Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment, The Vegan Mos



Get the Fresh Fruit Tart recipe Caryn talks about in this episode!

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment, The Vegan Mos, NYC Vegan

michael-suchmanMichael Suchman is a recovering lawyer. After practicing in the field of Corporate Litigation for 12 years, he was tired of representing corporations over the interests of individuals. Since stopping practicing, he has come to recognize that the law needs to work more on helping all individuals, regardless of species. When not running the show at Chelsea Foot and Ankle, Michael can be found either in the kitchen trying out new recipes, watching Dr. Who, or taking photos the old fashioned way, with an actual 35mm camera. You can check out his photography at here. He and Ethan are proud to be Barnyard Benefactors for Our Hen House and Guardian Circle members of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Michael is a certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator and a proud graduate of Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan Academy. He is also a certified by PCRM as a Food For Life Instructor. Michael lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with his husband Ethan and their vegan dogs, Riley and Charlie.

ethan-cimentEthan J. Ciment is passionate about social justice and is a vocal advocate of equality for all, regardless of species. Raised in an Orthodox Jewish family, and coming from a long family line of kosher butchers, Ethan woke up in his late thirties to the realities of animal exploitation when caring for his ailing dog, Chandler. When not lending his voice to those who cannot speak for themselves, Ethan is a podiatric surgeon in private practice in at Chelsea Foot and Ankle in New York City. Ethan is proud to serve on the Board of Directors of Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Both Michael and Ethan are proud Barnyard Benefactors for Our Hen House and Guardian Circle members of The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Ethan lives in Williamsburg, Brooklyn with his husband Michael and their vegan dogs, Riley and Charlie.

Since 2009, It’s All About Food, has been bringing you the best in up-to-date news regarding food and our food system. Hosted by Caryn Hartglass, a vegan since 1988, the program includes in-depth interviews with medical doctors; nutritionists; dietitians; cook book authors; athletes; environmental, animals and health activists; farmers; food manufacturers; lawyers; food scientists and more. Learn about how we can solve many of the world’s problems today and do it deliciously, here on It’s All About Food.


Caryn Hartglass: Hello everybody! Hi, everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and it’s time for It’s All About Food, and I’m here in the Progressive Radio Network Studio. I’m kind of excited. I started this show over 8 years ago, and I remember the first few episodes were really kind of nerve-wracking. The studio was in another building at the time, and I was all alone in this closed room. I had never done a show before, and I was talking to myself. I was not used to talking to myself out loud, and it took awhile to get used to it, to find my rhythm. Here I am over 8 years later, and we’re now live-streaming. So, I can see myself, and I’m not alone anymore. I have myself to talk to right in front of me. This is really fun! So, if you want to, you can not only hear the show, but see the show. I’ve got this lovely background behind me- the blue ocean, and that makes me want to talk about where I just came from. I just spent the last two and a half weeks in the Bay area, and I just came back to New York this morning on a red-eyed flight. I’m glad there’s air-conditioning in here to keep me cool and awake because I didn’t get much sleep today, but it was a fantastic trip. Of course, there was lots of food involved, and I want to talk about that. We’ve got some great guests coming in later today. We’ve got Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment, The Vegan Mos, and they’ve got this wonderful cookbook, NYC Vegan: Iconic Recipes for a Taste of the Big Apple. So, we’ll be talking about a lot of great New York Vegan food shortly, but first, my last trip to the Bay area. I go there kind of frequently; we have some favorite places that we visit. But…this time we did some new things. The first thing I want to talk about is walking. We’ve been doing a lot more walking. When I say “we” that’s my partner Gary and I, and we’ve been walking an hour or two a day. We happen to be staying in Palo Alto near Stanford University, where they have this wonderful Dish Trail. I am not sure if you have heard about it or know about it, but it takes about, it took us about and hour and forty-five minutes or maybe a little bit more to go from where we were staying to the trail and back. Really lovely dry heat, and walking is really good for you. Something that kind of annoys me when I leave Manhattan, where I don’t own a car and walk everywhere- leave New York City, not just Manhattan, but all over New York City, and go to California, where you can’t seem to survive without a car. This trip we did a lot of walking, and it made a tremendous difference. I feel really good, and one nice thing about a lot of exercise is you get really hungry. Then, the food tastes really good when you get to eating. So, let’s talk about some food. One restaurant that we visited in Palo Alto area, we had been there before; it’s called Veggie Garden. It is a very unassuming place in a little strip mall; you don’t expect anything from it. Well, this time it was amazing. I like what is called Veggie Duck, which is made from bean curd skin. Are you familiar with bean curd skin? It may not sound good when I describe it, but believe me it is fantastic. So, do you know when you cook milk, and it gets a skin on the top? I don’t know anybody who likes that skin, but if you cook soymilk, you get a skin on the top too just like dairy milk. Some people got very clever about this skin, and they actually, I don’t know how they do it, they take the skin. They dry it out, and it becomes this chewy soy food that can be seasoned with anything. A lot of these Asian restaurants now make different kinds of dishes with it, and a lot of them call it, some of them, “Veggie Duck”. This one was unlike any I had ever had before. It was indescribable and fantastic. So, if you are ever in the Bay area in Palo Alto please check out Veggie Garden, and try the duck! Another one I wanted to mention is, maybe you have tried it- it’s a chain. It’s called Sweetgreen. They seem to be in places where there are universities with students who want to eat well but quickly. So, they are these fast food restaurants where they make salad, and there are some salad menus where it’s a set number of ingredients or you can make your own. So, they pile all the ingredients in a big bowl and mix it up. It’s fantastic. I had this Thai watermelon salad with arugula, and watermelon, and blueberries, and a pesto- a vegan pesto. It was fantastic, and I find, especially when traveling, when you are in the mood for a big salad and you don’t have the opportunity to make one for yourself, sometimes it’s hard to find a place that makes a fantastic salad. We need to eat big salads everyday! Why? Because we need to keep things moving. The fiber is what keeps things moving. Very good. Now, another thing, it’s been hot in California, and I’m sure it was hot here in New York and hot in a lot of places. Maybe not hot everywhere, but when it’s hot, we need to hydrate. That means drink…drink water or drink flavored water. One thing that I’ve been doing is cold brewing different kinds of teas. Now, it could be caffeinated teas or not. Some of our recent favorites, especially when it’s really hot is Teeccino. Have you tried Teeccino? It’s a grain beverage, tastes like coffee, and it comes with some different flavors, like Hazelnut and Vanilla. When you brew it, and there’s many different ways you can brew it, like coffee. You can brew it like tea. You could make up your own way to brew it. Then, you chill it and add your favorite non-dairy milk, like a vanilla almond or something. It’s fantastic. It’s a Frappuccino or whatever those fancy ice drinks are with the rich milks and the coffee. Only it has no caffeine, and it has none of that animal stuff in it. Then, another one I like to make is Hibiscus. Now, I’m lucky because I have a friend who lives in Costa Rica, and she grows Hibiscus. Whenever she comes here or whenever I go there, I get a big bag of dried Hibiscus leaves. I know that I can buy them just about anywhere. You can brew them, and if you add dried fruit while you’re brewing it, like raisins and other dried fruit, it’s sweet. It makes a really wonderful cold, refreshing drink for summer. I wish I had some right now, but I just flew in, and I haven’t had time to make anything. So, we’ll have to take care of that later. I noticed, during this trip especially, because it was so hot… Do you feel this way when it’s hot? You don’t really want to have cooked food; you want to have cool food, wet food, like fruits and juicy foods. I said wet foods. I meant juicy foods. That kind of sounds better, doesn’t it? Well, we like to go to a place called the Vegetarian House in San Jose, and I like to call it our home away from home. It’s an Asian-style restaurant, but they have a huge menu, and everything is vegan. The service is fantastic. They’re there to be kind and compassionate, and we have our typical favorites. I wasn’t in the mood for any of them. We usually go for this really big soup that has all of these bizarre things in it- I don’t even know what they are, but they’re chewy and tasty and good- and then this big cabbage salad, Heavenly salad, which is fantastic. I didn’t want that. They have some raw vegan dishes, and I went for the spicy Thai wrap, which was a collared roll, and it was filled with cabbage, and carrots, and bell peppers, and mint, and an almond sauce, and I think there was coconut noodles in there, but it didn’t list that on the menu so maybe it was something new. Whatever it was it was fantastic. When it’s hot and you want something juicy and hydrating, it’s great to have these kinds of foods. Then…. I love talking about food, and it’s kind of fun to remember all these things that we had. We invited the boss over for dinner, and what do you do when the boss is coming over for dinner? You make meatloaf, right? We have a meatloaf recipe that we use this whole grain base made from red rice, black rice, millet, and Triticum- which some people call Kamut and a variation of it is farro. So, these four different grains and they come together and make a really lovely texture, a chopped meat like texture, only it’s a plant chopped meat- a plant meat. The colors come together really nicely, too. You have the black forbidden rice gives a purplely-ness. Red rice is red, obviously. The millet looks like little bits of gristle, if you would. The farro or the Kamut is kind of crunchy and chewy, and when they all come together, they make a fantastic meatloaf. We have this recipe at ResponsibleEatingandLiving.com. Check it out. Make it with Gary’s spicy marinara, and serve it to your boss. Everybody loves it; they’ll go for seconds. So, moving on… My very favorite recipe that I want to talk about is my raw fruit tart. Now, last year I came up with a recipe… I’m waving because my guests are here, and they’re welcome to come in at any time. I made this raw fruit custard tart last year. It had a gluten free crust and a cashew custard topped with berries; it’s fantastic. I needed to make a dessert for someone who didn’t want sugar in the dessert. I could use date puree. So, I came up with a new version of this, and it’s better than anything I can’t believe it. I’d really love you to try it because it’s fantastic. I made it twice in one week for different parties that we went to. Let me tell you what it is. The crust… I don’t know if you’ve ever made raw desserts; the crust is typically made from dried fruit and nuts. So, I combined raisins with pecans and almonds. Now, I added one more secret ingredient. So, in my original fruit tart, and if you’ve ever had a classic fruit tart, vegan or not, typically on top of the crust is a layer of chocolate. The chocolate is there to kind of seal the crust so that the custard doesn’t soften the crust too much. Now, I wasn’t going to do that with the raw pie, but I wanted that chocolate flavor. I added cacao nibs with the raisins, pecans, and almonds, and I didn’t know how it was going to come out. Let me tell you it was better than anything I have ever imagined. Then, the filling was cashews with the date puree and topped with fresh berries. It looks fantastic; it’s beautiful. Anyone can make this, and I hope you try it. That’s my gift for you.


