Bake gluten-free: xgfx did all the work, so you don't have to!
The cutie-pie gluten-free bakers over at xgfx have taken it upon themselves to experiment with the new King Arthur flour gluten-free baking mixes! They have attempted the challenge of finding the right ratio of egg- and dairy-replacements required for VEGANIZATION of each mix! I don’t know nearly enough about gluten-free baking, BUT what I do know is after reading their review and subsequent recipes, I am definitely going to be making this pizza. I will also become a master vegan, gluten-free baker after reading this! I love xgfx!
VEGAN AND GLUTEN-FREE?! If that’s Daiya cheese (which I know it is), does that mean it’s soy-free as well? It’s like, anyone could eat it.
How It All Vegan was my first vegan cookbook, and its coauthor Sarah Kramer still has a special place in my heart. Kristin over at Cook Bake Nibble has a nice interview with Sarah up this week as part of her Inspirational Women Interviews 2011 series. I suggest you take a moment to go read. Some highlights:
"I try to broaden my horizons by sticking my fingers in as many pies as possible!"
I can’t watch movies anymore of animals being tortured. I know what’s happening. I’m informed. I’m supporting my community to help stop the exploitation of animals but I’ve seen enough.”
"My goal is to change the world—one tummy at a time."
Tonight in SF: make vegan corn dogs FOR FREE (FOR REAL)!
All of the details are at SF Weekly, where I’m the interim food editor and that is why you haven’t seen much Laura B. around here and also why this sentence doesn’t make lots of sense MY BRAIN IT HURTS. Anyway, it’s a good thing for you because the rest of the people/dinos on this site are better at everything, SO ANYWAY: EVERYONE COME TONIGHT! Get fat on vegan corn dogs and be very happy! And if you can’t make it, learn more about Vegan Hacker anyway, because there will be more events and they will be HELLA FRESH!
This is seven-year-old Noah! He is clearly a baseball stud and he also helps his mom with her blog!
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Noah: Pickles and Tofurkey Reubens. [Mom note: I made my own recipe]
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Pineapple upside-down cake.
Why are you vegan? Because it doesn’t hurt animals.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Yes, because it doesn’t hurt animals and the food tastes yummier than un-vegan food.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? No. [Ed. note: that’s what I like to hear!]
What do your friends think about you being vegan? They think it’s good. Most of them are vegan, too.
What is your favorite animal? Why? All animals because they’re our friends and they help us live.
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! Yeah, but I mostly like blue dinosaurs. Yes, I can draw one!
If I’m not mistaken, that looks like a vegansaurus grocery shopping with a baby vegansaurus in the cart?! Holy cannoli! Baby vegansaurus! Awesome! As usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me!
Holy Hodo Batman, free soy at the Ferry Building on Saturday!
Spicy Yuba Strips, fancy plate not included!
Guys, remember how I visited the new Hodo Soy Beanery kiosk at the Ferry Building and got free stuff and it was delicious? Now you can get free delicious stuff too, Saturday May 28 ONLY!
Here’s the exclusive early scoop:
"Celebrate the long weekend with a FREE 6 oz container of Hodo Soy Beanery Hijiki Salad or Spicy Yuba Strips ($5.99 value) when you visit the newly opened Hodo Soy Kiosk at the Ferry Building Marketplace. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until supply runs out!
I’d advise getting there early because I’m guess it will run out! Run like the wind to your tofus!
On one hand, he’s doing what most meat-eaters wouldn’t dare, by killing the animals he eats; on the other, what kind of sociopath can slit a goat’s throat? Honestly, I have more respect for slaughterhouse employees who are FORCED to do the dirty work so that they can feed their families/don’t get deported. Well, that and I feel awful for them—what a terrible job they have to do so the rest of us can eat chicken wings at every meal. COMPLICATED ISSUES, PEOPLE.
Patxi's Chicago Pizza is opening in the Inner Sunset!
So many incredible and amazing things come out of Chicago. Top 5: The Handlebar, Sultan’s Market, Mercy for Animals, me (I’m actually from the Bay Area, but I lived there for three years) and CHICAGO-STYLE PIZZA! I had it a few times before I went vegan, and man, is it decadent (by which I mean super, amazingly delicious)! Now that I live in San Francisco, I no longer have to go without, because everything is veganized here!
Although I haven’t eaten at Patxi’s Chicago Pizza yet, that my friends, is about to change. They are opening up a new location in the Inner Sunset! That’s almost right by my apartment! I can get some exercise walking over there before I gorge on a 5,000-calorie pizza (junk food is junk food—actually I’m TOTALLY in denial about that. The onion rings I just devoured were HELLA HEALTHY. My body is a temple and it is just thriving!).
Patxi’s is opening its fourth location late this summer/possibly fall, at Ninth Avenue and Irving Street. My apartment JUST SO happens to be conveniently located between Escape From New York and the future Patxi’s. I can get my daily serving of fruits and vegetables from pizza alone, can’t I? Yes? Goodbye outside world, I’m only leaving the house to eat pizza. Or pay the delivery guy. Or go to work to pay for said pizza. Actually, this is beginning to sound like the life I currently lead.
While trying to find vegan Chicago-style pizza IN Chicago, I stumbled upon this recipe from Quarrygirl. FUCK YES.
Patxi’s will be located at 822 Irving St. and its first East Bay location will open June 15 in Lafayette, at 3577 Mt. Diablo Blvd.! Lafayette?
OMG, how could I forget about OLD STYLE??? I wonder if Patxi’s can get a hold of this delicious beverage for the complete Chicago experience?
Bob Barker honored with prestigious Veg Award! You get a recipe!
My friend Lena Fay is the UnOfficial president of the Bob Barker Fan Club. I interviewed her earlier today about her adoration of all things Bob Barker, and for a better understanding in general, via text message.
Vegansaurus: Can you explain in two or three sentences your love for Bob Barker and why you are the president of his fan club? Lena Fay: Bob Barker made me understand the unparalleled charisma of dirty old men.
Is he a dirty old man? Kind of. He hooked up with the Barker Beauties.
Who are the Barker Beauties? The girls who run The Price is Right games who are always in swimsuits.
So there you have it! As it happens, Lena Fay isn’t the only fan of Bob Barker; so are vegan animal-rights advocates Mercy for Animals! MFA, along with Barker, are throwing a huge, fancy bash on June 4 in the Hollywood Hills! They will honor the “hidden heroes”—undercover investigators who risk their lives and safety to expose the horrific cruelty animals endure at factory farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses—and Barker himself will receive an award! Bob Barker has spend the last 30-plus years as a crusader for animal rights, yo. He can put his Compassionate Leadership Award next to his 19 Emmys from The Price Is Right!
Lena Fay often uses her Facebook status to announce her obsession surrounding Bob Barker and The Price Is Right. One of those nights, not too long ago, I decided to to a little investigative, undercover work myself. And I stumbled across this recipe! A vegan enchilada bake that calls for a crushed Fritos topping, and side of vegan sour cream? I too, found myself loving Bob Barker.
(I totally would have posted the picture, but then I realized it’s probably a stock photo! With dairy cheese and meat! And we know what kind of shenanigans that leads to…)
This is eight-year-old Ayame! She’s been vegan her whole life and I’m assuming she’s been adorable at least that long.
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Ayame: I have too many, but, cookies!
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Dad’s vanilla cake.
Why are you vegan? Because mom and dad are vegan. Because if you eat animals it’s not right.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Yeah. At lunch they eat meat all the time and I would be unhealthy and you will get a gallstone. [Dad note: My cousin got a gallstone and was told to cut out all dairy and eggs.]
Is it ever hard to be vegan? Yeah, when my class eats special treats sometimes I don’t get to eat them and I feel sad. [Dad note: We give her extra treats when she gets home.]
What do your friends think about you being vegan? Nothing, they don’t even think about me being vegan. [Dad note: Her friends’ parents are very accommodating and will prepare Ayame’s food separately or serve vegan food.]
What is your favorite animal? Why? Bunnies. They are cute.
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! [laughing] Yes. OK.
Looks just like the Vegansaur! Awesome! As usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me!
The Search Dog Foundation puts more rescued dogs to work rescuing people!
Did you want more Search Dog Foundation news? Of course you did, those dogs are awesome! Our friend Mike let us know that two search teams were deployed on Monday, May 23 to Joplin, Mo. to work in the wreckage of the tornado that demolished the area over the weekend.
Check it out: both dogs are “rescued dogs turned rescuers,” and they’re California dogs—Huck comes from the East Bay SPCA, and Jagger from the Haven Humane Society in Anderson (near Redding)—just like Pearl! Huck was too possessive of his toys, and Jagger was “high-energy and ball-driven.” After successful training, Huck now lives with his partner, Oklahoma City firefighter and FEMA Canine Coordinator Brent Koeninger, and Jagger with his partner, Oklahoma City firefighter Jason Smith.
