Thursday, April 19, 2012

Isa Chandra Moskowitz: Heroine of the Vegan Movement

There's a good chance you haven't heard of Isa Chandra Moskowitz. For years, she hosted one of the pioneering vegan cooking shows, Post-Punk Kitchen, a public access TV program based out of Brooklyn, New York. Now 39, Moskowitz left Brooklyn for Portland, Oregon, in 2008, and eventually settled in Omaha, Nebraska.

Vegans love Moskowitz for her cookbooks, especially her wonderful dessert recipes. Her two most famous books are Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World: 75 Dairy-Free Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule (Da Capo Press: 2006) and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats (Da Capo Press: 2010). I've tried bakery goods based on her recipes and they are to die for!

There are different ways to win people over to veganism. You can post horrific films of animals being abused and violently murdered on Facebook or on a Blog. You can distribute vegan fliers. You can use the power of persuasion by talking to your friends about the many compelling reasons to go vegan.

All of those are useful and necessary tactics. But one of the most admirable methods of winning hearts and minds is simply to show people that vegan food is delicious, and that it is possible to live rich, fulfilling, happy lives as vegan. We don't just eat grass and twigs and berries. We eat wonderful breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and - when we're done - we enjoy dessert, too. And vegan desserts don't just consist of Oreos and apples.

Nobody has done more to promote the cause of delicious vegan desserts (and vegan cooking in general) than Moskowitz. And her reasons for doing so are totally right on. "I think that activism isn't what you decide to do but how it affects people," she said. "So if someone says, I'm going to become an activist! I'm going to stand on a street corner and preach about veganism! And they go ahead and do that but no listens and no one becomes vegan, then is that activism? On the other hand, maybe there's a girl in the middle of nowhere who loves animals and decided to bake vegan. And then people taste her cupcakes and are like, 'What the hell, I'll go vegan, too.' Obviously I think the latter is more effective, but I guess people might not see it as activism."

It is activism. It's the best kind of activism. It's delicious activism!

Check out this wonderful video (above) of Moskowitz for Our Hen House, conducted by the equally wonderful and inspiring vegan activist Jasmin Singer, one of my heroines. Go Isa! Go Jasmin! Go Vegan!

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