"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


'Swedish Chef' Makes Charoset for Vegan Cooking Competition

Last night, I went in character as Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show and made "Swedish-Style Charoset" for Veggie Conquest, a vegan cooking competition in New York City. If people didn't already know my history of contest antics, they probably could've guessed from my over-the-top Swedish Chef gimmick that I didn't go in expecting to win. (I did at least hope that people would find the dish edible and enjoyable.) The judges appeared to take me seriously and didn't quite know what to think! Click here to see a video of my Swedish Chef presentation and the Q&A.

Charoset is a Passover dish not commonly served otherwise, which led to some laughter and confusion among the in-crowd: The organizer, the DJ, the emcee, and two of the three judges were all apparently vegan Jews. The rules of the contest said that each dish must be a dessert containing cranberries. They did not say that cranberries had to be featured prominently, but some people thought that my combination of just apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and cranberry-plum wine lacked sufficient cranberry emphasis. On pieces of scrap paper left on the tables at the end of the night, they also had some other not-so-nice things to say:
  • Apple walnuts, eh?
  • UGH. raw apples, poorly seasoned, not marinated. NO CRAN.
  • Charoset – taste a lot of cinnamon, not much else 'til I got to the wine & walnut. Couldn't taste cranberry.
  • Cranberry not prominent
  • Ehhhhh .....
  • Horrible – no cranberries
  • Presentation foul ... Taste foul
  • Interesting thought. Can't taste cranberries. Not that good.
  • Nasty
In contrast, the winning dish (Rice Crepe With Cran-Ginger Sauce) got much better reviews from tasters:
  • So well rounded. Good texture, full combo. Cranberry essence. Sweet & tart. Beautiful presentation.
  • Nice crepe – beautiful! Very original! Cranberry sauce tangy & sweet, pistachios delicious – nice textures – very subtle ginger – lovely combination of flavors.
  • Yum!
  • Very good
  • Great presentation – yummy
  • Presentation nice
  • Crepes Rule!! (when vegan)
  • Good cranberry in Asian dish
Photos of both my dish and the winning dish are below. I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to determine which is which.


  • At 11/16/2009 8:28 AM, Anonymous Perlemanberg said…

    Yeah. When I was a recipe tester for the peta2 college cookbook, I was given your recipe to try out, and...I didn't give it the most glowing review. :) (And that was without the cranberry-plum wine!)

  • At 11/16/2009 10:49 AM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    Haha, I had forgotten that I'd submitted my charoset recipe for a cookbook!


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