And at the heart of culture are traditions, which usually means food.
CHALLAH BREAD – This has been a tradition in our family in Canada for many years. When we moved to Ireland this was not easy to get … vegan, impossible. Becoming vegan, I set about making my own. Each year I attempted it, different recipes, different ingredients and I think this year is the best.
We all love our traditions and much of them are based on old religious customs and food. The idea of Passover, Easter or Ramadan and Eid means feasting and often has meant slaughter of animals as something ‘special’ to adorn the dinner table.
And when we gather to share food during these celebrations we look forward to what we used to eat and lots of it.
This is what people call ‘Food Memories’ and we like that and do not want to change them. Yet, traditions do change. When we marry, we often adopt the tradition of the person who does the cooking, be it the mother or the father, or the traditions of our adopted new country or family.
And our children grow up in this new tradition and accept it.
Our children grew up without ever seeing meat at the dinner table. To them this is totally foreign. As it has been to me all my life. There was rarely a year when I was not asked by people I met in school or at work, ” so you don’t have turkey for dinner, what do you eat?”
But we had our own traditions.
Jonathan Saffran Foer has written a most insightful book called, “Eating Animals”. He begins talking about the traditional food he ate at his grandmother’s table and the wonderful memories he has of those times and dishes.
The book asks many questions – should we give up these traditions? is it right to? is it possible?
What are the implications of keeping these traditions, especially when we know of the consequences our food choices have on, ‘ the ecology of the planet, the suffering of animals, and our own health’?
And much more we may not be aware of such as; worker’s rights in factory farms and abattoirs, the collapse of rural communities, poverty in many parts of the world, all to do with the insatiable need for animals flesh.
Food is culture
” … food is not rational. Food is culture, habit and identity. For some, that irrationality leads to a kind of resignation. Food choices are likened to fashion choices or lifestyle preferences – they do not respond to judgement about how we should live. … there is a disconnect between clear thinking and people’s food choices … I wonder if it is precisely the irrationality of food that holds the promise [ of change ].”
Is it not now time to create our own new traditions?
Hungry Soul is about Changing the Culture. Our aim is to help people make the change in a positive and tasty way.
This ‘egg’ bread, or Challah bread in the photo above, has no eggs in it, yet it is so good. So we do not need eggs. We can have perfectly good and super tasty food without them. ( None of the negative high cholesterol aspects of eggs, the antibiotics we consume via the chickens or the incomprehensible suffering chickens must endure to provide them for us. )
Eggs in baking
Did you know that eggs are not necessary in baking?
Do you know how eggs became an ingredient in baking? Many years ago a cake mix was introduced in shops. All that was needed was to add water or milk. But the mix did not sell. So the makers of the cake mix added one line to the instructions,
“add two eggs to the mix”
The addition of the eggs gave the person making the cake a feeling that they were actually baking from scratch and sales took off.
Amazing how our traditions evolve. Even today I meet people who say to be me they would not know how to bake without eggs.
On vegan sites there are many substitutes to eggs – starches, apple sauce, chia seeds, flax seeds and aquafaba. I bake cakes and bread and Challah and just omit the eggs and it all works perfectly fine. The added substitutes perhaps gives more moisture to the mix, but either used or not, it seems to work.
This is a festive sweet bread. We would have it with a cup of hot chocolate. I loved mine buttered and I would dunk it in the hot chocolate. It was always part of the Easter morning table; a white table cloth, flowers, chocolate eggs and challah bread.
- 1 cup warm water.
- 2 tsp active dry yeast.
- 1/4 cup white sugar.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil.
- 5 tbsp aquafaba* and a little more for glazing
- 1 tsp salt.
- 4 cups plain flour.
*Aquafaba – this is the water that comes from cooking chickpeas.
– Activate the yeast by putting into 1/4 cup of warm water with a pinch of sugar for 15 minutes.- Put all the ingredients in a big bowl including the activated yeast and mix well so no flour is dry.- Now kneed it for approx. 5 minutes. If too sticky use a drop or two of oil.- Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl until it has doubled in size.- Knock it back, kneed once or twice and allow to rise again a second time until doubled.- Cut the dough into three equal amounts.- Roll out each section to make them 40 cm / 1foot and a half long – Onto a flour-dusted pinch the three together at one end and braid them and at the finish pinch the ends together. – Now set the braid in a spot where it can rise again. It should be double in size.- Get your oven to 180 C / 360 F, – Brush the bread with some of the aquafaba before putting it into the middle of the oven.- It should be ready in approx. 35 minutes.
Challah bread toasted, a layer of Hungry Soul vegan cream cheese ( only available in Ireland for the moment ) and raspberry jam. Perfect with that morning cup of strong coffee.
Recipe inspired by the ‘Edgyveg‘.