Dear Vegan Food Bloggers
We need to talk. As much as I love your innovative recipes and dedication to creating vegan versions of our favourite non-vegan dishes, something has to change. And, no, I’m not talking about the long preamble to the recipes that no one reads. Although that could also do with changing.
No. What I’m talking about is more important. It’s about the use of expensive, hard to find and generally inaccessible ingredients in your recipes.
Regardless of whether you’ve gone vegan for your health, the future of the planet or your love of animals, presumably, it’s a lifestyle you wholeheartedly believe in and want to promote. So why use ingredients that will put people off? If you are truly interested in getting more people to go vegan and create a cultural shift then your recipes need to be accessible.
Why put cashews in every cheesecake base recipe? Rich tea biscuits or digestives will work just as well and be accessible to people. Why add carob to a brownie recipe when normal cocoa will do? And don’t even get me started on maca powder.
It’s not feasible to expect a single mom raising two kids to spend her hard-earned money on fancy ingredients for a recipe that takes two hours to make. She needs something healthy, quick and nutritious. And it’s not just single moms. Students, people on low incomes, disabled folks, larger families, couples on a budget and many others would also be put off my expensive, unfamiliar ingredients.
Remember: If it is inaccessible to the poor, it is neither radical nor revolutionary.
It kind of seems like you get off on making recipes with specialist ingredients accessible only to a certain type of person. No one is going to become vegan by reading your recipe with unidentifiable ingredients. It’s just not going to happen. So why not make being vegan more accessible? Why not strip it back to basics and use readily available ingredients. Many cultures have naturally vegan food that taste amazing made from everyday, affordable ingredients. Take note.
The point of living a cruelty-free lifestyle is that you care about the future of humanity and the planet. So shouldn’t that include low income people? Don’t you want to make recipes that everyone can make regardless of their income bracket?
I have a simple request. Next time you’re working on new recipe look at your ingredients list. Can you get this easily from a supermarket? Is it affordable? Will most people know what it is? Is it necessary? Is there a cheaper alternative that will work?
One of my favourite food bloggers that gets it right and creates amazingly delicious, simple and affordable recipes is Jack Monroe. They give so many of their recipes away for free on their website and also publish cookbooks with budget (and taste!) in mind.
I wish more vegan food bloggers would follow suit.