You can keep up with all of SDF’s graduations on the site, where there’s currently a video of Huck at work! Of course this would be more exciting if Huck and Jagger’s work weren’t “finding victims of a natural disaster,” you know? While we are extremely happy to see more proof that rescued dogs are the most deserving dogs, we feel terrible for the people of Joplin and all that they’ve suffered in the past week. Best of luck to Huck and Jagger and their partners in the wonderful work they’re doing. Dogs are seriously the best. SDF Lead Trainer Puis Davern says, “Watching these once cast-off dogs that with training have become life-saving tools fills me with unmitigated pride and a deep humility for this species that can and does do so much for humankind.” You guys, my heart.
Update! As of Tuesday night, Huck and Jagger are home. Jason Smith told SDF that “Brent and I are leaving Joplin now after almost two full days of searching. Our Task Force has completed its work in the area assigned to them and has been released by Command. We are headed home to the severe weather and tornadoes that await us in Oklahoma.” Good luck, teams.
Veganized for your pleasure: brown sugar bacon buttermilk waffles
Why yes, that is rice whip on my waffle. I do not mess around.
I really don’t understand this longstanding bacon obsession in America. And when it got to the point where it was showing up on magazinecovers, in chocolate bars, in squeezable formats, and with full-on "trend" status (If one more person tries to get me to eat bacon by saying, “but bacon doesn’t count,” I will have a conniption), I was confused and, yes, hurt. But just because we don’t want gristly bits of dead pig on top of our cupcakes doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the flavorful combination of sweet and smoky, the textural dissonance between chewy and fluffy. Peep this recipe, gag, and then make this bitchin’ and infinitely more animal-friendly version:
Fakin’ Bacon and Buttermilk Waffles makes four Belgian waffles
Ingredients "Bacon" One package or recipe of tempeh “bacon” (I used Tofurky’s) 1/4 cup brown sugar
Waffles 3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed 6 Tbsp. hot water 2 cups soy milk (or whatever other vegan milk you use) 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar 2 cups flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 tsp. vanilla
Instructions Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spray a cookie sheet with some nonstick. Arrange the pretend bacon in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the strips as evenly as you can. I won’t judge you for licking your fingers. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the sugar has become pretty liquidy. Let it cool, and then chop the sticky strips into little pieces—or break it apart with your hands if you’re nasty (related: I’m nasty).
In a bowl, whisk together the flax seed and hot water till it’s as frothy as your little hands can make it. In another bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Watch as it gets all curdled and weird-looking. Okay, focus! Now in a big bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (flour down to salt in the list above). Marvel once more at the crazy milk transformation, and whisk in the flax seed mixture, oil, and vanilla. Pour it all into the dry ingredients, and mix till it’s mostly combined. Then stir in the pretend bacon bits.
Follow your waffle iron’s directions to make as many waffles as possible. Cover it in Earth Balance, maple syrup, jam—whatever you put on waffles. Serve with orange juice, and pretend you’re being healthy. Eat, and slap yo’ mama.
This ain’t no ordinary waffle. As you can see, there’s chewy, savory tempeh bacon in there!
Guest post: A vegan lady's guide to bleeding, or whatever. AKA: Vegan periods, y'all!
Hello, everybody! Today I’m going to talk about Shark Week. And when I say Shark Week, I’m not talking Discovery Channel. I’m talking the kind that happens to a person’s ovaries once a month.
So, what about having a “leaky basement” isn’t vegan? And why would Vegansaurus be talking about Mother Nature’s gift? Well, surfing the crimson tide is vegan, but the ways that we deal with Aunt Flo’s visit aren’t exactly the most environmentally friendly. Or people-friendly, for that matter. Tampons are bleached to get them white, pads are plasticky and feel like diapers, and it seems like nobody has done anything to asses this situation in a very long time. Furthermore, we spend hundreds of dollars each year on products that we use once and throw out—products that end up in our oceans and lakes and landfills and the end up in the stomachs of animals that don’t know any better.
I propose a solution. There are other ways of going about things! Ways that are better for you and the earth and all the little critters that live here.
Now before everyone goes all “reusable products are nasty and meant for some level of crunchy that I have just not attained yet”, give me a chance to make my point. I should mention that it’s really unfortunate that we are living in a society where the only advertised options for handling your red-flag week are disposable (not to mention the mysterious “blue liquid” used in all the advertisements). We don’t know about alternative options not because they’re bad, but because they don’t have the advertising opportunities that big companies do.
Alternative 1: Reusable Fabric Pads
Fabric pads look just like regular pads (but more colorful and way cooler**) and snap around your underwear.
If you’re like me, this proposal at first might seem ridiculous. Fabric would leak, washing that with the rest of my clothes would be awful, and I could imagine the pad shifting all the time and driving me insane. Well, fabric pads come in tons of different shapes, sizes, and patterns (Lunapads are great, and Etsy has a ton of options) so you can choose the best pads for you. Most are made with organic cotton and lined with nylon to prevent leaking. Along with many different sizes, many pads have options for you to add extra liners, making a thicker and more absorbent pad. Mind you, if there’s a lot of blood, things are going to leak. But they would with regular pads too.
And have I mentioned comfort yet!? Oh man, there is no comparison between organic cotton and scratchy plastic. None. I swear you’ll try one on and think "Wow, thank you, Vegansaurus; why didn’t I do this years ago!?" Plus the pad doesn’t move or shift around at all, which is lovely.
Now all that’s fine and dandy, until we get into cleanup. But this is the best part! The only difference between washing a pad and doing the rest of your laundry is that you rinse the pad before you put it in the laundry. I’ve been doing this for about a year so far and I have noticed no difference in my laundry at all! So easy!
Alternative 2: Menstrual Cups
Even though fabric pads are awesome, they just aren’t practical for some people, and this is where the cup comes in. Originally invented in the 1920s, the menstrual cup sort of works like a tampon but it’s, you know, a cup.
There are four really awesome things about the cup that makes it way better than tampons: 1) They absorb twice the amount that a tampon does, more than the super-plus kind, which means there’s no more constant fear of “Is my tampon about to leak? Does it need to be replaced?”; 2) They are reusable—you just need to disinfect it between periods; 3) You can leave them in for 12 hours, which is awesome, especially if you’re worried about Toxic Shock Syndrome and how if you sleep for more than eight hours with a tampon your uterus will explode or something; 4) Medical-grade silicone or rubber instead of scratchy bleached cotton.
Although it’s something that takes a little while to get the hang of, investing in a cup is a really great idea if you use tampons anyways. If the cup still sounds like a scary endeavor, there’s an entire Livejournal community dedicated to them, which has a lot of useful information, especially for troubleshooting. Note: Be careful, as at least one cup I know of, the Keeper, isn’t vegan.
So there you have it! Two awesome options that are better for people, animals, and the environment. So maybe the next time shark week comes around you’ll be feeling less like a shark and more like a guppy.
**Just from a quick look on Etsy, I found pads with a pizza print, Hello Kitty, and I know my friend bought my other friend an Edward Cullen-themed one so she could bleed on him once a week, which I found hilarious.
Sara Howie is a student, currently attending school for a double major in fine arts and business in Windsor, Canada. She has been vegan for a year (and hasn’t looked back!). She keeps herself busy by doing art, biking, cooking, playing the ukulele, and caring for her fat pet rabbit. You can check her out at her blog, Sara Takes Over the World.
Guys, I think I just fell in love with an eight-year-old! But he lives in Phoenix, A.Z. I’m not super stoked about the whole long-distance thing but I think we can make it work! Because he’s dreamy. Take it away, Logan P.!
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Logan: Tofu. [Mom note: Logan’s favorite meal is tofu steaks with mushroom sauce from Cherryblossom Noodle Cafe.]
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Chocolate Oreo.
Why are you vegetarian? I don’t like the fact that people are killing animals. I really hate people killing animals! [Ed. note: We have so much in common!]
Do you like being vegetarian? Why? Yes, because I don’t like being part of the group that kills animals. And there’s healthy food for me.
Is it ever hard to be vegetarian? Yes, especially at my school. At my school the food is all made from animals. At most restaurants all they serve is meat.
What do your friends think about you being vegetarian? My friends are like, “Dude, why are you a vegetarian?” I tell them I don’t like to kill animals. They’re like, “Oh.” Then the next day they say again, “Dude, why are you vegetarian?” And then I say, “I already told you like 50 hundred times!”
What is your favorite animal? Why? A spider, because they are very interesting. There is way more to learn about them than that they spin webs and have eight legs!
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it!
Awesome! Thanks, Logan! Call me! [Other Ed. note: GOD MEGAN HE IS EIGHT. Logan, call ME.] As usual, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me! I bite minimally!
