Updated: Apr 2, 2020
Last Saturday, 27 October, the stone-arched nineteenth century Fair Trader caverns were transformed into a pop-up vegan restaurant. Over 30 people enjoyed a delicious, home-cooked, 3-course vegan meal.
The scene was set by Stephen Hirst, who described in wonderful detail the experience of being a long-time vegan. He held up a small black and white printed leaflet – the sum total of information he had available when setting out on his vegan journey! A stark contrast to now, when there are hundreds of vegan cook books, websites, The Vegan Society and video channels! For him, it was a straightforward ethical decision, made as he left home for the first time to attend University. Perhaps the only food he misses is dairy cheese; in his view the vegan alternative not quite making the grade.
Teenager Ted Coombs made a passionate pitch for all things vegan. For him, going vegan is a no-brainer, and the most effective single action any person can take to combat climate change. With an impressive array of facts and figures, Ted explained his vegan journey and also cooked some of the vegan dishes.
The meal included fruit and vegetables from nearby (Holme Valley potatoes, plums, tomatoes and beetroot) and afar (pomegranates and almonds) and hearth loaves from Slaithwaite-based artisans ‘The Handmade Bakery’. Ten volunteers cooked a stunning array of vegan foods – including Parsley Hummus, Beetroot Hummus, Mushroom and Almond Pies, Pomegranate and Tomato Salad, Moroccan Vegetables, Pepper and Roasted Tofu Tart, Guacamole Potato Salad and Beetroot Coleslaw.
A Fair Trader ‘Flavours of Palestine’ Gift Box ( Zaytoun Fairtrade olive oil, Maftoul Couscous, Dates, Za’atar Herbs and Almonds) was raffled. Sarah and Derek put together a fascinating ‘multiple choice’ Quiz of little known facts about a vegan lifestyle. The prize was a signed copy of Clare Druce’s book Chickens’ Lib: the campaign against cruelty to farmed animals. Clare also gave a fervent short talk about her lifelong and ongoing campaign.
The speakers inspired a wide range of questions and lively debate. The evening concluded with a range of vegan non-alcoholic drinks and delicious desserts including Bakewell Tart, Chocolate and Raspberry Oaties, Spiced Plums with Granola and a range of vegan yogurts.