For Liam Wilson, bassist for the critically acclaimed hardcore band Dillinger Escape Plan, excluding animal products from his diet expanded his horizons. “When I decided to change my diet in my teens, I was introduced to so many new tastes—new cultural traditions around food—and as a result I became a more adventurous and disciplined person,” he says. These are traits that come in handy when you’re a musician on a world tour, but they’re just as valuable at his Fishtown home.
“I try to keep notes about interesting taste combinations I’ve experienced while traveling, and then try to make variations on those themes at home. I’ve been really into making BBQ cauliflower dishes and jack fruit carnitas, as well as soups with turmeric bases,” he explains. “The biggest game changer for me has been this Beyond Meat stuff Whole Foods has been carrying. My family also just got a waffle maker ... so that’s brought some freshness into our breakfast game.”
Wilson thinks local chefs have upped their game as well. “Philly has great all-vegan spots like Vedge, Blackbird Pizza and Grindcore House coffee, but what I really dig is how many beer-centric gastropubs strongly consider vegans as well,” he says. “Memphis Tap Room, Royal Tavern and Monk’s Cafe amongst so many others … when a menu itself is more open-minded, the dialogue at and around the tables is usually a lot more engaging.”
Food and diet are complicated issues; Wilson believes we should keep talking. “Food really is a universal need, and eating anything is a great time to reflect on how that food found its way to your plate,” he says. “With all the hurdles in our rapidly changing world, and exploding population … it’s irresponsible not to consider the impact our food choices have on practically everything we need to address on a personal level and as a society. I’m trying to help facilitate that conversation.”
The birth of his daughter Ziggy Luna last year made him reconsider everything in life. The former vegan now walks more of a “middle path,” and has introduced some animal products into his diet—like free range eggs from Kensington Quarters. “For dessert,” he says, “it’s Little Baby’s Ice Cream all the way.”