Pose of the hypocritical excuse-itarian: yoga IS veganism
I was halfway through writing an article on yoga as it relates to veganism when this article appeared in my inbox, courtesy of the head honchos at Vegansaurus. Suffice to say it only fueled my agni (Sanskrit for “fire”).
Sometime in the 1980s yoga took over the Western world. Suddenly everyone was in downward dog, from 20-something administrative assistants to hardcore fitness fanatics to stay-at-home moms to Wall Street suits. Yoga and its followers, myself included, have carried the practice into the 21st century and the culture continues to grow. I’m all for staying in shape, but what most folks overlook is that yoga is much, much more than a 60-minute workout. Yoga is upwards of 2,400 years old, and is deeply rooted into the spiritual world, leading true practitioners—or yogis/yoginis—to attain enlightenment.
Between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., Patanjali, the “father of yoga,” wrote the Yoga Sutras, also referred to as The Eight Limbs of Yoga. The sutras provide yoga with a thorough and consistent philosophical base, and is considered the foundational text of Yoga.
The Yoga Sutras are (in Sanskrit and English):
Yama (restraints or ethical disciplines), consisting of Ahimsa (nonviolence), Satya (truth), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (sexual responsibility), and Aparigraha (non-coveting/non-greed)
Niyama (observances), consisting of Saucha (purity), Santosa (contentment), Tapas (austerity), Svadhyaya (study of self/holy scriptures), and Isvara-Pranidhana (devotion to God)
Ahimsa, the first yama, means non-violence/non-harming, or more simply, peace and love. Essentially, the true yogi believes that to kill or destroy a being is to insult its creator. This is about as black-and-white as it gets: unless you are vegan, you support the idea that an animal’s life is worthless and invalid in the face of our desire for its flesh and secretions. Breaking rule number one? Check.
At the Yoga Journal Conference in 2009, Dharma Mittra, a celebrated yoga teacher and director of the Dharma Yoga Center in New York City, stated, “It is a sin to eat animals. Why? Because the ability to put oneself in other’s place is the path to enlightenment. When you eat meat, you make your stomach a graveyard.” He added, “You must take compassion more seriously.” Sounds clear to me, but after reading Briana Ronglin's article "Yogis Don’t Have to Be Vegan, According to the Masters," it seems some people are sincerely confused about rule number one. Dancing around reality with very convenient information gathered from a panel of “Yoga masters that would make any devoted Yogi tremble with awe” from 2011’s Yoga Journal Conference, Ronglin outwardly eschews the very foundation of yoga. What’s worse, these “experts” only assist with their oblivious commentary. Ana Forest and Aadil Palkhivala both boldly venture into excuse-itarian territory, claiming that a vegan diet left them feeling “ill” and “sluggish,” and complaining about weight gain. Ana actually confesses to “rearranging her beliefs to accommodate the needs of her body.” Sounds to me like these two health-conscious “masters” didn’t pay much attention to basic nutrition at all.
Another expert, Seane Corn, is vegan. However, she states that “living in judgement of other people’s choices is absurd.” In theory, I agree—except when said choices have far-reaching consequences for my planet and its other inhabitants, my future, my tax dollars, my health care, and so on. Everyone agrees, of course, that the most realistic solution must be to indulge in “non-factory farmed” meats, or just a “sliver” of chicken if it’s “what you need to feel whole.” Absurd, indeed. If it’s acceptable to ignore the very first of the Yamas and eat another being’s flesh and secretions, what does it matter how happy or well-fed that being was before slaughter? Declaring that a yogic diet is made up of “whatever works for you” is in blatant and arrogant disregard of yoga’s most basic principles and foundations. Talk about bad Karma.
Pearl, the ASPCA dog of the year 2010, was deployed to Japan in March following the massive earthquake and tsunami. They were in the Ofunato City area on the northeast coast, and worked from Mar. 14 to 21. So heroic! The Search Dog Foundation has more information—including videos—on Pearl and her team’s work.
Our friend Mike from Occupied Las Vegas visited the SDF and got to see some training exercises. Very dramatic.
Mike also told us that Pearl was on Wheel of Fortune on Mar. 15 as well (obviously a pre-taped episode). Your Vegansaurus is very sorry not to have reported that so you could’ve watched it, but our SDF/Pearl correspondent was having some internet-access issues during, um, February through April. Ahem. Nevertheless, we are dedicated to bringing you the SDF/Pearl news you need.
And more news! Allyn Lee told us in mid-March that A New Job for Pearl reached its sales goal, so they can sponsor a new dog to undergo the SDF training. Allyn records their progress on their Facebook page, where you can also learn about the other dogs she rescues, including a very special pit bull mix called Vinnie, whom she saved from euthanasia in April. Allyn Lee’s just giving dogs a chance to be great—and look at how great some of them can be! This means that if you haven’t bought a copy of A New Job for Pearl yet, you should; proceeds will continue to sponsor dogs at the SDF. Belated congratulations to Allyn and all the creators of A New Job for Pearl, and thanks to Pearl and her handler Ron Horetski for doing their important work. Also thanks to Mike for the information. We love tips!
Gluten-free biscuits and gravy! Your eyes do not deceive you!
I don’t have celiac disease and I don’t have a sensitivity to gluten; nonetheless, I’m into the challenge of making delicious gluten-free, vegan, baked goods and entrees/sides. The thing that discourages me when I am looking for recipes is that I need to have 5 million ingredients, none of which are in my “pantry” (haphazard shelf in the kitchen). I mean, are 15 different bean and grain flours necessary?
I’ve taken it upon myself to experiment and I came up with this biscuit. Only three flours! Plus xanthan gum, which is expensive, but imperative. It is what binds the flours together, which is what gluten normally does. I like to get mine out of bulk bins, that way I don’t have spend $15 at a time.
Ingredients 1/2 cup corn flour 1 cup sweet rice flour 1/2 cup garfava flour 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum 1 1/2 tsp. salt 5 tsp. baking powder 1/3 cup chilled soy margarine or vegetable shortening at room temperature 1 cup unsweetened soy milk or water
Instructions Preheat oven to 400 degrees. The trick with biscuits is to not play with them too much. This is especially true when working with regular flour, but I like to think the same rule applies for gluten-free as well. The less you handle them, the flakier they will be.
Measure out your flours, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder (dry ingredients) in a bowl. Whisk to get any lumps out and to mix everything together (you can use a fork for this step-sometimes I find myself with no whisk). Add chilled soy margarine in small chunks. This is called cutting it in, which is described here. You don’t need a pastry cutter, some people use knives, but I use my hands. Not over mixing or playing with your dough is extremely important once you start adding the fat and liquid.
The different dry ingredients whisked together.
Chunks of fat.
Lightly, by hand, mix everything together. You want the consistency to be “pebble- or sand-like,” with chunks of magerine or shortening visible throughout. Next, add your soy milk or water. Knead 10 times, no more!
Pebble-like. Maybe closer to sand this time around.
Now, I don’t have a pastry-cutter, I’m not that fancy, but maybe I should look into it. I just spoon out some dough and drop in onto a greased baking sheet. A few inches apart, and you should get about eight biscuits out of it. Place in the center of the oven.
Gluten-free goods bake faster than their regular counterparts. Check them around the 8 minute mark. If the bottoms are browning, they are close to done. You don’t want the tops to brown, or they won’t be flaky, they will be OVERBAKED. The baking time should be around eight to 12 minutes, depending how long the oven preheated and how quickly your oven bakes.
Gravy is so easy, once you make it the first time, I guarantee you will become a gravy-making machine!
Ingredients 1 medium red onion 4 cloves of garlic 2 Tbsp. rice flour (sweet or regular) 3 cups unsweetened soy milk 1/2 tsp. pepper 1/2 to 1 Tbsp. salt pinch of Italian herbs
Instructions Dice up your onion and saute it on medium heat until it’s transparent or caramelized. Add chopped or minced garlic, cooking until fragrant, but don’t let the garlic brown. Add 2 Tbsp. rice flour to coat everything in the pan and let it cook in for a minute or two, moving constantly as to not let flour burn. Browning it a little will add a subtle nutty flavor to your gravy.
Onions and garlic, coated with rice flour.
Pour in 2 cups of soy milk, whisking constantly, and bring to a light boil. You will probably need to turn up the heat a little bit. Add your salt and pepper, then the remainder of the soy milk. Don’t stop whisking! Once you get the consistency/thickness you prefer, take off the heat and add a pinch of Italian herbs. Add more salt/pepper as desired. You can either leave it chunky, or throw it in a food processor or blender until smooth.
Breaking news: vegan travels in Eastern Europe, does not die of starvation!
