Sorry guys, I didn’t have a good turkey pun for the title! My bad. But as it is the week of Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Turkey Day, I thought I would bust out some knowledge and tell you all about why turkeys are totally neat.
First of all, turkeys are not dumb, bumbling idiots like people say; on the contrary, they are AWESOME. They can see in full color, run up to 25 miles an hour, and turkeys that have not been genetically perverted can fly in bursts up to 55 miles an hour. That is not even the beginning! Just read what poultry scientist (I think that means bird-torturer?) Tom Savage has to say: “I’ve always viewed turkeys as smart animals with personality and character, and keen awareness of their surroundings…the dumb tag simply doesn’t fit.” But wait there’s more!: “If you throw an apple to a group of turkeys, they’ll play with it together…kind of like football.” Um, THAT RULES. I want to marry that anecdote.
Yes, turkeys are very social animals. PETA quotes Erik Marcus on his turkey experiences: “Turkeys remember your face and they will sit closer to you with each day you revisit. Come back day after day and, before long, a few birds will pick you out as their favorite and they will come running up to you whenever you arrive. It’s definitely a matter of the birds choosing you rather than of you choosing the birds. Different birds choose different people.” Awww, they pick you. Heartwarming. Except that ALL the turkeys would come running to me because I’m sure turkeys would love me. I’ve never met any but I said the same thing about goats and it turns out goats are super into me.
Now, guess what else? Turkeys are picky eaters! They won’t just eat what’s in front of them, they will hunt around—jumping up into trees—to find the food they prefer. What do they prefer? Raspberries! That’s what the Farm Sanctuary feeds them for the big Thanksgiving party FOR the turkeys. People, I have to admit, I find picky eaters so endearing. I’m sure partly because I was branded a “picky eater” as a child and always got crap for it. In my house, being a picky eater used to mean that for some wacky reason, you didn’t want to eat steak or pork chops every night. Meanwhile, I had to deep-fat fry tofu to get my dad to try it! But whatevs, I’m totally over it. I SAID I’M OVER IT. Besides, do you know what “picky eating” actually is? A goddamn discerning palate. Turkey, YOU GO GIRL.
Wait wait wait, there’s more! Turkeys are totally into music! Yeah dude, they like songs! In the ‘70s, San Franciscan Jim Nollman did, like, choral arrangements with turkeys. I’m not even kidding!:
The San Francisco resident had learned that wild male turkeys can gobble on cue—especially in response to loud or high-pitched sounds. So Nollman visited a turkey farm in Sonoma County, sat down among 300 adult male turkeys and serenaded them with the folk song “Froggy Went a-Courtin’.” When he raised his voice during the chorus, the turkeys joined in. His recording of the event, “Music to Eat Thanksgiving Dinner By,” became a local radio hit.
You can listen to the recording on the Smithsonian website! DO IT! Because that’s kind of the coolest thing I’ve heard of since turkey football.
To top things off, there are some super-sweet stories from various turkey adoptions and rescues. See, turkeys love to cuddle and hang out with their friends and follow people around. Like this turkey named Alice (R.I.P.) at the Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary in Maryland; she just loved kids so much! When the school kids would come to the sanctuary, she would follow them around and, needless to say, hilarity ensued:
Once when a group of students on a tour were misbehaving, their teacher ordered them to line up in single file in front of the bus. The children dutifully walked to the bus, with Alice in tow. When the teacher walked over to discuss the children’s behavior with them, he was quite surprised to see that Alice had taken her place in the lineup, directly between two of the errant youngsters, waiting patiently for the teacher’s lecture.
I know, try not to die from the cuteness! Yes, very cute but that’s not my favorite turkey! My favorite turkey is Lydia the hugging turkey (R.I.P. too) that used to live at the Farm Sanctuary in C.A. She doesn’t appear to be on Farm Sanctuary’s site anymore but basically, people would go visit her and wait in line for a hug! You would bend down and then she would come running over to you and throw her head over your shoulder. Um, KILL ME THAT’S TOO CUTE.
