BBC – As I swept the cakes out of the oven, I could already tell that they were going to be delicious. In front of me were nine perfect golden-brown domes, wafting tantalising suggestions of vanilla and butter (substitute) around the room. What could go wrong.
It was 2015 and I was a newly converted vegan – at the time, it was often still considered “weird”, and possibly even slightly suspicious. In this (almost) pre-Veganuary era, plant-based alternatives were mostly homemade, concocted using tips from a network of ingenious and determined bloggers.
To find these rare delicacies in a shop, you’d usually have to visit the back of a health food store and locate the fridgeful of miscellaneous products claiming to have something to do with cheese or chicken.
But of all these hardships, perhaps the biggest challenge was the lack of vegan eggs – partly because few culinary experiences can compare to the satisfaction of slicing into a runny egg yolk, and partly because they’re in almost everything.
Commercial egg replacements were hard to come by – and if they did exist, they certainly could not be found a few minutes from my flat.
“Today, private interest and political prejudices often hide behind the grandest talk of ‘ethical’ diets and planetary sustainability even as the consequences may be nutritional deficiencies, biodiversity-destroying monocultures and the erosion of food sovereignty.” – The Conversation, December 10, 2019
Instead the next best option emerged after some internet surfing, with a number of websites breezily recommending alternatives – banana, mashed potato, soda, apple sauce – that, let’s be honest, have very little in common with real eggs. I decided to give one a go.
Alas, when I put the first cake in my mouth, with its combination of perfectly appetising ingredients, including sugar, self-raising flour, margarine, vanilla extract, banana, and soya milk, it was – somehow – inedible.
The air that had been holding the dome up immediately vanished, the bronzed exterior was revealed to be as hard as a freshly baked rock and the whole structure collapsed, like the crater of a newly erupted volcano.
But today, just seven years on, the vegan scene is almost unrecognisable.
Now those who renounce animal products can still eat lardons, camembert, charcuterie, sausage rolls, mayonnaise, and even sashimi – or at least, plausible substitutes for them … READ MORE.