Yesterday I went to the Mad City Vegan Fest. First, however, I went to a Bar Mitzvah for one of my old students, ASG. It was remarkable because of the particular student and his family – we had all three children and they were all unique and wonderful. All read from the Torah and were fabulous, and all were happy to see us. (Hint: this is what warms a teacher’s heart.)
It was also remarkable for the theme. ASG’s Torah portion focused on the Israelites’ sojourn in the desert, when they were living on manna. Some ungrateful Israelites tired of that food, and began complaining that if they had stayed in slavery, they would at least still be eating a varied diet. (“The riffraff in their midst felt a gluttonous craving; and then the Israelites wept and said, “If only we had meat to eat!”) To these unfaithful, “Then the Lord said to Moses…’the Lord will give you meat and you shall eat. You shall eat not one day, not two, not even five days or ten or twenty, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you.'” While those Israelites were busy eating the meat, the Lord struck them all with a violent plague and they died. I’ll bet you’ve never heard that Bible story!
In offering his commentary, ASG connected these events to his own life. In his fifth grade year, he said, he had been sneaking candy whenever he could. His parents were very strict about when he could eat it, and how much. When he was discovered, his mother imposed the following punishment: he must eat nothing but candy, three meals per day. Of course, this happened when he was in my class, and my partner and I were cracking up in the back row. In my recollection, he was supposed to stay on this diet for a week, but I know he only lasted a few days before begging for real food. In honor of his Torah portion, it was announced, lunch would be meat-based. (Normally it is “dairy,” which means ovo-lacto-vegetarian, with fish.) I wasn’t too worried, though, because afterwards I was going to Vegan Fest!
As it turned out, there was plenty to eat at lunch – bread, salad, many roasted vegetables, gluten free and vegan desserts – and I wasn’t even really hungry by the time I arrived to the Fest. That turned out to be a good thing, because when I got there (about two hours after it started) it seemed that many samples were gone (Teese, soda, and some others).
The samples I did try were seemingly fewer than last year, despite much more available space. There were many items to purchase and eat right there, but I wasn’t hungry enough to buy any. I was just happy to chat with people.
The foods I did try were all wonderful – Coconut Bliss ice cream, Field Roast links, Whole Foods kale salad, So Delicious yogurt, and Mary’s Gone Crackers baked goods.
My favorite new item was Dandie’s marshmallows. They have the taste and mouth feel that my students are going to appreciate when I bring them on our September overnight!
In September, there will be a similar event in Chicago, which I won’t be able to attend (will be busy with aforementioned campout). Wish I could go to that one!