Wednesday, September 27, 2023



Fakin’ baking’--vegans trying to get respect

I’m vegan--meaning no animal food sources of any kind--and my brother and nephews find my food items to be of considerable hilarity, referring to them as “fake bacon;" “fake meat;" “fake milk,” and so on. My friend Mike always says, “Why are you always trying to make plant stuff taste like animal stuff? What’s the point? Either embrace your defeat or eat the real thing.”

Some vegans are such for health reasons, although that's difficult to parse out without some kind of controlled studies because at the same time you’re switching to being vegan, you may adopt some improved health habits such as less sugary foods, since many, e.g. cakes, pies, candy, etc. may contain dairy products. At the same time, canola oil, which is not regarded very favorably, is seemingly everywhere in both plant and animal-based foods. So, you’re eliminating some things for the good but retaining some for the bad.

My reasons are for the (hopefully) healthy benefits, but much more importantly taking a moral stand about animal treatment. I’m not here to lecture anyone (I’m not that kind of vegan--you can eat whatever you please) but I’m revolted by the industrial food complex in which chickens are kept in appalling, cramped cubicles, and cows, pigs, chickens, and so on, are lined up on a conveyer belt and killed with a bolt through the skull. “They don’t feel it,” one might say, but does one actually know that? There must be a millisecond of pain. And if we’re repulsed by the idea of eating horses or dogs, for instance, why is it okay for cows? Even fish must feel some kind of anguish when captured. A fish in air is equivalent to a water-boarded human. 

Anyway, that’s a philosophical argument we can leave for now. What I really wanted to do was show you some snapshots of some of my vegan meals--some home-made, others pre-cooked.

Breakfast is my favorite meal, without a doubt. One of the most refreshing is avocado on toast. In this image there’s also an old faithful in the background, oatmeal (porridge) with oat milk. Avocado is rich with marvelous fats mono-, poly- and saturated fats in 70-15-15 proportions, approximately.

Funnily enough, when we lived in Ghana, we had avocado (picked from the tree in the backyard) on toast all the time, decades before it became a fad in the US. We would dash it with some good ol’ Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, which gave it a nice kick.

If you want to go heavier and more traditional, the array of plant-based breakfast choices, is surprisingly wide. This was my breakfast this morning:

That’s sausage, prosciutto, boiled eggs (I kid you not!), toast and butter, all plant based. The taste? Delicious. Meat-eaters may scorn the “sausage” for not tasting like “real” sausage, but then sausages all over the world vary in taste in any case.

The butter is from a company called Miyoko’s, which makes a variety of cream products and cheeses.

Lunch can  from something light like salad topped with chicken slices, or a burger, a little heavier. Plant-based burgers were once--well, frankly--disgusting, but all that has changed with Impossible and Beyond Burgers. The difference between the two is the that Impossible is made with tofu and Beyond is made with pea protein. My preference is to stick to pea protein and avoid tofu if possible. However, both are astonishingly yummy and the beet juice added gives the burger that rich red inner color.

                                                                    Photo from package

Dinner is probably the most innovative meal. Below are some of the meals I’ve made.

                                                                     Curried chicken

                                Cauliflower crust pizza topped with mozzarella, sausage, olives, mushrooms, spinach

Remember that old English expression of “feeling peckish?” It means you’re not ravenously hungry and feel like just a little something to hit the spot. That was me tonight, so I cooked up some bacon


to top my nice, messy, grilled-cheese sandwich--no fancy presentation here!


For dessert, I had a vegan yoghurt made from coconut milk topped with some fruit and macadamias. The consistency of this particular yoghurt made by Cocojune is more like whipped cream, very light, and it’s manufactured with real probiotic cultures.

I could probably drum up quite a few inventive vegan meals if I actually liked cooking! In fact, not really. I eat to live rather than the reverse. My idea of cooking is put something in the oven or on the stove range, go take my shower and it’s done exactly when I get out. Presto!


  1. I must say I'm very impressed. I was taken with some mushroom burgers here (in South Africa) that I tried and the flavor was pretty good, but they disintegrated when cooked. I'm now persuaded to look a bit further.
    What is the boiled egg made from???

    1. Hard to believe, but only three ingredients: cashews, almonds, and coconut. If you haven’t had the Beyond Burger though, you should definitely try it.

  2. You eat well! My husband is a pescatarian and we eat scrumptiously. I am toeing the line. Fake burgers - even the ones you mentioned - don't do it for us, but we've discovered some great fake sausage. As a new reader of Murder is Everywhere (I enjoyed being Jeff's guest blogger this past week), it would help me if your many contributors identified themselves right in the beginning. I look forward to exploring your books!

  3. From AA: I applaud you, Kwei!, especially for your humane reasons for your choice, But also for the fact that you are not sanctimonious about it. A number of vegans I know strike a tone of great moral superiority and are unmoved by the fact that I have terrible allergic reactions to many, many vegetables and fruits and could not possibly follow their example. The pictures look wonderful. I only wish I could try those foods.