Vegan traveling can be rough. A two-week trek through Peru five years ago left me exhilarated by the stunning beauty of the Andes and Machu Picchu but at least 10 pounds lighter. Seriously, I starved. I like to think I survived due to the twin graces of those lovely Hare Krishnas who own the Govinda’s chain of vegetarian restaurants, and beer—it’s like liquid bread! I was bracing for a similar experience in Bulgaria. In addition to mastering the Cyrillic alphabet and learning enough rudimentary Bulgarian to mitigate my tourist buffoonery, I was not heartened to read this from Lonely Planet:
Vegetarianism remains an alien concept to most Bulgarians, but it’s relatively easy to follow a meat-free diet here. On the down side, variety may be lacking and those with an aversion to cheese may find their options very limited…. Omelettes, vegetarian pizzas, and pasta dishes are common, but note that ‘vegetarian’ meals may simply mean that they include vegetables (as well as meat) or fish. Sometimes this designation doesn’t seem to mean anything at all. Vegans will have a much harder time.
The authors go on to describe a series of Bulgarian dishes they assume are what I, as the frantic vegan researcher I am, want to hear about. All but one of these involve cheese or eggs or eggs and cheese together. Fried cheese! Scrambled eggs with cheese! Cheese fried and stuffed with egg, then baked in more cheese! Okay, I’m kidding about that last one, but would you really know? I think not.
The internet was about as helpful as the Lonely Planet guys, which is to say, NOT. A search for “vegan Bulgaria” yields a bunch of forums in which nervous-sounding vegans plead for advice on what they’ll be able to eat during their visit. So you will forgive me for thinking I was about to starve. I was totally psyched to see the Balkan landscape, the Black Sea, the grand cathedrals and mosques, the rolling hills through which the Thracians (did someone say Spartacus? Bad. Ass.) once roamed. But I thought I was going to starve. On the off chance that anyone reading this is preparing for a trip to Eastern Europe generally, or Bulgaria specifically, I want to urge you to take heart! Bulgaria is a beautiful country, more than worthy of an extensive trip to linger in the university cafés of Plovdiv and be hypnotized by the insanely blue waters of the Black Sea and look at ruins and fortresses and monasteries until your eyes bleed. As a bonus, I am here to testify that not only is it totally possible to find vegan food in Bulgaria, but it is not the “alien concept” our friends at Lonely Planet say it is. Maybe things have changed dramatically over the last couple of years since they joined the EU, or maybe the folks at Lonely Planet don’t give a shit about the plight of vegan travelers. (Hint: They totally don’t.)
In addition to a host of meat and meat products, prepared in just about every way my tiny brain could fathom—and then some, almost every Bulgarian restaurant also offers some kind of boiled, roasted or barbecued vegetables. Additionally, nuts are ubiquitous. There are other dishes that show up on almost every menu, like risotto, but I personally fall in line with Captain Marty’s skepticism about soup, and I feel like it applies equally to cooked grains of any description. All any intrepid and enterprising vegan needs to know—I think this may apply equally to almost any language (correct me if I’m wrong, you cosmopolitan vegan travelers of the world)—is the word for “without” along with the words for “meat,” “meat stock,” “butter,” “eggs,” “cheese,” and the like. I know that right now you may be feeling overwhelmed. That’s a lot of words, right? But what else are you doing with your brain while you aren’t learning how to order food in Bulgarian? Go forth and starve not.
Vegetarian hot pot in Bansko. After asking for a completely vegetarian meal, the server told me that this dish was “for me.” My mother’s cheese-drenched Shopksa salad is in the background. I would hate to give you the impression that Bulgarians, unlike Americans, don’t drench every item of food in cheese. ‘Cause they totally do. Especially salad.
The bean-stuffed baked potato in Sofia was vegan when they left off the no-doubt copious layer of shredded cheddar cheese. Those bits on top that are maybe making you suspicious are actually very thinly sliced, caramelized onion. Complete protein was a bit challenging, so I was ecstatic after locating this dish.
Barbecued vegetables in Burgas. These were perfectly cooked and so delicious that I insisted on returning to this restaurant three of the four nights we spent in this seaside university town.
Marla Wick lives in Sebastopol, a small community in Sonoma County, California, where people never change out of their yoga pants. She spends her time cooking, baking, knitting, and raging about politics when she’s not working as a freelance editor and writer. She blogs about food, animal ethics, cultural politics, and horror movies at vegan-squared.blogspot.com and www.bullypulp.com.
Guest post: Adventures in DIY ice cream! Plus, a recipe!
You know those types of friends that you bond with specifically over one thing? Maybe it’s a particular TV show or a band that you secretly love? That’s the type of friendship that my buddy, Jack Shirley, and I have, except we bond over food, or more specifically: desserts.
Jack owns his own recording studio, The Atomic Garden Recording Studio in East Palo Alto, Calif., but he is also on a covert mission to single-handedly take down the ice cream industry and give all of his friends diabetes. Jack has been making his own vegan ice cream for about a year now, after getting an ice cream maker for a gift.
“I love ice cream, and when I went vegan, I realized that there is no good vegan ice cream,” explained Jack. He’s right; there’s always something off about it, and it never quite tastes like the real thing. Ask anyone who’s tried his ice cream, and they’ll tell you that he’s definitely on to something. “It’s way easier than anyone could imagine,” he said.
About a year ago, Jack and I started creating a master list of possible flavors, just in time for summer. Since then, the list has grown, and he’s still eagerly taking suggestions. He even offers it as a perk to bands who record with him. The first flavor he ever made was Orange Chocolate Chip, which he got out of the vegan ice cream cook book Vice Cream.
Vice Cream focuses on making dairy-free ice cream from a cashew- or a coconut base. “Cashew–based ice cream is pretty rare,” Jack said, as he explained why he thinks his ice cream is different from the other vegan ones sold in stores. “Cashew is a very neutral base, so I try to only use a coconut base when I want the flavor to taste like coconut.”
Jack told me that it wasn’t the easiest in the beginning because he didn’t follow the instructions very well. But, with constant practice, creativity with flavors, and a little bit of trial and error, he’s got it down. So here we are, a year later, and Jack doesn’t even bother to greet me at the door anymore. “Try this,” is what he usually says to me as he forces a spoon towards my unfortunately large mouth, knowing I won’t refuse. Little does he know, I’ve used our food-dependent friendship in order to get exclusive ice-cream-making tips!
Tip 1: Let the base sit in the fridge overnight. Vice Cream claims that you can also stick it in the freezer for a short amount of time, but apparently overnight in the fridge is the way to go. Jack says this helps the cashew taste to dissipate, leaving an even more neutral base.
Tip 2: Use alcohol-free extracts. The book calls for alcohol-free extracts for a reason! When you use alcohol when cooking, the strong taste of alcohol burns off. When you’re making ice cream, the lack of heat leaves the alcohol in, and it can change the flavor of your ice cream.
Tip 3: Use real vanilla bean! Using real vanilla beans instead of extract actually tastes better, and will help overpower any residual cashew taste.
Want to try it yourself? Here are two basic recipes, adapted from Vice Cream.
Vanilla—Makes about 1 quart (average home ice-cream-maker size) Ingredients 2 vanilla beans 2 cups organic cashews or cashew pieces 2 cups water 1 cup maple syrup (Jack uses agave nectar and it works pretty darn well.)
Instructions Cut the vanilla beans into small pieces, and grind them to a powder in a coffee grinder. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Place the mix in the fridge overnight. Pour the mix into your ice cream maker and use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Chocolate—Makes about 1 quart Ingredients 1 3/4 cups organic cashews or cashew pieces 1 3/4 cups water 1 cup maple syrup (or agave nectar) 2 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract 1/4 tsp. alcohol-free almond extract 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Instructions Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for about 1 minute, or until smooth. Place the mix in the fridge overnight. Pour the mix into your ice cream maker and use according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can serve it immediately (it has a nice soft-serve texture when it’s fresh out of the maker) or place it in the freezer to devour later.
If you’re bored with plain old vanilla and chocolate, get creative! Jack has made tons of different flavors. His favorites? Strawberry, blackberry vanilla chocolate chip, piña colada, key lime pie, and eggnog. If you’d like to suggest a flavor for Jack to attempt, go ahead and send him a friendly email.
Jack says it’s really a trial-and-error process, though. “Not every recipe in that book will give you amazing ice cream,” he said, but I think he was just being his usually cocky self.
There are two things that Jack knows really well in this world: music and ice cream. Now you know why I want a shirt that says “I visited Atomic Garden Recording Studio and all I got was this amazing album and some shitty love handles.”
Vegansaurus giveaway: Harmony Valley deliciousness! ALSO IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!
Why do we love free shit so much? Who knows, it’s in our stupid human DNA. Free is good and free veggie burgers are BETTER! If I know one thing to be true, it is that. Now where’s Oprah? She’s got to hear this, for real.
