“Lygomme™ACH Optimum functional system removes this instability by offering manufacturers a cost-effective cheese alternative for pizza which can be used to completely replace highly volatile dairy proteins. Furthermore, its appearance, taste and texture perfectly match those of processed cheese based on dairy proteins and are similar to those of traditional hard cheeses, such as gouda, cheddar or gruyere, thereby ensuring equal enjoyment and satisfaction for consumers.”—From Cargill (big evil dairy fools) via Paul Shapiro. Man, this could be amazing…NO MORE DAIRY FROM COWS. I mean, dang. Fingers and toes and even my legs are crossed. EVEN MY LEGS. That’s how bad I want this, people.
Pi Bar, take 52! OH AND SCREW YOU BEFORE YOU SAY SHIT I'll WRITE ABOUT WHAT I WANT TO WRITE ABOUT
I am in an ornery way today. A cocktail of vicodin, theraflu, and percocet (HA I WISH) will do that to a girl. I love my life, I’m alive, someone get me down from here, I think I need to go to the hospital. There, we’ve run the gamut of my emotions. I cycle those about every 15 minutes. Right now, I’m riding the high so let’s do the damn thing!
So, from our hot field reporter/disqus commenter, Kim, we learn that our BFFs at Pi Bar are responding to emails. Here is what she received:
Kim rightfully points out that calling veganism a hardship is bullshit and I’ll also note that if you were vegan at one point in your life then you were never actually vegan because you, Sir, DID NOT GET IT. Anyway, cheers to them for responding to a vegan and although they are clearly not the brightest (LAURA! What?? They’re not rocket scientists so really, it’s not an insult, is it?), I look forward to sampling their wares/giving them all my money, as they are right across the street and I am SO HELLA SUPER LAZY, you have no idea. Let’s do this, Pi Bar.
Update: Pi Bar is apparently open now, and at the moment has no explicitly vegan options on its menu. Hoping that changes! For both our sakes, you get me? Have you guys heard of Daiya yet? Also, they have a MANIFESTO? I kinda want to beat them for that.
This is Laura. I am back from the edge. I mean, I literally almost threw myself off a cliff because I’ve been SO FUCKING SICK AND ALL I WANT TO DO IS DIE. AND EAT. I don’t know what’s up with that? Why can’t I be like a fucking normal person and not want to gorge myself when I’m sick?? I swear, I might have a glandular disorder. Only cure? MORE FOOD! Okay so. This weekend, it’s the 10th Annual World Veg Fest in San Francisco. It’s co-sponsored by the extra-awesome VegNews magazine, and our friends at Sugar Beat Sweets will be on the scene with mad vegan treats and so I think that’s reason enough to go, right? If not, tons of awesome speakers (and um, not so awesome speakers but I’m a total player hater. I WILL JUST SAY THIS: Please stop having totally irrelevant octogenarians babbling crazy talk at these things. Vegans already look crazytown enough and then we have to compete with that? It’s enough to make me start gnawing on my own arm BECAUSE THEN I’LL LOOK AS BATSHIT AS MOST PEOPLE THINK VEGANS ARE. In other news, I’m starving.)
I definitely won’t be missing Howard Lyman because he’s the total shit (READ THIS) and he’s all super nice in a grandpa type-way and you’re not sure if he’s hitting on you or just being super nice but really he’s just being super nice and you have a weirdly inflated sense of how good looking you are. Also, maybe he’s hitting on you. Mystery! Intrigue! Suspense! It can all be yours this weekend for only $6 suggested donation at the door!
Also, there is reportedly going to be vegan speed dating happening as well. So just in case Howard Lyman is totally on the level, you can go get your creepy vibe fix in there. Shudder. OR MAYBE YOU’LL FIND TRUE LOVE WHO KNOWS I MET MY BOYFRIEND ONLINE ONLY GOD CAN JUDGE ME OKAY?
[Note: I have been cross-posting my Top Chef recaps with my blog, BravoFan. So now you get to read these amazing masterpieces twice!]
On last night’s Top Chef, every one wore red scarves in honor of Mattin’s departure. I hope those were clean before he gave them away to everyone. Or was he like: “Here’s a parting gift, guys! My sweaty scarves! Au revoir!” The quickfire challenge was to make food that represented their “devil” side and their “angel” side.
All of the chefs essentially made non-fatty food and fatty food. Robin, the little cancer patient that could, ended up winning the challenge and winning immunity. All the other cheftestants were visibly annoyed, including Eli, who said it was her cancer story that made Michelle Bernstein pick her as the winner. I was annoyed. We were all annoyed. But hey, apple crisp is an easy way into anyone’s heart. And a sad story about cancer.
Penn & Teller then showed up as the episode’s celebrity guests. This makes me wonder, why wasn’t Carrot Top, who also has a long-standing show in Las Vegas, not invited as a celebrity judge? He gets no respect and he works so hard, you guys! There is no justice in this world. The challenge was to deconstruct a set of classic dishes, each assigned via knife. Cue all contestants complaining that this is “not the food they do.” Great, but not the point, chefs!
Mike Isabella didn’t know what eggs Florentine were; this isn’t surprising, they don’t serve that at Denny’s or IHOP. Ron totally struggled with his paella. I knew he was a goner when he said that they serve paella at his restaurant and he would know what to do, especially when it was apparent that he had no idea how to handle the assignment. Robin, with her handy little immunity, made a completely disgusting sounding “clam flan.” No one seems to like her presence in the kitchen and her habit of narrating everything she’s doing.
Toby Young returned to judges table and was actually not that bad. They tried to make it seem like the contestants were scared of him by calling him a “food critic” but I think everyone knows what role Toby truly fulfills on the show. It’s not like he’s Frank Bruni or Michael Bauer or any of the big name food critics. I totally loved Michelle Bernstein correcting him that she pronounced paella the correct way because she’s Latina.
Kevin won the challenge with his deconstructed mole, which looks like it was such an awesome combination of flavors, including something called PUMPKIN ROMESCO, YOU GUYS. We love romesco sauce here and that just sounds fantastic. Ashley also redeemed herself with her deconstructed pot roast. Her fetish for purees is annoying me. No more baby food! On the bottom: Laurine , Ron and Ash. None of those people surprises me, Ash has been sucking lately (he didn’t even complete the quickfire) and Laurine just couldn’t handle the deconstructed fish & chips. It was sad to see Ron go, but I think his cooking style just doesn’t fit in with the competition.
Only one truly vegan-friendly dish this week: underdog Robin’s raw salad of apple and fennel. There was also Ron’s yucca and corn mash, but Bravo’s editors aren’t evolved enough yet to figure out that the side dish could be labeled vegetarian.
The East Coast branch of Vegansaurus had the privelege of attending Veggie Conquest, a new amateur vegan cooking competition in New York City. It’s described as an event for “vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, raw foodists, fruitarians, and whatever-other-tarians with a love for food.”
Here’s how it works: a secret ingredient is picked a week before the event and is emailed to those who’ve signed up as chefs. No recipes are allowed! Each competing dish is evaluated by three judges, who score on taste, originality and presentation. There’s also an opportunity to win a “taster’s choice” award.
In person, the event is run really well. I’ve been to other open food events and have never left as well-fed as I was here. The competing dishes are served to each taster by volunteers followed by a buffet-style presentation for main dishes and dessert. This time around, the desserts were provided by Sweet & Sara, vegan marshmellow queen.
The secret ingredient this time was squash. Up for prizes were Butter-Nutty Squash Dip, Squash Chips With Watermelon salsa, Squash-Stuffed Mushrooms, and Smoked Chili Buttercup-Squash-Filled Zucchini Blossoms. My personal favorite were the stuffed mushrooms, which won second place. The winner of both the taster’s choice and judge’s choice was the very unique smoked chili buttercup squash. Rather than describe dishes to you, I took a video of all the chefs describing their process and attempted to get a little competitive, which kind of failed. These are all very nice people!
Thanks to Jessica of Veggie Conquest for letting us into the event and letting me harass her chefs!
“Animals do not want to die. They can feel pain and fear, and, just like us, will struggle to breathe for even one single more second. If you’re about to run 250 volts through a pig, do not look it in the eyes. It is not going to absolve you.”—
This is an interesting essay on “a course focused on the slaughtering and processing of meat animals” by a food science grad student. The author was and remains an omnivore.
