Remember Hands Across America? Well, this is just like that, except with brownies and without all that icky hand holding and Liza Minnelli. The World Wide Vegan Bakesale is a loose knit network of vegans across the world holding bakesales for whatever they want. It’s a great chance to introduce people to the goodness that is a vegan chocolate chip cookie, plus make new friends and cute sparkly signs.
There’s still time to organize one in your area, or check out the list of participants and join on in. I had a chance to talk to friend and bakesale coordinator Gary Lowenthal about the event. Well, I emailed him some questions anyway.
PPK: Is there any bakesale in particular you wish you could attend? Don’t wanna make you play favorites, but did anything make you really wish you could be there?
Gary Lowenthal: I wish I could fly to all of them, preferably in a jet pack, but a conventional plane would do. So many bake sales – well, really, all of them – are awesome for their own reasons. I suppose if I had to pick just a few (that’s the best I can do), it would be the ones that are not in big cities and are put together by individuals who just want to participate, have a vegan bake sale, and raise money for a good cause. OTOH, there are some bake sales in Australia and New Zealand, and I’ve never to those places before, so that would be cool. Maybe next year!
What do you plan on baking?
Our group, Compassion for Animals, is having two bake sales. For one of the bake sales, I’m making the “Big Gigantoid Crunchy Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies” from VwaV, because it says right in the description that they flew off the table at a bake sale, and nobody got hurt. For the other bake sale, I’m thinking cheesecake, because it’s a real eye-opener when people taste their first bite of vegan cheesecake.
What is the most unexpected place for a bake sale?
I don’t know if this one is finalized yet, but we recently had a signup from Lagos, Nigeria.
What kinds of causes are people supporting?
Local animal shelters and rescue groups, a free spay / neuter mobile clinic, a women’s resource center, river cleanup efforts, and – still in the works – funds to help a friend who was diagnosed with brain cancer. The fundraising going on for these and other local causes is one of the goals and most fulfilling parts of the WVBS. Also, some participants are donating proceeds to well-known animal advocacy groups such as Vegan Outreach, and some groups are using their bake sale to raise money for their group.
I didn’t think you were much of a baker. Have you been baking a lot? Any advice for people who may not be that comfortable with a whisk?
I’m not a great baker! But I think nearly anyone can turn out great-tasting baked goods: Get all your ingredients out on the table, follow the directions, and stay calm. For klutzes like me, I recommend starting with cookies and muffins. Those seem almost foolproof. I also dog-ear the “tips” pages in cookbooks. I’ve really enjoyed baking for our “warm-up” bake sales – and seeing people’s reactions – and from the various online sources we link to on the web site. Ironically, I’m so busy right now with the WVBS, I’ll have more time to bake once it’s over.
Did you lay awake at night dreaming of the bakesale before deciding to actually do it?
The idea came to me in a blinding flash last November. But the original concept was roughhewn, and my colleagues at Compassion for Animals refined it. Then I put it off for a couple months. In February, I decided, “Let’s build a web site and email some groups and individuals to see if they want to participate.” Then I posted on the Post Punk Kitchen Forums and the rest is history.