Feed a vegan, save a kitty.
November 21, 2010 10:35 PM   Subscribe

A friend is coming to cat sit. He’s vegan. I’d like to leave food for him. Any ideas what? Oh, and no refrigeration available.

I know I can go to the local co-op and get plenty of vegan treats, but every vegan I’ve ever known has been extremely particular about what they eat, so I’m afraid of getting the wrong things. Are there staples that most vegans like? Are there vegan “safe bets”? As far as I know, he’s not a super-healthy eater; just doesn’t eat animal byproducts. To make it a little complicated, the fridge is on the blink, so I can’t leave anything that needs to be kept in a freezer or refrigerator. He’ll be here for only a few days.
posted by ericc to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Get him a bunch of stuff that is vegan that you would eat yourself. Chips, crackers, fruit, nuts, granola off the top of my head. If he's too picky to eat it, then it's yours, and at least you tried.

Is contacting him an option? That's the other thing I'd do, just ask straight up what kind o vittles he likes.
posted by seagull.apollo at 10:39 PM on November 21, 2010

Where are you? If you're in SoCal/Orange County/San Diego I can point you in the direction of some seriously badass groceries/restaurants with some delicious vegan treats.
posted by patronuscharms at 10:40 PM on November 21, 2010

Pineapples don't need to be refrigerated, everybody loves them, and they're perfect for the dreary weather outside. Whiskey doesn't necessarily need to be refrigerated, and neither does most red wine.
posted by halogen at 10:56 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: How about something homemade? Something that you put effort into would probably be well-received, even if it's kind of a flop. How about some home-made bread? Alton Brown's granola might be a bit cliché, but it's seriously delish and totally vegan.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:59 PM on November 21, 2010

Best answer: A bowl of clementines or mandarins would go over well with most vegans I know and would keep nicely. Also: pretzels (check the ingredients, but most are fine), imaginative fancy dark chocolates with interesting added flavors (orange, ginger, whatever), many varieties of ginger snaps (check for butter/milk/eggs), mixed nuts, nut butters (with crackers if you're brave enough to check ingredients), apples and bananas.
posted by charmedimsure at 11:07 PM on November 21, 2010

Dried fruit. Quinoa. Chocolate. Nuts.

I also like the whisky idea.
posted by jeffamaphone at 11:34 PM on November 21, 2010

Leave money for food.
posted by thorny at 11:49 PM on November 21, 2010

If you go with wine, watch out for finings. I like the pineapple idea myself.
posted by sculpin at 11:50 PM on November 21, 2010

Best answer: It's not that hard to find off-the-shelf products that are accidentally vegan. Most bread, chips, and crackers are (if you avoid calcium phosphate, whey, and the occasional egg, butter, or casein / caseinate). Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and Bacony Bac-Os are both vegan.

Okay, here's a shopping list for a few days of vegan food --
Soy milk and rice milk
Oats for oatmeal
Aunt Jemima Pancake mix

Peanut butter
Hummus (can be eaten on day 1, or you could get hummus mix)
A few cucumbers
3 almost-ripe avocados
Some apples
Bread or pita bread

More fruit

A few cans of beans (black and pinto)
A few cans of tomatoes, or tomatoes themselves
A squash or two
Maybe some mung beans or quinoa

Dark chocolate (read label to avoid milk or cream)
Ginger snaps
posted by salvia at 11:51 PM on November 21, 2010 [5 favorites]

Also, here are a few condiments that I consider vegan staples: Braggs, tahini, nutritional yeast, miso, and of course, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. But those are all like $7 bottles, of which they might use a tablespoon or two, so you know, probably no need to go all out.
posted by salvia at 11:57 PM on November 21, 2010

Best answer: salvia really nails it. I was vegan for a few years, and if I'd been staying at someone's house with the invitation to help myself to anything in the fridge/cupboards, I would have been delighted if there was/were

-(vegan) granola
-cans of beans
-peanut butter

If you really want the gold vegan star, leave foods that complement each other: kidney beans, salsa, and tortillas. Dried pasta, canned tomatoes, olive oil, and oregano. It's nice to be able to throw together a meal that makes sense instead eating a can of beans here, a scoop of peanut butter there.