What do you think, vegans? One of the commenters on The Ethicurean argues that “a short happy life” that ends in “a humane death” is preferable to living in the wild and “dying of starvation or cold in the winter,” or “at the claws and teeth of a [predator].” I would say, That’s a lot of assumptions you make there, commenter “Walter Jeffries,” that 1) we can and do give domesticated animals happier lives and more humane deaths in slaughterhouses than they’d otherwise have; and 2) the only alternatives to slaughterhouse murder are bad-but-natural deaths in the wild. What about sheep and goats kept just for wool? What about horses? There are plenty of farm animals that have long and happy lives that don’t end in terror or pain.
But omnivores—and this is a point that Jake Lahne, the author, makes in his essay—are willfully myopic about such options; their desire to eat meat will trump all other considerations. When hasn’t it? When was the last time your closest animal-eating friends/relations refused to eat meat because the animal was raised on a factory farm? When did they last turn down cheese because it came from dairy cows, producers of veal calves? Anyone?
Hey vegans! Who already knew all seven of the animal ingredients? Who didn’t? The anal glands business was (disgusting, awful) news to me. Also, natural L-cysteine/cystine. Nastier living through chemistry!
SF Vegan Drinks are tonight (Sep. 24th), from 6 to 8 p.m. at Martuni’s! Yes! AND this month there will be FREE BAKED GOODS from Violet Sweet Shoppe on hand! If you haven’t tried the VEGAN WHOOPIE PIES, now would be your chance! See you there, party people! Ow!
I have no excuse for the Top Chef recap being this late this week, except perfection takes sweet time. Besides, don’t you need a fresh reminder for tomorrow’s episode? So much has happened in the past week. There was the Emmys on Sunday, which unless you are an obsessive pop culture aficioniado (or someone posessing an actual life, which I most certainly don’t have) you probably didn’t watch. Top Chef was up for two awards, both of which they lost to two programs that have been on for a really long time and proved that the Academy voters don’t actually watch reality tv.
Anyway, whatever, who even watches Survivor anymore? Moving on to last week’s episode, they had another “high-stakes” quickfire, this time involving cactus. Every one was very confused, which was surprising in this crowd of supposed food experts. Any one who’s ever been to El Balazo on Haight knows that cactus, or nopales, are a standard of Mexican cuisine. So Mattin, San Francisco resident, should have known what to create. Jon Gosselin wannabe Mike Isabella won this challenge with his cactus and tuna ceviche.
Ceviche, or Sa-veeeech as Jen Carroll calls it, is the unofficial recipe of this gang, much like scallops were the fall-back last season. These fools love to sa-veech everything. Bryan and Michael also made sa-veeeches; Michael’s red cactus coulis was vegan and looked interesting, especially with the side of veggie chips. But I’ll eat anything in “chip” form. The most confusing was Ashley Merriman’s cactus jelly donuts, which seems like the kind of item that you would only order as a dare.
Speaking of Ashley, she sure did get the loser edit this time! Whenever they pull out that product placed phone and they mention some illness or event they are missing in exchange for C-list reality stardom, you know they are headed for elmination. Fortunately, Megan Allison’s future girlfriend remains in the running.
Instead, it was Mattin, wearer of scarves and liar about asparagus who got sent home. He made a “ceviche" that was basically a Costco party tray. Actually, a Costco party tray probably would have been a better idea. The challenge was to make food for ranchers on an open grill, why so many of them picked fish was beyond understanding. As pathetic as Mattin’s dish was, Robin should have been sent home. The minute I heard her say grilled romaine salad, I knew she was doomed. If she makes it past tomorrow’s episode, I’m expecting to watch the chefs stage a mutiny.
The winner of the episode was Bryan, who made a bunch of meat with some vegetables on the side. He’s one of the brothers who’s sibling rivalry storyline gets shoved down our throats. I want them to keep all siblings contained to the Amazing Race or Biggest Loser.
The vegetarian report on this episode is that there was no vegetarian food. Nothing, except for Mike’s cactus dish during the quickfire. The rest is meat, meat, and more meat. What veg dish would you have made for an open fire grill challenge?
The Mission, already a magical neighborhood where vegans can eat like royalty, has become even better. How can this be so, in the land of soy milk and agave nectar? Fresh, delicious, vegan banh mi made to
order and delivered to your door, is how.
Mai of Fashioni.st just launched Banh Mai, a one-woman Vietnamese sandwich operation based in the Mission. She has a vegan, a vegetarian, and a meat version; of course, Vegansaurus sampled the cruelty-free sandwich, delivered to our hot little hands on a Friday evening by Mai on her bicycle. The vegan sandwich contains standard banh mi ingredients—pickled carrot and daikon radish, julienned; jalapenos; and cilantro—on a rice and wheat baguette, but the magic is in the vegan paté, a combination of shitake mushrooms, baked tofu, walnuts, garlic, and green bell pepper. The tofu is baked with sriracha, soy sauce, and garlic. I’ve never had a Vietnamese sandwich like it before, it’s incredible. Mai packed the pickled vegetables separately, to prevent mushiness, and I recommend cramming them all into your sandwich and letting it sit for a few minutes before eating, to allow the good, crusty roll to soak up some of the sweet and tangy pickling juices. You will die of happiness.
It may not be the spiciest, for spicy food connoisseurs; I found it a touch hotter than I would’ve asked for and I’m a huge wimp, so let’s call the heat level medium and exactly right. Everything was so fresh; the vegetables were crispy, the roll was chewy, the tofu paté added this great texture plus moisture so that, unlike your standard banh mi, it didn’t want for lack of mayonnaise. Finally, it sticks with you, but not in a stone-in-your-stomach kind of way; I ate an entire sandwich before going out for the night, spent four hours dancing, and didn’t get hungry at all. Everyone needs to eat a banh mi by Mai, like, yesterday, I haven’t had a better sandwich this year. Real Talk.
Special Interview Section!
Vegansaurus: Why did you start Banh Mai? Mai: [To be] part of the San Francisco street food movement; [I] wanted to do Vietnamese sandwiches because I miss this aspect of life in Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon—a place where I lived last year. also, I used my mom’s recipes for elements of the sandwiches, so these are the type of sandwiches I grew up eating: loads of meat filling/vegan filling, great daikon/carrot pickling, homemade mayo. “Banh Mai” is a a play on the name of the type of bread used/what we in the states call Vietnamese sandwiches, and my first name.
What are the service details? I started delivering in the Mission last week. Wednesdays and Thursdays [are delivery days], 10-sandwich minimum, might be able to cluster orders for smaller offices. [I require a] two-day preorder (since I cook specifically for orders), or early morning pre-order if you want to pick-up with small orders (6 or less) or for vegan sandwiches.
Follow me on twitter and send me a message I’ll get in touch via direct message. Lunch deliveries will happen between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30p.m.; pick-ups can happen in the Mission, before 11:15 a.m. or after 1:30 p.m. My housemate might help me, so we could extend days/ times for pick-up delivery. We might add Mondays; follow @banhmai for changes.
Where are your ingredients from? The bread is from Bui Phong, a Vietnamese bakery in San Jose that makes as close to the Vietnamese-style baguette of rice/wheat mixture that we have in the West. the wheat/rice baguettes in HCMC have a lot more rice and so it tastes slightly different, but it’s as close as we get in the U.S. Also, it’s the type I grew up eating (in Los Angeles) for Banh Mi sandwiches. I buy most ingredients from Duc Loi supermarket or other markets in the Mission. Whenever I can buy organic, I do, but I’m trying to keep costs relatively low while still making a quality product.
How did you invent the recipe for the vegetarian paté? It’s a remodeled recipe from a restaurant I used to work for. I used shitake instead of those white mushrooms, put in more garlic, [and] left out the parmesan [cheese]. The baked tofu recipe is my mom’s.
I’d like people to know that the recipes for my sandwiches come from my Mom. I’m not sure how this will pan out for the long haul, but right now I’m happy sharing my Mom’s awesome cooking with San Francisco. (And as my friend Alicia has pointed out, I don’t skimp with amounts; moms never skimp with amounts to keep prices low.) Also, I’m biking as fast as I can, but that isn’t very fast right now.
Pigs in your blankets, our jerk governor, stopping animal-torture porn, chocolates good and bad, and hottt vegan action in this week's HUGE-ASS link-o-rama!
