Class Report

Bye, the Farm: Easy Vegan Cooking

Teacher: Maeve Rafferty, Brainfood Community MVPs program coordinator
Documentarian: Dan Hollander
Location: Brainfood Innovation Center
Date: Feb. 6, 2014

Brainfood Community MVPs empower members of the D.C. community to be educated eaters, one workshop at a time. The eight-month MVP program teaches high schoolers to develop and facilitate hands-on cooking classes.

What was the take-home message of the class?
Dan: That cooking or baking with others, even complete strangers, can bring us together in an environment of collaboration, respect, and learning; with healthful and tasty food as a product of our communal effort.

What was the most surprising thing you learned?
Dan: While some vegan substitutions may seem odd at first (bananas and applesauce for eggs?), they work in equally delicious ways (if not more so!). And how I wish I had four deep sinks for some amazing assembly-line dish cleaning. Dinner parties would be far more frequent.

What did you learn that you can put into practice immediately?
Dan: We baked vegan oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and Mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles, and I have the recipes. They will be made again. Soon.

How did you get interested in vegan cooking?
Maeve: In Brainfood, we really try to expose a variety of diets and foods to our participants. Particularly in Community MVPs, we enjoy taking favorite dishes and revamping them to create healthier variations using easy substitutions.

What do people tend to wrongly assume about vegan cooking before learning about it?
Maeve: Sometimes in class, students might think vegan cooking isn’t yummy and delicious, though it’s easy to make a believer out of folks when we cook and eat together.

What can people read/watch/do for more information on this topic?
Maeve: In all honesty, we are still learning a lot about this topic ourselves! The Internet is a wonderful thing, though – we often sift through blogs and cooking websites to get ideas about vegan cooking adaptations.

If an alien visited Earth and could understand English, what would it assume about humanity from the class?
Maeve: That despite age, race, gender, or background, something really powerful happens when you bring folks together to prepare something delicious and homemade. Suddenly, as you bite into a warm cookie from the oven and your eyes sort of light up with joy, all those seemingly big differences don’t seem so big, they just fade away, and you’re left feeling really good and full.

For more information on Brainfood and the wonderful things they are doing in our community, visit Brainfood’s …

See more photos of this class on Flickr!

Daniel Hollander writes for sustenance and serenity and absolutely adores alliteration. Also, food. Food is great.