Transcript Part II:

Caryn Hartglass: Shall we bring on my guests? They’re here, why not? Let’s take advantage of them. (chuckles) I got these two nice-looking guys here in the studio with me, and I’m going to introduce them.

We’ve got… I hope I pronounce your names right. Michael “Zuckman.”

Michael Suchman: Suchman.

Caryn Hartglass: Suchman! It’s a soft “ch” like “such!” What do you know! And you are such a man. Right? (laughs)

Michael Suchman: Exactly. Thanks for that one.

Ethan Ciment: ‘Cause he’s vegan.

Caryn Hartglass: We’re going to learn more about them, but just briefly reading your little bios.

Michael has been hooked on cooking since the age of seven and believes he becomes his true self when he’s in the kitchen. Michael believes passionately in vegan food as activism; he’s a certified vegan life coach and educator through Main Street Vegan Academy. He’s also a certified food-for-life instructor through the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, and Michael is a recovering lawyer—we’ll talk a little bit about that too, having practiced in the field of corporate litigation for twelve years. He is also an accomplished photographer whose work can be seen in private collections in New York, Palm Beach, and Los Angeles. Whoo! Michael, nice!

And Ethan… “Cement.”

Ethan Ciment: Got it.

Caryn Hartglass: Love that name, Ciment. I’m just going to digress for a moment ‘cause when I think of Ciment—I got a Masters in chemical engineering and my thesis was on the hydration of cement.

Ethan Ciment: Wow. And that’s with the “ce.” (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: I know it’s spelled differently and I know I spelled your name wrong when I was communicating. Anyway, that’s what it made me think of, and I don’t remember any of that thesis I wrote.

But let’s talk about Ethan now. He’s a pediatric surgeon in private practice in New York City. He’s a fellow of American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedic and Medicine. Ethan is the founder and director of the Chelsea Foot & Ankle Center in Manhattan—I said ankle again; I probably have ankle issues and we can talk about that later. He treats the entire spectrum of foot and ankle medicine, and surgery. Raised in an orthodox Jewish family and coming from a long line of kosher butchers.

Ethan woke up in his late thirties to the realities of animal exploitation while caring for his ailing dog, Chandler. Having discovered the health benefits of a plant-based diet, Ethan decided to go fully vegan. He now actively promotes the health benefits of a plant-based vegan diet to his patients. Nice!

