First, I have two events coming up in the next week in Chicagoland and it would mean the world to me if you can come or spread the word about them.
This Saturday, October 17 at 2 pm I'm doing a reading/signing at the Borders in Oak Park (1144 Lake St.) It's the debut of Ballads of Suburbia, my Oak Park novel, in Oak Park, my hometown. So I'm both excited and totally nervous about it. I'm hoping for a good turnout and a lively discussion following the reading. But since it's a solo event those are harder to get people out to. So please, please come if you can or spread the word about it if you can't. There is full information on this Facebook event invitation.
I'm also reading as part of the Bookslut Reading Series on Tuesday, October 20 at 7:30 pm at Hopleaf in Chicago (5148 N. Clark Street, 2nd Floor). Mary Caponegro and Matthew Gavin Frank will also be reading and books will be available for sale (and signing!) courtesy of Barbara's Books. And here is the facebook invite for that one.
Lastly for those of you interested in taking a writing workshop from me. I'm teaching a special one-night class on Monday November 16th at the Story Studio in Chicago and all the details can be found here.
Then here are some fun things to listen to. YA Literature Review posted both a podcast interview with me and a podcast review of Ballads of Suburbia! It was the first interview I've ever done via Skype and it was loads of fun. So listen to the interview here and check out the Ballads review here.
Now, onto today's wedding details. Originally I planned to discuss both the food and the music here today, but then I realized I could split up those topics and talk about the music tomorrow over at the MTV Books blog, which seems like an appropriate place (since my MTV books are about music at least, I know MTV itself is not really associated with music anymore sadly).
One of things we received the most compliments on about the wedding (aside from the ceremony which I discussed here yesterday in case you missed it) was the food and I can't tell you how much that pleased me since, with the exception of cheese pizza for my pizza-loving husband, it was entirely vegan.
I did this for a few reasons. 1. Since I was 10 years old, I've gone out of my way to avoid causing animals to suffer. This started with not buying animal tested products, moved on to vegetarianism, then not buying leather, then complete veganism. I don't spend money on things that harm or kill animals. So why would I pay X-amount per person for dead animals just because it is customary to eat meat at weddings. My wedding, my money, that is not how I'm going to spend it. 2. I can't count how many weddings I've been to where my only options were salad at worst and some kind of pasta at best. I even had to bring my own food to one wedding. I was going to eat well at my own wedding, dammit and... 3. I was going to show the world (or at least my family and closest friends) that vegan/vegetarian food is delicious and comes in sooooo many other forms besides salad and pasta.
Vegan food for the wedding was definitely my number one priority and it worked out a lot more easily than I thought it would and was incredibly cost effective. We opted not to do the sit down dinner thing. Partially because of the cost, but largely because the sit down dinner part has always been the least fun part of weddings to me. I like the dancing, the mingling, the drinking and cavorting. I'm also a grazer. I love many small meals and I love love love appetizers. So that was what we planned to have. We decided our wedding would take place at 8pm, so it would be clear to people that they should eat beforehand (we also mentioned on the invite that the food would be appetizers).
The next issue was finding a place with vegan food options or a place that would let us cater in. We looked at one place with an attached restaurant that had lots of vegetarian food, but ultimately we chose Molly Malone's. Why chose an Irish pub that specializes in things like corned beef? Because when I emailed them and asked them about catering in, they said their chef would be happy to make us whatever we wanted. When we met with them, Brigid the event coordinator came armed with a ton of vegan appetizer recipes that she had researched and the chef truly was excited about experimenting with vegan cooking. (I've met my fair share of chefs who are just plain snobby about veganism, like food is nothing without meat and dairy). Brigid invited us to go through our own recipes and hers and to come back to her with about 7 choices. They would then cost things out and come up with the 5 dishes that fit our budget.
Ultimately we chose:
Vegan Black Bean Quesadillas (one of their recipes)
Vegan Pesto Pepperoni roll-ups (one of their recipes)
Sweet Potato Puffs (a recipe my friend Tai found)
and Pizza, the only thing they did with non-vegan cheese, but they did use vegetarian pepperoni and veggies as toppies, no meat!
I was so pleasantly surprised on my actual wedding day when I walked up to our buffet and found they'd added three other items!
Phyllo Triangles (dough stuffed with spinach and ricotta-like tofu blend, like spanakopita)
Vegan cheese & chive muffins
Tofu satay skewers (a recipe from a fancy vegan restaurant that Tai found)
Again, this just goes to show the difference it makes to go to a local business rather than a big hotel or banquet chain. The personal touches at Molly Malone's were just unbelievable!
Anyway, my Aunt Judy took a picture of the food, so you can drool over it. We had tons of leftovers. Everything but the black bean quesadillas and guac so I guess those were particularly popular. It was so good!
Probably the biggest food hit of the evening were our vegan cupcakes though. I discovered Vegan Bomb at a local craft fair this spring. I was on a hunt for vegan wedding cake and figured I'd go through one of the big vegan friendly restaurants or bakeries in Chicago, but then I ate a Strawberries & Cream cupcake by Vegan Bomb and I thought cupcakes.... cupcakes would be way more fun than cake. I got the Vegan Bomb info and set up a tasting with them so Scott could see how gloriously delicious their cupcakes were.
Vegan Bomb is a brand new business and they don't have a storefront at this point, so we met at a Starbucks and they brought us about a dozen cupcakes to try. Scott and I both agreed they were better than ANY cupcake we'd ever had, not just any vegan cupcake.
Plus the advantage to choosing cupcakes over wedding cake (besides cost, we spent hundreds less than we would have on a cake) was picking multiple flavors. We chose:
Coconut Lime (the type of cupcake we fed each other)
Strawberries and Cream
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Cookies and Cream
and Chocolate Ganache, which was this chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting entirely covered with a thin, hard layer of chocolate and multi colored sprinkles. As Scott says, it takes just like a hostess cupcake.
Sadly I don't have any pictures of me and Scott feeding each other cupcakes yet, but here's some deliciousness for you to drool over.
My friend Anna shows the response of many guests to the cupcakes:
So, I'll leave you drooling and be back tomorrow with more fun wedding details and pictures and a new Women Who Rock Wednesday! But if you are in the Chicago area, know that you can order Vegan Bomb cupcakes at 773-558-6582. Trust me, you will want to get them for any occasion you are in need of a dessert for!