For this celebration we invite people to try vegan food—creating awareness of the proliferation of options. Restaurants, diners, delis, cafés, universities, colleges, schools, religious groups, workplaces, service clubs, and social groups that do not usually offer vegan fare are encouraged to get involved.
Special events provide opportunities for chefs to learn about and showcase the bounty of healthy compassionate fare that should be offered on every menu.
1. Contact restaurant, culinary school, or other venue, and find out options (size of group that can be accommodated, dates available, price, reservation deadline).
2. Provide information: Catering Guide from AVS and the PCRM Ingredient Substitution Chart (PCRM.org)
3. Work with the chefs to develop an acceptable and enticing vegan menu.
4. Add optional event features: live music, dancing, speaker, or documentary film.
5. Publicize the event and invite local media to attend.
6. Reservations may be taken by the restaurant or the host.
7. Enjoy the event!
8. Encourage venue to utilize vegan options regularly.
9. Send the story and photos to American Vegan and other media outlets.
10. Repeat the successful event each year and/or celebrate other events such as Freya Dinshah’s birthday (September 24) or World Vegan Month which is November.
For cafeterias (schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc.), adjust the above guidelines: you might not need to get prices and make reservations. You may want to emphasize creativity such as having chefs do a vegan cooking competition. Maybe invite a cookbook author to speak and feature recipes from the book.
For ideas see “Quality Vegan Food at University of Rochester” in American Vegan Winter 2015, “Mean Greens” cover story in American Vegan Fall 2013, and “Villanova VeggieMania” article in American Vegan Spring 2013.
Want to host a vegan progressive dinner?
Do effective vegan advocacy at multiple restaurants that don't serve much vegan food yet (only one of these four restaurants was vegan).
And create a great social event for vegans and all the vegan-curious people in your community!
• Give a favorite vegan cookbook to your local culinary school dean, restaurant owner, or dining services director. Utilize a book from one of the Vegan Cuisine Month authors. Try to gear the book to the style of the cuisine they serve.
Suggestions by restaurant chefs include: Great Chefs Cook Vegan, The Happy Cow Cookbook, Holiday Vegan Cooking from Candle Café, Real Food Daily, or Vedge. If they would prefer a simpler book, give The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook, Vegan Deli, The Vegan Kitchen, or Virgin Vegan. Perhaps a specialty gift such as Artisan Vegan Cheese or Vegan Chocolate is needed. See AVS Book Catalog online.
• Ask your local eateries to offer vegan food. Say you will recommend them if they offer good vegan meals on the menu. They may have to start slowly by having some frozen veggie burgers available. Be encouraging and patient. Utilize Dating Vegans suggestions.
• Post reviews on HappyCow.net when restaurants become more vegan-friendly.
Cooking classes empower individuals and show how easy vegan food is to make. Tasting is key to creating a lasting positive impression. Offer a class or invite friends to attend a class with you. For kids, use Apples, Bean Dip, and Carrot Cake: Kids! Teach Yourself to Cook.
Food-sampling events help people try vegan food and receive basic information. Grant applications are available from VegFund.org. You might have food samples as part of a larger event such as with a speaker at a library. Ask local restaurants or food companies to donate vegan samples. Follow local health department regulations.
American Vegan Society (AVS) was founded by H. Jay Dinshah in February 1960. February is far enough after the December holidays so people are looking for a reason to be excited and party towards the end of winter. However, a snow date may be necessary.
Use AVS’ ideas as a template for your event. Vegan Cuisine Month connects people with the resources AVS provides, and encourages compassionate action for a healthier happier world.
American Vegan Society (AVS) President Freya Dinshah (Mom) is the last person to seek any sort of recognition. Since I (Anne Dinshah) coauthored Powerful Vegan Messages with my father, H. Jay Dinshah and began Dynamic Harmlessness Day (November 2) on his birthday, people are asking what I will do for Mom.
When I proposed Vegan Cuisine Month to promote awareness and enjoyable experiences with vegan food, it occurred to me that this could also be a celebration of Freya’s accomplishments.