Harmony Valley makes damn fine burger, sausage, and hummus in a bag and you want to eat it all. Seriously, I first tried this stuff at Expo West and was blown away. And by blown away, I mean I returned to the sample counter throughout the day in various forms of disguise. I was the following characters: Myself; myself with a fake mustache; myself with a fake beard; myself in a hat; a young Goldie Hawn (no costume necessary); and myself as a young child (this one required REAL MAGIC/a pair of knee pads). The point is, this stuff is good and you want it. FOR FREE
For a chance to win the burger, sausage, and BRAND NEW hummus mix, tell me what song you’d most like to sing to me (seductively? eh?) on my birthday. Alternately, your favorite flavor of birthday cake. THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION BECAUSE TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY. I was born! You’re welcome!
ALSO: Triple Bonus Mega Prize in addition to this giveaway and me being born: They’ve got a contest going on over at Harmony Valley right now for awesome awesome awesome prizes! Go enter!
PlanetShoes contacted Vegansaurus in January to see if we’d be interested in sampling their services. After some editorial discussion, I decided that as I’m totally in this for personal gain—presents, money, the adulation of anonymous masses—then yes, it would be a really great idea if they sent me a free pair of vegan shoes to review.
Knowing I would soon be living in the republic of Georgia, which in the winter is a snowy country and in the spring a wet one, I thought, how about wellies? Or even better, insulated wellies! I chose this pair, the Earth Elite Vegan. In leopard, because animal prints work best when used unconventionally (or at least not as underpants, ugh).
One of my feet is nearly a half-size smaller than the other, which is spectacularly inconvenient, but I wear a between U.S. women’s sizes 7 and 8, so at least I can always find shoes to (mostly) fit. In a dream world, they’d sell shoes individually, but this is real life and not even clothes-by-weight places will sell you single shoes, so I ordered a 7.5 and hoped.
The boots arrived just a week before I was scheduled to leave, so I didn’t get much time to break them in. The first time I wore them outdoors, actually, was to walk through the sleet in Tbilisi to fill a prescription before my disgusting cold and I left for the village where I’d live the next four months. They kept my feet warm and dry, so I was pleased.
I was more pleased the more I wore them, which was between once a week and daily during February, March, and April. The seasons have been weird and late in Georgia since their snowless winter and utterly freezing-cold January and February. March, too was cold and wet, and while it’s warmed up for spring it still rains almost daily. Meaning, I’ve really made use of these boots! They fit snugly over tights and tights-and-socks (noting I have like average-size calves), and the fleecy lining kept my feet and legs toasty warm. Actually, they’re too well insulated for warmer-weather rain, but for winter (and presumably autumn) they’re ideal. The soles are comfortable, although they didn’t keep my feet from freezing on the cement floors in the unheated school; I don’t count that against them, I have a condition.
Walking on Earth Shoe soles is weird; I may have been the only woman in Georgia wearing fashion! boots that made her shorter. They are quite comfortable though. And the zippers are nearly waterproof! I tested this one March day by wading into a knee-deep, freezing cold river; the boots let in a negligible amount of water right on the zipper line, which dried very quickly after I got out. Because they’re fitted to your leg, water can’t splash over the top, so all of you covered by boot is protected in whatever weather. They make a lovely squeaking sound when you knock them together, and they are really easy to clean. They protected me from rain, puddles, mud, and other perils of a two-kilometer walk to school over a partially paved road, and you can roll up the legs to pack them with ease.
What I’m saying is, I love these boots. You might, too! Why not buy a pair? Oh, because it’s going to be summer soon and it hardly rains at all in California, let alone in the summer—well, they’re on sale NOW, so maybe taking advantage of that would be smarter than thinking about shoe purchases in the short term? MAYBE. Or don’t buy them, whatever. I had warm and dry feet all snowy/sleety/rainy/hail-y winter/spring long, these boots are great. And they come in colors like black and red and whatever if you’re not ready for/you’re not looking for the extra attention drawn by leopard print. Earth Shoes! Worn by hippie weirdos AND your Vegansaurus!
Would you like Vegansaurus to review your product? We would (probably) like to review it! Get in touch! Thanks to PlanetShoes for the vegan boots, they really are excellent.
Today we have 12-year-old Zen. He cracks me up! Take it away, Zen!
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Zen: Gum.
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Tropical
Why are you vegan? Reason #1: Because being vegan doesn’t hurt animals. Reason #2: It’s better for your body. Reason #3: I’ve heard about what happens inside factory farms/slaughterhouses. [barfing noise]
Do you like being vegan? Why? I like being vegan. See previous answer.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? No.
What do your friends think about you being vegan? They think I should at least sometime try something with dairy in it possibly.
What is your favorite animal? Why? I don’t really have a favorite animal. It usually depends on my mood.
Do you like pink dinosaurs? Can you draw one for us? We would love it! Zen: Pink dinosaurs are awesome! If you see a picture of a stick figure spitting, my mom drew it. [Mom note: Zen is referring to our recent game of Pictionary, from which all drawings should be stricken from the record.]
[Mom note: Zen’s handwriting is horrific, so I’ll translate for you: The top says Ankylosaurus. The rest (clockwise) says: hard armor shell, head spikes, is an herbivore, only weak spot is the belly, massive 2 ton ball used to hit predators, strong tail.]
Oh. Em. Gee. Zen’s sister Isabelle is up tomorrow so check back! And as always, if you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me! I barely bite!
Cookbook review: Color Me Vegan by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Earlier this year, Vegansaurus was asked if we’d like to review Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s new cookbook, Color Me Vegan. Being a total CPG fangirl—as in, every time I’m in her presence I’m awed to speechlessness—I said, YES WE WILL AND IT WILL BE ME WHO DOES IT GIVE ME THAT BOOK, and a little while later, I had it.
It’s gorgeous, as usual. The recipes are color-coded and include health information, like the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in the main ingredient(s) in every dish. It’s designed, I guess, for people who are concerned with maximizing the nutritional content of their vegan diets, a group that usually doesn’t include me, except I found myself over the last year cooking for members of that group, and they really appreciated it.
The recipes are pretty all right! In the purple section, there’s one for my favorite Japanese eggplant dish, dengaku.
I’m not sure it turned out as well as it might’ve, but I tend toward heavy-handedness with the miso paste, and also I could have cut the eggplant more attractively.
Also in purple—or red? I can’t remember now—there’s a recipe for my absolute favorite way to eat cabbage, rotkohl!
This was good! Not as good the amazing and wonderful and perfect rotkohl I ate in Germany, but CPG adapted the traditional recipe, and anyway this was the first and only time I made it (compared to the countless times Dada in Germany made it for us, oh MAN that cabbage was THE BEST). It’s really good cold! Looks-wise, next time I’ll try slicing the cabbage with a mandoline.
This is winter white soup, from the white section. Because white produce is good for you, too! I have no idea why this didn’t turn out as white as the soup in the book’s photo, but it was still really good. I just love a thick puréed soup. And winter vegetables! So good for you!
I don’t think Color Me Vegan is as life-changing as The Joy of Vegan Baking—which is THE GREATEST—or as fancypants as The Vegan Table, but it is practical and good-looking, and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau can really write a recipe, you know? Maybe its ideal audience is the health-conscious non-vegan; you can’t argue with the health benefits of a vegan diet, and in this book CPG makes her case for veganism through delicious foods, which is, I maintain, the best way to get people to change their diets. And having not been able to cook since early February, I am eagerly anticipating making every recipe with spring/summer produce in Color Me Vegan when I get home. You want a cleanse? Eat your dang vegetables, CPG-style.
Vegansaurus loves reviewing stuff! If you want us to consider reviewing your product, person, or just cast judgements on your lifestyle, hit us up!
Millennium sous chef Jason Dunbar died unexpectedly while hiking in Yosemite on Friday, May 13. He was only 34 years old, and by all accounts (and there are lots of them), an extremely kind, funny, and awesomely wonderful stand-up dude. I have several friends who are former co-workers of his and all of them speak with such love, it’s awe-inspiring. If I leave behind a 1/20th of that amount of goodwill and affection, I’d be surprised thrilled.
This news really is the pits, and it’s impossible to say anything remotely not awful about the whole terrible situation, so I’ll just say that if you’ve ever enjoyed a meal at Millennium,* there’s a good chance it was thanks to Jason’s culinary genius, as he and Eric Tucker have been creating the menu together for the past five years. So why not donate in his name to the Access Fund, an organization dedicated to protecting the environment at America’s rock climbing sites. We’re lucky to be able to start our Mondays off right by supporting an extremely worthy cause, in the name of an extremely worthy human being.
Represent vegans by dancing your ass off at SF Pride!
OMG guys, SF Pride weekend is almost here! And by almost I mean more than a month away!
