This week, you’re going to hear from a woman who wears many hats. She’s a cookbook author and chef, self-confessed turophile and cheesemonger, animal lover and activist, restaurant developer and entrepreneur.
She is a philosopher.
I first discovered Miyoko at the grocery store. Like many of you who are either vegan or lactose intolerant, I was looking for a dairy-free butter that was a cut above margarine. I had just thrown out the seven different kinds of butter I kept in my fridge (I was a noobie baker who appreciated the regional distinctions of churned cream), and I didn’t think a vegan butter could ever approximate the richness I’d given up when I finally went plant-based. But lo and behold, in the dairy aisle, I spied a box with navy blue font called “Miyoko’s European Style Butter” that promised precisely that. I dropped a box into my cart and when I got home to my kitchen, I was thrilled to find that Miyoko’s promise? It delivered.
Miyoko’s Creamery, formerly Miyoko’s Kitchen, was started in 2014. By 2016, the company had grown over 300%, year over year, and set up shop in a 28,000 square foot production center smack in the middle of a bunch of traditional dairy farms in the Bay Area. Because that’s the kind of woman Miyoko is–if you’re going to start a non-dairy creamery, do it in the Dairy Capital of California. I suppose it was only a matter time before the brewing conflict between dairy vs non-dairy came to a head and Miyoko was ready for it. In 2020, the Creamery sued California’s Department of Food and Agriculture to maintain the company’s right to use the words “butter” and “cheese” on its packaging and marketing materials.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of Miyoko’s legal battles. As some of you may know, Miyoko was removed as CEO of the company that bears her name in June 2022. Earlier this year, the Company sued Miyoko under various legal claims. According to Miyoko, this came as a complete surprise. Miyoko countersued for wrongful termination, gender discrimination, retaliation, and unlawful use of her likeness. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Company and Miyoko issued a joint statement, indicating that all legal claims against each other had been dropped.
I met with Miyoko after the lawsuits had been filed, which was when I recorded this podcast (late April) and once more after the claims had been dropped, during the Vegan Women’s Summit last week. I will say two things:
Miyoko deserves our respect for her privacy. And as such, I made it clear to her that I wouldn’t pry into the controversy swirling around her.
Miyoko Schinner is many things. But above all?
Miyoko Schinner is a fighter.
Are You Ready, Ep 49, with Miyoko Schinner
This Week’s Recipe Inspo – Simple Berry Galette.
It’s berry season. All the berries are tasting like CANDY–more than usual. Therefore, this week’s recipe inspo makes use of those antioxidant rich fruits for a very simple, but truly crowd-pleasing dessert. I made two of these for my family and everyone had seconds!
- 1 sheet vegan puff pastry (make sure it’s thawed)
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 cups raspberries
- 2 tbsp raspberry preserves
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup vegan whipped cream
- Preheat your oven to 425° F.
- Place a sheet of puff pastry on a flat surface and begin rolling it out with your rolling pin. To avoid having the pastry stick to your surface, flip it at least once. You should have a 9 x 11 inch rectangle.
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp of sugar over the puff pastry and impress them into the dough by using your rolling pin. Flip and repeat. Using a sharp knife, score all around the dough, one inch from the edge (so that you have a rectangle within a rectangle–refer to photograph or video). Make sure not to actually cut the dough.
- Place the puff pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. While the puff pastry is baking, microwave the raspberry preserves for 30 seconds. They should be very runny.
- Add the melted preserves to your fresh raspberries and stir until the berries are evenly coated.
- Add 1 tbsp of sugar to your blueberries, together with lemon juice. Stir.
- When the puff pastry is golden brown, remove from the oven. Gently tap the center of the sheet with the back of a spoon and press it down.
- Pour the raspberries into the center and spread them out. Next, add the blueberries. Top with a little whipped cream and serve.
Updates & Random Things.
- Rancho Compasión. Make sure to tune in next week to The Korean Vegan YouTube Channel for a special vlog from Rancho Compasión–the animal sanctuary to which Miyoko and her team have dedicated so much of their hands and hearts!
- Signed Books. In case you were looking for signed copies of The Korean Vegan Cookbook, you can find them here and here. They make great gifts for anyone who has used their original copy to oblivion!
- What I’m Watching. Alas, we have caught up to the present season of Blacklist. We are thus taking a hiatus from James Spader et al. and are now in London with Carrie Fuller in The Diplomat. It was a little slow to start, but we are midway through and we are enjoying it a LOT. By the time you read this email, Succession will have concluded and I may or may not be inspired to invade your inboxes mid-week (tsk tsk) to share my spoiler-filled thoughts!
- Do You Know A BTS Fan? I was recently gifted with these incredible life-like figurines of BTS. For the record, I’m NOT part of #BTSArmy; however, I find it oddly soothing to have the boys watching me while I cook–especially when I’m cooking Korean food. I think it’s because I know this is the closest I will EVAR get to cooking for them! If you’re interested in gifting these to that person in your life who is OBSESSED with BTS (statistically speaking, there is DEFINITELY at least one person in your life who will love these figurines) or you want to pick one up for yourself (I won’t judge you, I promise), check them out here.
Something I wrote once:
Driving to Mariano’s the other day, I concluded that there is nothing quite so beautiful in Chicago as the El slithering through the fat yellow drippings of sunset. I was stopped at a traffic light on 18th and State for a late grocery run. From there, I could see the ghostly silhouettes of commuters eclipsed by the broken yolk of dusk. The train takes them from work to home and from home to work, and in so doing, carries within its steel ribs a million hearts that have traveled a million miles–along the throbbing arteries of my city, beyond the churlish deep of the Lake, and the smiling horizon that both beckons and warns…
Randomly, I thought of a girl I once wrote about. I had seen her standing at a traffic light, on LaSalle and Grand, with the El chuckling against end-of-day traffic din. It was summer. She wore a sleeveless slip of a dress and her copper hair pulled back. With twilight in full bloom, the freckles scattered across her bare shoulders glowed like a cache of misplaced stars against her fair skin. She turned the corner and I lost sight of her, but not before thinking of all the places those freckles must have seen, the lips they had tasted, the hearts they had ruptured with their guise of temperance. I thought then, as I think now, of green things–a pair of unfamiliar green eyes, a bolt of green fabric running through my hands like a happy river, the green sea and its giant mouth welcoming me into the damp halls of an echoing ache I cannot name.