Gone Vegan

Lindsay Hutton discovers the politics and pragmatics behind a meat and dairy-free diet.

These days, even the most unapologetic omnivore isn't averse to the occasional veggie burger or sans viande entrée. Maybe they came across an article in their local paper about how cutting back on animal products treads a little easier on our fatigued environment; maybe they’re trying to ease out of a health-related hotspot. Whatever your opinion on tofu and its adherents, fact is more and more families are lightening their load on meat and dairy, and the food industry is scrambling to fall in line. 

The Toronto Vegetarian Association is a little ahead of the curve. This paste weekend (September 10-12), they hosted their 26th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. Featuring the top drawer of vegan and vegetarian writers, thinkers and chefs — from vegan triathlete Brendan Brazier to bestselling cookbook author Terry Hope Romero — the fair’s program always offers the best in vegetarian cooking demonstrations, talks and exhibits. 

Some highlights included a vegan “Iron Chef” competition between haute-veggie chefs Douglas McNish and Howard Dubrovsky on Sunday afternoon; a cooking demonstration by chef jae steele, author of the critically vaunted cookbook, Get It Ripe; as well a presentation by Carol J. Adams, an influential vegetarian educator, author and activist. 

Each year the focus on the Vegetarian Food Fair is on the love of food, so those who don’t know their Tofurkey from their SoSoya can rest easy. “Even though I am not a vegetarian, I am a conscious eater,” says Lynn Bebee, a Hamilton-based designer who has attended the fair for the past several years. “I try to think about where the food I put in my mouth comes from."

For all the Food Fair highlights, look here. We hope you'll be motivated to check it out next year!