Episode #149 — Punk Rock Vegan Chef Joshua Ploeg

Sometimes we like to take a moment to stop and reminisce about the good old days. A simpler time when things were less complicated and shows like “Battle of the Network Stars” aired. Oh, look! It’s that episode with Lynda Carter and Adrienne Barbeau. They’re so… what in the world are they making them wear? Wait, are the announcers sexualizing them on a family show about stars from ABC, NBC, and CBS performing athletic challenges?

Okay, so things were never less complicated and anyone who says they were is selling something we aren’t buying! But we’re still going to celebrate TV’s Wonder Woman! And speaking of “Battle of the Network Stars,” let’s check out some other projects involving the talented Kristy McNichol. As savvy undercover cop Barbara Weston in “Empty Nest,” she once saved the Golden Girls from a crime lord called “The Cheese Man” in a crossover episode. Surely everything else she’s involved with is above board. She definitely wouldn’t have been made to sing a song with astoundingly inappropriate lyrics in an 80s movie loosely based on “The Pirates of Penzance.” Oh, no…

While we won’t necessarily be jamming to Kristy’s “Pirates” soundtrack, we’d have this week’s guest on continual play if he chose to do some punk rock Gilbert and Sullivan. We spoke with punk rock vegan chef Joshua Ploeg and if you’re not craving good vegan food by the end of the episode, you weren’t paying attention!

Don’t you hate it when you’re a super cool punk musician in Seattle and your musician friends are always crashing at your place after a show and complaining about how hungry they are? We do, and our usual response is, “Long John Silver’s is thataway.” But Joshua is a lot cooler and more needy-guest-tolerant than we are, so his response was to cook food for his friends. And since a lot of his punk rock friends were vegan, that’s what he focused on. One of his friends eventually challenged Joshua to write a cookbook, and the rest is history. He’s now a traveling vegan chef with many cookbooks under his belt, such as “Comfort Eating with Nick Cave,” “Defensive Eating with Morrissey,” and “This Ain’t No Picnic.” We would buy those books based on their titles, alone — but the good news is that Joshua is a fantastic chef, and all his recipes are worth a try!

And you may ask yourself, “What do punk rock and veganism have in common?” (And no, we don’t know where your large automobile is.) Joshua explained how the philosophies and the receptions to both actually have a lot in common. He also spoke with us about how he matched up his different recipes with his different books — and how to pay homage to Metallica without getting sued.

If you’re also wondering why he’s a traveling chef, Joshua painted a compelling picture of what life on the road means to him. The next time you’re on an Amtrak train or a Greyhound bus, look around. You might just be traveling with someone on his way to make a delicious meal at a dinner party in Boise or a food demonstration in Baltimore. And he’d probably be willing to play some kick-ass punk rock tunes for you if you asked nicely. (Punk isn’t always polite, but it never hurts to say please. Also, “It Hurts to Say Please” is the second track off Why’s new punk album, “Nigel? Is That You?”)

Tune in to this week’s episode to hear about Joshua’s inspirations for his recipes. He also fills us in on the good, bad, and ugly approaches to vegan food found both nationally and internationally. To learn more about Joshua, his cooking, and his veganism, check out his blog. He’s also on Facebook. And you can get his cookbooks at your local independent bookstore. (Or online, but then how would you see all the great staff book selections at Book ‘Em, Danno — Honolulu’s go-to bookshop for mysteries?) We’re off to try our hand at pairing recipes with genres of music. Not entirely sure what will go with New Wave, but at least one recipe will involve pulling mussels from the shell, served with the fruit of another.

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