Here’s the scene, it’s 1990, you’ve just gone vegan, no one has ever heard of seitan and Isa Chandra is nowhere to be seen–you’re all alone, tits, and you’re drowning in nutritional yeast.
I’m guessin’ you’ve figured out this story is about me, right? Call it my vegan destiny, but the NFS where I worked sold The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, and when I laid my hands on it–whoosh zoom zimmy pow–a porthole to veganism suddenly ripped through my galaxy and handed me a whole new repertoire of vegan comfort food: pancakes, yogurt, grilled cheeze, biscuits, banana bread, chili, spaghetti meatballs and cheezy crackers! Seriously, without this vegan bible, co-authored by Louise Hagler, and her equally amazing Tofu Cookery, being and staying vegan would have been much, much harder. I know I’m not the only one that loves Louise Hagler, either.
Twenty years later, and I still crush on this book. It’s that good. That’s why I’m so thrilled and delighted at the opportunity to interview Louise Hagler. Are you with me? Getting excited?
Thanks to Luna & Larry, not only can you help me come up with some amazing questions to ask her, but you can eat delicious Coconut Bliss ice cream at the same time. I’m not kidding, I have 2o Coconut Bliss kits ready to ship out, each kit contains two pints of ice cream and a re-usable bag to carry them on your next vegan adventure. Here’s where you come in, comment on this post with your most awesome questions for Louise, and I will pick my 20 favorite, who will all win cool, creamy, blissy, heavenly, coconutty pints of yum. I’m giving you until Monday to comment and then it’s all over. I can’t promise the interview will get published during MoFo, but I’m gonna try–I’m not about to rush the lady who figured out that freezing tofu makes it chewy and neither should you.
Cook on my vegan bubs,
Can you please re-tweet, cross-post, and basically pom-pom this entry to death, so we get lots of good MoFo participation for this interview?
P.P.S. The ice cream offer is only open to those MoFies in the United States or Canada, but you could win for your favorite blog or something!
At the risk of posting a less serious question and removing myself from the running for Coconut Blissness, I would like to know what Louise Hagler’s Spirit Spice is.
I already sent you questions! But here are two more:
What were her original reasons for going vegan, and have those reasons changed over the years?
Can she please make a video demonstrating her homemade tempeh technique?
What would you eat as your last meal?
What is your favorite spice, what’s your favorite way to use it?
What is the biggest challenge living as a vegan in your everyday life?
My question would be: What “holy grail” item is still out there that you have yet to satisfactorily veganize or find a vegan version of?
I would like to know where she thought the world would be in 20 years, 20 years ago. That being said, I ‘d like to know where she thinks the world will be in the next 20 years regarding food supply, diet, agriculture, and health.
Marty’s Flying Vegan Review
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i’d like to know what suggestions louise gives for eating vegan when unexpectedly out and about? how can i make smart vegan choices when i don’t prepare my own food?
I feel your pain. As a charter pilot I frequently find myself in places I never expected to be, little time to plan, and my small lunchbox empty except for a small package of nuts or a Lara bar.
Feel free to contact me directly or check out my blog regarding the trials and tribulations, (and successes), of eating out on the road.
The best advice I can give you is to do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up. There were countless times I found out after eating what I thought was one thing that it actually contained … other things that I didn’t want.
i shall get back with you on a question or two for Louise, i’ve gotta think on it. coconut ice cream is muy delicious (their cookie dough flavor is also g-f), and so are the New Farm Vegetarian recipes. i need to take a peak into my copy again – i’m ashamed to say it’s been too long, and i super puffy heart their mac ‘n cheeze. yummers, fo ‘sho.
What led her to put peanut butter in her tofu balls?
What’s her favorite vegan restaurant?
Does she watch cooking shows?
I’m curious as to which vegan chefs inspire her nowadays :).
Tofurkey or lentil loaf? Essentially, what are your thoughts on vegan ingredients trying to mimic meat – such as boca burgers or tofurkey?
what were the biggest obstacles you faced initially becoming vegan, and how has that changed at present in a much more vegan-friendly world?
I’d like to know what was the first vegan meal that made her think, “Yes! I can do this vegan thing and so can everyone else!”
I’d like to hear her take on all the recent soy controversy.
what’s her favorite condiment? (oh! and if it’s mustard, what sort?)
how do you get enough protein?
What’s her favorite meal that someone else has made for her?
What are +/- 3 super-special ingredients that she uses to give her recipes a little extra je-ne-sais-quoi?
What are +/- 3 super-special techniques that she feels really elevated her cooking?
What is her favorite dish (like plate, bowl, cup) in the whole house?
I was present when someone asked her the protein question! Of course, the questioner was the most obviously unhealthy person in the class. Louise was very gracious and factual.
ha ha! that’s hilarious John! 🙂
what is her favorite (and/or most used) recipe that she’s written?
How is life on The Farm? How long has she lived there, and is everyone there vegan?
Oh wow she lives on The Farm? This is the first I’ve heard of this woman, I’m not much of a cookbook junkie – but I’m 6 1/2 months pregnant and just started reading Ina May’s Guide To Childbirth, where The Farm is talked about often!
