I am an extrovert, an optimist, an academic, a scholar, a professor, a glorified nerd, a PhD student, an author, a vegan in the making, an amateur photographer, happy, a liberal, a lover of life, an advocate for equality, an advocate for animals, an admirable Scrabble opponent, an InstaGramer, adventurous, sarcastic at times, an iPad addict, a wannabe yogi, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and a sufferer of chronic pain.
I must admit, once I started “going vegan,” I made a mental list of foods that I probably wouldn’t have the pleasure of enjoying anymore. Pizza was at the top of that list. I thought I would never find a satisfying vegan alternative to the cheesy delicious goodness that is PIZZA. Let me tell you, boy was I wrong.
Vegan cheese has improved dramatically since the last time that I tried it. In fact, the last time I had vegan cheese had to have been at least 15 years ago, and back then it was absolutely disgusting - felt like rubber and tasted like chemicals. I swore that, after my first few encounters with vegan cheese over a decade ago, that I would never allow such a foul creation back in my mouth. I had a similar stomach turning encounter with Tofurky many years ago, but that is a story for another day. Regardless, wow, vegan cheese is actually really freaking good now.
I guess I never should have expected any less. 15 years is a long time to work on perfecting something, and those years have done good things for vegan cheese. Sure, it isn’t exactly like cheese, but it is delicious in it’s own way. How do I know this, you ask? Because ever since I have started “going vegan,” I have been eating loads of vegan cheese - cheese burgers, cheese fries, cheese covered tacos, and, you guessed it, CHEESE PIZZA!
I owe my willingness to eat and, as a matter of fact, new found love of consuming vegan cheese to Woodstock Pizza in Santa Cruz, CA.
When my family was out to visit, just days after I decided to go vegan, everyone wanted to eat pizza. I was quite upset by the suggestion at first, because it seemed pretty evil that my family would want to consume mass amounts of cheesy goodness in front of me while I had to eat some cheese-less concoction some poor bastard at the pizza place dreamed up after laughing at me for wanting a vegan pizza. Again, much like my misguided assumption about vegan cheese, I was also wrong about that.
When I called Woodstock’s Pizza to place the order, I was pleasantly surprised when my opening line of, “so, I’m vegan…” was welcomed with, “our sauces and crusts are 100% vegan, and we can put vegan cheese on your pizza instead of mozzarella.” WHAT? REALLY? Yes. Yes, they can. And they did. And, much to my surprise, IT WAS FREAKING DELICIOUS.
After the order arrived, I was so overwhelmed by how delicious vegan cheese alternatives are, that I ate nearly the entire pizza all by myself. Even more surprising, my very-non-vegan Texan family members, who like their meat fresh and cheese, well, cheesy, thought the vegan pizza tasted pretty damn good.
I may have had my reservations at first, but thanks to Woodstock’s Pizza, my eyes have been opened and my pallet has expanded to the pure awesomeness that is VEGAN CHEESE. Maybe this “vegan” business isn’t that difficult after all… :)