H. Jay Dinshah is widely considered to be the father of the vegan movement in America. However, his wife Freya took the lead when it came to anything with food such as writing The Vegan Kitchen (1965) or negotiating with food service personnel for conference catering (1974-1999). The Vegan Kitchen was the first cookbook in the U.S. to use the word vegan in the title and explain ethics of veganism. Currently in its thirteenth print edition, this timeless classic should be in every kitchen.
Freya created the first vegan volume recipes for use in colleges, restaurants, hospitals, and other institutions. Vegetarian Cooking for 100 is a card-file system originated for the 1975 World Vegetarian Congress. She conceived the book Apples, Bean Dip, and Carrot Cake: Kids! Teach Yourself to Cook (2012) to empower the next generation. Freya has taught cooking classes since 1969. She currently is the nutrition educator at a neighborhood afterschool program.
Freya and Jay were the first inductees in the Vegetarian Hall of Fame in 1993. Freya received the 2003 24-Carrot Award from Vegetarians in Paradise for practicing and promoting education and nutrition for the benefit of humans, animals, and the earth. In 2013 she was honored by Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society as a vegan pioneer.
The vegan gourmet dinners prepared by culinary students with their chef-educators for AVS-hosted events has been going strong since 2010 at the Academy of Culinary Arts, Mays Landing NJ. With Freya’s guidance, others have made similar arrangements with culinary schools in their locale. We encourage people to use AVS information for events, menu planning, and the proliferation of vegan cuisine.
Freya said, “The range and stature of vegan cuisine has advanced tremendously through the years by the efforts of many people who must be honored. Let’s celebrate their accomplishments.”
Vegan Cuisine Month is a time to praise those who have brought vegan food into esteem, a time to share its bounty, and a time to help fulfill its promise. For each of the February days we honor these heroes:
1. Irene Grace Dinshah: Freya’s mother-in-law provided early experiences in vegan cooking
2. Pietro Rotondi, DC: Vegetarian Cookery (1942), Los Angeles dinners drew a cast of characters
3. Disease-prevention cooking classes: Dr. J. A. Scharffenberg (1960s+) & 7th Day Adventists
4. Rosalie Hurd: Ten Talents Cookbook (1968)
5. Joy Gross: beautiful demos of natural foods
6. Eva Batt: What’s Cooking (U.K.1973), mentor
7. Louise Hagler et al.: The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook (1975), Tofu Cookery (1983). The Farm Community
8. North American Vegetarian Society: cooking classes at vegan-catered annual Summerfests on college campuses since 1975
9. Gentle World: Cookbook for People Who Love Animals (1981) achieved mass distribution
10. Vegetarian Resource Group: dining guides, food ingredient guide, quantity catering
11. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: disease-prevention cooking classes
12. Farm Animal Rights Movement: campaigns
13. Ron Pickarski: Friendly Foods, organized vegan Culinary Olympics team, gold medalist; executive chef for AVS conventions 1991 to 1999
14. Ken Bergeron: Professional Vegetarian Cooking, Culinary Olympics gold medalist
15. Bryanna Clark Grogan: World Vegan Feast
16. Jo Stepaniak: UnCheese Cookbook, Vegan Sourcebook, vegan scholar and “encyclopedia”
17. Vegan RDs: George Eisman A Basic Guide to Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition; Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis Becoming Vegan, established adequacy and benefits of vegan nutrition
18. Jennifer Raymond: Peaceful Palate, corporate, dining services, and heart patient advisor.
19. Christina Pirello: TV chef on PBS
20. West Coast Restaurateurs: Eric Tucker, Millennium; Ann Gentry, Real Food Daily; Tanya Petrovna, Native Foods chain
21. East Coast Restaurateurs: Joy Pierson, Candle Café; Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, Vedge
22. Food developers: Tal Ronnen, Miyoko Schinner
23. Gwen Foster: Fit Philadelphia
24. Raw food chefs: Cherie Soria, Matthew Kenney
25. Bryant Terry: Afro Vegan
26. Fran Costigan: Vegan Chocolate, dessert queen
27. Linda Long: Great Chefs Cook Vegan, food connoisseur and photographer
28. Dining Guides, since 1999: VegDining.com and HappyCow.net
The Vegan Kitchen is on a buy-one for $9.95 get-one free sale. Purchase for yourself and a friend.