Also, vegan snacks or treats are especially thoughtful, just because they can be so hard to find. I would often load up on dried beans, rice, and canned tomatoes at the grocery store, only to find I'd forgotten something small to nosh on. Dried or fresh fruit, nuts, nori, dark chocolate, potato chips, rice cakes...these things are nice to have around.
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 12:22 AM on November 22, 2010

Veggie jerky is totally fucked up and unhealthy, but tasty and fun.
posted by klangklangston at 1:01 AM on November 22, 2010

Beyond the staples, the most delicious vegan product ever made is the Field Roast Smoked Apple Sage Sausage. If you can find it, buy it. However, it wants to be refrigerated, so he should eat it first. You do have an igloo cooler or something, right?

And Klang is right, Jerquee is suspiciously yum, and provides an excellent jaw workout. I like the Spicy "Chicken" best myself.

If the guy has a car, after buying some thoughtful basics you might just want to leave him some money to visit the co-op himself ... I much prefer almond milk over soy, for example, and he probably has similar preferences about things.
posted by mumkin at 1:24 AM on November 22, 2010

posted by raccoon409 at 2:18 AM on November 22, 2010

Newman O's are vegan and pretty tasty.

Also how about leaving him a gift cert to a local restaurant? Or a gift cert to the co-op?
posted by countrymod at 5:45 AM on November 22, 2010

Oreos are not vegan. They contain sugar that's refined through bone char.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:26 AM on November 22, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you very much. I'll let you know if I get the gold vegan star.
posted by ericc at 8:35 AM on November 22, 2010

Oreos are not vegan. They contain sugar that's refined through bone char.

I had to check because I had been happily eating away under the assumption that these had the all-clear. They're still on PETA's "Accidentally Vegan" list (as Nabisco Oreo Cookies). Is the list wrong?

posted by lhall at 11:15 AM on November 22, 2010

(Re:oreos, I was obsessively vegan to the best of my abilities -- cochineal in some food colorings is boiled beetle shells, etc. -- but still drew the line at refined sugar, and from my conversations, was not the only one.)
posted by salvia at 11:38 AM on November 22, 2010

I think Oreos actually are vegan now; they're kosher now, and they didn't use to be because of the bone char thing, so I presume that they got rid of the bone char bit entirely (can't imagine they switched to sugar refined with the char of kosher bones).
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:47 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's a debate about it and even the things the accidentally vegan list on PETA's website has a disclaimer that some of the items on the list aren't 100% vegan. They say "*Items listed may contain trace amounts of animal-derived ingredients. While PETA supports a strict adherence to veganism, we put the task of vigorously reducing animal suffering ahead of personal purity. Boycotting products that are 99.9 percent vegan sends the message to manufacturers that there is no market for this food, which ends up hurting more animals."

I did a little googling and found that it's still up in the air whether or not Oreos are 100% vegan. There's some info here.

Personally, I'm not a vegan nazi and wouldn't lose sleep if I ate some Oreos that are only 99.9% vegan but other people may not feel the same and it should be up to them to make that choice.

Okay onto the topic at hand (I know I'm a little late), but I just wanted to say that I think you're awesome for thinking of your friend in this manner. He's probably already planning on bringing some stuff with him (we automatically assume places we go won't have food we can eat). I'd be wary with a lot of the fake meat products since a lot of vegans don't them. As someone else suggested, just go with things that are vegan by design. I suggest:

-Chips and salsa
-Peanut butter
-Bread (read the label and make sure it doesn't have eggs or honey in it)
-Fresh fruit (bananas, oranges, apples)
-Chocolate (lots of chocolate just naturally don't contain milk products, usually dark chocolate)
-Beer (most beer is vegan, you can usually google something if you aren't too sure)

Is he familar with the area that you live in? If not, maybe point him in the direction of some veg restaurants or ethnic restaurants since they always have veg options...like Thai, Vietnamese and Indian. Also, whatever you get him is going to be fine and he's really going to appreciate it so don't sweat over it too much.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:15 PM on November 22, 2010

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