Hey North Bay, busy on Monday, Sept. 21? There’s a sign-making party in Petaluma for World Farmed Animals Day (coming up!) that you could attend. Contact Kate Danaher for further information—location, supplies needed, etc.— and be ready for action from 6 to 9 p.m.
Win an ice cream party with Coconut Bliss ice cream! You guys this stuff is AMAZING, the cappuccino flavor is the best coffee ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Enter the contest, invite Vegansaurus, have the NIGHT of your LIFE.
California passed Prop. 2 in November, totally awesome! Going further, the state legislature recently passed a bill banning tail-docking in the dairy industry—just the kind of action we hoped the vote would spur. UNFORTUNATELY, our meathead (hilarious!!!) governor still has not signed that bill into law. All kinds of good-looking and/or famous people support it; join them, California residents, and tell that overtanned insanator to end the needless suffering of dairy cows already.
Farm Sanctuary’s newsletter, incidentally, is attractive and informative; if you need more email, this is something worth reading.
What’s wrong with the world: Torture porn is back! Or, “back,” because, what in the HELL? Help HSUS remind Congress that filming the cruel deaths of animals for people’s sexual gratification is FUCKED UP BEYOND BELIEF and should be banned forever, no question. Honestly, what kind of freakshow wouldn’t ban this?
Ezra Klein, Vegansaurus’ honorary little brother, is extremely concerned by all the antibiotics in your animals—a full 70 percent of antibiotics in the U.S. are used in “food animal production,” which is dooming meat-eaters to death by super-bacteria, like, tomorrow. Whoops, guys.
An employee of a Brazilian McDonald’s sued the company, using Super Size Me as evidence to prove that eating the devil’s own food-type products daily for two years had deleterious effects on his health. Ooh, someone sued McDonald’s, thrilling—except, he didn’t introduce the film until his appeal, which he won. Fuck yeah, little guy.
The Oakland Fire Department responded to a “shots fired” call in May, and found the victim to be an itty bitty pit bull puppy with multiple gunshot wounds! They named him Remy, and thanks to their efforts he is better, but not fully recovered. Oakland Animal Shelter is asking for donations to cover the costs of the many surgeries poor little Remy has had and will need. If everyone who entered our contests donated $5, it’d be really helpful. You cannot deny the puppy in a cast.
Did you know that Vegansaurus (OK, Meave) loves the opera? SFMike of Civic Center blog says that opening night is a terrible time to go, but Leah Garchik reports a bright spot: While “[f]ewer than 10 dinner guests had RSVP’d pledges of allegiance to broccoli; at dinner, 170 declared themselves veggies.” It appears as if the upper echelons of San Francisco society have decided eating veg is in (again?), to which we say, lay off the fur and we can be BFFs, you beautiful lunatics.
Vegan.com brings us news from Harvard, specifically that The Crimson editorial board supports campus-wide “Meatless Mondays” and demands more and better vegetarian dishes in the dining halls. You smartypants overprivileged Muppet Babies have your hearts in the right place; demand and ye shall receive! (that’s how it works for you guys, right?)
Dutch designer Christien Meindertsmatraced what happened to the body parts of a specific commercially raised pig and discovered a lot more than packaged meat. As savvy Vegansaurus readers will already know, that single pig wound up in 185 items. SO GROSS. The best/worst part is all of the non-food items the pig is used in automobile paint, cigarette filters, chewing gum and best of all, BULLETS. It’s extremely frustrating being vegan in a world like this.
The Babycakesladies are crazy, right? Probably! But we can certainly appreciate** their love of frosting.
*yow! The link-o-rama is racy today! all making painful jokes with single-entendres and using words like “racy.” The heat is getting to us! **the only difference between this scenario and Saturdays at Vegansaurus HQ is that our frosting, ahem, “escapades” involve swimsuits and aprons instead of matching onesies. yow!
This is also just basically a how to. HAVE AN AWESOME TIME WITH SOME COOL-ASS CRAZYPANTS BERRIES THAT CHANGE YOUR TASTE BUDS WHAT WHAT.
You will need: these Miracle Fruit tablets. No, they are not LSD, Dad. They are just tablets made to replicate the effect of the miracle fruit. And maybe some LSD WHO KNOWS? Oh wait, and there isn’t a real difference between the tablets and the actual miracle fruit berries so don’t think you’re all better than everyone else if you go the distance and spend the extra scrilla for the berries. Don’t be a dumbass, Moneybags. You will also need your parents. Well, I had my parents because that’s HOW I ROLL. WITH PARENTS. Tell yours, I really get along well with older people! Anywho.
What we did: Um, we took the tablets. Don’t know why I had to get all boldly violent on you just then. Anyway, you just gotta spread the tablets all over your tongue, especially the tip because that’s where the majority of your taste buds are. There is a word that could be substituted in the above sentence and it would be a lot grosser. I leave it to your imagination since this is now a Classy Blog. Next, we waited a couple minutes. Then, we ate hella food. It was great. Lemons, limes, grapefruits, coffee, strong beer (an IPA and/or a stout, preferably), and, of course, Sour Patch Kids.
Our results: Grapefruit, lemons and limes just taste like candied versions of themselves. DELICIOUS!
Sour Patch Kids still tasted sour but much less so and covered in sugar with the delightfully appropriate amount of sour and yum. I ate the whole bag and I ain’t ashamed and ANYWAY WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE ME??
Coffee and beer were just totally free of bitterness. I liked them much better without the strong taste but then, I am a wimp when it comes to bitter things. Drinking the coffee on miracle fruit, I could have sucked down the grounds. GROSS I KNOW RIGHT?
Basically, this is a really fun food thing to do that doesn’t require you be an omnivore. In fact, I heard it doesn’t impact the taste of meat at all really. Well, maybe it’s a little grosser. Yeah, I bet it’s even grosser. Let’s go with that.
I think that’s all from me. I could go into the history of the berry and the ancient shit and wisdom but frankly, we both know that all you give a shit about is how to order this shit as fast as possible and get high off food. DO IT.
Coming Out: Six Reasons to Be a Vegan (and why we should love them all.)
In the beginning, there’s OMFFGGGGGWHHHYYYYY???
Since I would reckon more of us came to the big V based on our own decisions, and not because we’ve been raised that way from birth, we undoubtedly will face the original question: WHY??? Hiss what you will about Mr. Bourdain’s Hezbollah vegan quote, right or not, he voices what a lot of people outside our tofu bubble think: vegans are wacky, proselytizing, fringe-y martyrs who use crystal deodorant, let rats out of cages, and don’t know nothing about good eatin’.
I grew up on a farm, where animals are respected and well-treated but not anthropomorphized. The first rule of Farm Club? Don’t name any animal that isn’t allowed in the house. My family adapted to my coming out…admirably quickly, but I’ve answered my share of questions. I’ve stood in a country kitchen, the circus freak/bearded lady fielding queries like, “will you kiss a guy who’s eaten meat?” Answer: “The standard rates of oral hygiene still apply.” I’ve sat around fancy foodie dinner tables and answered the “NO FOIE GRAS? What’s the point of living?” And I’ve had to “pass.” And by “pass” I mean: I’ve hidden my reasons for being vegan because if you’re not an animal rights-er, you’re seemingly null and void within the V-world clubhouse.
It’s not only prejudice from within—omnivores also usually assume you’re vegan because of the rabbits, George.
I don’t have a slew of vegan friends—but my mixed crowd has proven a perfect testing ground for all of the WHYYYYYS, and how important it is to distinguish between and embrace all of the:
Six Kinds of Vegans
The T. Boone Pickens (or, the Van Jones, if you prefer.): This one is all about the environment. Growing a varied vegan diet takes only a fifth of the land that a typical omnivorous diet does. Methane gas and manure aside, that’s land we can be using to grow windmill farms, not hamburgers. It’s all about energy, the first country who figures out how to get their energy for free—from the sky, the wind, water—without burying themselves in pig dung, wins. Meat and oil go together in way more ways than fondue, and it’s a great reason to go veg.
The Penn Jillette: Penn Jillette is an outspoken Libertarian, a “not in my name” advocate. He argues if he’s morally opposed to offing a cow himself, he can’t outsource that dirty work. It’s the personal responsibility, conserve and help yourself, man-as-island argument. Do your own thing, sir.
