The Vegan Nomad: Finding Food



It is a strange life I lead - and it's definitely not for everyone - though there are a sizeable number of nomads around and I've met one who is also vegan! One of the concerns is always the availability of vegan food, especially if a house-sit is in a remote area. One of the unspoken rules of house-sitting is "If it's edible, eat it", but this is not useful if the household is carnivorous, as most are. I always tell my hosts I am vegan and most will get the basics in for me (bread, non-dairy milk) but for actual food you have to sort yourself out. 

One set of hosts were especially kind, knowing they were 10 miles from the nearest shop, and stocked up their freezer with all kinds of ready meals. Unfortunately they thought vegan was just another term for vegetarian and every meal contained cheese or eggs. I only discovered this after they had left and the next day had to cycle 10 miles in the rain to the nearest Tesco. Since then I say "vegan means no animal products." (Though there is much excitement on the blogs about the increase in the number of people following a vegan diet and the success of Veganuary; to put this is perspective, the best estimate is that there are half a million or so vegans in the UK. This is a 360% increase in 10 years but we are still only about 1/2 % of the population, rising to 1% of under 18s.) 

Happily, most households have the makings of a hearty, healthy vegan meal using the basic formula: Grains + Beans/Pulses = Meal. This combination can be found all over the world: the Caribbean has "rice 'n beans"; Africa has "samp & beans"; Latin America has "corn and beans"; India has "rice and dal"; East Asia has "rice and tofu". In most British homes I can find some such combo. Spice it up a bit (there's usually a bottle of hot sauce somewhere) and I have a meal. One odd thing I have found in nearly every home I have been in is an 'Old El Paso' Taco/Fajita/Enchilada kit... It's generally tucked away at the back of a cupboard somewhere, dusty and forgotten.
"Hey, let's get this. It's on special. We can have a Taco Tuesday." But they never did...

Simple white loaf (The Vegan Bread Box) and chocolate chip cookies

Cycling around I try to carry as little as possible and have now got my essentials down to one cycle-pannier, which converts to a backpack, and a small day-pack. This leaves no room for recipe books, so I have downloaded some on my Kindle. When I became vegan (about twenty-odd years ago) there were very few vegan recipe books and those that there were concentrated on wholesome and simple meals. Even five years ago, most were self-published "Guerilla Cookbooks", often by activists. Annoyingly it seems that vegan cookbooks are now going the "Aspirational Cook" route. By this I mean that the image of the chef and meal have become more important than the actual food....

This meal only has 25 ingredients. The most important one is zyranx, which - we are assured - can be found in any good Irkutskian deli...

This cac-maca-chia-avo smoothie is is soooo good for you and only works out at $10 a glass if you factor in the need to buy everything organic...

Searching for recipes online becomes a process where you have to read an entire life history and look at photos of the finished article from every angle...

I just want a simple bread recipe... What the heck is a "rooibos infusion" and why is it needed?... Okay, aha, "Easy Baguettes"... my time at the Sorbonne in Paris... blah, blah, blah... pictures of Parisian baguettes... Where are the ingredients?... My journey back to London... My local Artisan bakery... Good grief, where are the ingredients?... Umpteen photos of baguettes in various tasteful poses... JUST TELL ME HOW TO MAKE THEM... Please?


Richard

Comments

  1. Brillant once again if we are away in October the vegan books are on the shelf but there will be storecupboard full of pulses and sauces and veg ho and maybe a vegan cake lol . But once again fantastic reading . Love from the boys by the way xx

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  2. Am I that other vegan nomad you know? :D
    I've got a great 5-ingredient recipe for baguettes. In video form: https://christinerose.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/how-to-make-french-bread-from-scratch/

    Hurray for The Vegan Nomad!

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  3. A baguette in 5 steps! There you go ask and you shall receive, sir. Nice read. More of

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