Interview with Kristin Lajeunesse, Author of Will Travel for Vegan Food

Will Travel For Vegan Food is available now at Amazon.com!

Will Travel For Vegan Food is available now at Amazon.com!

Soooo, I got to do an email interview with Kristin Lajeunesse a while back, author of Will Travel for Vegan Food. A few years ago, Kristin ditched her job and most of her belongings to travel the country in a big ol’ van named Gerty. And she did what many vegan foodies can only dream of: Visit every single vegan restaurant in the [48 contiguous] United States! But she had many other adventures along the way.

Oh She Cooks: After listening to a few of your readings, I want to start out with a question related to a story I made the mistake of listening to at work – I ended up bawling in my office! You talked about your grandparents, Pop and Gram. Did your Gram’s adventurous spirit have any influence on your decision to head out on the road?

Ms. Lajeunesse: Ya know, I hadn’t ever really thought about it in that way. But I’m willing to bet her adventurous ways were bred into me. Obviously those stories of her (that you’re speaking of, from Chapter 11) have stuck with me this long; so I don’t think it’d be a stretch to say her journeys inspired my own. Thank you for making that connection! :)

Gram & Pop

Gram & Pop

OSC: What do you think she would have said about the poo story?

KL: Haha.. what a great question! I think Gram would have been embarrassed for me at first. But then proud of how I handled it. ;)

OSH: There was another incident just briefly mentioned in chapter 6, the story with the homeless woman, that I really enjoyed. You said you weren’t sure what made you turn back, yet in your conversation with Todd I think we find the answer. So many people have this idea that vegans care more about animals and the environment than we do about other people. Please tell us how our vegan diet might actually benefit so many people going hungry around the world.

KL: I’m incredibly touched by your thoughtfulness of these questions, Katherine! Yes, great point in possible assumptions about those who choose to live vegan. These days we “vote” for companies (and for actions) we support, with our dollars; and I think it’s easy to forget just how far a reach our daily choices make.

I believe many people are familiar with the irreversible, epic land destruction that takes place today; but perhaps don’t realize that the majority of it is due to making more land available for breeding, raising, and caring for farmed animals. If we took that land that the animals live on, plus the billions of acres that are farmed for crops to FEED those same animals, and used that land instead to grow food to feed humans… would you believe me if I told you that would literally resolve world hunger?

And of course there is the issue of water consumption as well. The amount of water it takes to produce a single hamburger might blow your mind. Imagine if we could instead give that water to those around the globe who are living in drought and dieing from dehydration.

It’s an incredibly delicate subject but at it’s core is quite simple, really: stop breeding and mass producing farmed animals and instead use the land to grow crops for human consumption. It might seem almost TOO simple. But it is quite, unshakably true.
Resource #1
Resource #2

OSC: On that note, regarding the title of your book and at the risk of getting a little risque – since I haven’t read the entire book yet and don’t know exactly what I am asking here! – how did the “making love” part turn out? I’m imagining this to be referring to the general love connections we have the opportunity to make every day. How did it work out for you? Did it change at all the way you see people now?

KL: Yes I’ve gotten a few questions about that aspect of the subtitle. Haha! :) The truth is, the idea of “making love” is not at all about what might first come to mind (wink, wink), but more so about learning how to make love within. How to create self-love, to show love and gratitude toward others, and to be more considerate and compassionate overall. It’s about the creation of love not of sexy-time love.*

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As they say, if you’d like to know more…buy the book! If you’d like to hear more from Kristin NOW, follow the Will Travel For Vegan Food facebook page.

*Orthodox friends, please note: This is probably not the best selection for your Ladies’ Book Club, there is still a bit of sexy-time included, though it is definitely not the main theme.

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Pyro Pizza Portland at Cartopia

My last full day in Oregon we went to Cartopia, a lot filled with food trucks at the corner of SE 12th and Hawthorne Blvd in Portland. I wanted pizza SO BAD. When we got there I discovered there was a lot of other food I wanted to try, too. I stuck with the pizza, but I took pictures of a few other places in case you’re interested.