The Matthew Scully: The religious, George W. Bush-connected, like Lambs-to-slaughter vegan. Scully is a Christian vegan, but Hindus and Buddhists also give up the Surf-and-Turf for Salvation and Enlightenment.
The Posh Spice: Yes, the Spanx in the center of the book Skinny Bitch is the Cher Horowitz (see below) but the outfit it’s dressed in is all Posh. Meat is unhealthy, it’s pretty gross when you think about it, and you’ll be healthier and skinnier if you don’t eat it. So soy up and slim down. The very act of her carrying a copy of the book inspired more than a few converts, even if David Beckham didn’t come free with purchase.
The Rich Uncle Pennybags: It’s all about the Benjamins. A pound of $teak vs. pound of beans? There’s your five-to-one ratio from the T. Boone, just in dollars.
The Cher Horowitz: Finally, here’s your traditional, animal rights, Alicia Silverstone-for-PETA reason. You like animals, you don’t want them treated cruelly or killed. This can also apply to those against factory farming, but you have to say you’re a Horowitz with a twist of T. Boone, just to be fair…
First, I would love to put of these people in a house, Real World-style. Second, as long we’re all camped out here on the fringe of society, fractures and judgments from within, don’t help us none. Can’t we all just get along? Think about it: which is a more compelling group to join: one where it’s all hard and prejudiced and unwelcoming—or one where it takes all kinds? The more reasonable reasons exist, the more will embrace them. Let’s entice by example. If we’re accepting of all the reasons someone would become vegan, the more vegans there will be.
Inclusionary = fruitful and multiplying.
Who cares why someone’s a vegan, as long as they are. The benefits are the same. But am I mistaken in my notion that the Cher Horowitz is seen as the OG/OTP reason for going veg?
So yeah. I’m a T. Boone/Penn Jillette with Posh rising. Wanna make something of it?
This is the first article in a recurring series, The Vegan Diplomat; The Art and Politics of Being Vegan in any Situation Society Throws on Your Plate, brought to us by the lovely Zoë Stagg. Zoë writes about politics, pop culture, and social media. She went cold-tofurkey—total omnivore to vegan on April 26, 2006 and never looked back. Despite her rural upbringing and the fact that her dad may have wanted her to enter the Dairy Princess pageant in high school, she firmly believes in the conservative nature of veganism. Her last non-vegan meal was a Turkey Lean Pocket. Ew.
In a move of epically awesome parenting on the part of my father, I was allowed to watch Jaws with him when I was four. I sat next to him wearing my Wonder Woman Halloween costume. As a result (of watching Jaws, not of wearing the Wonder Woman costume), I have a hard time doing things like going into the ocean past my cankles, closing my eyes in swimming pools, being in swimming pools, and taking showers.
But also, I’ve had a lifelong fascination with one of our planet’s oldest forms of life: magnificent, wonderful, infinitely unknown sharks. In this interesting article by whysharksmatter in Southern Fried Science on the underreported side effects of “dolphin-safe” tuna, we learn that one of the probably side effects of this kind of fishing is a nearly 75 percent reduction in world shark populations.
I think that attempts at “ethical fishing” are admirable in theory, but this article suggests that in practice, they aren’t possible. In fact, if the author is correct, tuna fishing in particular is a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t endeavor. While for whatever reason, many people who don’t eat meat do eat fish, it may actually be more unethical, in terms of sustainability, to do so. I recommend to those interested in this topic to read Richard Ellis’ wonderful book The Empty Ocean, which talks about the cataclysmic misfortune a fish species can suffer for having the misfortune to be made almost entirely of sushi. This is a conversation that should be taken up by everyone, not just vegans and vegetarians; it has little to do with the death of a single fish, and everything to do with our relationship with the planet we share with the amazing but largely endangered life of our oceans.
This amazing post come from our friend Annapurna, who would like to remind that the ocean is for sharks. Stick to the sand, slut. You know you’re just there to show off your wares in hopes of finding a husband. WORK IT, GIRL.
Review: Basu's Homestyle Indian Cuisine (IS THE BOMB!)
Basu’s graciously sent us some of their make-it-yourself Homestyle Indian Cuisine to check out, presumably because every vegan blog south of San Luis Obispo has already had the chance. This is probably because they are an adorable family startup company based in the L.A. area and distributing regionally, but I am still immediately resentful of Southern California having anything desirable or good because I am a cynical, humorless Northern California native. Anyway you can already buy Basu’s at the Whole Foods stores down there. (What is up with Whole Foods in Southern California & Nevada having SUCH BETTER vegan selections than ours??)
As an Indian-food-loving single person (or, a not-single person who lives in a different apartment than her boyfriend and spends three nights a week over there so consequently grocery shops *less* than a single person), I already eat a lot of pre-prepared Indian food, in the form of takeout and vacuum-packs from Tasty Bite and the like. Because I sit down to depressing Trader Joe’s Punjab Choley for one and plain rice on a fairly regular basis, I feel entitled to the sense of totally unmitigated euphoria that comes flying out into the kitchen when you open a packet of Basu’s cheerily-labeled “Vindaloo Sauce with Basil - Vegan.” Warning:
this sauce smells amazing. While I was eating it at work the next day, my coworker (a real actual Indian person) was all, “That smells amazing!”
Now, it’s packaged as sauce alone, and you add your own vegetables and proteins (unless you’re just taking a bath in it—ain’t no shame, it smells amazing!) I thought, after an initial botched attempt at adding some Tofurky sausage (don’t do that) that this Vindaloo works best with baby red potatoes and firm tofu cut like paneer cubes (it does—do that instead!) Also, some cauliflower would probably be nice, but my neighborhood market was out of it.
First, I boiled the potatoes until soft, then drained them and cooled them a bit while I cut up the tofu. Then I melted some Earth Balance in a saute pan, and threw in generous amounts of powdered cumin and tarragon. I know tarragon isn’t very Indian, I just really like it. Then I threw in the tofu and (quartered) potatoes to stir fry until brown and crusty with delicious spices. When everything was nicely browned, I threw it in a pot with the Vindaloo sauce to simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat. At this point, my house smelled (you guessed it!) amazing.*
The Vindaloo dish was fast and easy, and makes for a comforting, nutritious and really delicious meal. But, the thing that really ele
vates Basu’s above the other DIY Indian foods is pairing the curry with Basu’s own Saffron Rice and Tamarind Chutney. The rice is unbelievably flavorful, in a way that would be difficult for me to replicate at home. It’s got a delightful buttery taste, offset by some kind of curried carrot (?) that really goes the extra mile in transforming your pathetic Ikea couch-and-coffee-table dining set into a charming neighborhood Indian restaurant. The chutney is dark and syrupy, and drizzled over the curry/rice combo, it’s just the perfect thing.
In sum, that was my totally savory experience with the Basu’s Homestyle Indian Food, a really good company and makers of the best DIY Indian meals. If only I could go to my local Whole Foods and get more. Sad Face.
*I should make it clear as I overemphasize how amazing it SMELLS, that I do not mean to underemphasize how amazing it TASTES, which is AMAZING. Like, the tastiest thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time, vegan or non.
Sometimes you are on top of the world; life could not possibly be greater, everything is sunshine and lollipops, and those rose-colored glasses have become permanently affixed to your face, but in a pretty way (obviously, everything about you is pretty). The view is amazing from your shining city.
Then, one day, you open your eyes and you can’t see the view for the fog; someone has ousted you from your dream-house and you can’t keep those pretty glasses on, all the tears make them slide down your face too much. One day the sunshine leaves.
When you’ve eased back from the copious weeping, you may realize you’re starving to death. Possibly because you haven’t been able to drag yourself to the grocery store in two months, possibly because you haven’t had to cook for yourself since you were eligible for The Real World, regardless, there are zero nonperishables in your cupboard but you still need to eat. Before you gnaw off your own hand, or spend obscene amounts of money and dignity on takeout for one, try this quick and easy recipe for soup!
Because it’s a liquid, it expands to fill the gaping hole inside where your ability to feel (anything but wretched self-pity) used to be. Because it’s lentils, it’s full of nourishing protein, vitamins and minerals, all of which you’re missing at the bottom of this well of mope. Because it’s quick, you’ll barely have time to reflect on the fact that this really is a meal for sorry little you before you’ve devoured it and are much sleepier than pathetic.