It’s time to start planning because once again this there’s a group of veggie-persons who will be taking advantage of massive crowds of caring happy people to spread the vegan gospel. They’ve got buttons and everything! Last year they passed out over 17,000 vegetarian starter kits—that’s starter kits like whoa.
This year, they’re kicking it up a notch with a choreographed dance that they will be performing [I assume] during the parade. They’ve got a handy set of YouTube videos demonstrating the moves. It looks pretty much like an intense aerobics class to me but what better way to burn off some hella vegan calories than by pulling a booty flurry all down Market Street, right?
You don’t have to dance to help out, though dancing is clearly the coolest. You can also just walk or carry a sign or hand out stickers and flyers. To get involved, email and or/join the Facebook group. Here are more pictures from last year:
Sura Korean BBQ: Oakland's unlikely gem of vegan awesomeness
Once upon a time I was walking down Telegraph Avenue in Temescal with a friend when we passed this restaurant that I would never in a zillion years have chosen. But this certain meat-eating person was like, “Oooh, Korean BBQ! Let’s go there!” and since I wasn’t really hungry I was like, “OK fine, whatever you want, friend-from-out-of-town, I will go sit with you and try not to grimace.” We sat down, ordered (seemingly) overpriced appetizers, and sat back to wait. Then Sura changed my life.
You know how some restaurants give you bread or chips and salsa to munch on before your meal? Here, they’re like, “Bread, schmead, let’s give people 18, maybe 21 different little side dishes to eat while they wait for their food.” Free. Without you ordering them. Each different, each incredibly yummy. We felt like we’d won the lottery or something.
The little dishes change often so you never know what you’re going to get, but can include pickled vegetables, spicy tofu, black sesame squash, sprouted mung beans, seaweed salad, kim chi, etc., etc., etc.
I’ve been there three times now, and though they don’t explicitly cater to vegans, with a little work a mind-blowing meal can be yours. UPDATE: This may be trickier than I thought. Fish sauce is a hidden challenge, sorry guys. Still, I think it’s worth trying to navigate, but do so at your own risk I suppose. Here are my pro-tips:
Tell them right away, as soon as you walk in/sit down, that you don’t want any meat or egg dishes (dairy doesn’t seem to be so much of a problem). Every time I’ve been there they’ve brought out a weird hot-pot egg dish without asking. My omni friends ate it but you can Just Say No.
You don’t need a barbecue table. Sit far away from them, as that is where people grill raw meat. Ick.
While there’s no separate veggie section on the menu, they put little stars next to everything they can make vegetarian. Some things come with egg but they’ve been really good about following my requests to leave it out.
Ask for barley tea.
The food is awesome:
Sanchae sotbap/herbed vegetables—herbed vegetables and mushrooms over rice
Doenjang bibimbap/House special green tea bean paste—seasoned vegetables with green tea rice and soybean paste. SO GOOD!
Other delicious things I’ve eaten but don’t have photos of:
Hyunmi doenjang bibimbap/sweet brown rice—seasoned vegetable with sweet brown rice and soybean paste, cold.
Beoseot/mushroom—tofu, mushrooms, and vegetables in hot pot. SO GOOD!
Sura Korean BBQ is located at 4869 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland, and is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. No website, but call (510) 654.9292.
Bonus: Sura’s only a few blocks from Scream Sorbet’s new shop. Waddle over for dessert, if you can manage.
Book review: The Vampire and the Vegan, Book l: Food
Jeez, it’s like I’m in grade school all over again with my book report, but without all the blacking out and forgetting to breathe due to a very real fear of public speaking. Fuck, just talking in general is sometimes too much for me to handle. Fortunately for me, my social anxiety meds come over the counter in the somewhat inexpensive form of PBR vitamins and exercise.
All right, let’s do this so I can get back to watching Twilight VERY IMPORTANT other things I have to do! The Vampire and the Vegan is by first-time novelist Merlene Alicia Vassall. Her writing style is fast-paced and easy to read, yet she is a writer that spoon-feeds! I always get the impression authors who do this have no faith in their readers to remember any details, so they must keep repeating themselves over and over and over again. I dislike it immensely. I WANT STRONG CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! I WANT MYSTERY!
The Vampire and the Vegan takes place in Washington, D.C., through the eyes of a vampire named Pearl. I wish I could give you some background into her character, but there isn’t much. It seems her (undead?) life revolves around her dinners, which consist of men hoping to get lucky with her. Pearl chooses her victims based on their “necromantic energy,” which lingers in their bodies from the animals that they eat—the more horrifying and hideous the death/slaughter of the meat consumed, the more appealing the energy is to her. Pearl can actually visualize, while feeding on these men, the deaths of the animals they have eaten in their lifetime. This is where Vassell shines as a writer, illustrating in very descriptive terms the inhumane and terrifying ways that factory-farmed animals (even a lobster in a tank) are treated and killed. When it comes to veganism, Vassell can intellectualize it! Unfortunately, that makes parts of this book read more like a “Why Vegan?” pamphlet than a novel.
When Pearl meets her neighbor Salaam, he invites her up to his apartment to share his Thai take-out, which happens to be…VEGAN! She begrudgingly joins him, all the time wondering why she doesn’t want to make him dinner, but—OH! his body isn’t saturated with the “necromantic energy” she so craves. Tofu just doesn’t do it for her—I get it Pearl, I’m a seitan girl myself.
Soon enough, Pearl and Salaam become friends, as Pearl lives a very lonely, isolated life. Salaam begins to teach her everything there is to know about being vegan! She feels so guilty as she keeps consuming human animals!
This book got pretty good reviews on Amazon, and from watching this video featuring Vassar, I have to admit I like her. I just don’t think horror/fiction is the right genre for her. The book is not scary, not funny, the sexy times are neither hot nor sexy (maybe because the term “making love” totally freaks me out), the characters are pretty one-dimensional and there is NO VAMPIRE LORE, traditional or made-up (Stephanie Meyer, I’m talking about you and your “vegetarian” vampires). Vassar’s background is in grant-writing, and I feel it shows in her writing style. She’s excellent at addressing the hows and whys surrounding veganism—describing the slaughters, espousing nutritional information and explaining how to live the lifestyle. Unfortunately, she falls short at transforming and flowing that knowledge into a work of fiction.
Even though I didn’t particularly like this book, I still want to applaud Vassel for finding a new and creative way of addressing and promoting veganism. According to most of the reviews on Amazon, her readers want to stop consuming as much meat, even abstain altogether. That, my friends, is a job well done! Admittedly, when I’m drunk on PBR the wonders of vitamins and exercise, I do things like judge a book by its title. In this case I was hoping for a work of camp-filled horror or lust, ideally BOTH. I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve seen every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, more than once (culty, not campy—yo, I know my horror genres). Don’t take my word for it, I’ve got an R. Patz calendar hanging by my bed. (My bed covered in Twilight sheets from Hot Topic! JK, I have no idea if Hot Topic carries Twilight sheets. I’m also not almost 30 and sleep in a twin bed. Covered in Edward Cullen sheets.)
Vegansaurus got a hold of this book for free. I don’t know how, Laura sent it to me. If you are a single, hot male I will give you my addy as well. J/K, I’m holding out for Robert Pattinson.
This is Sierra from Northern California! She is nine and a half and OMG SO ADORBS!
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite food? Sierra: All kinds of Mexican, especially mama’s black beans and cilantro-lime rice! Or, anything from Millennium. I LOVE their crusted oyster mushrooms! [Ed. note: Homegirl has good taste!]
What is your favorite kind of birthday cake? Carrot cake.
Why are you vegan? Because I don’t want to eat animals.
Do you like being vegan? Why? Yes, because it helps the planet, and it helps me be healthy.
Is it ever hard to be vegan? No, not really. Sometimes when we go to a non-veg restaurant, it’s not that easy to order straight from the menu. Sometimes at school certain kids make comments about my lunch, but I ignore them or tell them I LIKE being vegan.
What do your friends think about you being vegan? They don’t think badly about it. They’re fine with it. Sometimes they make special vegan alternatives for me when I go to their houses.
What is your favorite animal? Why? Either a cat, goat, or pig. Cats know your feelings and make you happy. I like goats because they’re nice and funny. Pigs are cute and friendly.
Do you like pink dinosaurs? I’ve never seen one, but I bet I’d like it if it existed.
Can you draw one for us? We would love it!
Sierra: Sure! It’s a pink stegosaurus, since they were herbivores. Did you know that even though they were huge, their brains were the size of a walnut? [Mom note: What followed was a LITANY of dinosaur facts!]
Awesome! Thanks, Sierra! Stegosaurus, GENIUS. If you have a vegan or vegetarian kid who wants to do the interview, email me!
TOMORROW, Sunday, May 22: an SF vegan bakesale! DO IT!
Still here on earth because you’re not worthy and wondering what’s next! Gain sustenance to fight hell’s army at this vegan bakesale in SF! Or you know, just to get fat on. Both are totally worthy causes.
