Image credit: The Vegan Zombie
When I posted on the Vegan Zombie's road trip to NYC, one commenter objected to my implication that vegan desserts are somehow inferior to dairy-based ones. As they rightly pointed out, many "conventional" desserts are vegan by default—my intention had simply been to point out that cream- and egg-laden desserts are often one of the hardest things for us non-vegans to imagine giving up. But perhaps even more troublesome for many (myself included) is the idea of living without cheese.
Can vegan cheese really be as good?
As an occasional meat eater who knows we should all be eating a whole lot less of it, I've already confessed my love for (some) fake meats. But as someone who grew up a stone's throw from the town of Cheddar in England, cheese is also a big part of my culinary make up. And that means I have to face the uncomfortable truth that dairy ranks right alongside beef production as a major source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Vegenaise is already a staple in our household. And I've already made some informal efforts to eat less cheese—skipping cheese from some snacks and sandwiches, and choosing low- or no-dairy meals from time-to-time. But unlike meat, where I often find a veggie burger satisfying my cravings, due to some early experiences with pretty horrific cheese-substitutes, I just can't imagine gravitating toward "vegan cheese" any time soon.
But from cream "cheese" to Daiya-brand cheese substitutes, the Vegan Zombie seems to be a big fan of newer dairy alternatives too. So I thought I'd ask our readers—are dairy substitutes now at a point where regular dairy eaters would enjoy them too, or simply a replacement in recipes for the hardcore vegans who wouldn't touch "cow secretions" with a barge pole? Should I include them in my culinary toolbox as I seek to eat lower down the food chain, or simply eat more veggies and less other (highly processed!) stuff?