Ethan Ciment: (whispers) Yeah. (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs) Ethan serves on the board of directors of Woodstock Farms Sanctuary, an organization that is near and dear to his heart. They live in Brooklyn with their two neurotic but lovable two vegan dogs, Riley and Charlie. Thank you for coming in on this lovely hot day in New York.

Michael Suchman: Thank you for having us.

Ethan Ciment: Thanks.

Caryn Hartglass: We’re going to be talking about… NYC Vegan: Iconic Recipes for a Taste of The Big Apple. Okay, we’re going to get to it. This is a very fun book.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. I don’t know if you heard this, but I just flew in from the Bay Area redeye.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Oh!

Caryn Hartglass: I haven’t been asleep yet so I’m just running on through—

Ethan Ciment: Is this the one that circled last night for an hour before it landed at three in the morning?

Caryn Hartglass: No!

Ethan Ciment: ‘Cause that’s what happened to our associated chemo from the Bay Area last night.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh goodness, no! We were on Jet Blue, no problem.

Ethan Ciment: He was treating patients this morning.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh my goodness. I’m glad I wasn’t one of those patients. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: It’s going to be hard for me to talk about these foods because I’m going to get very hungry, very quickly.

So veganism, vegan food: it’s not just a cuisine. There’s a lot of stuff behind being vegan, and I love when I go into so many vegan restaurants, the owners are full of love and committed, and they’re on a mission. It’s unlike any other kind of cuisine. We have a message. (laughs)

Michael Suchman: Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: And we all have stories that brought us to this place. So I need to hear your stories. Let’s start with you, Michael Suchman.

Michael Suchman: Correct. But actually it makes more sense to start with Ethan because he started the journey.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh right, okay. We’ll start with Ethan.

Ethan Ciment: Yeah.

Michael Suchman: That’d be like starting with chapter two rather than chapter one. (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, yes. Now before we start, let’s just make a disclaimer.

Ethan Ciment: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: We’re going to be talking a little bit about religion. I’ve said many times on this show that I’m not a religious person; I was raised Jewish. But I don’t want to offend anyone here. Is this all about love? We’re tuning in love? Then we love everyone and whatever they believe in. We all have our unique experiences and let’s go.

Michael Suchman: All three of us were raised Jewish, so yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, l’chaim! (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: L’Chaim is right. Our journey began, I guess, with me going on a much-needed health kick. I was about 42 pounds heavier than I am, and I was on a statin for high cholesterol.

Caryn Hartglass: Whoa!

Ethan Ciment: I was in my late thirties and doing everything that the standard American diet leads you to. I eventually got to a place where I was feeling sick all the time, I wasn’t doing well. A friend of mine got in touch with me, actually The Vegan Drag Queen Honey LaBronx.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh yeah!

Ethan Ciment: I’ve known them for years and he said, “Hey! I saw that you’re going on this Weight Watchers kick,” which I announced with a bunch of friends on Facebook; we were doing it sort of competitively. He said, “You know, I’ve been doing things a little vegetarian. You might want to look into this. I read this really interesting book,” and it was The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food by Jeffrey Masson. I read it and I closed it, and I said to Michael, “I’m a vegetarian.”

Now I lapsed in and out of vegetarianism throughout my life. I never did it more for any reason other than I thought I was doing something good for the animals. And my health. Then the more I realized, “Wow, aquaculture. What’s that? What’s a factory farm?” I had never heard of a factory farm. So I really started to learn, and the more I learned, the more I started to open my eyes and wake up and realize that I couldn’t look away from what I had knew. So one thing led to another, and by Thanksgiving that year (within six months), I’d already dropped the 42 pounds. It wasn’t really the Weight Watchers as much as the plant-based diet. I basically said to Michael, “If I can do Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year, vegan, I can do anything vegan.” We had gone up to his family gathering up in West Chester every year like we normally do. I just did the salad, and I think everybody thought I was still doing the Weight Watchers. We had actually made an entire vegan roast back at home; it was a tofurky with all this other stuff. Long story short: made the meal and I said to Michael at the end of it, “That’s it. I’m doing it, I’m vegan.”

Caryn Hartglass: Whoo! (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: That’s when things got a little bit interesting, right?

Michael Suchman: Yeah, that’s when it became a mixed marriage. (chuckles)

Ethan Ciment: (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: I think when everybody when they first wake up, they want everyone else around them to wake up too.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, yeah. “Don’t you get it?”

Ethan Ciment: Exactly.

Michael Suchman: It’s all coming from a great place and it happens to everybody. But as you learn when you start pushing someone and pushing someone, you’re pushing them away. So I just kept resisting and resisting, even though in my heart of hearts, I knew everything Ethan was saying was absolutely true. ‘Cause there’s no way this chicken breast got on my plate without a chicken having been killed.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, and a lot more than that.

Michael Suchman: And a lot more than that. That was probably the best portion of the chicken’s existence was okay, at least no more suffering and pain right now.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Michael Suchman: But I still dug my heels in. You’re not going to tell me what to do. Then I was home one day watching Oprah, as one does—

Ethan Ciment: (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: —and she had Kathleen Freston on, and she talked up about being flexitarian and leaning into veganism.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, how lovely.

Michael Suchman: Start with Meatless Mondays. I was like, “Okay, that I’m willing to do.” So I did Meatless Mondays for a couple of weeks, and it was one of those Mondays where I forgot what days it was. I accidentally had some animal product, I’d get really upset, and I’d do it the next day. But once I was able to do it consistently, I added on Tofu Tuesdays, Vegetable Wednesdays—

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Michael Suchman: —Tempeh Thursdays, Fruit Fridays till I got all seven days. I didn’t say a word to Ethan about this.

We were at a friend’s birthday party down at Asbury Park, New Jersey. We knew that there would be nothing there that Ethan would choose to eat because there’d be nothing vegan, and there would be nothing there that I would choose to eat because it was mostly wheat chips and cookies, which, hey, I’m a big fan of but not really what I was wanting. We knew there was a pizza place nearby that had a full vegan menu. So we decided that after the party, we’d go over there, get dinner. So we sat down, looked at the menu. Ethan said, “Do you know what you’re going to have?” And I said, “Well, I know what I would want to get, but I know what I’m ordering.” I ordered off the vegan menu and, at the end of the meal, I looked at Ethan and said, “That’s it, I’m vegan. It’s been seven days.”

Caryn Hartglass: Aw.

Ethan Ciment: (popping sounds) I had a timer. I have no idea.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Michael Suchman: Exactly. It probably took about eighteen months or so from start to finish for me. So it was a definitely more of a gradual process but, as Ethan knows, that’s how I tend to approach things.

