Fictional Vegans/Vegetarians

There is, of course, Mr. Spock from Star Trek, Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons and Bella and the vampires from Twilight. Goodreads has a list of 102 books with Vegan or Vegetarian characters. There’s even a publishing house that prefers novels with Vegan/Vegetarian lead characters. Ashland Creek Press has eco-fiction, books about animals as well as VegLit. So, I’d say there’s definitely a market for books, movies and television that features characters who do not consume animal products.

In my book The Demons We Cherish, the main character, Gemma Leighton, is Vegan. Here’s an excerpt:

“Very funny.” She shook out a packet of sugar, tore off the top and poured it into her tea careful to avoid eye contact with Ken. “Is the menu still the same?”

     “We made a couple of changes.” Ken turned in his seat and shouted ‘number twelve’ to the cook behind the counter. Turning back to face her he said, “You’re here for the funeral?”

     Gemma snorted. “I am the funeral.”

     A silent laugh shook Ken’s amble belly. “I don’t know. I’m betting the whole town shows up for this one.”

     Her eyes went wide. “No. Are you serious?” The last thing she wanted to deal with was a town full of busy-bodies.

     “Honey, nobody’s been able to talk, or think, about anything else for the last 48 hours. Thanks to the Pidgeon sisters most of the town showed up at the mansion the morning they were found. I heard the Sheriff chased everyone off by threatening to arrest ‘em.” He slapped the table and collapsed into a fit of laughter.

     The sheer joy on his face and in his voice was infectious. Gemma forgot her troubles for a minute and laughed along with him.

     When they had both calmed down, she wiped tears out of her eyes and took a sip of tea. “They made me executrix of their will.”

     Ken leaned forward. “Oh-ho! Executrix, huh? That can’t be good.”

     “No.” She thought about telling him about the second will, but decided to wait until she knew more about it. Gemma moved her glass as the waitress placed a large platter of creamy noodles and mushrooms with a side of steamed broccoli in front of her.

     “You’re still, Vay…vegh…you don’t eat meat, right?”

     Gemma laughed. “Vegan, yes.” She rolled up a forkful of noodles and ate. “It’s delicious.”

     A huge smile spread across Ken’s rumpled face. “With an almond milk cream sauce.”

     “Damn, Ken, I never would have believed it.” She popped a brown cremini mushroom into her mouth delighted that she hadn’t had to settle for a salad and a side of fries.

And another:

“Maddie then. It suits you.” Ken crossed his arms over his chest. “So, what can I get you two?” He snatched Gemma’s menu out of her hands. “I know what you want. It’s a new recipe. You’ll love it. What can I get for you Maddie? Anything you want. It doesn’t have to be on the menu.”

     “Ken likes to show off.” Gemma grinned at her old friend.

     “Hey, when you’re as good as I am, you have to share it with the world.” He held out his hands like he was granting a blessing.

     “He’s modest too.”

     When they finished laughing at themselves and each other, Ken asked Maddie again what she would like.

     “What’s Gemma having?”

     “It’s a surprise, and it’s delicious, but I should warn you, Gemma here’s a Veejun.”

     “Vee-gun. Vegan.”

     “What’s that?” Maddie asked.

     Ken jumped in before Gemma could answer. “That’s someone who doesn’t eat meat, or cheese, or milk, or eggs, or honey, or anything at all that comes from animals. It means she’s a pain in the neck, is what it means.”

     “Oh really? Is that why you have a whole section on your menu now for vegetarians and vegans?”

     “Yeah, well, the world is changing and I can’t stop it. So, what’ll it be, Maddie?”

     “I’ll have what Gemma’s having.”

Not all the characters in the book are Veggies, but there are no icky descriptions of cooked animal carcass either.

So, if you’re Vegan or Vegetarian I think you’ll enjoy The Demons We Cherish.

Available on Amazon, IBooks, B & N, Google and Kobo.



Vegan Split Pea Soup

There was a time in my life when I wouldn’t eat split pea soup. It was too green. Yes, I know that’s weird reason for not wanting to eat something, but there it is. I refused to eat pesto for the same reason.

Then I got married. (Well, there was the whole dating and courtship thing that in our case took way too long, but eventually we said the “I dos.”) My husband it turns out loves pesto and split pea soup and at some point I decided to cook up a batch of the dreaded icky green soup. Now I love the stuff. As long as it’s homemade.

Vegan Split Pea Soup is so quick and easy to make and so filling and nutritious there’s really no reason not to make up a batch once or twice a month.

But, before I give you the recipe there’s a couple of things you need to know. First off, even when I’m following a recipe I don’t follow the recipe. For me, cookbooks are more for inspiration than actual instruction. So, I change things. For instance, many recipes call for a medium size onion. That’s too much onion for me. I love onion, but I also want to taste other stuff. So, I usually only add half.

Also, when I cook I add ingredients in dashes and pinches and “that looks about rights” instead of teaspoons and cups.  So, forgive me for not providing exact measurements. In my opinion, baking is the only time you need to be exact.

The most important part of cooking is tasting as you go. That’s how you know if it’s right. So, here it is:

Vegan Split Pea Soup

8oz package green split peas. (The fresher the better)

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

1 medium carrot, diced

2 or more cloves of garlic, diced (if you love garlic add lots, if not stick to 2)

2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

Bay leaves and dried Oregano (optional)

Vegan chicken flavored bouillion (Orrington Farms Broth Base & Seasoning, Superior Touch Better Than Bouillion, or Edward & Sons Not-Chick’n cubes are all good. I like Orrington.

4 cups water to start

Dice onion and carrot. Peel and dice garlic. Add oil to large pot and heat on medium. When oil is hot add onion and carrots, reduce heat to low, and sweat. This means cook until the onion releases it’s juices. They will be soft and almost translucent.

Add water, peas and garlic. Add bouillon according to package instructions. You can also use vegetable broth, but you’ll get better flavor with the bouillon. Stir, cover pot and simmer on low heat.

At this point you can also add bay leaves, oregano or other herbs and seasonings that you like. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. I don’t recommend adding any additional salt. You’ll get all you need from the bouillon. My husband likes some pepper, but he adds it to his bowl.

Continue to cook soup on low, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed. Taste as you go. This is very important. As the peas absorb the water and as is it evaporates through steam, you will need to add as much as 4 more cups of water. This means you might need more bouillon. Add a bit more. Taste. Needs more? Add a bit. Cook, stir, taste until it’s just right.

When the peas are cooked through and soft get out your immersion or stand blender. Immersion blenders are best because you can plop it right into the pot. If you don’t have one, then let your soup cool a bit and pour into your stand blender processing until smooth and creamy.

Serve with french, ciabatta or other loaf bread. Enjoy!