Veganly Delicious

Julie-Juliaing one cookbook at a time.

Interview with Kelly Peloza. (Cookie Queen).

on October 27, 2012

I should have mentioned… there should have been more brownies. Brownies makes girls happy too. 🙂
Also – you should be thankful. I pressed a button and something happened and my entire review went poof. I may or may not have cursed by accident , and freaked out a lot). But thankfully, the back button had the review that I had done. If not, it would have been.

“Book was good.” (I am not lying).

Anyway.  My relationship with Kelly started like this.

I was looking up her candy Zine (Vegan Candyland.. Which I will have to admit is buried somewhere in my room. Again. Oh found it). I’ve been eyeing it for ages. I am not the biggest candy person, but sometimes when you want a craving, it’s good to have. When you are a vegan/plant-based eater, 98% of your favourite candies are forboddon. (Damn darn butter).

Anyway – I was looking at this for ages. Since I was in collage. And I finally decide, okay – I’m going to get this book. And it was sold out. (My luck). So I email Kelly and go. Pretty much verbatim.

“Please don’t tell me that this has gone out of print, because I might just freak out.”

(with or without a little more melodrama).

Kelly’s first response was LOL (I tend to invoke that in people. A Lot). and said she had a few more copies hanging around and I bought it. And then as I am the kind of person who needs to dissect every single recipe I made (for clarity), we’ve shot the breeze a few times. And I’m testing for her new cookbook.

Yay.

She has cookies in it.

Double yay.

So She and Alicia were my 1-2 first interview punch. I am getting better at this process. 🙂 Here’s the interview.

Hi Kelly! Thanks so much for letting me interview you! How are you doing?

Good, thank you!

So how long have you been a vegan? What inspired you to be a vegan?
I’ve been vegan for about 8 years now. I was vegetarian on and off since age 10, then fully committed to it a few years later. I started reading about veganism, factory farms, nutrition, and all the issues surrounding veganism, and decided to make the switch a few months later.

What prompted you to write your first cookbook? Was it difficult to get started?
I started reading food blogs after becoming vegan and decided to start my own blog (here http://myvegancreations.blogspot.com/ is my very first blog, for some laughs and truly horrendous food photography!) and write recipes for it. I began recipe testing for other cookbook authors and got a feel for the cookbook writing process. Cookies were always my favorite dessert to make, and that winter, I was making gingerbread people and thought about how cool it would be to write a book of all vegan cookies. A few months later and some recipes compiled, I decided to take the plunge. I wouldn’t say it was difficult to get started with all the resources available on the internet, but the whole venture was a huge learning experience and I definitely made a lot of mistakes the first time around.

I have to say – the name is awesome “Vegan Cookie Connoisseur” What prompted that?
I think it just popped into my head one day. I heard the word connoisseur in the context of cooking and baking all the time when I first started blogging, and it stuck with me. That happens often—I’ve always loved reading and becoming obsessed with certain words. I was a weirdo, always reading the dictionary as a kid. (Liv: me too. I swear, I read the encylopaedias and the dictionaries all the time. 😀 I was the smartest kid in the world, until high school. Then I just couldn’t be bothered).
You have a Zine based on Candy! What prompted that?
I wrote it in the time between finishing the cookie book manuscript and before the book came out. There’s a several month period of down time after writing a cookbook before it’s actually released, so I wanted to try something a little different while still writing recipes.

So you have a candy cookbook and a cookie cookbook – why the focus on sweets? 

Baking allows for creativity while still being a precise science, making it necessary to follow certain formulas and take notes for everything. All throughout school, I loved art and math equally (weird, I know!), and took AP Calculus and studio art classes simultaneously in high school. Since fine arts won out career-wise, I keep my creative work in check by being meticulous and organized. Baking is just like my personality. I love cooking, but I either make up dishes as I go (never really writing anything down), or cook from a recipe. I’ve thought about writing zines that involve cooking, but not sure about books at this point. Cooking is just a whole different animal.

What did you want to accomplish with the book (other than you know, giving us a TONNE of delicious cookies!)
I wanted to create a collection of vegan desserts made the way I cook and bake—using accessible ingredients, fewer bowls and utensils, and decadent ingredients. No tofu/flax seed/applesauce/egg replacer health food-y concoctions!
To which I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say: thank you. 

What do you think of the Vegan Cookbook explosion? Why do you think it’s happening now?
It probably has much to do with the media and celebrity attention veganism has received lately. Veganism on Oprah, and movie stars going vegan every other week definitely help push it into the mainstream. Publishers who normally don’t make vegan cookbooks (or cookbooks at all) are publishing vegan cookbooks as a result, and vegan options are popping up at more restaurants, thankfully!

What’s your inspiration? 
There’s so many! Animals, of course. Art! I’m just as much devoted to food photography as making the actual food (perhaps more so). The work of other artists, cookbook authors, and people in the vegan community is always inspiring.

Who’s your favourite chef (vegan or otherwise?)
I love all the vegan chefs I’ve gotten a chance to meet, work with, and get to know at vegfests and conferences over the past few years. I love me some Food Network as well. (Liv: ME TOO. I miss the Food Network. Anna Olson & Giada and Me – good ole times, y’all).

For those reading and wondering if veganism (or at least very strict vegetarian) is for them, what would you suggest for them?
I would suggest picking up some cookbooks, doing some research online, reading blogs, and checking out restaurants and groups in your area. I imagine it’s SO much easier to go vegan right now than 5 or 10 years ago with all the resources available, so there’s no excuse to not go for it if you’re interested. (Liv: none! if you want one to start with Oh She Glows, & The Post Punk Kitchen for fail-proof recipes that are full of yum!)

Would you say your books are for the newly veganist out there?

My first was Vegan with a Vengeance. Veganomicon may be a bit daunting for a beginner, but it depends on the person. I’d recommend both those books for new vegans. 

What are your favourite recipes from VCC? What about Vegan Candyland?
My favorite recipes from VCC are the chocolate peppermint cream bars and the giant double chocolate chip cookies. I love making Kit Kats from Vegan Candyland, and the caramels are a great place to start for other caramel-based recipes.

Do you have any other books coming out? What about Zines?
Details are forthcoming (on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc) for the next book, but it will be released November 2013! I may write another zine early next year after I’ve finished the book I’m working on now. A couple years ago for April Fool’s Day, I “announced” the release of a new cookbook based on vegan bacon desserts. A few people were disappointed that it was just a joke, so I may do a vegan bacon zine…or maybe something else!

Thanks Kelly!

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