About 20 years ago, Cleveland native Jennifer Jackson tried to be a vegetarian. It worked, but only for a couple of years.
“I came home for summer vacation from college, and my uncle was barbecuing,” she recalls. “The smells, the memories. . . I just started eating meat again.”
Four years ago, she began thinking about animal cruelty and the environmental impact of raising animals for meat. She got serious about her eating habits and went full vegan, without looking back.
“Now I’m committed,” she says. “I’m a mental health clinician, and I think about the trauma that animals endure becoming food and what it does to our psyche in eating (animal products). I’d start crying and put it down.”
When she started to consider vegan eating, she found the landscape filled with pitfalls. With people cooking less, she says, people rely on frozen options, which are expensive and not always healthy. She started to think about what she could do to provide vegans with healthier, fresher food. The result was her pop-up/ catering business, Rosemary’s Vegan Daughter.
“I felt I needed to take my advocacy to the next level, and I come from a family of great cooks,” she says. “I already enjoyed cooking, and it’s exciting to learn about ingredients I hadn’t heard about before.”
One of those great cooks is her mom, Rosemary, who provided the business’s name as well as some of its recipes, adapted to be plant-based. Jennifer prepares her offerings, which include “meat” loaf, cinnamon rolls, waffles, tofu scramble, and ice cream in seven flavors (and more on the way). She works out of The Central Kitchen, a shared kitchen and food business incubator. Her mother often helps out.
Currently, she does special events, such as VegFest, where she debuted her business in 2017, and A Taste of Black Cleveland. She also hosts pop-up brunches at places such as Birch Café in Highland Heights. She’s also exploring a prepared vegan meals delivery service. Her ultimate goal, she says, is a vegan bed-and-breakfast.
“I want to encourage people to give veganism a try,” she says. “I like to break through stereotypes. A lot of people think veganism is for people who are wealthy or certain racial groups. But no matter who you are, you can do something to help animals and the planet.”
Her goal is to make that as tasty as possible.
To find out where you next can find Jennifer’s delicious vegan food, visit RosemarysVeganDaughter.com.