Vegan Waffle Party 2009: Report from Pittsburgh

While the Multi-City Vegan Waffle Party is only in its second year, it’s hard to believe this was the 11th annual waffle party overall. And it once again, thanks to our guests and other hosting cities, it blew away our previous expectations.

This year the multi-talented Vance Lehmkuhl at Vegcast.com interviewed me about vegan waffles and waffle parties. I may post some highlights about it in the near future, but in the meantime you can listen to the full interview (look for Vegcast #63, May 22, 2009).

As shown in the list and map on the right hand side of this page, several more cities (and countries!) threw vegan waffle parties this year. I’ve already received a few brief reports and photos, but I’m looking forward to getting a few more so I can post them here.

In Pittsburgh, participants included practicing vegans and vegetarians, individuals curious about veganism and vegan food, and others simply looking to try something different and have fun. The delicious vegan waffle toppings included eggplant and onion, sambar, nut-based gravies, green mango chutney, fresh fruits and jams, multi-layer bean dip, sloppy tofu, vegan ice creams, fresh homemade salsa, baked apples, and many others. Out of respect for privacy, I’ve blurred faces in the pics below with the exception of mine and Jen’s.

Wafflers congregate around the vegan waffle toppings

Wafflers congregate around vegan waffle toppings

Wafflers chat between bites

Guests chat between bites

We enjoyed beautiful weather the afternoon of the party, so some of  the wafflers sat outside…

Fresh air aids digestion of vegan waffles

Fresh air aids digestion of vegan waffles

…While others relaxed in the living room.

Wafflers eat and enjoy conversation

Wafflers eat and enjoy conversation

As for the vegan waffle recipes, I served slight variations on the yeast-raised vegan waffles which have always been popular in the past, banana-spelt waffles, a rice-based waffle, and some “gourmet” waffles with fillings.

To make the party more environmentally friendly, we took a few additional steps to reduce waste. We didn’t want to use a bunch of disposable plates and cups, but we also didn’t want large stacks clunky, breakable plates and unstackable cups-especially given that we’d have limited room with a large crowd in our relatively small dining room. As a compromise, we invested in some recycled Preserve plates and cups, which are lightweight, stackable, and dishwashable on gentle cycle. They’re initially much more expensive than disposable plates, but should pay for themselves as we reuse them over time. A few of our neighbors also allowed us to borrow some plates and cloth napkins.

To simplify collection of used items, we set up several labeled bins for the following: plates, cups, silverware, non-recyclable trash including food scraps, recyclable trash, and compostable items such as lightly soiled paper napkins.

Jen with the state-of-the-art recycling system

Jen with the vegan waffle party recycling system

Roughly 45 people attended over the course of the evening, and we ended up with less than half of a 13-gallon bag of non-recyclable, non-compostable trash. If you try a system like this for your party, I’d love to hear how it worked!

Our neighbor Gary Crouth dropped by with some of his MOO (no dairy products; stands for “Make Our Own”), a homemade laundry detergent placed in reused bottles, along with a message on the benefits of making certain items at home. This can not only save money (costs less than 10 cents a cup to produce), but can yield environmental benefits by reducing shipping, and can even form the foundation of local/neighborhood bartering systems. Pretty innovative stuff-so cool that we let him bring MOO in lieu of a vegan waffle topping. He doesn’t have a website up yet, but you can get more info by emailing MOO (at) digbybooks (dot) com.

MOO "Make Our Own" samples

MOO "Make Our Own" samples

Even though we’ve already had our annual waffle party in Pittsburgh, it’s not too late to have yours, especially if you’re doing a waffle-related event in conjunction with the first Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. If you’re hosting something along these lines in June, or plan to do something in 2010, please let us know.

Finally, I’ve been asked whether I’m involved in a secret marketing conspiracy with Isa Chandra Moskowitz, as her Vegan Brunch cookbook was released within a few days of the Vegan Waffle Party, and its front cover features her holding a stack of vegan waffles. While these may be interesting coincidences when taken together, I must deny these speculations. We simply set this year’s Multi-City Vegan Waffle Party on the same weekend it was held last year. Nor can I speak to whether the Vegan Waffle Party impacted how her book was designed or released; I can only say that I’m extremely flattered if it actually did. I hope that vegan waffle parties inspire even more people to buy her book. Although I haven’t yet seen it, I have no doubt the recipes are delicious. And, of course, I hope that her book inspires even more people to throw vegan waffle parties. Our efforts can’t reach everyone, so any assistance from others is welcome!

And thanks again to our neighbors and friends (Jen and Kevin, Anne Lynch, and others), who helped us out in various ways.

Happy vegan waffling!

Posted in News & Events, Vegan Waffle Party Ideas and Tips and tagged , , , , .

4 Comments

  1. They didn’t have Vegan parties when I lived in Pittsburgh. Bummer!!!! That was decades ago. You’ve come a long way baby!

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