I believe every writer should have their own set of values. Not only does it help us produce our best work, but it helps us find publications we want to work with quicker.
I have 3 values that I stick by.
Food and drink is very much enriched in tradition. And rightly so. How many of you fondly remember a childhood meal - perhaps made by your grandmother when you weren't feeling well?
But sometimes tradition gets in the way. Too often people are unwilling to venture into the vegan world because for the last 32 years meat has been in every meal. They see no other option. How can you expect grandma's cottage pie to taste the same without beef?
Tradition must always be challenged. But it must also be respected. With the cottage pie, we don't throw away the taste of beef for a substitute that tastes nothing alike. We respect the flavours and textures and replicate in a way that makes a nod to the habits of old.
When we taste the vegan version of grandma's cottage pie, we're not aiming like for like. We're recreating it in her honour whilst moving forward with taste and, of course, no animal cruelty.
We challenge tradition by adding to it. Not by denying it.
Too often we sketch around the edges. We ignore the bigger issues, turning our backs on them to discuss the ant in the corner.
Ignoring the issues does not help us move forward. Innovators are leading the way, but no one's going to big them up because it forces us to address the elephant.
If there is an elephant in the room, I'll to address it. Whether it's the dairy giants owning most of the dairy-free milk brands, or the political system really needed for international veganism, then so be it. I don't hide. I address, critique, and offer solutions.
Releasing the elephant allows more room for mice to come out and play.
It's good to see the elephant, but if we don't have the balls to take it to the streets like a town crier, what use are we as writers?
Some things are hard to swallow. Like veganism may bring farm animals to near extinction. It needs to be said and accepted.
But it must be done with empathy. There's no use stomping around, shoving it down people's throats like a radical. I understand people's journey. I know where they're at and how to get them to the next stage.
And, as I do in my writing, I let the food do the talking.
If these values ring true for your readers and publications, we should chat. I write about vegan food and drink, showcasing the best innovators in our industry.