Ethan Ciment: Yeah, and I’m more of a “I sit there and I think about it.” Then when I make it connect, boom! Done.

Caryn Hartglass: Beautiful.

Ethan Ciment: We’re different, but we got to the same place.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, so since you went through this transition journey, I assume that you support the messages. There are different groups out there. You mentioned flexitarian, Reducetarian, Meatless Mondays—all these different “not quite there,” but it helps you get there, right?

Ethan Ciment: Exactly. I’d rather someone be vegan at least one day a week than no days a week. Or if you could do it seven days a week before six o’clock, that’s better than no days a week before six o’clock. Every little bit does help the animals. Ideally, I’d love for it to be seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day.

Caryn Hartglass: We have a lot of polarization going on in the country with our government and politics.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: (snickering)

Michael Suchman: What are you talking about?

Ethan Ciment: We do?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, we do. But it also lends itself to veganism too because there are the abolitionist, and they don’t think that these transition steps are the right way to promote the message. I think anything works. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: Yeah, I think different things work for different people. It’s certainly taken me a long time, the first ten years of my practice, to realize that everything that I was taught in med school when I was in MCM and all of my training—it doesn’t necessarily work the same way in everybody because we are all in very meaningful ways different. I think that applies to the way that our brains work and the way that our psyches work. We all have very different ways of integrating information, patterning behaviors.

When it comes to something like that, they think that certain things are going to reach someone like me that won’t reach someone like Michael. Versus—maybe the flipside, right? There are people for whom flexitarian, let’s say, is something that Michael could embrace and say, “Yeah, this is the way I’m going to lean into this.” But that wasn’t his end goal. His end goal was to say, “Could I do more? Can I do more?” As long as these first steps are what they are and not an end goal, then I’m good with whatever it takes to get people to go there. Because life patterns are hard, and these are really deeply seated things.

But as it pertains to messaging and community—are you a welfarist or are you an abolitionist—I have yet to meet someone who identifies as a welfarist who is not wholly for the abolition of animals. That’s sort of like coming to a negotiation and saying, “I want everything now, and if you don’t give me that, then I don’t want any of it!” Anyone who’s had to do a negotiation knows that it’s not exactly the most strategic way to get things to work. I’m certainly not calling out the abolitionists because I personally identify as one—so I identify as a welfarist not to piss off my abolitionist friend.

Caryn Hartglass: Sure, sure. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: But the reality is that there’s room for all of this to exist because there is such diversity within the human family. Different things work for different people.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m digressing again, but I was just thinking. I played Cinderella in the musical Into the Woods and she sings this song on the steps of the palace—I don’t know if you’re familiar with it. She comes to this epiphany as the prince is pursuing her, she doesn’t know. Does she want to go off with the prince? Who is she, she’s a nobody, she should stay with her stepsisters and her stepmother. And she ultimately decides not to decide.

I thought, that’s where I’m at. I’m deciding not to decide here between one or the other. I know what I am and I’m a vegan all the way. And I will promote in the best way that I can: in the most loving, non-judgmental, compassionate way. (laughs) Yeah, so I believe in both.

Michael Suchman: Well, thank you. As you were both saying, I think everyone will agree that the end goal is stop using animals. So when it comes to welfare and people go, “Well, I don’t want the animals to suffer,” at least now you’re getting them to think the animals have feelings. They’re going to be hurting. If you don’t want them to hurt, okay, that’s a good first step. Now let’s take the next step.

Caryn Hartglass: And when the food’s so good!

Ethan Ciment: Right.

Michael Suchman: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m shaking you all! When the food’s so good. When it’s plant food, it’s really good. You don’t need to eat the animals, right?

Ethan Ciment: That’s true.

Michael Suchman: Well, what are you putting on the animals to make them taste good anyway? Plants!

Caryn Hartglass: Exactly. Herbs, spices, and sauces.

Ethan Ciment: That’s true.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, good. I’m glad that you’re doing all of this.

Michael Suchman: Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: I want to dig into this book in a minute, but can we just pull the camera back? Broader picture. Connect the dots. We’re not… I’m just—

(group laugh)

Ethan Ciment: I’m like, “I didn’t know this would be on camera, recording.” It’s humid hair day.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I know. There’s no camera guy here. But veganism is about treating all life with dignity and respect, no exploitation. Exploitation is all around us in so many different ways. I know that you’ve experienced it in your life. So how does that mix with your choice to be vegan?

I just want to say and I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, but I was raised Jewish and I was in Hebrew school. It was the first place where I experienced discrimination as a woman because I was in a conservative synagogue. All the boys who were very good students, they got all the honors and all the privileges and all the special prayers. I didn’t, and I didn’t get that.

Ethan Ciment: I get that.

(group laugh)

Ethan Ciment: I get that, deeply. I’ve experienced discrimination raised as orthodox Jewish. I used to wear a yarmulke going out everywhere as a kid, so it’s very obvious when someone doesn’t like you. Certainly back then in Maryland. It isn’t like how it is today when I was growing up. There were plenty of people who would scream out of car if we were walking home from synagogue on a Saturday “dirty Jew” and things like that. My parents told me what happened to them when they were kids and how they were discriminated against.

So I think I was well-prepared growing up that way that when I came out at twenty as gay, I realized that, “Hey, I’m all ahead of this.” And it’s different, that’s the thing that I realize.

There’s a lot of talk about intersectional advocacy in the movement and I think that’s great because we are stronger together. All the different oppress groups and all the different disenfranchised groups advocating for each other as allies to each other is great. Think it’s important for us to understand though: it’s not ever quite the same.

I can advocate for you as a woman and I’m proudly feminist and pro-women’s rights, but I don’t actually understand what it’s like because I’m a white male privilege. It’s just the same way how it’s different. Like how I can’t advocate for Black Lives Matters knowing exactly what that feels like, but I know what it’s similar to. The discriminations that I’ve experienced in my life is similar to the discrimination of homophobia, but it’s not the same. Just like how the experience of speciesism which I’m sure none of us—

Caryn Hartglass: We have no idea what that’s like, right.

Ethan Ciment: We have no idea what’s that like. But I imagine that’s also quite different.

Michael Suchman: For me growing up in northern Westchester, the neighborhood my parents first moved into actually had anti-Semitic covenants in the neighborhood bylaws.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Michael Suchman: We were maybe the third Jewish family in the neighborhood. “They’re not enforced.” “Well, then we need to get rid of them.”

Caryn Hartglass: Wow.

Ethan Ciment: And they did.

