Speedbumps: A vegan-friendly affair

We've all been there: the good host's road block. The "uh oh" moment when you realize that the only thing your vegan guests can eat is veggies without the dip, crackers without the cheese, or the strawberries garnishing the full dairy cheesecake. Your guest may grin and bear it, but how could they not be disappointed?

With a vegan brother, I have the inside scoop. This may shock you--sit down if you must--but vegans do not prefer dull tasteless foods.That's a ridiculous fallacy derived from outer space, where living creatures are obviously carnivores... (of course, that makes perfect sense...right? Right.)

I guarantee you my brother misses the soft, deliciousness of chocolate cake with butter creme icing. He misses the bold, full flavours of meat and cheese. He misses not having to make the topic of food awkward for the people around him. Why not be accommodating to vegans as you would any other dietary restriction? A good host respects their guests eating needs, whether it's an allergy or a preference.

Next time you're hosting a party or gathering with vegans on the guest list, consider whipping up a batch of my easy cure to the bad-host blues.

Cranberry Almond Rice Pudding

1 carton/tetra pack almond milk (vanilla or unflavoured)
1.5 cups cooked jasmine (or brown) rice
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup dried cranberries
sliced almonds, to serve

In a double boiler, mix all but half a cup of the almond milk, rice, and brown sugar. Cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed (about an hour, more for brown rice). Stir in the cinnamon, cranberries, and remaining almond milk. Let simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, until "proper" pudding consistency. Garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and almonds.

Don't let your vegan guests think their custom treat is an afterthought! Consider making the rice pudding in advance and preserving in decorative mason jars with a custom tag or lid label. Make it match the theme or the decor for an extra special touch. Your guest will appreciate being considered, and will completely forget about all those downer affairs with nothing but veggie trays.

Nobody can resist this delicious treat--vegan or not. And, with Canada Day just around the corner, how perfect is it that it's red and white?

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