Ingredients water red lentils cooking oil assorted spices lemon or lime
Directions Rinse about 1 cup red lentils in a mesh strainer until they seem “clean”; pick out any tiny stones or other non-lentil materials. Transfer the lentils into a small-to-medium-sized pot. Should you feel compelled to shake the lentils while in the strainer, or perform any other fancy-type moves, refrain; wet red lentils, once spilled, are quite difficult to pick up, and your antics will only prolong your pre-meal suffering, as well as increase your anger with yourself—yes, it’s possible to feel even more upset than when all this started. Really.
Next, add about 4 cups of water to the lentils in the pot. Maybe add a little more, it’s not that important. Best to err on the wetter than drier side, anyway, lest you end up with burned lentil sludge instead of delicious lentil soup. Ms. Lonelyhearts does not recommend fucking up this recipe; it could be very detrimental to your already precariously low self-esteem, and besides you have really got to eat something. Put the pot on the stove, turn the heat to high, cover the pot and wait for it to boil. This won’t take more than five minutes, during which time you can return to your online crossword to fill in a couple more clues. Don’t cry if you don’t make any progress; a hungry brain is a slow and stupid brain.
Once your lentils in water are boiling, remove the pot lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Now, throw in anything in your cupboards for flavor, bearing in mind that lentils are, by themselves, on the blander side. Ms. Lonelyhearts’ recipe includes black pepper, basil, rosemary, a healthy pour of oil (olive? canola? whatever, just get some fat in there, your hair is a ball of split ends), and more salt than you think you should add. No, really. If you are an undersalter, close your eyes and pour. If you oversalt, go with your gut, shake in as much as you think best. If you are a perfect salter, then maybe you should be making something fancier than this sad recipe for sad people, Mr.-or-Mrs. Perfectpants. You and your perfectly salted food and your smooth skin and your happy face are in the wrong place, and are welcome to scoot on back to the sunshine any time. The rest of you should note that if you happen to burst into tears while seasoning your soup, try to cry directly over the pot, so as to better flavor your supper.
After you’ve seasoned, cover the soup and leave it to simmer for about 10 minutes. Make sure the timer is set loud enough that you can hear it from underneath the heap of bedclothes. When the 10 minutes are up, go stir the soup, taste it, make whatever flavoring adjustments it needs. You will probably need to add more salt. That is not a lie; Ms. Lonelyhearts would never mislead you. If the lentils feel like they’ve been sticking a bit to the bottom of the pot, turn the heat down a little—of all the things you’ve ever wanted not to happen, your lentils sticking is now at the top of the list (handily, the top five already happened, so prioritizing the rest is a matter of momentary importance). Now, cover the pot again and let the lentils simmer for 15 minutes, while you do whatever you need to do to get through them. Try updating your Depressing Music For The Body-Wracking Sobs playlist; some of those songs do lose their meaning after so much repetition. No, don’t pretend you don’t have one.
Once those 15 minutes are up, give the soup one more good stir—see how thick it is? that means it’s soup now—and turn off the heat. All you need to do now is add a little acid for contrast. Fortunately you have been drowning your sorrows in liquor these past weeks, and consequently have at least one lemon or lime around. Cut it in quarters, and squeeze them in one at a time, stirring and tasting after each one. When everything tastes right—about one fruit’s worth, give or take—ladle your soup into a bowl, grab a spoon, and retreat to your sanctuary (bedroom) to eat your supper, all by yourself. There’ll be enough for seconds, unless you’re using an enormous soup bowl, which you certainly can; there’s no one around to see or judge you for behaving a little feral right now. When you inevitably go back for seconds, being hungry and depressed without anyone to share with or stop you from eating more than your share, which is all of it, anyway, you are alone.
But you are also full of nourishing soup! Congratulations, you have taken care of yourself today. Don’t forget to rinse out your dishes before you crawl back into bed with a stiff drink.
This recipe is easily doubled for those not convinced of their inevitable solitary death!
It works like this: $2.50 buys you the coconut of your choice. He hacks off the top with a cleaver, puts a straw in it, then you drink the water. Then you bring it back to him, he hacks the whole thing open and puts a spoon in it, and you eat the jelly-like meat (cause they’re young coconuts, obviously). Then you feel fat and happy. The proprietor is very sweet and it seems like business is slow, so GO NOW, YOU LAZY BALL OF LARD. I dunno.
Hat tip to all the internet buzz and what not. No clue what the hours are so I hope it’s open when you go Open from 9 am to 7 pm every day! Otherwise, SUCKS TO BE YOU but you can make due with the other resources of our fine neighborhood.
And they (according to our VERY SECRET PLEASE DO NOT ASK sources) want/need encouragement. Or just, you know, want to know that vegans will actually be psyched and into it. WILL YOU BE??? Can you imagine the pizza cheesesteak with some Daiya up on that bitch? Yeah, you can.
Mission location: (415) 285-5200
Western Addition location: (415) 771-5104
SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET. That’s not me. That’s Clay Davis. Actually, I’m totally stealing it.
Offal IS awful. So is every other part of the animal, Dan Barber!
Apparently there is a school of thought that acknowledges all the problems involved in animal agriculture: the ridiculous waste; the environmental holocaust; the abuses and tortures inflicted on farmed animals, and yet recoils at the thought of becoming vegetarian or vegan. It’s difficult to grasp the logic, except maybe that giving up meat is too “spartan,” strict, and ascetic—just no fun at all. Dan Barber seems to be one such, and his solution, as best we can understand it from this editorial in The Nation, is that we all just need to be eating less rib-eye and more tripe?
It’s understandable, maybe even commendable, that his message appears to encourage the use of the whole dead animal rather than leaving an obscene amount of waste after taking only the choicest cuts. But he never really makes a case for these assertions:
"We need radical thinking, but we don’t need a revolution. We don’t need an overthrow of capitalism. Nor do we need to become vegetarians. We need not become spartans. We’re just going to have to learn how to cook."
Comparing vegetarianism to something as radical as overthrowing capitalism is a ridiculous argument. Barber himself uses the words “morally and environmentally toxic” to describe the production of meat; by this same rationale, organic farming is radical socialism.
Eating meat isn’t something that we all just have to “man up” and get used to. It’s not good for you and certainly not the animal. Why do we encourage people to just get over it and do what it takes when there IS an alternative that’s so much better? Barber never explains why we “don’t all need to become vegetarians,” or why exactly that’s such anathema to him and his supposed readers.
Also, he never really explains what he means by how we need to “learn how to cook.” We can’t properly nourish ourselves without competently flaying a liver or stomach? If chefs and epicureans like Barber would put the same gusto into teaching people to cook fresh vegetables, legumes and grains, we’d be healthier and better for it. Why not invest money, time and effort into creating vibrant, beautiful dishes with fresh tomatoes, lentils, red potatoes, tofu? Tofu is a lot cheaper than most types of offal.*
People eat those parts of the animal because they’re foisted on them, not because they taste good or are nutritionally superior. They have to be covered with salt and spices to be palatable. You can force your palate to acclimate to them, but why not just accustom yourself to tempeh or quinoa? After all, you can get used to eating ANYTHING. (Trust me, I’ve learned to like Marmite.) Why expand your palate in the direction of universal carcass, and not the other, healthier alternative? People who initially balk at the thought of meat “missing” from their meals are doing themselves a disservice by not making an earnest effort to go the meatless route. This isn’t ideology, this is science**.
He also addresses this issue from an “America vs. the developing world” perspective, as if all of India and China sit down to our castoff tripe stew at every meal. But increasingly, our bad meat consumption habits have infected the rest of the world, and the taste for prime cuts of meat is associated with privilege and economic prosperity. It’s delusional to think these countries won’t direct their resources away from their offal-eating roots as they can afford it. Barber’s portrayal of “other cultures” seems a bit filtered by privilege: American culture as dynamic and those more entrenched peoples existing in some Romantic 19th Century Authenticity Land, as if their cuisines don’t evolve with globalization in the same way ours has.
Tsk tsk, Dan Barber. I imagine your disciples will now circle jerk over sweetbreads*** while they read this article but maybe for once someone will stand up and be all, “Bitch, you crazy!” Ah well, a pink dino can dream.
