Funny how it goes-I am talking about soup again. It is not the homemade soup that I posted about recently. I am waxing poetic about soup that I and the other vegans in my group ordered at a restaurant-a Japanese restaurant. Since this blog is about dialoguing and vegan life and since life never happens in a straight line…..
Here is the latest story in this vegan’s life. We have been away for the past five days visiting my daughter and her family for my grandaughter’s sixth birthday. Birthdays are a big deal for my little red headed girl and the cake is one of the main events. Since I seem to have been appointed the resident cake maker (that is another story), it was up to the 3 of us (grammie, daughter and grandaughter) to come to an agreement about what the little one wanted and what I could provide. Themed cakes, especially character cakes are my least favorite cakes to make. The little one was all about a themed cake, specifically an Olaf figurine cake, from the movie Frozen.
Now I am all about making dreams come true if I can, so we settled on Olaf on the beach. The big issue was that the plant based butter I use to make icing is now on my blacklist. Why, you ask? Well, even though Earth Balance is plant based, it is made with palm oil and I have an issue with destruction of the habitats of nonhuman animals to produce palm oil. I was lucky, because I had some Earth Balance leftover from my pre-blacklist days. There was just enough to make the icing for the cake. Olaf is made from rolled fondant. I managed to find a plant based variety, called Satin Ice. Olaf, right down to his glasses and cup, is the creation of Kim’s Cakes. Kim, the daughter of a friend of mine did a wonderful job.
On to the soup! Part of being away from home, for holiday or business, is about eating out. Now, I always tell people that eating out is not an issue for me because I can always find something to eat in most places. I draw the line at Steak and Seafood places though-the very name makes me unable to consider dining there. Bread was always an option until I recently discovered that most mass produced bread contains nonhuman animal by products. That knowledge does narrow down the field a tad. But I can, and I do, adjust.
On the last nite of our visit, my daughter suggested we go out for dinner. Great idea-nothing to prepare, nothing to clean up, even though I hardly ever clean up the dishes when I am there, thanks to my son-in-law. We settled on a little Japanese restaurant not far from home. Let’s “pack up the babies and grab the old ladies” and be on our way.. My son-in-law found nice little place with very accommodating staff/owners.
My daughter mentioned that she would like to start with some Miso Soup. I piped up and said that I had read that Miso Soup is not vegan. She Google-d it and confirmed that Miso soup is indeed vegan. Great! Let’s have a round of soup for everyone-vegans and non vegan alike! We ordered some Sushi to go along with our soup, after I specifically mentioned to the server that we are vegan and do not eat any animal products including dairy and eggs. Yes, that is right, I forgot to mention the fish-I presumed this to be self evident.
It was a wonderful time, with wonderful company and wonderful food. Upon arriving home I decided to check out the whole plant based Miso soup thing.
Miso soup traditionally consists of two main ingredients. The first is miso, a paste made from boiled or steamed soybeans, salt and a fermented food called “koji.” Koji is most commonly fermented rice, but can also be made with fermented barley or soybeans. The second is katsuobushi dashi, a soup stock made from water, kelp and dried, fermented bonito or skipjack tuna fish shavings. As fish is one of the primary ingredients, traditional miso soup is not vegan-friendly.
Outside of Japan, miso soup is typically made with instant dashi stocks. In addition to the four traditional varieties of dashi, Western sushi restaurants often use local soup stocks to make miso soup. One of these Western alternatives is suitable for vegans, as it replaces the dashi in traditional recipes with vegetable stock. However, chicken stock is the most common and suitable replacement for dashi in Western recipes. As most of these stocks are not vegan-friendly, you should always ask about the type of dashi used before ordering a bowl of miso soup.
Yikes! I am not sure if the soup was vegan because I did not ask. I mentioned this to my daughter. She had looked up Miso on the internet, not Miso soup-turns out there can be a big difference. This doesn’t mean the soup we consumed was not vegan, but it does mean that we do not know. And this bothers me.
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s Vegan View is that we we don’t have to be perfect in our veganism. We just have to do our best. Doing my best means doing my due diligence and I definitely did not do it here.
Annie’s Vegan View
Never make assumptions about what is vegan and what is not.
Never assume that your server understands the meaning of vegan. so, be prepared to explain in a respectful, clear manner.
If one is not sure, avoid foods that might not be vegan.
Forgive yourself if you make a mistake. Carrying around the baggage of guilt and regret is not productive.
Being a Vegan Warrior is a journey of learning and adaptation based on intention.
Therein lies our salvation.
May all beings be happy and free.