Michael Suchman: And they did. Remember being on the school bus in first grade in the mid ‘70s and someone who was several years older than I was on his way to Hebrew school. There were kids in the back of the bus teasing him, “Oh, you have to go to the Jew school now.” I was like, wow. What’s wrong with that? This shame for just being Jewish, and I didn’t quite understand why would someone do that.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I think what we’re all discovering now is that we had a few decades where things seemed to be politically correct and everyone was polite. But we didn’t know that there was this—

Ethan Ciment: The underlying rage was still there.

Michael Suchman: Seething rage.

Caryn Hartglass: Racism, sexism, and all kinds of…

Ethan Ciment: Hate.

Caryn Hartglass: Hate. Just brewing and stewing, and now it’s released. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: Absence of love. (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: Lack of acceptance.

Ethan Ciment: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. I think veganism is the healer of everything.

Michael Suchman: It’s kind of the culmination of it all, isn’t it?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Ethan Ciment: A great thing is that our friend, David, says: “vegan is love.” He always says that, and I think it really is.

Caryn Hartglass: And that’s what we’re doing here on It’s All About Food. We tune in love! Just in case you forgot, I wanted to remind you. Okay, let’s talk about food.

Michael Suchman: Awesome.

Caryn Hartglass: The name of this show is It’s All About Food. It’s my favorite subject. There are lots of wonderful recipes and they’re based on New York favorites that you veganized. Fantastic. There are some things that I want to pick out that I thought were fun. Rice paper.

Ethan Ciment: Yes. (laughs)

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs) Now, you don’t think about New York City when you say rice paper. My partner, Gary, and I, we first discovered the wonders of rice paper not just in a summer roll. I interviewed Roberto Martin who wrote the cookbook Vegan Cooking for Carnivores. You mentioned Kathleen Freston before, on Oprah. He was the chef for Ellen Degeneres.

Michael Suchman: That’s why I knew his name.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. During their moment when they were vegan (chuckles)—now they’re something close, I can’t—

Michael Suchman: (chuckles) Yeah. L’Oreal.

Ethan Ciment: Hmm. Now they ain’t. (playfully) They don’t give a shit.

Caryn Hartglass: But it’s okay. We’re not into names and labels.

Ethan Ciment: No.

Caryn Hartglass: Oprah was coming over, so he made this fried chicken kind of dish. He wrapped whatever he was using with the rice paper; it made a skin. We’ve been going crazy with that ever since. I mean, that’s our skin, our go-to skin. But you make ham with it!

Michael Suchman: Yes. There was a big trend, I think, two years ago when people were suddenly discovering you can make bacon out of rice paper. I was like, okay, well, what if I pulled that back a couple steps? Can you do a ham with it? Yes, you can.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes. Jewish ham.

Michael Suchman: Jewish ham. Exactly.

Ethan Ciment: Actually, you can!

Caryn Hartglass: What do you know from ham?

(group laugh)

Michael Suchman: My grandmother once served a pork roast on Rosh Hashanah. So there you go.

(Caryn and Michael laugh)

Ethan Ciment: I always tell people that I grew up a double espresso and he was a decaf soy latte.

Michael Suchman: I just have this interesting discovery that, yeah, you can do this. It gives you the same mouth feel and taste that you’re looking for.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, everybody has their own cultural experiences from home. My mom would never make a ham, but she’d make bacon. (chuckles) I don’t know what the logic was there, but there obviously was something, somewhere. Okay, next thing that came out is the brisket.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Yes!

Caryn Hartglass: Please tell me: is your brisket amazing?

Ethan Ciment: It’s ridiculous. And I can say that because it’s Michael’s brisket and it won me over.

Michael Suchman: I figured out how to make a vegan version of my mom’s brisket because, as I think in most Jewish households, here come the high holidays. Here’s your brisket.

Caryn Hartglass: Yes.

Michael Suchman: I realized that it really is all about the gravy. Once you master the gravy, throwing in the seitan is an easy sub for a brisket.

Caryn Hartglass: Now, for those who don’t know what a brisket is—

Michael Suchman: It’s basically a Jewish pot-roast. Easy way I like to describe it to people.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s a very soft meat that’s soaking in all of this rich sauce.

Michael Suchman: It’s just cooked for hours and hours, falling apart. So I figured out how to make the gravy on its own. Once I was able to do that, I was like, okay, seitan’s the easiest subbing. Just season it properly and voilà, brisket.

Caryn Hartglass: What does Mom think? (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: My mom is not a fan of seitan in general.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay.

Michael Suchman: As she’d like to call it, “Seitan tastes like erasers.”

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: She’s a very expressive woman.

Michael Suchman: Yes, she is. But as far as the gravy goes, she couldn’t tell the difference. People who have had my brisket pre-vegan and now vegan, the sauce: you cannot tell the difference.

Caryn Hartglass: We obviously have some similar paths here. Many people have, but… Cream spinach. That was the only way you could eat spinach back in the day.

Michael Suchman: Yeah. My momma, again, was buying me frozen birds eye creamed spinach. And then she would fold the—

Caryn Hartglass: Yes! Oh, I loved it.

Ethan Ciment: See, I didn’t like it because when my mom got it, she took it frozen and she just put it into a pot and boiled it with water.

Caryn Hartglass: Aw, thinned it down. It had to be rich and creamy.

Ethan Ciment: Thinned it down. Yeah.

Michael Suchman: Oh, no. My mom would—because there wasn’t enough dairy in it already, she would have to add more butter and sour cream.

Ethan Ciment: (chuckles) As she’s apt to do.

Michael Suchman: As she’s apt to do! So I was like, yeah, you still can do cream spinach but, surprisingly, you don’t need actual dairy cream.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right.

Ethan Ciment: Very true.

Caryn Hartglass: And what’s in yours? I don’t remember off the top of my head here.

Michael Suchman: Off the top of my head here? Remember, the recipes went to print back in… December is the last time we made actually any edits in the book.

Ethan Ciment: We’ve been really lazy with this because now that we actually have a published book, we can actually just go—

Michael Suchman: Back to the book.

Ethan Ciment: It’s so lovely to have a book in the kitchen and find the last thing. (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: I was just going to ask you: Responsible Eating and Living, we’re a non-profit, we have a lot of recipes, and we have an app. In the morning, when I want to make waffles or pancakes, I just go to our app and I look up one of my recipes. (chuckles)

Ethan Ciment: Exactly. It’s awesome.

Michael Suchman: I would say that of the recipes in the book, we used to have—between the two of us—90% of them committed to memory. Now, they’re gone.

Ethan Ciment: At this point, I’m like…

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Michael Suchman: It’s in print. I can just…

Ethan Ciment: We’re aging. I’m like; I got to hang onto those brain cells for other things.