*And veganism is not some elitist thing that only those with access to Whole Foods and farmer’s markets can afford to venture into. I was a poor vegan on food stamps for several years; it can be done. And generally, when buying groceries and cooking for oneself, vegan is the cheapest option available.
**Why do you think giant bad guy corporate health insurers are begging people to “thrive” and please just eat a fresh vegetable once in a while SHIT YOU ALL ARE COSTING US HELLA MONEY.
***Sweetbreads. Has there ever been a more deceptive name? I mean, you think you’re sitting down to a delicious cinnamon roll and then BAM! Stuffed shit tubes! Man, it’s worse than internet dating. All I’m saying is, it’s a scary world out there.
A million recipes, a whole bunch of videos, some adorable (rescued!) animals, another fruit in a cute shape AND MORE: Friday link-o-rama!
The Cute Showvisits an alpaca farm. It is unsettling to hear the farm children talk about the little creatures in terms of fleece quality, but I advise ignoring them and focusing on the unbearable squeezeability of the alpacas. Look at their furry little legs and their fuzzy heads! Look at the little bitty blue-eyed deaf one! It’s only four days old you can pick it up and snuggle it LOVE YOU ALPACAS.
WAY better than the heart- and star-shaped cucumbers: buddha-shaped pears! Will someone in Europe please send us some? Label them “trinkets” or whatever on the customs form, you KNOW how California is about importing produce. Dear state of California, we promise not to let these pears’ seeds come anywhere near your fertile soil.
There’s going to be a small, open-air fall farmers market just around the corner from the White House!
Activism had some effect! Remember how in The Cove, some of the dolphins were sold to aquariums, and the rest were murdered to be sold for meat? Well! Because of international pressure created by audiences of the film, the Japanese town responsible for this horror show has promised not to slaughter the dolphins in the season’s first “catch” (ugh). Instead, the people say they’ll release the dolphins they don’t sell live. Yes that’s still far from ideal, but it’s a huge improvement over mass murder.
San Francisco city Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introducedan ordinance this week to prohibit the procedure known as declawing on cats. For all the nothing that our local government seems to accomplish, this little piece of legislation is at least a little compensation:
"…[D]eclawing and tendonectomy are inhumane procedures that cause pain, anguish and permanent disability to a cat, and frequently result in behavioral and personality changes in cats subjected to those procedures. The primary benefit of the procedures—the convenience of pet owners—is outweighed by the cruelty of the procedures. It is inappropriate to remove parts of an animal’s anatomy, thereby causing the animal pain and suffering, and restricting and altering its natural behaviors, simply to fit the owner’s lifestyle, aesthetics or convenience, without benefit to the animal."
We like our Board of Supes with a little righteous anger.
Make cheezy quackers with Celine of Have Cake, Will Travel! She’s adorable, they’re adorable, there is nothing not adorable (and delicious!) about this video.
The recipe for “Ultimate Vegan Hot Wingz” over at Vegan Dad looks too good! If I make these, don’t expect to get any! Just me and the hot wingz and LEAVE ME ALONE I’M STARVING.
Har har: Quarry Girl announces the release of their iPhone app, which allows you to just push buttons instead of talking to people. This is all you talk about anyway, right?
Eater SF has a few photos from inside Gracias Madre, the vegan nuevo Latino restaurant by the Cafe Gratitude people. It’s set to open in “late summer 2009,” which technically means anytime between now and Sept. 21. Who’s taking me when it opens? I will eat raw vegan nuevo Latino ANYTHING, especially with those Gratitude nut cheeses, they are the best.
Hey, it’s National Cholesterol Month. You know who has super-duper excellent blood cholesterol? Vegans! Oh yes. Encourage all your non-vegan friends and family members to get their cholesterol levels checked, while you eat dairy-free ice cream out of the carton, in front of them. Because usually you are good and can keep your smugness to a minimum, but no one’s perfect, and basically the NIH is asking you to rub your better health in everyone else’s face, so why not?
I tuned into this week’s Top Chef a little late, so I was delighted to find that Jessie had been put out of her misery and finally been eliminated after essentially living in the bottom three. Good riddance to those tacky face piercings.
The elimination challenge itself was to cook for and fellate Joël Robuchon. The latter may not have been an official part of the challenge, but it sure felt like it with the chefs freaking out in way that would make Rachel “I DIEEEEEE” Zoe proud. Kevin Gillespie, Season 6’s winner, er I mean, the James Beard award-winning front-runner who won this episode’s quickfire, was allowed to sit at the grownups table to taste his competitor’s wares. He wisely didn’t say much during the meal.
As you could probably guess, this episode had very little in the way of herbivore-friendly food. The Quickfire was all dead snails and the elimination challenge was a veritable meat orgy, which included foie gras and rabbit. Episodes like this always make me wonder how a vegan chef would fare if they had to compete amongst all that. Could a Top Chef contestant just refuse to use meat?
Anyway, there were a few things that could work, with a bit of tweaking, naturally: Robin’s avocado soup was one, minus the crab. Or maybe you could use fake crab from a Chinese fake meat emporium? Your best bet would be Mattin’s fava bean crostini from the quickfire, minus the snails. The recipe calls for Pernod, so then you can drink! Or, I can drink it.
Sadly, Hector, who created the tofu ceviche a few weeks back was sent home for a disastrous steak dish. I was kind of annoyed that Mattin wasn’t sent home, especially when he flat-out lied at judge’s table about Ashley wanting to use asparagus in the sauce. Also, Mattin’s specialty is Basque cooking, not French. His prattling on about how he was going to do so much better because he was from France was obnoxious and in the end, he couldn’t even deliver on a classic French dish.
Next week: Las Vegas is hot! Tom throws out food! Jen Caroll continues to freak me out!
A lost world of CUTE has just been discovered inside Mount Bosavi, an extinct volcano in Papua New Guinea. New species of frog, bat, fish, and birds have been found here, including an ADORABLY tiny parrot, and an ADORABLY huge rat (is this the true Giant Rat of Sumatra?). There’s also a frog with fangs (supposedly, though I scoured the internet for a photo fruitlessly), a spider that’s camouflaged like lichen, and a whole bunch of other cool insects and spiders.
A three-part miniseries, Lost Land of the Volcano, is airing on BBC this week. Here’s a promo with footage of the big cute rat in action.
Now let’s all back out of the volcano slowly, and leave these guys alone, before some supervillain decides to set up a base here.
In this editorial in Forbes, James McWilliams (author of Just Food: How Locavores Get it Wrong And How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, a book whose cover you want desperately to judge because looks exactly like every other paperback bestseller containing your newfound food philosophy) clarifies his position on locavorism (locavoreness? locavoraciousness? okay sorry.) And that is basically, not eating meat is more environmentally responsible by a large margin than the perceived virtuousness of eating strictly locally grown, locally sourced. Real talk.
This is topical because it’s not the first time in recent history a mainstream media outlet has published an editorial outright advocating a vegetarian diet to a rather unlikely target audience. Also, it’s significant that the science behind the assertion that meat production and consumption is environmentally the shittiest worst is so unequivocal it’s now fit for FORBES and the WASHINGTON POST. I mean, dang.
But this is also topical because it brings up other issues. Issues we Bay Area liberals hold very dear, like how amazing and righteous and change-making we are for supporting our local coffee roasteries and community gardens, turning up our noses at restaurant servers who can’t tell us what cutely named farm in the Santa Cruz mountains our dinner came from, and riding our bikes to our many farmer’s markets, eco-friendly cotton shopping bags from Etsy.com (OMG stop it so cute someone buy me this) in tow.
I am making fun of you, but I am also making fun of me, and many of my friends. And this is what is so important about James McWilliams’ editorial. There is a disparity between the common wisdom of “slow food” and the idea that eating meat can be at all “green” or sympatico with reforming a broken food system. It simply can’t. Not when the inputs of production (water, energy, land, processing) so far outstrip plant foods in terms of resource usage. Choosing veg over meat is the “green” equivalent of choosing bike over Hummer. If you believe in the science of climate change, if you are an advocate for reducing carbon emissions and saving energy and composting, then meat consumption is inherently illogical.
