A Vegan Xmas!

 

Listening/reading time: 8 minutes

If you wish to listen to the live story, just press play and enjoy the storytelling of a Vegan Xmas!

It’s Christmas time… And what better time to tell you a story. The story of a Special Christmas… A Christmas eve completely cruelty free! Yes, yeah, you read that right, A 100% plant-based Christmas eve! How did it happen? Well, to better understand the process, let’s time travel about 2 years back in time!

Once upon a time… Well, once upon a 20th of January, and more precisely, the week just before that date, it all started. It had been 15 days since I chose to become a vegan (A young fresh flower, just starting to blossom). A bridal couple, who was really happy with our work, left us a tip to go and celebrate at a restaurant. “I have a great idea, let’s all go to a Ve-Gan restaurant!” Wait, what?
But neither my parents, brother or his girlfriend are vegan! Well my mom’s been vegetarian for 6 months, and my girlfriend at the time had been vegan for as “long” as me! Well, as it is often the case the power struggle (yep, moral superiority establishes a ratio of 1 vegan for 50 carnists in ethic power battles) led me to contact B12, a restaurant in Toulouse.
When my father heard what restaurant I sat my eyes on (100% plant-based), his reaction was no other than: “Oh, damn, could we at least have something vegetarian, it is going to be bland, tasteless otherwise…” (Yes My father is Irish). This reaction prompts me to answer the following question: “Are there any [food] intolerances?” asked by the cheffe in the B12 restaurant by the affirmative – “Yes, to veganism!”

That sets the general frame! My father is against the idea. My mother is on the way there and is starting only to cook vegan food, making the choice of transitioning in the following months. Shortly after, my father follows and goes vegetarian in June. His friends perceive him as being the reasonable one – “Vegetarian, why not, but vegan… Really?”… However after only eating 3 eggs in 2 months, he chooses in September to refuse (yes, by choice and not because of taste) all foods made by or from animals. He realizes the prime position he is in (a patriarcal society helps a tad) and how he can be a positive force for bringing change among his friends as well as promoting the vegan cause itself! He takes the stand, and has never looked back since!

Christmas 2017 plays out pretty well. Side by side, are the vegan dishes we prepared and brought and the foie gras (sick duck liver) and salmon our hosts prepared. Well that salmon was kind of sidelined by our amazing Wellington (thanks to French YouTuber and creator Lloyd Lang). That is the moment when my father, as the 10 of us are around the table eating, chooses to exclaim: “It is set, next year Christmas dinner will be entirely vegetarian!”. Everyone nods and continues to eat, implicitly agreeing… Indeed Lloyd Lang, your Wellington is delicious, a gem!

Getting round to it! In 2018, during November, our friend (hostess the previous year), tells us she bought the turkey! We’re somewhat surprised and a ‘bit’ disappointed, so we offer them to come to our place. “Ok, let’s do it at your place! Should we bring drinks (wine, beer, fruit juice) and some cheese then?” There! We’re finally back on track for that vegetarian Christmas dinner… Funny enough, it won’t be the case!

Here we are, Christmas eve is finally upon us. And the day starts strong and early!
Preparation of Jerusalem artichoke with hazelnut soup, followed by the relentless creation of the notorious Wellington (Thanks Lloyd <3) – before creating the blue sweet potato mash – all that while preparing 50 aquafaba meringues (chick pea cooking water).

You might be wondering, who’s celebrating the evening with us? So here are our friends. 9 people from 3 different families, and among us, only 3 fearless vegans. Oh, you heard right, 6 carnists, and among the carnists 2 transitioning to a more plant based diet (Ok, the odds are quite in our favor compared to any day-to-day interaction). Yet, they brought cheese which went into the fridge… Never to come out ever again! … Well  ok, it did leave when our friends left my parents place!

This Christmas isn’t completely zero waste and is done under the blessing of cashews with both plant cheese from Les Nouveaux Affineurs (Albert & Germain), the Camenvert, but also Caramelised onion Sheese and two ‘foie gras’, one Faux Gras by Gaia and a VEG’Gras! And it worked! Everyone was blown out of the water! “Whaou! God, it tastes like foie gras or a duck spread, lacks a bit in texture though! – The [plant] cheeses are excellent! I could see myself continue to eat this next year!” – “This main dish is exquisite, delicious and filling!” → Everyone was completely satisfied and thrilled!

I do have to say, I am very proud of everything achieved in 1 and a half year. Christmas is now (for us) a vegan institution only going to establish itself even more! It is inevitable! I am also really proud of my parents, for their choices, their commitment of helping the vegan cause! Proud of sharing with them this new joyful way of living resulting from this fundamental realization!

So I say it to you all, thank you! If you can imagine it, and you allow yourself to think it is achievable, than it will happen! I never had a single doubt (Ok, maybe once, when I heard about the turkey!) that this Christmas Eve would be anything but vegan. It was vegan, and it went beyond all my expectations!

To thank you for listening to my story, here are the photos of this night! Thank you to them, to our friends for this beautiful vegan night, for the animals and the planet!

it is the small victories, the trench victories that enable the greater triumph” – Joachim Grant

Thank you for reading and all the best for the New Year!

 

Starter: Fresh Salad with Faux-gras Gaia and VEG’Gras
and home made fig chutney

Soup: veloute of Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnuts

Main dish: Wellington with its Gravy and blue mashed sweet potatoes

Cheese: Plate with Les Nouveaux Affineurs (Albert & Germain), the black garlic Camenvert and the Caramelised onion Sheese

Dessert : Meringue on a coco cream log! With more meringues!

And for a bit of sweetness: A vegan chocolate hazelnut and roasted almond treat prepared by Solène (Thanks!)

For the upcoming year, a “special party dish” line of recipes will be created and added, so that anyone can make fantastic vegan food when with friends!

Our night activity? Wearing fancy and funny ties my father used to put on when going to work!

Joachim