Michael Suchman: There’s limited storage capacity so…

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I imagine too that when you like to cook, you probably don’t follow recipes a lot. You just make ‘em up.

Ethan Ciment: That’s true.

Michael Suchman: That was an interesting thing about coming up with this book. Some of these recipes were ones that we’ve done forever. You know, you don’t really think about it. It’s just “throw in some.” “A little bit.” “Need more of.”

Ethan Ciment: That’s how my grandmother used to cook, my Hungarian grandmother. When I watched her bake, things were done like: “How much flour are you using?” She grabbed a handful, she’d scoop it out, she’d go, “That’s too much.” Then she’d shake her hand and then she goes, “That’s right.” It was all done by feel so that you really knew what you were doing.

Caryn Hartglass: But for a lot of people today who don’t know where their kitchens are…

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: They need exact measurements and descriptions.

Ethan Ciment: And so we gave it.

Michael Suchman: Our publisher would not have been happy if we just said, “Put some of this in.”

Caryn Hartglass: “Enough.” Although you did that with the egg cream. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: (chuckles) Good memory.

Michael Suchman: Well done! There is a big disclaimer on this recipe that says: this is the one recipe that does not actually have sizes. It’s done purely by the size of your glass.

Caryn Hartglass: I do. I read every book when I have people on the show. I do read them. Okay, so the next all-time favorite is the potpie. Now, when I grew up, it was the… Swanson’s potpie?

Ethan Ciment: Swanson’s frozen potpies?

All: Mm.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh gosh.

Ethan Ciment: I never grew up on potpie, Michael did.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, they weren’t kosher.

Ethan Ciment: They weren’t kosher. No, it’s okay. I can enjoy it now!

Michael Suchman: Right. This is your parents going out for dinner on Saturday with friends, so here’s your dinner. Throw it in the oven. The timer goes off when it’s ready. Oh, that was an easy one to vegan. Just throw in some veggies. That’s all it was. Your choice of protein. Made with quick gravy. Store-bought puff pastry. Really easy. That’s the trick.

Caryn Hartglass: I like to make my own crust.

Ethan Ciment: Mm. I do when I bake.

Caryn Hartglass: (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: Ethan here’s the baker, so he was the crust maker for things. So when I first started doing this, it was store-bought.

Caryn Hartglass: Store-bought puff pastry. Wow, fantastic.

Michael Suchman: It’s one of those accidentally vegan products.

Caryn Hartglass: Right. Probably not anymore, but do they put in hydrogenated oil in puff pastries and things like that?

Michael Suchman: Oh, I’m sure they did.

Ethan Ciment: Right, sure they did.

Caryn Hartglass: I lived in France for four years in the early ‘90s and I never met another vegetarian, let alone vegan. In the freezer section, they had vegan croissant that you could bake in the oven. But yeah, they had hydrogenated oil in them and I didn’t care. (laughs)

Michael Suchman: We didn’t know croissants then.

Caryn Hartglass: We didn’t know! (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: Don’t eat it every day, but enjoy it when you do.

Caryn Hartglass: Latkes. Potato pancakes, everybody. This is a very important dish.

Ethan Ciment: This is my Hungarian side of the family. Everything’s potato. By the time I was eight, I was probably 75% potato. Everything was always potato in the family. Between that and maybe the potato paprikash, those were both my Hungarian grandmother’s recipes and she passed on to my mom.

Latkes are typically done around Hanukkah though, lot of fried foods. Everything would be cooked in oil because of the miracle that had happened with the oil and all that. Our family liked to do it on Passover because these were kosher for Passover. You’re not using flour, you can use matzo meal, and it comes together pretty nicely.

My biggest issue in making this is that when I first started doing a one-for-one with it, the ended coming out like hash browns that were fried because they weren’t really holding together. I didn’t have a good binder. After resisting all these other binders, Michael was like, “Why don’t you just try it? It works, it’s been around.” I’m like, yeah, I should probably do that. Sure enough, it works just perfectly.

Caryn Hartglass: It works, yes.

Ethan Ciment: Tastes the same.

Caryn Hartglass: Very important there: I have memories in Hebrew school where they had all the kids grating with the hand graters the potatoes and the onions. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: So this is a battle in our home. And when he was going to make it once with the…

Michael Suchman: I grew up with the “put ‘em through the food processor.” Zoo! And it’s done.

Ethan Ciment: I was taught, “If your knuckles aren’t bleeding, you haven’t done it right.” And my grandmother used to watch the first time. I think it was my mom who was trying to use the early processors in the ‘80s or something, and she was going to use it. My grandmother said, “I guess it will come out okay.” You know, the typical Hungarian “hmm.”

But the truth is when you use the processor and if you over process it, it actually can get very watery. Then your ratios get off a little bit. Then you end up having to put in a little more of the thickener like the matzo meal or something like that.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s not the same.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: It is not the same.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s not the same.

Ethan Ciment: And it’s because of the love that you put into it. (chuckles) That’s what she used to say.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs) Exactly. But no, when you grate it, the potato is flatter and thinner. When you put it through a food processor, they’re like little tubes.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Yeah.

Ethan Ciment: And it becomes more sort of pasty, I think, when it’s done.

Caryn Hartglass: I have to say that I don’t care what vegan food people eat as long as it’s vegan because I’m all about not eating animals. That’s how I got on this path in the beginning. So then I got involved with other things, and I’m very into health. I keep evolving—maybe that’s not the right word—but making things healthier and healthier and healthier. There’s an interest as we get older. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: Mm. I’m aware.

Caryn Hartglass: So my latkes now are not fried. They can be oil-free; I add a little oil to them. They’re baked, and they’re easier to make. But I grate them.

Ethan Ciment: You have to devote time to it.

Michael Suchman: Have you tried an air fryer?

Ethan Ciment: I was just going to say that.

Caryn Hartglass: You know, I’m going to be talking to—

Michael Suchman: The one and only JL Fields? (chuckles)

Caryn Hartglass: —JL Fields in a few weeks. I have the book, and I’m going to have to look into that.

Michael Suchman: She is our fairy godmother.

Ethan Ciment: Yes, she got us starting on blogging. And then she convinced us to sit down and write this crazy cookbook. She’s really pushed us in a lot of ways. We’ve broken down now and ordered an air fryer.

Michael Suchman: I think it’s at our house right now.

Caryn Hartglass: Oh, you haven’t gotten it yet. Deciding.

Ethan Ciment: We’ll have to report back and let you know how it works, the air fryer.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay. Oh, good.