And let’s be real: “locavore” is an ideal more than a reality for most of the people who subscribe to it. For every Novella Carpenter who is walking the walk by ACTUALLY consuming what she grows in her own backyard in Oakland, there are 100 people in San Francisco who feel good because they belong to a CSA and compost their leftovers, but are still driving to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s for packaged food from nowhere close by, and Niman Ranch meat. And this is a good illustration of food marketing and the powers of obfuscation, but also a disturbing cultural adherence to a status quo regardless of rational conclusions. In a recent New Yorker article, James Surowiecki (who is my total hero and did you know is also surprisingly young and attractive??) highlights this annoying tendency to ignore rational conclusions in favor of the status quo as it relates to the healthcare debate. And logically, this is very related: despite clear evidence of systemic failure of the health insurance system, Americans are so afraid of change they’ll waver in their support for reforms (even if their own coverage is inadequate or tenuous!)
Likewise, the blind refusal of the Slow Food movement to consider vegetarian and/or veganism the course of action most in-line with their values is totally illogical. And this is what I believe is bothering people about James McWilliams’ message. There have been some interesting criticisms, which make me more interested in reading Just Food. The Christian Science Monitor is having a really hard time with the Real Talk. But the primary opposition seems to center around his delivery, not that the message itself is off the mark.
And a lot of points he raises won’t be received kindly on the ears of the CSA set: locavorism is not scientifically a viable solution to feeding a growing world population. Even foodie darling Michael Pollan, in his address to the Long Now Foundation, acknowledged that it would be impossible to feed the growing world using strictly traditional farming techniques. Yes, reforming the fucked up agricultural system in the U.S. is a paramount need, but in order to ensure equal access to nutrition worldwide, we will also need to leverage new production technologies and realize massive economies of scale. I very much appreciated McWilliams’ mention of economies of scale, which is a key issue that locavorism either misses the mark on, or is viewing from a fundamental place of privilege.
If you are able to source all of your food from small producers, and you can afford to pay the premium associated with that (assuming you aren’t growing all your own food yourself), then you are a member of a privileged class. If you are doing this in a metropolitan area, where there are still dense groups of people living without access to any fresh vegetables at all, then you are still more privileged. (Novella Carpenter described her neighbors in Oakland’s Ghost Town neighborhood covertly “stealing” from her garden, and instead of being resentful or territorial, feeling glad to be able to provide fresh foods to a population whose other food procurement option was the corner liquor store.) By simple fact of resource allocation, there is no way that meat production and consumption can ever be egalitarian, on a national or global scale.
And I don’t mean to entirely villify the locavore ideal, which has admirable aspirations, to most of which I personally subscribe. I do think it’s excellent that people with resources have chosen to try to eat subversively and outside the framework of the awful agribusiness supply chain. I am not going to stop shopping at my favorite farmer’s market, because I am lucky to have access to fresh, seasonal foods and I’ve chosen to spend more of my food budget on them than I might otherwise at a mainstream grocery chain. But, I also owe a debt of gratitude to my life circumstances, and feel like it’s important to expand awareness and access to populations who are more reliant on traditional food delivery systems than I am.
Moving to a plant-based diet (vegan is obvs best!) is such a fundamental, important aspect of leveling food inequity and being environmentally responsible, and it’s both frustrating to unnecessarily divide efforts between vegetarians and locavores, and encouraging to see it gaining traction in mainstream media. While I think a media outlet like Forbes probably has sinister intentions of undermining pesky liberal objectors to agribusiness by publishing an anti-locavore editorial, McWilliams is able to make a big statement to a group of people who may not otherwise be receptive, and that’s exciting.
"If you want to make a statement, ride your bike to the farmer’s market. If you want to reduce greenhouse gases, become a vegetarian."
She’s launching a line vomitously called “Skinnygirl.” In addition to the SkinnyGirl cocktails (substitute anything sugary with club soda and you get the gist), she’s also selling vegan cookies for a whopping $25 a package.
If the thought of spending that much makes you sick, here is a recipe for her vegan chocolate chip muffins, which she insists are Susan Sarandon’s favorites:
What you need: 1 cup unsweetened applesauce 1/2 cup raw sugar 1 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp. almond extract 3/4 cup oat flour 1/3 cup cocoa powder 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup semisweet vegan choc chips 1 dash cinnamon
What you do: Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit and use nonstick spray on regular sized nonstick muffin tin.
Using a 3 oz. ice cream scoop, evenly scoop into muffin tins and bake for 20 to 60 minutes, rotating the tin halfway through. Place toothpick in center. When toothpick comes out clean, muffins are done. Allow to fully cool, then pop out with a spoon.
Bid on Dinner with Zoë Stagg at Brassica Supperclub! DO IT.
So the lovely Zoë Stagg (seen on the pages of Vegansaurus before and will soon have a regularly featured column here WATCH OUT WORLD!) is offering herself up to the highest bidder (NOT LIKE THAT PERVS! Okay, maybe like that. Are you attractive? BE HONEST.). We think a Vegansaurus reader should get on this. Awesome vegan lady, awesome cause, awesome dinner. Win win win win win.
HOW’S ABOUT IT?!? Have dinner with me at Brassica Supperclub to benefit Honor Flight, the fantastic charity that provides free trips to WWII (and other) veterans so they can see the memorial dedicated to their efforts. Let’s say we’ll start the bidding at $25. I’m at least worth a thousandth of a Palin, right?
After all, as the poet laureate John Michael Montgomery says,
It’s all well and good that we have restaurants like Herbivore and Cha-Ya, fine all-vegan establishments that they are. But vegans don’t have to be ghettoized, consigned to eat only with our own kind in where places no gung-ho carnivore would set foot*. Sometimes vegan options turn up in the most unexpected places. It’s like finding Incan gold** (um, except without the genocide).
Ted’s Market is a corner store deli (but not on the corner, go figure) with your usual array of sandwich fixings. The real reason to come here, though, is the vegan salami sandwich. Get one with avocado, hold the cheese & mayo, and delight in the fact that you can enjoy your neighborhood deli just like the “normals”***. I’m not saying Ted’s can hold a candle to Ike’s Place, but it’s a nice alternative when you can’t make it all the way to the Castro, say. Moreover, Ted’s proves the point that a business can make small concessions like this to vegans without bending over backwards, and everybody ends up happier. Except for those of us who show up after 5:00, when the deli counter closes.
The website notes that, “there is one vegetarian/vegan soup offered daily (subject to cook’s temperamant.[sic]” Love this for many reasons: sassy cook, sassy website, sassy spelling! Bring us the sass, Ted! Oh, they also have vegan chili! Get that when you’ve had your wisdom teeth out like me and can’t eat hard foods. In fact, I am very pathetic right now. Send me ice cream. And money. Mainly money, seems to be the only cure for this HORRIBLE HORRIBLE PAIN.
*Although, it must be noted that many gung-ho carnivores go apeshit for places like Cha-Ya that don’t offer any fake meat because they feel the food is more pure and vegans should just eat vegetables and wheatgrass. These people are ASSHOLES. I don’t eat meat not because it doesn’t taste good, but because I don’t want to contribute to the destruction of the earth and its inhabitants, ASSHOLE.
I know Vegansaurus is not a major fan of Mission Street Food, but first the amazing vegan burger, and now a menu that is almost 100 percent vegetarian—if they’re going to give us what we want, we’d better be there to take it. Right? YES.
Thursday Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. inside Lung Shan at 2234 Mission St.; get there early or risk missing the tastiest dishes (lentil fritters please meet MY FACE).
Please email, call and fax* by tomorrow (Wednesday, Sep 9) and ask the USDA to remove the lovely Queenie from her shit-tastic owners and put her in a beautiful sanctuary. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT SO TAKE FIVE MINUTES OUT OF YOUR LIFE DON’T BE SO SELFISH GOD. I know you’re reading this on your MacBook Pro while you lay in bed and drink margaritas and are all fat and happy and rich and shiz. You can take a second to help Queenie. If they get calls and complaints, we can make a difference. DO IT TO IT, Vegansaurus readers!
*A FAX. FOR REAL. It’s the GOVERNMENT. They don’t really accept technology or the future. You’re lucky the message doesn’t have to be delivered by a stripper who reads it while jiggling her tits in some gross-ass bureaucrat’s face WHAT DOES A PERSON HAVE TO DO AROUND THIS PLACE TO GET HEARD!? Actually, that’s not a terrible idea. If you have the time, money and inclination, you should get on that. Let’s get Queenie outta there, boys!!
