17 Dec

Pastry display at La Boulange Bakery in San Francisco.

Okay, so I don’t really speak French (unless you count the few basic phrases I remember from high school French), but somehow it seems appropriate to kind-of pretend since this is a blog about desserts and nobody–and I mean NOBODY–does desserts like the French do. When I come across photos of Parisian pâtisseries and see the kinds of pastries French people have access to every single day, I cry a little inside that I wasn’t born in France. My mom–a total Francophile–has very openly told my dad and me over the years that she wishes she had found and married a Frenchman (instead of marrying my Chinky-eyed dad) when she lived in Switzerland. It’s annoying and insulting, but sometimes I wish she had as well, if by some biological miracle I could still be her child and receive the benefit of access to French pastries. But it just wasn’t meant to be I guess.

There are some decent French-style bakeries here in the Bay Area. But alas, I do not get to enjoy them either. Why, you ask? Because I am vegan–that means no meat, eggs, dairy or any animal products or by-products. I do this by choice (yes, it’s true!) and have zero regrets about that decision, but I still have fully-functional taste buds that like to be exercised every once in a while. I had a very diverse palate and considered myself a foodie when I was still an omnivore four years ago, so switching to a diet of granola and sprouted wheat berries has never been an option for me. Finding restaurants with good vegan food and learning to prepare delicious meals haven’t been so much of an issue. Finding tasty, interesting vegan desserts, however, is much more difficult. (Yes, there are rare gems such as Millennium Restaurant, whose creative desserts  raise the bar for all of us wannabe vegan culinarians. But they’re exactly that — rare.)

Don’t get me wrong,  I am incredibly appreciative of vegan pioneers such Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, whose dessert recipes ensured that I maintained my robust figure while I transitioned to veganism. As someone who rarely entered the kitchen (except to eat other people’s cooking) before I became vegan in 2007, these women were an absolute godsend when I needed a chocolate chip cookie, a slice of cheesecake or piece of apple pie. These days, however, I’ve gotten all Ariel from The Little Mermaid. I want more, you know what I mean? And I want it without relying on vegan substitutes and alternatives like Tofutti “cream cheese” and Earth Balance “butter” that is in most of the vegan desserts available commercially and fills the pages of most vegan cookbooks. Many people enjoy these products, but they’re just not for me anymore.

So welcome to my new dessert blog in which I document my baking successes and failures, and quest to further push the boundaries of vegan pastry!


2 Responses to “Bonjour!”

  1. chrysta December 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    !!!!!!!! Yay Jen!!!!!!!
    Do it!!!!

  2. bora December 18, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    beautiful site! can’t wait to come here, again and again, as the pages begin to fill up.

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