If there’s one things vegans love, it’s food. If there are two things vegans love, they are food, and blogging about said food. VN caught up with Isa Chandra Moskowitz—author, blogger, and activist—about Vegan MoFo (Vegan Month of Food), a yearly celebration of culinary creations that challenges participants to blog about food every week day for the entire month of October, which Moskowitz modeled after NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, held yearly in November).
VegNews: What’s been the most surprising aspect of Vegan MoFo?
Isa Chandra Moskowitz: It’s always amazing to me how diverse people are in how they arrive at vegan cooking. I love hearing about everyone’s backgrounds and being astounded by, say, the daughter of a cattle rancher in Texas learning how to grill tofu. It’s really inspiring to hear about vegan options in Alaska or Brazil.
VN: What’s the craziest creation you’ve seen from a VMF participant?
ICM: The holiday ones are always pretty off the wall. It’s a good sign if an entry can make you smile ear to ear, and what stands out in my mind as the craziest are Susie’s Tofu Loaf, which was basically a glazed and stuffed loaf of homemade bread, that was pricked to look like turkey skin. I know! You have to see it to believe it. That was in 2007 when MoFo was in November. Now it’s in October and last year’s Halloween round-up had some fun stuff, my favorite were these mashed potato ghosts with the most ADORABLE gravy eyes and foreboding ghostly mouths from Wing It Vegan.
VN: How did VMF change last year from the first year?
ICM: I think people got more consistent and more confident and more fun. More everything that is good, I guess! I think people in general aren’t sure what to write about when we write about food. What’s going to be interesting? Will anyone care? Especially if you are vegan and so were never interested much in food writing because it’s got so much to do with meat. But you don’t have to be the best cook in the world to write about food. In fact, it’s probably better if you’re learning as you go because it’s more off the cuff. Yeah, if you write a cookbook you should be a great cook, but to blog about it I think that the most important thing is that you’ve got heart. Aww.
VN: How many participants did each of the previous two years have, and how many do you expect this year?
ICM: The first one had less than a hundred. The second had a little over a hundred. This year there are well over 200 so far and we’ve got a week to go. I’m sure we’ll hit 300.
VN: Considering the success of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale earlier this year, do you think that people are increasingly using blogs as a means of activism?
ICM: Oh, you mean baketivism? I just made that word up. I think that activism isn’t what you decide to do but how it affects people. So if someone says, I’m going to become an activist! I’m going to stand on a street corner and preach about veganism! And then they go ahead and do that but no one listens and no one becomes vegan, then is that activism? On the other hand, maybe there’s a girl in the middle of nowhere who loves animals and decided to bake vegan. And then people taste her cupcakes and are like “What the hell, I’ll go vegan, too.” Obviously I think the latter is more effective, but I guess people might not see it as activism.
VN: What’s your favorite aspect of VMF?
ICM: I love to read about food and I often have to turn to non-vegan sources to get my fix. During MoFo I’m basically in foodie heaven and I learn so much. With food, if you ever stop learning you may as well stop cooking.
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