushi? It is delicious and environmentally friendly!

Smokey and Petra, two lops, make Oscar predictions!

Cow philosophy: thought-provoking, or obnoxious wanking? Really, you tell me; I can’t decide whether it’s an interesting way to make point, or if I just want to slap the dude because the answer is so obvious, even asking is angering. UGH.

Poor old Knut: first he’s the tiny star of screen and song; then he’s reviled as “anti-social” and “dangerous;” now the Berlin Zoo is trying to mate him with his first cousin, which PETA Germany advises against because of the extra risk of their offspring inheriting genetic abnormalities. Just neuter him, and it’ll be all right, they say! But: “The castration of Knut would cause dismay among his fans around the world and would reduce his market value.” I think the first problem here is referring to the procedure as “castration,” but what do I know, I’m a lady.

A fox-hunt-supporter got too close to a “gyrocopter,” the blades of which vertically split his head in two. The world has lost another hero, you guys.

Jonathan Kauffman likes Enjoy Vegetarian more than I do, but not nearly as much as Laura does. But that bitch likes everything and I am always in a bad mood/have indigestion, so can you really trust either one of us? (hint: probably not)

Emily Stokes is the most put-upon reporter on the Financial Times staff: she had to eat at a vegan restaurant with Jonathan Safran Foer, where the food was awful and JSF was smug, telling her about how he wouldn’t even use his own fork to move the meat off his plate when it was served to him in a Ukranian restaurant 10 years ago. I feel like this opportunity might’ve been better appreciated by Mark Rowlands, who seems like less of a sourpuss. Bourdain, of course, is the same old big-talking doucheface he’s always been.

JSF “shuns” fake meat (including seitan, which, what?); Anneli Rufus think it’s “like having sex with a blow-up doll.” PLEASE PLEASE tell me what you think, I AM DYING TO KNOW. For reals, let’s discuss.

Call us names/ask us out: this week we criticized the trope of the Vegan Boy, and got all huffy about rabbit-killing (again).

12/29/2009

I Love the Noughties: A Vegan Decade in Review  »

If you had to pick a single word for vegan in the ’00s, it would be “mainstream,” as we watched veganism get wrestled away from the Birkenstocks-and-hemp set. Celebrity vegans and vegan fashion changed the public face of a movement that had been left for dead, and the food came along for the ride, with cupcakes and melty cheese pizza replacing granola. We even went political, passed some laws, lost some rights, and ran for president. Our fad diets beat their fad diets, and now here we are, 10 years later. Older? Wiser? Better dressed and topped with frosting? Let’s see how it all went down.

2000: Alicia Silverstone goes vegan and ushers in the Celebrity Vegan Decade. Yes, there were vegans before 2000, like Ian Mackaye, but it was still a fringe thing, for college activists and crusty old punks. In the ’00s, going vegan equals getting press, with celebrities coming out of the pantry left and right. It was the decade that gave us PETA’s Sexiest Vegetarian Alive award, and high profile announcements from Natalie Portman, Ellen Degeneres, Jonathan Safran Foer, Kristin Bell, and other stars like supermodel Petra Němcová and MMA cage fighter Mac Danzig. Love or hate celebrity culture, it’s here to stay, and now it’s going vegan.

2001: Stella McCartney leaves Chloe to start her own designer label, starting the first high fashion vegan shoe line. While most of what she does is out of the price range of mere mortals, in a very real way, this was a good thing for the perception of vegan fashion. “But if I went vegan, I would have to shop at Payless” would no longer be an excuse, and the false dilemma between ethics and looking good was finally gone.

2002: Atkins Diet goes mainstream and gets cred. Dr. Atkins’ book had been out since 1972, but it wasn’t until the early ’00s that people gave it a real try. In 2002, a Duke University study appeared to confirm the worst fears of vegans, that Atkins dieters lost weight and lowered their cholesterol. Of course we all know what happened in the end. Like any fad diet, the guru died and the company went bankrupt, leading to its fiery demise. Why was the Atkins diet such a big deal for vegans? It was the first fad diet to attack the “eating less meat is healthy” argument at the jugular. In the end, we were still right, but not without spending a few years in the low carb wilderness. Dark times.