It’s from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Mercury Cafe and every penny earned goes to helping them build a parklet. Too cute! So make it happen, cap’n!
Now marvel at their adorable ass poster (go greedy octopus, go!) and then get up and GO EAT!
If you haven’t been paying attention—I know you!—catch up on the news regarding the animal circus ban in the UK. Spoiler: it got shot down. You can also follow ADI’s and CAPS’ Twitters for updates like every other minute. Which I can tell you want—I know you!
Are you concerned about who will care for your pets after the rapture? Worry no more!
Goats on Stuff: depressing or adorbs? A bit of both. You’ll see what I mean. On the other hand: hilarious captions, for realio!
Bear Awareness Week: Finally, some good news for sun bears!
Back in the heady days of 2008, the Wildlife Alliance's Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (does this also make you think of the Superfriends?) program saved two Malayan sun bears from traders. Named Sopheap and Sloat (um, what? they should have been named Awesome and Awesomer!), they’ve been rehabilitated and might get to return to the wild!
Earlier this month, the bears went on a field trip through their native Cambodian countryside as the first step in a long, arduous, unprecedented process to start returning rehabbed bears in Free the Bears' Phnom Tamao facility to protected forests. In case you're tempted to Google “sun bear,” I'll save you the trouble: They're the smallest and least well known of the bears, and are primarily found in Southeast Asia's tropical rainforests. Their tongues are also longer than Gene Simmons’. Facts!
Hooray for sun bears going home! Don’t they have the coolest chest pattern? Answer: YES.
I love Christo,* like love love love. Like want to wrap him up in a fake silk tarp and keep him on my mantle.** He’s the mother-loving man. BUT I do NOT like art projects that bother animals! There is a big debate over Christo’s latest project, "Over the River," as it may displace/disrupt/harm the bighorn sheep in Colorado. In typical Christo style, they want to “suspend 5.9 miles of silvery, luminous fabric panels high above the Arkansas River along a 42-mile stretch of the river between Salida and Cañon City in south-central Colorado.”*** But apparently, bighorn sheep have delicate constitutions and people fear the disruption to the environment will totally freak them out; According to a former president of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society,**** “sheep are a stress-sensitive species and are susceptible to large die-offs when conditions are not favorable.” Bad!
But Christo thinks the bighorns will be fine! And he’s “offered to provide ‘substantial funds’ for bighorn sheep habitat enhancement projects.” When Christo says substantial funds, he means SUBSTANTIAL funds. Homeboy is paid. That’s actually one thing I really like about him—he gets no government subsidizing for his projects, even though they are a huge boom to tourism (not to mention totally awesome). Funds for Over the River, which is expected to cost $50 million,***** will be raised in the same way he gets all his money: “through the sale of the preparatory studies, early works from the ’50s and ’60s and original lithographs on other subjects.” Damn, son. That’s a lot of [daiya] cheddar for some sketches and random shit wrapped in burlap.
As for supporters of the project, some people are like, um, the hanging fabric will be nice for them! It will provide shade! And other people are like, um, we put a damn highway and railroad there and the sheep are still chilling. And still more are like, um, we totally hunt bighorn sheep every year, why are you suddenly worried about them when you routinely sanction their murder? Of course while I see the validity of that last point, my solution is to outlaw hunting! Yay! Dishes are done. Got any other problems for me to solve? Oh right, there’s this art thing. I don’t know, I’m kind of like, maybe he shouldn’t do it because I think animals trump art. Or maybe they can test a little area and see how the sheep react? Because that’s the thing, no one actually knows how the sheep will react. Maybe bighorn sheep are super into conceptual art. Who can say. Thoughts?
BONUS! Christo’s Wrapped Islands:
*Did you know Jeanne-Claude, Christo’s partner, died in ‘09? I didn’t and I feel like a big jerk. So sad. **Yeah I have a mantle, I fucking rule. ***I’m no cartographer but those numbers seem a little off, no? ****How can I get down with THAT party? *****Holy. Cannoli.
The best vegan fun-in-the-sun products! It's sunsational!
Here in Portland people tend to get really excited when we have sun, and as a result get sunburned very easily. So I put together a fancy list of a few vegan sunscreens to keep your skin as healthy as your insides! Bam!
This sunless tanner from Nature’s Gate is the perfect way to add a little glow to your skin during the winter if tanning beds aren’t your thing. I’m a huge fan of their unscented lotion, making this lotion great to use whenever I’m not nursing a new tattoo. Just remember to wash your hands after application! They will turn orange, and no one likes that.
As a rock climber this Aqua block, also from Nature’s Gate, is exactly what I need in the summer. When climbing at places like Smith rock, it’s necessary to wear the strongest protection you can find so you don’t burn to a crisp. The water-resistance is a big plus for anyone who does summer sports or spends a lot of time in the water, nothing worse than sweating off that spendy sun block.
It’s always important to take care of your skin after being in the sun as well, because everyone forgets sunscreen sometimes! Aloe vera is always a good option or you could try an after-sun lotion like After Sun Face & Body Moisturizer by Aubrey Organics.
For those of us who like indoor tanning, I am sad to report that I haven’t been able to find an indoor tanning lotion suitable for vegans. If anyone knows of such a thing please contact me! I miss my tanning salon. Even though I have been known to use indoor tanning, I don’t promote indoor tanning because I know that it can cause cancer. And that’s just not right!
This guest post was brought to you by Chelsea Catchpole, a vegan who hails from the mystical land of Portland, Oregon. She is a barista by day and a blogger, climber, and “chef” by night. You can normally find her wandering the isles of New Seasons or The People’s co-op, spending way too much money on new foods. The rest of her free time is spent cuddling with her two cats, Sushi and Mojo-Jojo. You can read her other musings at Stumpy Vegan.
Hello, friends! It's WTF Wednesday! On Friday! WTF FOR REALS!
You guys, I’m done with school! Like forever! My cap and gown have been rented (for an exorbitant amount), my graduation fees (HIGHWAY ROBBERY) have been paid, and my thesis has finally, after months of agony and edits, been signed off on. As much relief as I feel, I’m also feeling kind of lost! Allen says that I should take this time to reflect upon the last two years of my life and maybe journal about it. I’ve been taking his advice very seriously and have thus spent my time playing piano on the iPad (here is my technically and emotionally perfect rendition of Vivaldi’s Winter”) reading Strangers in Paradise, eating cake, and watching YouTube clips of Ukraine’s Got Talent—here is my favorite performance, a voluptuous woman doing some awesome belly dancing!
Allen doesn’t mind anything except the piano-playing (not to mention the fiddling I’ve been doing!), because it disrupts his quiet reading time in the evening. The other night he couldn’t take it anymore and quietly asked whether I was sure that the first movement of the “Moonlight Sonata” was supposed to last 25 minutes and suggested that perhaps I would be happier playing at Nordstrom, where he would happily drive me, instead of keeping my talent hidden under a bushel by playing just for him. He is so considerate! The best part about the iPad (besides “Puzzlequest” and “Sally’s Salon”) is that it is highly portable and ensures that I will be able to take my piano with me when we go on vacation next week! Who needs Cirque de Soleil when you’ve got a full orchestra whenever you want it? (Actually! Allen and I are going to Vegas, so if you have any suggestions on shows and things we should see/do, that would be awesome!)
Since this is a happy time for many of us (Who else is graduating? Let’s get crazy!), I thought that I would spend the space I have for WTF Wednesday to share some happy/incredibly weird things with you. Take cat hair jewelry, for instance:
No one’s getting hurt, people are ostensibly happy with it, and yet it is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. Now, I’m not hating, but I’m also hoping that this isn’t going to be a trend. I know that these are one-off works of art, but is it just me or does it look like these ladies (IS THAT LINDSAY LOHAN?) are wearing bejeweled anal beads* around their necks? That’s one way to make something not only stylish (-ish) but also functional. I am also worried that this might lead to other trends with people making jewelry out of dog and ferret hair and pretty soon you’re going to see embarrassed balding animals walking around because their human caretakers have decided they need more fur for their sweaters. I admit that when I first saw this I pictured myself wearing a beautiful and comfortable hamster-hair scarf, but after discussing it with Allen, he wisely pointed out that I would need at least 57 hamsters and would need to be constantly brushing them, leaving no time for anything else, including piano practice. Then Allen promptly went out and adopted me a hamster. JOKE! Allen says we can’t get a hamster until we come back from vacation, but the fact that he has agreed to me having one at all is amazing because Allen’s experiences with hamsters aren’t as tender and beautiful as my own.