Ethan Ciment: I imagine it works really well.

Caryn Hartglass: Well, I use an oven and it works pretty well. I always like to say save the oil for the lamp. (laughs) It’s my thing. The last food item I want to bring up is the blintz.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: I think about my dad whenever he goes to the dinner—they still do, he’s 89 now. When they go to the Plainview Dinner out on Long Island, he always gets the cheese blintz, and he gets extra sour cream on top and sprinkles it with sugar.

Ethan Ciment: Wow.

Michael Suchman: That’s really impressive. Do it right.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs) But you have the vegan version of blintzes.

Michael Suchman: Yes, we do. This was actually a friend of my family since I was… a conscious age, preconscious even. He was the first person my mom called when I was born. His name was Charles—still is Charles, he’s not dead.

Ethan Ciment: (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: Every time he’d come over for Passover—no, it was break-fast.

Ethan Ciment: It was break-fast.

Michael Suchman: After Yom Kippur, he would make cheese blintzes and potato blintzes, and bring them up. He moved down to Florida.

So this was after we had gone vegan. I decided I was going to make them and I brought them. Didn’t say to anyone about them being vegan. I assumed that they would know that if we’re bringing them, they’d be vegan. So we had potato and we had cheese ones. My sister-in-law saw us eating them and was like, “Wait, what are you guys eating?“ “The blintzes.”

Ethan Ciment: She goes, “How can you eat this?” And I go, “Well, I’m chewing it.”

(group laugh)

Michael Suchman: “‘Cause they’re vegan.” She goes, “What do you mean?” And I’m like, “Do you think we would actually make and bring something that wasn’t?” She goes, “Oh, that’s a really good point.”

Ethan Ciment: But she was like, she had a freak-out. She was like, “These taste like cheese. What is it?” I said, “It’s tofu.”

Michael Suchman: Tofu.

Caryn Hartglass: “Oh no! I don’t eat tofu!”

Ethan Ciment: And she goes, “So it’s a health food!” And I’m like, “I wouldn’t go so far.” (chuckles)

Michael Suchman: Everyone was really blown away with that one.

Ethan Ciment: Yeah.

Michael Suchman: The funny story with that was one time when I was making the potato ones, I wasn’t paying attention to the milk that I was using. So like all vegans, we have about twenty-five different milks in the fridge. And so I grabbed a milk. Not reading that I had grabbed the vanilla.

Caryn Hartglass: I saw that coming.

Michael Suchman: Yeah. Anyone whose vegan knows where that one is going. So yeah, we had vanilla potato blintzes.

Ethan Ciment: I don’t recommend it.

Michael Suchman: Do not recommend that at all. It’s a unique flavor combination. There’s a reason there isn’t potato ice cream.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: Yet.

Caryn Hartglass: (whispers) Let’s do it!

Michael Suchman: In fact, I think potato could actually work.

Caryn Hartglass: It could work.

Ethan Ciment: Dr. McDougall would totally be behind us on that, right?

Caryn Hartglass: I know. It’s “potatas.” Potata ice cream. You have to say it like potata ice cream if you’re talking about Dr. McDougall. That’s wonderful.

For those of you who don’t know what blintzes are, they’re like a little crepe and filled with either cheese filling or a savory potato filling.

Michael Suchman: Exactly.

Caryn Hartglass: If you’re being really decadent, you might top it with sour cream and extra sugar. (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: Or jam.

Michael Suchman: Or blueberry sauce.

Ethan Ciment: Blueberry sauce, we do that.

Caryn Hartglass: Blueberries, sure. Mm, bringing me back. Okay, so I just have to add here: I don’t know if there are other cookbooks coming.

Michael Suchman: They’re in the works.

Ethan Ciment: There might be.

Caryn Hartglass: But we like to have the foods from our upbringing. It’s important. My partner, Gary, is Italian. He does all the Italian stuff, he’s great. Then I kick in with all of the Jewish stuff. So I just want you to know that I have made a vegan gefilte fish.

Michael Suchman: Wow.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s pretty good. My mom actually came up with the best vegan chopped liver I‘ve ever had. She’s got three vegan kids, and she came up with chopped liver. So Grandma’s chopped liver is pretty amazing. Three ingredients.

Ethan Ciment: Amazing.

Michael Suchman: We actually just made a version of one the other day. It’s my afternoon snack at the office.

Caryn Hartglass: Nice. Everybody’s mom and grandma’s chopped liver was different, and always the best, of course. So I like my mom’s. Anyway, it’s a good one. Hamantaschen.

Ethan Ciment: Ooh, love hamantaschen.

Caryn Hartglass: I make a gluten-free hamantaschen. Yeah, it’s pretty good. So anyway, I love food.

Ethan Ciment: So do I.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah.

Michael Suchman: It’s what brings us together.

Ethan Ciment: I thought that was music that brings us as people together.

Michael Suchman: It was music.

Caryn Hartglass: Anyway, New York City is the greatest city in the world.

Ethan Ciment: It is.

Michael Suchman: It is, it is the center of the world.

Caryn Hartglass: And I think the best vegan food is here in New York City.

Michael Suchman: We have such a wide variety of it in New York City. That’s why at the back of the book we actually listed… at the time that this went to press, so if your restaurant’s not on there, we’re sorry.

Caryn Hartglass: It changes.

Ethan Ciment: Yeah, it keeps changing.

Michael Suchman: We tried to list every single 100% vegan restaurant in New York City. In the course of doing this, we learned Staten Island, one of the five boroughs, has no vegan restaurants.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs) The red Staten Island!

Ethan Ciment: Not “no vegan,” has no all-vegan restaurant.

Michael Suchman: No all-vegan.

Caryn Hartglass: ‘Cause it’s red. It’s a red borough.

Ethan Ciment: It is.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s okay. Have you been to Green Zenphony?

Michael Suchman: No.

Caryn Hartglass: Forest Hills, my neighborhood. It’s actually Rego Park next door. It’s amazing, Green Zenphony.

Ethan Ciment: Hmm, pretty easy drive.

Michael Suchman: We’d love to check that out.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, it’s good. Wendy, the owner, she had a… somewhere upstate New York, Hudson Valley somewhere; it was Green Melody, I think. And then it was on the island, Green Harmony, and now it’s Green Zenphony. It’s really good.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Nice.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah. All right, do you have a favorite restaurant?

Michael Suchman: Favorite restaurant? Ooh, we’re friends with a lot of other restaurant owners in the city, so we could get in trouble if we pick one over the other.

Ethan Ciment: I would say that my all-time, just go-to always is probably Candle 79.