Cupcake Camp is back again! It’s scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 4 from 2 to 5 p.m. at Automattic [sic] at Pier 38.* Your Vegansaurus entered two flavors in last year’s event, and we felt it went very successfully. HOWEVER: maybe 10 to 15 percent of last year’s cupcakes were vegan, and you know we cannot let that stand. It was like every sad dessert party you’ve ever been dragged to, everyone gorging themselves on delicious-looking cupcake-lollipops and ice-cream-filled cupcakes, and your Vegansaurus staring sadly at the schedule, hoping that the next round of entries would include a vegan batch. Consolation: there was plenty of Silk for thirsty non-dairy-milk drinkers.
This year, no more! Register here by Sunday, Sept. 27 to ensure a spot among the bakers/bringers of cupcakes. The two teeny tiny requirements are that you decide at registration how many cupcakes you’ll bring (at least one dozen), and what flavor(s) those cupcakes will be. We’re not worried about you though, you’re creative.
Cupcake Camp is sponsored in part by friend of Vegansaurus Sugar Beat Sweets, meaning even if you don’t enter—which you should!—you know you’ll get some fantastic vegan treats if you stop by, so mark your dang calendars already. Vegans represent! If you don’t bake for the animals, WHO WILL?
*Cupcake Camp notes that Pier 38 is in fact next to AT&T Park, at Embarcadero and Brannan; and a Google maps search will lead you astray, so do not do it.
Edible Expeditions at San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers!
California is probably the world’s agricultural wonderland. It’s true: if you drive through the Central Valley, there is just as much topsoil in the sky as there is on the ground – the ability to grow crops in the sky is pretty dang impressive, EPA warnings be damned.
But when you live in a state where it seems like you can grow almost anything, it’s easy to forget that there’s actually a lot of things we can’t, or simply don’t, grow here. Not that that keeps us from actually eating these delicious foods, like chocolate, vanilla, yerba mate, and cocaine. It’s just that most of the time, we only get to see them in their pre-packaged form. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I think I was about 21 the first time I realized that chocolate was actually from a plant.
Well, through November 1st, the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers wants to show you how everything good in life besides sex really does grow on plants, with their Edible Expeditions exhibit, which features many essential imported crop plants, as well as a few varieties which rarely make an appearance on our tables. Here’s the full run-down of all the awesome plants on display: coffee (I love you), chocolate (I love you), taro, curry, rice, longan fruit, the jackfruit (the largest fruit from a tree in the entire world and the inspiration for Juicy Fruit gum), guava, ice cream beans (no, ice cream does not come from plants, sorry!), peach palms, the pineapple (yawn!), yerba mate, the chocolate pudding tree (I saw this performed once at the Folsom Street Fair), bananas, cherimoya (which basically tastes like God), papaya, pacaya (a misspelled papaya), allspice, and vanilla (which comes from a badass, delicious orchid!).
Drooling yet? The Edible Expeditions exhibit is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 to 4:30. Visit their website for more info.
Thanks to our vegan gardening expert, Ben, for the heads up! Check out all of his other posts here and LADIES, he’s single. what what!
We love Amit Gupta. Like, hearts and stars love. The kind of love you would kill a man for. That’s how we love Amit Gupta. He is a vegetarian entrepreneur…do you really need to know anything else? Any veggies out there who get out of bed everyday with the intent of kicking that day’s ass in a variety of ways are good by us. To elaborate, he started Jelly and organized the first two NYC BarCamps. He’s also a giver. He worked with Seth Godin to start a non-profit called ChangeThis. See how he gives back?? What a giver! He currently runs Photojojo, it’s about photography and is a site that is truly helpful to anyone who has ever taken a photo. You must subscribe. He lives in San Francisco, right down the block from Vegansaurus HQ and we occassionally get to bask in his awesomeness. It is a delight. He takes photos, twitters, and sometimes blogs. Oh he also tumbles. WHAT DOES THIS GUY NOT DO HE IS TRYING TO TAKE OVER THE INTERNETWORLD? Oh well, we can’t think of a nicer internetbro to do this. GO FORTH AND CONQUER WITH YOUR BAD VEGETARIAN SELF, SUPERAMIT. Read this interview to learn about dinosaurs, bunnies, and what the next big veg business idea is. DO IT.
How long have you been vegetarian? Since I was born. 1,000 years ago.
Are you vegetarian for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination? Habit!
I’ve never had meat (as far as I know) and I don’t see a good reason to switch. Animals seem pretty cute and furry and why would you want to kill them
anyway? But when we can finally grow hamburgers and steaks and stuff in meat production vats, I’ll probably eat tons of that shit. I hear it’s hella tasty. Srsly. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE MEAT VATS.
I used to cook all the time when I lived in the zü (a co-op in college) but I never cook anymore, because I just steal pies from NATALIE “GALETTE” GALATZER.
Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant/fave vegan restaurant? Whatever’s being served that day at Strictly Roots in Harlem. The drumsticks at Red Bamboo in Greenwich Village (amazing veggie soul food) — fried breaded soy protein wrapped around raw sugarcane. But seriously, how can you not want to eat every single thing on this menu? [Ed.: WE LOVE RED BAMBOO! And also, strongly endorse VP2 next door which got Vegansaur Laura through college. Well, that and cheating.]
You travel a lot for work. Based on food options alone, which is your favorite city to travel to? NYC.
Did I mention the Vegetarian Dim Sum House? I didn’t think it was possible to have so many vegetarian turnip cakes in one sitting that you actually didn’t like them anymore, but it is. So don’t have that many. [Ed.: WE ALSO LOVE VEGETARIAN DIM SUM HOUSE. <3 Turnip Cakes <3 and <3 Coriander Ham Rolls <3! If you love the Turnip Cakes there, have you tried the ones from Big Lantern in SF? They have delicious Turnip Cakes with chunks of meatless chicken! They are on the Dim Sum menu! Not quite as delicious but some of us have NEEDS.]
Do you have one food photography tip to share? The more photos you take the more likely one of them won’t suck. And I heard they use Elmer’s glue in place of milk when photographing cereal.
You start and contribute to a lot of businesses. Do you have any entrepreneurial tips to share? Pick something you really want to make happen and just start working on it right now. Don’t wait for the right time or the right opportunity or the right anything else because if you wait it’ll just be too late.
If you were gonna start a veg-centric business right now, what would it be? I think it’d be cool to make a veggie or vegan recipe translator. Like Google’s translation, you’d give it a URL, and it’d feed you back the same page, but instead of making all the Japanese into broken English, it’d turn a regular recipe into a vegetarian one, or a vegan one. It’d have to be smart enough that it wasn’t doing straight-up substitutions but looking at what else was in it and trying to figure out what was being made, so it could make smart suggestions. Perhaps it’d have access to a library of recipes in meat and veggie versions to learn about the differences.
It’d be hardest with baked foods, but I bet it’d do an okay job with the rest… recipes are pretty structured as data goes. [Ed.: This is a fantastic idea! Who is on this!? Email us! We’d like to take credit/split royalties 80/20]
What project are you the most proud of?
I’m most proud of Photojojo… it’s the first time I started with my own money and built something slowly and sustainably. It’s got a long way to go, but it’s been really satisfying to see it grow. I took VC with my first company (and dropped out of college to start it) and while I’d consider it again, I think VC is kind of like pesticides. In the short term it’s great and your apples are all shiny and red, but in the long run unless you’re really lucky you’re probably giving your company cancer or something. Grow organic!
What exciting upcoming projects can we look forward to? Because we do look
forward to them. They’re secrets! But the next big launch is our new book [Ed.: BUY IT!!! But maybe wait for it to be in the Photojojo Store so they make more money off you you can support them!], which hits bookstores on September 15th. (And we just recently found out we’ll be taping a bit on the CBS Early Show that day!)
Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day? LAURA YOU SAID YOU WERE GOING TO COME OVER AND MAKE ME A DELICIOUS FAKE MEAT FEAST?! [Ed.: Soon! Promise!]
Any questions for Vegansaurus? When can I buy a t-shirt? [Ed.: Soon! Promise!]
And when are you starting the SF Vegansaurus Vegan Street Meat Cart? [Ed.: Soon! Promise! errr….]
Thanks, Amit! These interviews with awesome veg people doing amazing things are part of our ongoing effort to bring you some hope in this miserable pit of a world. Check out our interviews with Minty Lewis and Sharon Troy of Veg Table too!