Some say they are lazy. Some don’t eat food with fat; some don’t eat food with gluten. Some don’t care what they eat, as long as it doesn’t contain animal products.
I’m talking about the dozens of vegan food bloggers who congregated last month at the Vida Vegan Food bloggers conference in Portland. It was a new type of gathering for me, and perhaps a wider assortment than you’d find at a conventional food writer’s conference, where the common thread is a love and appreciation for food.
For the vegan bloggers, there were a lot of threads. I would guess — just as in any gathering organized around a certain lifestyle — that some attendees were deeply committed to the work they do daily on their blogs.
Others are probably following current trends: I talked to one blogger who was quietly changing over (and planning to use a different name) to a “paleo” blog, replacing her focus on a plant-based diet to a focus on unprocessed, “heritage” foods of every description, including selected meats.
There were a few bloggers who captured my imagination at the panels and discussions offered during the three days at the Portland Art Center event.
John McDevitt, who writes “The Laziest Vegans in the World,” (laziestvegans.com), makes full use of social media and interacts with his readers in various technological ways.
He’ll saunter into a Whole Foods and take a look at the frozen foods to see if he can spot something new amongst the soy burgers and fake cheese offerings.
He’ll quickly canvass his followers (via Facebook on his iPhone) to see if anyone has anything to say about the new product. With a little encouragement, or even without any, he’ll buy it and take it home.
The next step: McDevitt takes time and care photographing the box containing his new purchase. He usually samples it (or heats it up, if necessary) right away, takes another photo and generously shares his impressions with his readers.
I’d be inclined to trust his impressions. He doesn’t expend any effort cooking (hence the name of his blog), but he is conscientious about his recommendations — and the blog would be a valuable guide for those who want to avoid animal products but don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking.
My favorite commentator from the conference (and the author of my favorite vegan blog) is Susan Voisin, who writes “Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen“ (fatfreevegan.com).
She’s a skilled cook, and blends tastes and textures to create dishes so flavorful that you’re unlikely to miss either the meat or the fat. She has an especially nice touch with soup and other blends of grains and vegetables.
I particularly enjoy her suggestions for salads and sandwich spreads using beans — especially her many takes on chickpea salads, all interesting and flavorful.
Theresa Curry blogs about food, health and gardening at gma85.com.