December 6, 2012

Let Them Make Cake

Figs in a scone is some sort of minor revolution it seems, a shocking development on the bleeding edge of pastry science. Anyway, it confused the hell out of people today. Verbatim, one asked: "Can you even do that?" I replied that yes, I could and did - or rather the baker did - and told her she should probably eat it. She did, and loved it.

Had it been blueberry, there would have been no questions, no cringes, neither shock nor awe that we had dared put such an exotic(?) fruit inside a scone. But we had, and so there was. Different is different, but people react in the same ways.

The same, as when we, whatever deity you like forbid, dare put "vegan" on the label for a baked good. To do so is to condemn said baked good to sit lonely on the shelf, until such time as it's eaten by the staff or given away to some very nice hippie folks who compost our coffee grounds. I do not think that anyone has ever eaten a brownie and thought to themselves that they would like more egg flavor, but perhaps I'm mistaken.

The victim today was the so-called "vegan breakfast cake", a brand new item which I will try desperately to rename, since honey (the sweetener in said cake) is not technically vegan, even if it does seem to be considered kinda sorta maybe ok by many in the community. But even disregarding that, we had sold absolutely none of it, since anyone who inquired about the name only seemed to do so in order to mock the very notion of dairy/egg free cake, and insist that it must taste like cardboard paste.

So I called it carrot cake (which it is, basically, without the frosting), and people bought it, ate it, loved it. No one complained about the lack of eggs.

If it seems like I care a bit too much about this, it's because maybe I do. We have a baker, a real human with a real stove for whom making awesome pastries is her life's work. Sometimes she makes things that do not have blueberries, and that's ok, because new can be exciting and delicious in ways you didn't know were possible. Figs in a scone? Cake without eggs? Fucking right.

I'm not saying trust everyone. Some places make awful drinks and awful food and deserve your doubt and derision. But some places make good drinks and good food that has never seen the inside of a freezer truck. Some places care because making good things is what they do, and a very real part of who they are. Trust them. They won't serve you something they don't truly believe in.


  1. I stopped calling anything I make "vegan" a long time ago, for this very reason. Unless we're talking about things like, potatos and carrots, then I'm always, "I used vegan potatoes and vegan carrots", so when people respond, "What are vegan carrots?!" I can point out the absurdity in the perception. The disconnect from our food supply is fascinating.

  2. P.S. - Did you see this?


    1. I did not, but it's awesome. And the connection between coffee and cycling is well made. It's a great and persistent irony in my life that I don't actually have a bike - a situation I keep meaning to fix, and then don't, because my money gets otherwise spoken for. Frankly, I'm almost worried about what would happen if I did; a non-impact endurance fetish would be dangerous for me. We'll find out though, since I'm getting my younger brother's bike in February, when he goes to Zambia.