Michael Suchman: Absolutely.

Caryn Hartglass: Of course.

Ethan Ciment: Then Candle Cafe less.

Caryn Hartglass: Less more 79, yeah.

Ethan Ciment: I’m kind of more infatuated with nowadays with Delice & Sarrasin, the French restaurant in West Village.

Caryn Hartglass: I’m curious. I’ve heard good things about that restaurant, I haven’t been there yet.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: It’s amazing.

Ethan Ciment: I think it’s because I came into French food very late in life because I was raised Jewish, supposed to eat kosher, blah, blah, blah. You actually really got me into French Food.

Michael Suchman: Yes.

Ethan Ciment: Then just a few years later, I went vegan and I was like, there went that.

Michael Suchman: There goes that.

Ethan Ciment: (chuckles) And as it turns out, no, no. It’s right here and it’s delicious.

Caryn Hartglass: That’s right. Well, I was cooking French vegan food when I was living in France, for myself. (chuckles) I learned there. It was fun because I would eat with other French people in the restaurant and see what they were eating. Then go home and go, can I do that? Yeah.

I didn’t notice any aquafaba in this cookbook.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: That’s right.

Caryn Hartglass: Is there a reason for that?

Michael Suchman: It’s just not something that we use very much of. Because at the time we were doing all these recipes…

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, it was new.

Ethan Ciment: Our publisher, Vegan Heritage Press, had actually published Zsu Dever’s Aquafaba. And I was like, “Do we really have to reinvent the wheel?” She’s already done that.

Michael Suchman: I’m a fan of Ener-G egg replacer, but my feeling is if that you don’t want to use that, you want to use aquafaba, great. You know how to use that. If you’d rather use a flax egg in your stuff, great.

Caryn Hartglass: We have choices.

Michael Suchman: What I love telling people when they say, “Oh, hey, is it okay if I leave this out?” I’m not in the kitchen looking over your shoulder.

Caryn Hartglass: You’re not the culinary cop?

Michael Suchman: I am not the culinary cop. I am not the vegan police.

Ethan Ciment: It’s your food. Eat it. Enjoy it.

Michael Suchman: Do it how you want to do it. Make it yours. Use our recipes as a template. Just as long as you’re in the kitchen cooking and cooking with plants, I’m happy.

Caryn Hartglass: I agree with you on that. It’s funny though how people need permission.

Michael Suchman: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: But we want to liberate all of you. Liberate all of your creativity in the kitchen, create something new and celebrate. Do you have a favorite in your cookbook?

Michael Suchman: There are a couple. Though again, that’s one of the “pick your favorite child” situations. Oh!

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: It’s awful, right?

Michael Suchman: I’m definitely partial to the General Tso’s not chicken. In the book we do it with seitan, also give a suggestion for doing it with soy curls. I actually have a preference of doing it with soy curls.

Ethan Ciment: Yeah, that’s grown on me. I actually like that one better with soy curls too. That’s a gluten-free option as well.

Caryn Hartglass: All right, I haven’t made this but I think that this one is my favorite. I’m going to go for it and I don’t even know how to pronounce it.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: The avgolemono?

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, yeah.

Michael Suchman: That’s amazing.

Ethan Ciment: It’s a Greek style chicken lemon soup.

Caryn Hartglass: Yeah, I’m just licking the page. (laughs)

Michael Suchman: (laughs) That’s a really good one. That’s kind of celebrating a story of the Greek center of New York.

Caryn Hartglass: I love just walking around Queens, for example, and you go from country to country. The languages change, the food changes. You can tour the world in several hours by feet.

Ethan Ciment: That’s very true.

Caryn Hartglass: It’s amazing.

Michael Suchman: It’s very much so.

Ethan Ciment: It’s incredible.

Caryn Hartglass: And you said in the book: over 800 languages are spoken in New York City. Most of them are in Queens, right?

Ethan Ciment: I would say probably, yeah.

Michael Suchman: Probably the majority.

Caryn Hartglass: We got three minutes left!

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: Oh wow!

Caryn Hartglass: Three, three, three! How did we do that? ‘Cause we love talking about food.

Michael Suchman: Yes!

Ethan Ciment: ‘Cause if you put a bunch of vegans together, that’d be all they talk about.

Caryn Hartglass: So you’re the Vegan Mos.

Michael Suchman: We are.

Ethan Ciment: Yes.

Caryn Hartglass: And where do we find you?

Michael Suchman: You can find us at veganmos.com.

Caryn Hartglass: What’s going on at veganmos.com?

Michael Suchman: We are sharing recipes for easy-to-make vegan food that you can make in your own home.

Ethan Ciment: A little bit of thought pieces about different aspects of animal rights. Maybe an intersection about gay rights.

Michael Suchman: And you can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—all Vegan Mos. We do have a Pinterest page as well, but we don’t really Pin.

Caryn Hartglass: (laughs)

Ethan Ciment: Do people Pin?

Michael Suchman: I don’t really understand Pinterest. It confuses me.

Caryn Hartglass: I use PInterest and I’m not that big with Instagram. I know Instagram can be a big thing, but you can’t link.

Michael Suchman: No.

Caryn Hartglass: And that just bugs me.

Michael Suchman: It’s annoying.

Ethan Ciment: Yeah.

Caryn Hartglass: If you want to give a recipe, for example, too bad.

Michael Suchman: When we put out a recipe, we’ll put it up on all of our social media at the same time. For Instagram, we have to say: recipe link in bio, and people have to go up to our bio, and we have to change it whenever we change the recipe.

Ethan Ciment: It’s tedious.

Caryn Hartglass: (groaning) Oh my God! (laughs)

Michael Suchman: So much work, cutting and pasting.

Ethan Ciment: Vegan issues.

Caryn Hartglass: All right, we come to the end. Michael Suchman and Ethan… Ciment.

Ethan Ciment: Got it.

Michael Suchman: Yes!

Caryn Hartglass: (French emphasis) Ciment.

Ethan Ciment: French, yes.

Caryn Hartglass: (French emphasis) Ethan Ciment. (chuckles) I like making everything French, it just sounds French.

NYC Vegan: Iconic Recipes for a Taste of the Big Apple. A fun book to read, fun food to eat. Thank you for putting this together. It was such a pleasure to meet you and chat with you here today.

Michael Suchman and Ethan Ciment: It was a pleasure. Thank you.

Caryn Hartglass: Okay, I’m Caryn Hartglass and you’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Maybe you’ve been watching us live streaming here on our new live streaming thing going on here. Really fun. Just remember, folks: have a delicious week.

Transcribed by HT, 8/3/2017

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