This past Sunday January 31st, Mundo Veg, an online Latin American animal rights group that advocates a meat-free diet, organized San Salvador’s first warm and welcoming vegan picnic at Beethoven Fountains.
Before heading over to the event, Hilary and I (Nico) prepared a yummy banana guacamole and a refreshing jicama-carrot salad respectively (we’ll post the recipes soon, we promise) to share with the other attendees without really knowing what we were getting in to. How many people would show up? Would we be the only ones who made anything? Would it be all chips and bread? Would it be hard to get away from anti-speciesist fanaticism and just have a nice conversation with like-minded people on a lovely sunny Sunday afternoon?
Turns out that no, it wasn’t. Hilary and I felt incredibly welcome from the get go.
We were the last people to show up before people started to dig in (typical) and were immediately asked to present ourselves using our names, our veg status, and a description of the dish we were bringing. Next, everyone began serving themselves and enjoying an incredibly satisfying and healthy feast. There was fruit, a lot of fruit- and vegetables and hummus and chips, of course, but also some really excellent falafels made from scratch using raw chickpeas, a new technique for us (the idea really hits home right now that we’re enjoying our fixation with these tasty legumes). We also have to give a shout out to the picnic’s main dish, a vegetarian chili made by the chef at Jazba with its own vegan cream and caramelized red onion garnishes (this was his first time cooking vegetarian!), and to the brownies made with peanut butter and beans (seriously!) that some other folks brought along.
People kept coming all afternoon, each person with a new creative dish to share. We spent those few hours feeling very much at home, relaxed and sociable, chatting pleasantly particularly, of course, about vegan and vegetarian food. What impressed Hilary and me the most about this gathering in large part was the age of most of the attendees (college age) and the innovative variety of healthy food that was being served. I don’t know, it like gives us feelings to see people who are just starting down this road and who are wanting to create a community and adopt eating habits that are as accesible and healthy as they are nutritious and cruelty free.