I’ll tell you, I can’t WAIT to get my own turkeys! One day, friends, one day. In the meantime, we can all adopt a turkey at the Farm Sanctuary! I also want you to spread the gospel about why turkeys rule! And finally, have a happy Thanksgiving everybody!
[picture from Farm Sanctuary’s celebration FOR the turkeys, 2008]
Pre-Thanksgiving food recalls for best tableside conversation
Which government administrations love you, baby? Yeah, the FDA and the USDA, that’s right. Hence they’ve released these four recall notices just before Thanksgiving to keep you from spending the long weekend in bed, or heaven forbid the hospital. Hooray!
Speaking of bacteria, Calabro Cheese recalled 57 pounds of “Calabro All Natural Rotolini Mozzarella & Prosciutto,” lot number 3190, as they may be contaminated with, what? Lysteria monocygenes! Oh man, Lysteria is all over the place this week! This “possible contamination” was discovered by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, rather than the FDA, because it contained a meat product—any food item involving meat, poultry, or processed egg products is regulated by the USDA through the FSIS. This’ll be the site to let you know about any risk of illness through dead turkey this week, too. Of course you don’t care, but maybe you want to keep your weirdo relatives from getting sick and having to stay at your house for an extra week.
Worst of all, Artisan Confections Company has had to recall 33 cases of Dagoba Organic Chocolate New Moon Rich Dark Chocolate 74 percent cacao 0.32 oz squares because of a Salmonella contamination risk. MAN is it frustrating when vegan products like this line of Dagoba chocolates come into contact with Salmonella, which is a bacteria of exclusively animal-origin. Where did it come from? That’s a question for the third-party manufacturer, I suppose; regardless, anyone with the New Moon squares is asked to call Artisan Confections Consumer Relations at 866/ 608.6944 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST.
And now you have your Thanksgiving conversational topics! Maybe, in case the conversation starts to drag even with all this exciting news, you might want to look up the effects of E. coli, Salmonella, and/or Listeria illnesses on the body, to really get things going again. People love to hear exactly how their food is going to kill them while they’re eating it! That’s what holidays are for.
Today I’m starting off with a confession: I don’t really know how to celebrate Thanksgiving. My parents never made a big deal about it, choosing instead to let us watch cartoons and eat turkey patties all day. Turkey patties are objectively disgusting, by the way. Even thinking about them makes me convulse in pain. This is unfortunate because I’ve been thinking about them for the past few minutes and kicked the coffee table really hard in mid-convulsion. When I moved out on my own, Thanksgiving meant watching cartoons and eating pizza out of a bowl (please do not ask me how I did this. I do not know). Now, it means going to Modesto to spend Thanksgiving with Allen’s family, which is actually the closest to a traditional Thanksgiving as I have ever home. It mainly involves eating and drinking myself into a stupor and then playing cards with Allen’s sister-in-law’s grandmother, who threatens me with bodily harm because I play very, very badly.
Here comes my second confession: each year Allen fixes me a Tofurky all for myself. And then I eat it. And every year I discover I like Tofurky less and less, mainly because I have to eat it myself. I finally told Allen not to get a Tofurky this year, and while there were tears and recriminations, Allen and I are okay. And we’re making Gardein “turkey” instead. However, Thanksgiving always makes me think how ridiculous it is that we center an entire holiday around slaughtering a Turkey and then saying “thanks for all the blessings!” over its dead body. It doesn’t make any sense and it’s not at all fair.
Here’s another thing that isn’t fair: Remember those dogs I wrote about the other week? The ones that were sent to Afghanistan on all-out suicide missions? That was sad. Then I read this article about Target, a homeless Afghan dog that stopped a suicide bomber from entering a U.S. military base. Target was deemed a hero and was sent to Arizona to be adopted by a loving family. Happy ending, right? WRONG! Not used to being confined to a yard, Target escaped and was captured by Pinal County’s Animal Control. Then, because she had not yet been tagged or micro-chipped, she was placed on PCAC’s website, and even though her guardian paid the fee to recover her, Target was mistakenly euthanized. This is a dog that was on Oprah, you guys. She saved countless people’s lives; and she was murdered because some lady at Animal Control made a mistake. Rest in peace, Target.