2003: Dennis Kucinich announces that he will run as the first vegan for president of the U.S. of A., then wins the election with 76 percent of the vote, dissolves the Senate, and ends factory farming by executive decree. Okay I made up like half of that. But admit it, you decided to vote for this guy, sight unseen, the second you heard he was vegan, and his flappy ears or anti-abortion stance didn’t scare you away. Hell, I did. He also helped heal the left after the Green Party split in 2000 that gave us George W. Bush, by giving all of us lefties some hope that the Democratic party doesn’t have to completely suck. After all, any political party with a high-profile vegan politician couldn’t be that bad, could it? Okay don’t answer that. Anyway, give it up for the D-Kuch for making vegan history! Dennis, I present you with this gold plated dino-statue as Vegansaurus’s highest honor. As soon as I have a sec to ‘shop that up.

2004Wayne Pacelle becomes the first vegan president of the Humane Society of the United States, making that one for two in the “first” and “vegan president” category. For the first time, a vegan is president of the largest animal protection group in the world. He completely broadened/shifted its focus on to farm animals. It makes sense because the vast majority of animals suffering in this world are the ones we eat.

2005: Vegan cheese that melts hits the stores, with the first known appearance of Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet. “It melts!” the label proudly trumpeted, reminding us of past disappointments, fraught with casein and other milk-based substances that were needlessly present in the so-called cheese replacements of the day. True vegan pizza was finally possible, and so was GRILLED CHEESE (and the great pre-Vegansaurus Mac and Cheese Bake-Off). And with that, we kicked off a revolution in the greatest vegan technology advancement of all. Teese, Dr. Cow, Follow Your Heart, Daiya—before the ’00s, such things were only found at the Whole Foods on Fantasy Island.

2006: Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World takes over the world. Seriously, where would we be without this book? It combined every element of vegan baking into a single handbook, a canonical scripture to be read aloud during holy days of rest. Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World appeared at exactly the right time, just as the global cupcake phenomenon was reaching a fever pitch, and convinced a skeptical omnivorous world that vegan baking is not only passable, but preferable.

2006: The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act passes, expanding the War on Terror to tofu. Last I checked, violence was already illegal, and politically motivated violence was already doubleplus illegal, but apparently we needed a special law to target animal rights activists. I’ll be the first to admit that our cause, just like every other cause, has its extremists that could use a chill pill. However, the new law did nothing to provide exemptions for whistle-blowing and other undercover investigations, and codified the right of animal enterprises to uninterrupted profits at the expense of free speech. The ACLU, unfortunately, allowed this abomination to pass. Thanks, jerks!

2007Spotted: Victoria Beckham carrying a copy of Skinny Bitch while shopping in Los Angeles. Skinny Bitch had been out since 2005, but it took Posh Spice to get it on the bestseller lists. While the idea of going vegan to lose weight is hardly new, this was the first successful attempt to bring animal rights philosophy and PCRM’s nutritional science to the diet frenzy mainstream, by weaving our beliefs in with the ideals of Americans who desire “skinny” over “healthy” (these ladies are NOT actual nutritionists, you guys). Those of us on the vegan-lifer side of the fence know that being vegan is anything but a fad diet (and come on, we have pizza and cupcakes now, we’re enjoying life as much as anyone else) but as a subversive social experiment, Skinny Bitch was the first of its kind.

2008: Oprah goes vegan for 21 days. You don’t mess with the Oprahnator. Oprah speaks, everyone listens, and in 2008, she spoke about going vegan. “How can you say you’re trying to spiritually evolve, without even a thought about what happens to the animals whose lives are sacrificed in the name of gluttony?” she wrote at the time. Which is a nice thought, but do we stop thinking about what happens to the animals after 21 days? I didn’t really get it. Anyway, Oprah has a way of sprinkling her magic credibility fairy dust on everything she touts, which means “You’re what?” is no longer the Jeopardy answer to “I’m vegan.”

2008: Proposition 2 wins in California! Although not the first animal protection law to win by popular referendum (voters in Florida and Arizona passed laws of their own in 2004 and 2006) we won a truly epic battle that will protect calves, hens, and pigs from horrible confinement. Prop. 2 won with 63 percent of the vote in the U.S.’s most populous state, and as they say, as California goes, so goes the nation. Put that in your gestation crate and smoke it.

2009: Martha Stewart has a vegetarian Thanksgiving, Obama adopts a breeder dog instead of a shelter dog, and Jonathan Safran Foer proposes that we all eat our pets or give up meat. It was a freaky-ass year.

Erika, Maria, Laura, Megan Rascal, and Meave also contributed to this post. We are fam-i-ly! I got all my sisters with me! OK I’ll stop now.

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