I’m not a vegan, but I’ve adopted a classification I call “vegan-adjacent.” After quitting meat in 2010, I’ve also made adjustments that bring me closer to a vegan without going full-tilt. Since then, I’ve drastically dialed down the dairy, only consuming it when I’m out at a restaurant or a party, and I still occasionally eat fish. Other than that, I’m much closer to vegan than carnivore.
When I moved back to Cleveland at the end of 2016, I was delighted to see far more vegetarian and vegan offerings than I’ve ever noticed before. But Cleveland is very much a meat eater’s town. Every other menu or advertisement for a restaurant is all about the beef, the bacon and the extra cheese.
If you add all that to the fact that I’ve detected little to no discernible gay presence in Downtown Cleveland (not even one gay bar), imagine my sheer delight when a friend forwarded me a brand new Cleveland-based vegan cooking video series by a guy named Dave Huffman, a.k.a. Bitchy Vegan Homo.
Before going into his hilarious and informative maiden episode, I need to unpack that moniker. The name “Bitchy Vegan Homo” all by itself tells me everything I need to know about the series. No mystery, no questions. Without reading anything more about it and before hitting the play button, I have a very clear idea of what to expect. It’s a ballsy, irreverent, no-fucks-given stroke and a great example of really masterful branding. It unapologetically says “This is who I am, this is what we’re doing. If you’re not into it, beat it.” Bravo, Dave.
On to content and substance…
The breezy 8-minute pilot episode takes us through a great looking vegan macaroni and cheese recipe. The guest in Dave’s kitchen is Matt Fish, owner of Melt Bar & Grilled, a major Cleveland favorite. In this episode, Dave promises to create a non-dairy mac & cheese that rivals (even surpasses) the traditional versions. I don’t want to spoil the very worthwhile fun, but I will say that the accessible ease of the recipe is what really rings my bell. I do cook, and I do enjoy it, but I’m not one for complicated endeavors in the kitchen. The simpler the better for me. Beneath the dry gay innuendo and the light-hearted sass is a terrific looking recipe that I’m genuinely eager to try.
The show seems to have it all. Terrific production value, great humor and, most importantly, a helpful, delicious, easy-to-make recipe in a very well-executed video. I had a great time watching it.
And here’s something I rarely say when I see new online content: I wish I’d thought of it first. I’ve subscribed to the channel on YouTube and look forward to more.
Set decoration note…
I was impressed with Dave’s choice of photos in his kitchen. If you look closely, you’ll see Alicia Silverstone from Clueless on the front counter and a shirtless Robert Conrad on the back counter. And if I’m not mistaken, I also see what looks like my old friend Sherry Vine from NYC on the fridge, just above a photo of the one and only Divine. Well played, Dave.