I would like to know what are her “go-to” recipes when serving non-vegans who typically like processed standard american foods? I always tend to make things that are too “healthy”, I think my tastes have just gone too far out of the mainstream!
So, what are her favorite crowd pleasers to convert the masses?
If you think it was weird trying to be vegan in 1990, imagine what it was like in 1980. When I became vegetarian in the ’70s, my first “veggie loaf” was filled with brewers yeast, and it was vile. Things have definitely changed for the better.
I’d like to hear Louise Hagler’s opinion on the soy foods controversy. And I’d like to know if she has ever felt that being vegan has had a negative impact on her health, or on the health of anyone she knows. I’d also like her opinion on the use of coconut oil as a healthy fat. That’s three, I know.
Was it hard to be a vegan trailblazer … to get people to really understand what you were doing?
I know how difficult it is for me even now – because veganism seems to be so confusing for some people – and it’s much more widely-accepted today. I can’t imagine how strong you have to be to take those naysayers on 20 years ago, but I’m so glad you did!
Tell us about your work with Plenty.org–what are your favorite experiences with them and what did they teach you about yourself?
I would like to ask:
How did your family and friends react when you decided to take on a vegan diet? Were they supportive? Angry? Jealous?
That was one of my 1st vegan cookbooks back in the day! o exciting to see it here!
I am also a huge LH fan! I love New Farm so hard – was my first cookbook ever back in ’99. Before that I just ate salad & in restaurants. The shame.
I might be repeating questions, but I’d love info on how she makes her tempeh.
I’d also be curious to know how difficult it was pitching her idea for TNFCB/was it terribly hard to get published?
I am relatively new to the vegan lifestyle and thus happily learning and amassing knowledge and wisdom from extant vegan writers and cooks, so I am excited that I have learned about another veg. heroine through this post. I am curious to know what Ms. Hagler thinks about the recent surge of “pop-vegans,” if you will. I struggle with whether or not individuals like Clinton and various other celebrities who are periodically vegans are positively or negatively impacting the acceptance and promotion of a plant-based diet, and I curious to hear her thoughts as someone who was at the forefront and is now a foundational member of the vegan community. Thank you, and I look forward to the interview!
I would love to hear Louise Hagler address the soy food controversy. I like to hear her opinion about the current popularity of coconut and palm oils. I’d also like to know if she has ever felt that her health (or the health of other vegans she knows) has ever seemed compromised by following a vegan diet. I’ve been vegan since 1980, and vegetarian since the ’70s. My first veggie loaf was filled with brewers yeast and was vile. Tofu Cookery and The Farm Cookbook were such a relief!
What predictions does she have for veganism in the next 5/10/20 years? What is her most recent favorite culinary discovery? Is she going to write any new books?
If Louise were on a desert island with every kitchen appliance ever made but had only 3 ingredients in addition to bananas and water-packed tofu, what would she make for herself and her monkey companion?
who is her favorite person to cook for?
In their sweet little “about” pamphlet you can get at festivals & such, it includes a neat comic/story that has a person exclaiming for a lavender (or maybe it was lavender blueberry?) ice cream! I want it so bad. So I have to know: has she thought about releasing any “seasonal” or special-occasion flavors?
What would she recommend as the best incubator for tempeh? ( I have never made a successful batch yet! )
I haven’t tried the coconut bliss yet!
if she were to adapt her gluten meals for the lazy people who don’t want to wash the dough, how much gluten flour + liquid would she use in place of the “4 cups washed raw gluten”
i also wanted to mention that the soysage is a dern near perfect replacement for scrapple. ❤
What are some non-threatening, unpretentious ways that vegans can help spread the joy and deliciousness of the meat-free lifestyle?
Also, do you keep animals as pets?
What are her thoughts on everyones need today to have an (semi-)individual label, i.e. Hegan, Plant Strong, Kind, Locavore, etc…? Also, her thoughts on many vegans specific view of rules and regulations that make being one at times seem elusive and exclusive to the chosen few.
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What’s her favourite cookbook from the last 10 years?
i’d like to ask: what’s your take on how the representation of vegetarianism/veganism in popular culture and/or the mainstream media has changed in your lifetime? thanks!
Wow, that was always my go-to book. The photos of the families in the back all living together eating a vegan diet made me know it was the only way I could ever raise a family. I’d have loved to have read nothing but an expanded book of just the stories in the back, with all the nutritional knowledge snuck in like brussels sprouts in a casserole, LOL.
I’d love to ask (because I’m going through this right now, as a new vegan):
When you meet resistance from others simply for the fact that you’re vegan, how do you respond? Has your response changed over the years?
If you could assemble your dream dinner party, who would be at the table? What would you serve?
I LOVE this cookbook! The bbq soybeans are my favorite.
Since you’ve been vegan for so many years and have made so many delicious meals, is there a store-bought prepared vegan food that you love as well?
Who do you think is doing really awesome work (any kind of work) in the vegan community?