Meet the Bloggers: Laura Beck

Categories: SFoodie, Vegan

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That's "cheese"cake Laura Beck is wide-mouthing. Seriously.
You read them here, now find out who the hell they are: We give you the diverse group of men and women who cover the local food and drink scene for you on SFoodie.

Laura Beck

Blogs about: vegan stuff, including SFoodie's Friday Week in Vegan roundup

As SFoodie's resident vegan blogger and Vegansaurus founding editor, Laura Hooper Beck's upbeat, ell-oh-ell prose is underpinned with a political fervency bordering on rage. I was a little nervous about our dinner meeting, remembering dreary meals with preachy militants in college. We met at the vegetarian wine bar Encuentro in Oakland, for a shared feast of pesto chickpea flatbread; a faux-cheese plate with macadamia, smoked pecan, and sundried tomato "cheeses"; and a vegan Reuben made with tempeh. Everything was surprisingly tasty (Laura loves to mock wide-eyed converts like me: "Hey, this vegan food doesn't taste like cardboard!") and our conversation was sharp, funny, political, and winning. So much for preconceived notions.

Jesse: When did you make the decision to go vegan?

Laura: It probably would have happened sooner if it wasn't for my freshman roommate at NYU. She's one of those obnoxious zealots who are like, "Yeah, you can't keep your eggs or cheese in our shared fridge." She ate these gross peanut chews like, 24/7, and she was always having nasty sex on the top bunk. I was interested in joining the campus animal rights group but my roommate was a member so there was no way I'd go.

Did you learn from her mistakes?

Definitely. I don't try to preach or shove my choices down other people's throats. At the same time, I've found a lot of people are very curious. My omni (omnivorous) friends are amazing. When they have a dinner party, they usually want to create a dialog, to learn more about my lifestyle and the vegan things they can cook.

Do you ever encounter resistance?

Oh my god yes. As soon as some people find out I'm vegan, they make it their mission to find some logical flaw in my choices. It's like baiting me is some kind of party game: "You realize vegans are like totally privileged, right? Why don't you go try to feed people in Africa or something?" Yeah, good point dude.

Don't get mad, but how would you counter people who say vegans are privileged?

I'm very aware of how lucky I am to be a white American living in the Bay Area. But that's all the more reason to live as ethically as I can. Do I advocate veganism in a third-world country where food choices are severely limited? Not at all. But I have the freedom and ability to make a politically conscious lifestyle choice, so I do.

Do you ever slip up?

Well it's not like I'll find myself eating a pork chop and be like, "Whoops!" but I still fuck up in smaller ways. Like the other day I had a chocolate bar that wasn't fair trade or sometimes I'll use commercial sugar that is bone-char processed. We can only strive for our best and it's not always going to be perfect. And sometimes the choices can be complicated.

What do you mean?

Like, is it better to buy organic produce that comes from Argentina or stuff that's locally sourced but non-organic? Is local honey an acceptable vegan diet option? Is it okay to wear leather, if it's something you bought before you went vegan? My friends have very different opinions about these things. It's not like there is a vegan rulebook and if you do the wrong thing, you're kicked out of the club.

Your writing has a lot of anger in it, but you seem so nice.

Ha, I get that a lot from people who have just met me. I'm a pretty nice person, but I also see a lot of problems in the world. Writing is where I channel all the anger that builds up in me every day, when I listen to NPR or read websites and hear about injustice and hypocrisy. It's a great outlet for me, so I can be more well-adjusted in everyday life.

Other blogger profiles :
-Lou Bustamante
-Tamara Palmer
-Alex Hochman

New York refugee Jesse Hirsch tweets at @Jesse_Hirsch. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.


My Voice Nation Help
11 comments
Julian
Julian

where do I find an online version of Laura's write up "The Big Veg" for 7x7?

donovan
donovan

I've been reading Laura faithfully since the Yelp days, before she started Vegansaurus. I think she is an absolutely brilliant writer, and just plain funny as hell. There is no one like her.

Julie
Julie

I love Vegansaurus!

sam_c
sam_c

Love me some Laura! Yay, this interview!

celine
celine

another big fan of Laura's writing style here. also, I want the cheesecake she's having.

Keri Siry
Keri Siry

I would also like to point out that "angry" writing can be FUNNY! Having a sense of humor helps when conveying sad and depressing news every day. Keep up the good work Laura! So glad to see your name/writing all over the place.

Gena
Gena

I really love this profile, but I disagree that Laura's writing is angry! I think it's sharp and tough minded, but warm and compassionate in the best of ways :)

Marie
Marie

I read Vegansaurus every day even though I live in ... France! (and I'm French and Vegan, which should at least take me to level 5 vegan) Vegansaurus is the best vegan website I know and I am dangerously addicted to it. Laura, please keep doing just exactly what you've been doing so far, you guys-girls are so great!

Bob
Bob

I read Vegansaurus every day even though I'm in Chicago. She doesn't suffer bullshit and she doesn't just complain either. She posts so much about positive things happening in the world, things that reduce suffering, and while the angry posts are great too, I love that the site balances it with examples of awesome people doing awesome things.

Julia loves Joey
Julia loves Joey

Laura is an amazing person and her vegan cupcakes are delicious

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