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Look for the big rotating sign on the corner.

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Plenty of picnic tables, and tents to keep you out of the sun or rain.

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Potato Champion has a couple vegan options – fries & five different sauces, and poutine.

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As you can see, El Brasero has plenty of Vegans Burritos.

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At Tahrir Square you’ll find falafel, vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, hummus. The usual.

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And finally, Pyro Pizza!

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They have a basic menu with a weekly special. Sub vegan cheese on any pizza for no extra charge! Vegan sausage, too, but I don’t know if that’s extra.

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And they make their own pop! Erm, soda. Soda pop. It is made without high-fructose corn syrup, or artificial colors or flavors.

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I thought all the food, and even the pop, was really beautiful. I love the look of a wood-fired crust.

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I got the marinara pizza because it’s what I always ordered when I was in Italy so many years ago, I wanted to see how it compared.

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Even though it was a little different, it tasted A LOT like what I remember (probably a regional thing, but the pizza I had over there had super thin crust and no basil). The sauce was wonderful, full of flavor – especially garlic. The Basil Lime pop was the perfect compliment. But if you really, really, really love garlic…

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you should try the garlic bread. I think it’s made of the same dough used for the crust, covered in many whole cloves of garlic and heavily drizzled with olive oil. Since I was with my BFF, we were very polite and made sure to split the bread evenly between us. I think if she or I were sharing with anyone else, we would’ve stuffed a few extra pieces in our mouths when the other person wasn’t looking. By the way, the BFF loved her margherita pizza. We were both so happy eating our lunch, it was almost ridiculous.

Anyway, the above reasons are why I called this The Best Pizza I’ve Ever Had in This Country. Ever. Definitely check out Pyro Pizza if you’re in the Portland area.

Voodoo Doughnuts & Sweetpea Baking Co

I love giving myself an excuse to eat six doughnuts in six days. In this case, I decided I must try doughnuts from two different locations and compare.

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My first full day in Oregon, we headed out to Voodoo Doughnuts. They have a large selection of vegan doughnuts, but they make just one batch a day – when they’re gone, they’re gone. I tried to order off the menu but the first couple I asked for were already sold out.

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The chick at the counter told me I needed to look at what was in the rotating case because those are the kinds still available. Just one problem…the doughnuts in the case aren’t labeled, so how am I supposed to know what flavors they are? I just continued picking from the menu until I hit a couple still available.

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I got maple glazed and the Diablos Rex. I kinda wish I would’ve saved the maple doughnut for my Philly Cheesesteak Qrunch Donut. But anyway.

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The next day we went to Sweetpea Baking Co and it was a very different environment.

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First of all, everything is vegan.

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EVERYTHING. If it’s in stock, it’s in the case and it’s clearly labeled. And the people there are super friendly and patient.

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I went with a big fat slice of Brownie Chunk Cheesecake, it was wonderful. And they have doughnuts on Saturdays!

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Doughnuts are usually available at 9am. We had a slight miscommunication and arrived at 8am, and we couldn’t wait around until 9. They agreed to box up one of each doughnut and hold them for me until I could get back that evening! It was very tempting to buy even more sweets, but we were heading over to an all-vegan bar!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll tell you about that later.

So. Voodoo Doughnuts:

They have a bigger selection of doughnuts, but it’s hard to know what’s available just looking at the unmarked doughnuts in the rotating case. Staff isn’t very friendly at all and seem like they just want you to get out of the way.

Sweetpea Baking Co:

They only had four doughnut flavors, but they also have a ton of other vegan baked goods. Staff is friendly, they seem like they like people. The doughnuts themselves are actually not very sweet, just the frosting is, but I think that makes them easier to eat for breakfast :)

Do you have vegan doughnuts in your city?