Vegan Cheese (And Other Horrors)

Vegan cheese!! What is up with you?

Seriously. I have never, ever, ever had vegan cheese that tasted good. Ever. At most, it can be a tolerable cheese-like substance, if used sparingly, and doused with other ingredients. Say, a few sprinkles in the middle of a burrito. But I don’t think soy will ever match up to the quality of real cheese. And I think soy should stop trying.

When my Mom gives a party, she likes to do cheese and crackers. So, when she threw an anniversary party for my vegan grandparents this weekend, naturally she put out two blocks of soy cheese. (My mother has never had soy cheese before. That much should be clear.)

I can understand the mistake — surely, why would a company sell any product so repulsive? But oh, lord.

Two hours later, the party in full swing, the “cheese” was still untouched. One of my cousins sidled up to it, checking it out.

“What is it?” he asked, poking it. It didn’t jiggle or bounce, as much as it looked like it might. It stayed stock-still.

“It’s soy cheese,” I explained.

A conversation then ensued between a few people over who was brave enough to try it. Finally, my brother’s girlfriend sawed off a piece and nibbled on it. She shrugged. “It tastes like Cheez Whiz.”

I have never had Cheez Whiz, and never will, but yes, soy cheese probably has more in common with that highly-processed cheese product than it does with the actual cheddar it’s supposed to replace.

So why torture ourselves with this stuff? Why are we stuck in the paradigm that cheese is necessary to enjoy food? Get creative. Instead of soy cheese, try topping a pizza crust with tomato sauce and a finely chopped tossed salad and some Italian dressing. At parties, hummus with pita or crackers works better for a nosh. Guests will not touch things that don’t look like anything, and neither should you. Fall in love with vegetables again. Aim to eat foods that are food, and not things that look like this:

As a user named “Geryon” said on this Web site on October 8, 2010: “it’s flavor is of worse than vomit [ sic] . . . This gives veganism a bad name. Hopefully, they go out of business.”

Well said, Geryon, well said.

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23 Responses to Vegan Cheese (And Other Horrors)

  1. Anonymous says:

    In europe, we have some good vegans cheeses. The cheeses of the brand Vegusto, Redwood, Toffuti or Sojami are very good.

  2. Tarryn says:

    Daiya is a great brand. A vegan restaurant in Springfield, MO uses it for awesome pizzas. I’ve tried pepper jack, cheddar, and mozzarella and liked all three. They come pre-shredded and have a slightly different texture, but my boyfriend even likes it and hes not vegan.

  3. Tess Kaplan says:

    Cool. Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll have to try Daiya – just googled it and found these recipes, which look pretty sick:

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