My name is Jessica Ford and I am a vegan, cat lover and pop culture fiend. I can tell you what the best vegan substitute for ricotta cheese is and what season of Full House Michelle fell off of her horse. I can press a block of tofu while reciting Leonardo DiCaprio’s full filmography. But above everything I am a sucker for my family.
One of the biggest hurdles people anticipate when starting a vegan diet is that they won’t be able to eat Mom and Grandma’s classic recipes. What we eat is so attached to nostalgia that it is difficult to imagine giving up those taste memories. But, short of a T-Bone steak, almost all of your favourite recipes can be recreated with a vegan twist. This blog will show you the tricks for turning lemon chicken and pumpkin ice cream pie into something as delicious as you remember from your childhood. These aren’t your “kale and tempeh” type recipes. These are the stick to your ribs and unzip your pants type recipes. So stock up on your butter substitutes and buy a box or two of Bisquick. But first, meet my mamas.
Karen Masson Ford [Mom]
Oh my mom. What can I say about the greatest woman to walk the earth. Without getting too Corny McSchumtz she is honestly my best friend and greatest supporter. I grew up totally idolizing her and admiring her understanding and compassion. I always joke that the moment I knew we would be inseparable forever was when I was in the eighth grade. I was eating a fudgcicle in the least tidy way possible and she looked at me and jokingly said, “It looks like you shit on your face.” From that moment on I knew that we would be tight for the rest of our lives.
Favourite foods: Spaghetti & bolognase, fish & chips, tacos, roast beef dinner, stuffed pork tenderloin, BBQ ribs, baked stuffed potatoes and Caesar salad.
Catherine Lamont Masson [Nana]
My Nana was a mother of two to Karen (my mom) and Paul and a grandmother of four. She grew up in Toronto and met my grandfather when she was at Walmer Road Church when they were still in Elementary School. She set up a pallatative care centre in her town in Quebec and even won an award from the Governor General for it. She was also the type to have a full breakfast set up and ready to eat for you at 5am even though chances were you wouldn’t be up then. But, I remember her for always letting me eat boxes and boxes of fresh raspberries right out of the fridge in her garage.
Favourite foods: Donuts, poached eggs, fish, meat & potatoes and lasagna.
Fran Asbell Ford [Grandma]
Grandma is a mother of three to Chris (my dad), Randy and Cindy and a grandmother of six. She grew up in Oxford, Nova Scotia where her parents owned a general store and a one screen movie theatre with a swing in the middle. She is one of the best storytellers I have ever met with a special talent to weave humour and suspense into all of her tales. Plus, she went to university for home economics so you know she knew how to cook.
Favourite foods: Shortbread, coffee ice cream, white fruit cake, fondue, asparagus sandwiches and all kinds of cheese.