“And you will hear the call
All action great and small
Patti Smith, “One Voice”
As 2009 came to a close, I had reason to reflect upon the year and what Gone Pie is and is becoming. It has been a brilliant year for Gone Pie and it has become more and more important to me to define what we do and why we do it. Pretty much every one reading this can bake or has a favorite bakery that they can get their vegan goodies from. So why is it that Gone Pie is different?
Gone Pie is very much a manifestation of who I am and how I endeavor to live. I have never been one to indulge in very decadent food or sweets. Growing up, I was the one that passed on the ice cream, caramel apples, candy bars. You name it. All the normal kid stuff. It was too rich for me. I loved my Mom’s chocolate coconut cake and chocolate chip cookies. And I loved baking. Kind of limiting to just make two things!
Enter The Tassajara bread book! This was a life changing book for me! Those darn hippies were making some mighty fine real food. I loved everything in that book I made. And I am pretty sure I made every recipe and variation there was!
I guess it is just part of my nature to embrace a value in food that is beyond the mere sensory experience. And that is exactly what it is that makes Gone Pie what it is today.
Gone Pie evolved out of a former business that was not vegan. To the limits of my knowledge at the time, I endeavored to embrace my real food beliefs. I was lucky to be drawn to the East Village of New York City, a natural home for the food I was making. We gave a lot of food away, walked all over the neighborhood with our recycling and generally felt ourselves to be conscious and enlightened beings as we fed the locals real food.
Enter the vegan squatters! We were known throughout the neighborhood to give away a lot of food we hadn’t sold. “Do you have anything vegan to give away.” Hmmm… What’s that? I learned from them the basics of this beautiful approach to life and food and today’s Gone Pie was on its way to being.
I had found a structure and cohesion that were lacking in my previous real food philosophy. Once I learned about veganism, so many elements of my beliefs were so much clearer to me. Underlying all my concerns for food and the planet was a respect for life on earth. Nothing can more perfectly manifest this than veganism — a lifestyle totally free from animal products for the benefit of people, animals and the environment.
Environmentalism and nutrition are important to consider. Once I discovered veganism, I realized they were just aspects of the bigger picture. Veganism brought all my hippie dippy dreams together into a cohesive lifestyle.
My conservationist nature and concern for value in food are elements of what veganism means to me now. I understand they are not strictly part of the definition. But shouldn’t they be? How can food derived from highly processed ingredients such as white flour be truly vegan? How can highly packaged products be truly vegan? How can palm oil be considered vegan? Shouldn’t veganism embrace a lifestyle that minimally impacts our planet?
As a baker, I understand the joys of a decadent indulgent dessert. We need to be rewarded in this life. But as we seek to please our senses, we must consider how this is part of the big picture. Everything we do effects the environment. Just by living, we tax our planet. Shouldn’t we be careful to try and minimize this effect?
So that is what Gone Pie is – a diabolical plan to create truly delicious and, hopefully, responsible, vegan treats. We use, what one friend has called, “delicious science” to create exceptional baked goods that embrace this philosophy . Food is for tasting, and Gone Pie would not exist if our food was not good.
That is where the science comes in. Our recipes are involved and slightly annoying! We use combinations of ingredients when one might work. One might work, but a combination will always make for a more balanced flavor, and, hopefully, a more nutritionally balanced result.
I write these words hoping they resonate with those reading them. I hope I can share some of what has motivated me in my work. I plan on trying to reach more people this year by posting more recipes that can be made at home. I think nothing teaches a food philosophy like tasting it!
Have I won you over? Will you be replacing the margarine, the refined white flour and sugar in your recipes? I hope so! And so does the planet. We are all in this together, every time any one of us takes a well thought out conscious action to help our environment it is important. It is, in fact, received joyfully.