Friday, July 20, 2012

Vegan Marshmallows

Stumbling home in the blistering heat on Sun night, a sight on Lexington Avenue in the mid-50s stopped me in my tracks: Sweet and Sara vegan marshmallows were visibly apparent through the store window from the street. Like a moth to a flame, I followed them in, and purchased a vegan s'more (vegan marshmallow on a super-rich homemade graham cracker enrobed in thin, rich dark chocolate) which I inhaled immediately, a vegan rice crispy treat made from organic brown rice, and a variety pack of marshmallows, whose flavors include vanilla, strawberry, and coconut.

Those blissfully unaware might want to skip the rest of this post, but, newsflash: marshmallows are made from meat. So are Starburst, Skittles, Gummy Bears, Jell-O, and a host of pudding and pie fillings. Gelatin, the offending ingredient which gives these treats their chewy texture, is made from cow or pig bones, hooves, skin, gristle, and other undesireable parts. Gelatin has absolutely no nutritional value and is made from parts of the animal which would otherwise be thrown out.

For marshmallow lovers who are also veggies, however, there is an answer. I had not eaten a marshmallow in 20 years (and had NEVER HAD a rice crispie treat) before I was turned on to Sweet and Sara, a tiny, single-female owned local business in Long Island City which almost exclusively makes vegan marshmallows. Their brand has rapidly branched out from solely being available online (my favorite mode of purchase as they often have special discounts) to being available in a host of local health food stores (albeit, in my experience, at a substantial markup from their online prices) to now becoming available, unbelievably enough, at a corporate chain such as Duane Reade which normally I would systematically avoid, and at VERY reasonable prices!

Now, I would not go so far as to call S+S a health food, and I will give this caveat: you may become horribly addicted, order 60 bucks worth of marshmallows at a time, eat all of them with your husband in 3 sittings, and gain 5 lbs. Not that anyone I know would do such a thing. S+S mallows are mostly sugar and contain corn syrup, but to their credit they don't have any super-weird chemical additives, preservatives, or artificial colors or flavors. And let's face it, traditional marshmallows are a junk food, so at worst you're replacing something already bad for you with another junk food which is not contributing to animal suffering (not to mention supporting a sole proprietorship run by an innovative young woman, which is a noble cause in and of itself.)

I am shocked that a corporate company like Duane Reade would carry a specialty item by a local artisan, delighted that it is, very happy for Ms. Sara, hopeful that this may spark more vegan awareness, and grateful that this favorite treat of mine has become more readily and affordably available.

1 comment:

  1. the cloversheepnaturals posts are so hilarious that I would subscribe even if I didn't care what I eat!