You know what else Allen won’t let me have? A cat! I have been begging him to adopt one with me, but Allen is not a fan. He once actually explained why, but since his story was based mostly in Mexican folklore, I did not understand it. I only understand Russian folklore, which is why I have to step on someone’s foot after they step on mine for fear that we would become mortal enemies, and why I scream bloody murder when someone crosses over as I am laying down, as this means that I will not grow any taller, even though I’ve been 5’8” since I was 18 years old.
Speaking of Russia and cats, however, here is is a video of a cat who is having serious nicotine withdrawal. This kitten, whose name is Simone, apparently found a cigarette just lying around (also, this is how I started smoking. My dad just left cigarettes around so I’ve been puffing away since I was a toddler) and decided that she was going to smoke it (or chew it. Unclear!) and had a hard time letting her friends take it away from her, which just proves that interventions are hard for everyone. I once tried to hold an intervention for my guinea pig, Katherine, who had a problem with pumpkin seeds, and she shrieked at me and pooped all over my hands. I just let her have as many pumpkin seeds as she wanted from then on.
Speaking of interventions, there’s some good news for cats and some bad news for lonely Floridians this month. The senate has passed an anti-bestiality bill that was inspired by the death of a pregnant goat who was asphyxiated during rape, but took three years to pass. There’s been some controversy about this, mostly about the fact that humans are animals and the bill does not define the animals that are being protected as non-human animals, thereby prohibiting sex in the state of Florida altogether—but come on, I think we all get it. Just stop having sex with animals and everything will be fine. And while we’re at it, stop snorting bath salts.
That is not good for you! That’s all for this week. Send me links for two weeks from now (BECAUSE I AM GOING ON VACATION!) and have a safe and celebration-filled Wednesday!
*I can write about anal beads because I am an adult! lay off, mom!
Endangered Species Day happens annually, and is dedicated to acknowledging the planet’s many endangered species and recognizing the amazing efforts being made globally to save them from extinction. How awesome is that?!
New York City Mayor Bloomberg made a bold statement last week with a proposal to ban the city’s food stamp recipients—all 1.7 million of them—from using food stamps to purchase sugary drinks and soda. Responding in an op-ed, Dr. Neal Barnard took Bloomberg to task by urging him to “include the foods that are really driving the obesity epidemic”—namely, meat and dairy.
Dr. Barnard emphasized that a person could use their money to buy anything they desire, regardless of nutritional value or potential harm. But the less money the government hands out for Cheetos, bacon, and Hawaiian Punch, the bigger the incentive will be for supermarkets city-wide to stock their shelves with kale, brown rice, and almond milk. The proposed measure would also include a nutrition education campaign detailing the reasons behind the change. This, in turn, could revolutionize the health of New York City and provide a healthful model for the entire nation and beyond. Predictably, the soda companies have already raised a stink about their “bottom line.”
But the real bottom line is far bleaker: Eating crap—especially meat, dairy, and sugar—increases risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. And eventually, it kills. What you put into your body matters, a lot, and we need to make healthy food more accessible for ALL. Sounds to me like this is just the kind of healthful initiative we need.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the Secretary of the Interior nor the Secretary of Commerce may issue any permit or in any other way authorize any person to conduct commercial finfish aquaculture operations in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States (as established by Proclamation Numbered 5030, dated March 10, 1983), except in accordance with a law authorizing such action that is enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act.
Of course, the rep. who proposed this is, Don Young, is from Alaska, who definitely has a vested interest in keeping competition out of the market. It’s not like it’s someone who gives a real shit about fish or our ocean’s waters.
Of course, the best thing you can do for fish and ocean health is to simply not eat fish. DERG. However, if you want to help slightly minimize the damage to both (and you do!), Eat Drink Better has the politicians to holler at about it.
The photo affiliated with the discussion—something previously talked about on Vegansaurus—is unbelievably sickening. I can only imagine holding a dead animal like that if she had been a beloved companion animal, not something I was about to EAT. Naomi Pomeroy, the woman from the photo and the owner of the restaurant Beast, says that the photo is meant to help us acknowledge that the meat we come from was once a living animal. An ex-vegetarian herself, Pomeroy suggests we should only eat meat if we know where the animal’s from. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly why I won’t eat meat. It seems ludicrous to eat something that was once a living and breathing sentient being.
The ethics of this woman are very strange to me. On the website for Beast she says that “pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans would find it a challenge to enjoy our six-course dinners.” Uh, OK? But honestly, what more could we expect from a woman who turned away from vegetarianism for the benefit of her business? To feel like she was still doing something “good,” Pomeroy decided to start sourcing the meat for Beast from “ethical” and “local” distributors. This was the whole reason for the online discussion and radio broadcast: finding out if it’s worth it to only purchase “ethical” and “local” meats, and if so, where do you draw the line?
I agree with Michelle from Herbivore: She wanted to know why they weren’t going to have any vegans or vegetarians as guests on the radio show. Just because we personally don’t eat meat doesn’t mean we can’t offer some valid points on ethical eating. Instead the whole broadcast was full of ex-vegetarians calling in to explain why they began eating meat (hint: it’s always because they could now get it from ethical sources). My question here is, where were all the vegan callers!? I know there were no shortage of vegans posting on the internet discussion, but not a single one was on the radio. I’m worried that OPB screened the calls, or maybe no vegans actually called in, which either way is a serious shame. According to the Think Out Loud blog there were a few technical difficulties with the calls. I understand that a few off the calls were dropped instead of being put on hold. Instead I listened to someone who had been a vegetarian for over 20 years describe how she started eating meat out of respect for her husband’s avid hunting.
One of the other callers (also an ex-vegetarian) spoke about buying whole animals to have butchered for food for her and her husband. The caller said she wasn’t yet ready raise her own animals for food for fear of growing attached to them. I think this sums up what is wrong with her meat-eating. She’s admitting she has a problem with the death of animals for food, so why try to deny that by continuing to eat them? Also, please see:
I’m sad this radio broadcast failed to represent realistic ways for Portlanders (and anyone for that matter) to eat truly ethically. [Ed.: Perhaps we can all email the OPD programming folks and ask for Thinking Out Loud to do a show on ethical eating? LET’S ALL DO IT! It’s your five-minute activism for the day!]
This guest op-ed was brought to you by Chelsea Catchpole, a vegan who hails from the mystical land of Portland, Oregon. She is a barista by day and a blogger, climber, and “chef” by night. You can normally find her wandering the isles of New Seasons or The People’s co-op, spending way too much money on new foods. The rest of her free time is spent cuddling with her two cats, Sushi and Mojo-Jojo. You can read her other musings at Stumpy Vegan.
Hellmann's expands cage-free recipes, becomes slightly less terrible
Mayonnaise company Hellmann’s has been making light mayo with 100 percent cage-free eggs since last year, but now it has two more recipes for which to be proud of itself: Canola Cholesterol-Free Mayonnaise and Reduced Fat Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. So thanks, mayo-ingesting people of the world, for making the first attempt at humaneness on such a grand scale so popular!
All that comes out to 5.6 million pounds of eggs, impacting 177,000 hens. Since Hellman’s claims to be moving toward cage-free eggs for its entire product line, the number of hens feeling just a bit better about life will increase to 1.8 million. That’s a lot of hens!
Why is this good news? Because it’s better than nothing. It’s harder for average omnis to disavow all animal products at once than it is for them to pay more attention to what they’re eating and where it comes from. I know “cage-free” doesn’t mean the hens have great lives, but American Humane Certified eggs (as Hellmann’s are) come from a henhouse with clean and sufficient food and water, limited stress, resting area, etc. So while it’s not perfect, can we not agree that it is progress?
An eagle was flying over that country up there* and was all, “Man, I’m STARVING!” and down below he saw this scraggly, neglected little toy poodle and so the eagle was all, “Imma get me a snack!” and snatches up the dog. So, they’re all flying along (the eagle to a suitable luncheon spot, the poodle to her death) and the eagle was all, “Man, you’re hella heavy! Forget this!” and drops the poor poodle! An aside: As the poodle was falling from the sky, I imagine the eagle screamed after her, “Lose some weight and then we’ll talk, heifer!” Bitch.
Luckily, the poodle landed in front of a nursing home** and they immediately rushed her to the SPCA, where she went into emergency surgery and her life was saved! Hooray! Now, she’s healing and needs an awesome home AND donations to help pay for some dental surgery for her fucked teeth. To be fair, the teeth weren’t the eagle’s fault. Or maybe the eagle was all, “DAYAM YOUR TEETH ARE FUCKED, GIRL! I can’t be seen with this!” and then dropped the dog? Who knows, I am no eagle whisperer.
*Extent of my geographical knowledge. What? I’m a product of the American school system! You’re lucky I know up from down! **Man, what an awesome nursing home! I bet there aren’t any cases of elder abuse at that place! Since I’m probably not gonna have kids to depend on/forsake me, I want you to dump me in their yard when I can no longer care for myself.*** They’ll know what to do. ***10 years, tops.