This is probably a good time to remind you to get identification tags, a microchip, and license for your companion animal. It can be the difference between life and death.
However, I’m not all about bad news! Did you know that it is now acceptable to wear fur as long as the animal that was killed for your earmuffs was a pest and a nuisance? That’s right! Nutria fur is GUILT-FREE and fashion-forward TO THE MAX! (Do we say “to the max” anymore?) Why? Because Nutria are hella annoying and eat plants. I get it, okay? Nutria are damaging a fragile ecosystem and apparently they’re not very cute (wrong!). Does this really give anyone license to wear their fur? I mean, come on. You know who I find annoying? Julia Stiles! She is a horrible actress, didn’t do her own dancing in Save the Last Dance, and didn’t even return my hello when she rented movies at the video store at which I worked—this last one is probably the most damning. No matter how annoying and useless I find her, I can still not justify murdering her and wearing her skin. Actually, this brings me to another point: Why do you want to wear the fur of an “ugly” and “loathsome” animal? Why not relocate it? Why put it on parade in Williamsburg, N.Y.? Why cap its teeth in silver and turn them into necklaces? There are a lot of questions here and not enough correct answers. CONFIDENTIAL TO THE PEOPLE MAKING THESE “FASHIONS”: Why not protest the murder of animals instead of turning them into a “beautiful” profit? I’m going to have to be honest and let you know that the argument that “They’re being killed anyway, so why not turn them into fashions?” doesn’t hold much water. I would draw some comparisons here, but my mother reads this and the last thing I need is another angry phone call that begins with, “What you mean by ‘Hogocaust,’ Mark? You think you so funny and smart but really not!!!!” and ends with her not speaking to me for three to five weeks.
In other news, apparently the animal rights group known as the Justice Department sent a package of HIV-tainted razor blades to two scientists at UCLA, one who participates in primate vivisection and one who does primate drug experiments. Listen, I find vivisection as deplorable as the next militant animal-rights activist, but sending someone razors tainted with an incurable disease is probably not the way to go. First of all, it’s not going to get your point across, and second of all, it is bad biology. HIV cannot live outside the body for more than a few minutes so it’s not going to do anything to anyone. And it’s certainly not going to stop these people from torturing primates. You know what, I was all set to offer some solutions, but there aren’t really good ones I can think of. I just don’t like people sending each other threats and weapons through the mail.
Guest recipe: Miyoko Schinner's vegan mozzarella di bufala!
I miss cheese. Don’t get me wrong—I’m sure if I ate it now, I’d get queasy right away and it would feel heavy and cloying (you know, in addition to all the guilt). So I guess what I mean is that I miss the idea of cheese (I’m deep).
I haven’t found a vegan cheese I really like except Dr. Cow, but the stuff costs as much as gold, so I rarely indulge in it and would never even entertain the idea of using it as an ingredient in a recipe.
Daiya is a great development in the store-bought cheese arena, but I’m not a huge fan. To me it tastes too, I dunno, fake. A little like Cheez Wiz (please don’t hate me).
Homemade nut cheese (hee hee) always seemed to me like this mysterious and fancy thing that was unattainable by regular, non-professional folk. But last Thanksgiving I happened to sit with a few lovely people from Café Gratitude and Gracias Madre at the Farm Sanctuary Celebration for the Turkeys (cough, adopt a turkey, cough). I expressed my awe of cashew cheese and they all told me that it’s actually not as intimidating to make as one would think. That was the spark that got me going. My mission became saving up for a Vita-Mix blender as my present to myself for my next 5 birthdays (that thought makes me feel better about the price) and to learn some recipes. In October I attended a cheese-making session held at Veg Fest by Miyoko Schinner and it got me so inspired that I finally took a deep breath and bought my blender (and she’s beautiful guys!).
Miyoko made three cheeses—gruyère, brie, and mozzarella di bufala—all delicious. I mean far and away the closest I’ve had to real cheese. It has the sharpness coming from the fermentation process and the right mouthfeel (ugh, I hate that word). And it’s pure food. Nothing processed here.
For those of you who may be intimidated like I was, I wanted to share my experience with Miyoko’s recipe—which is below, as well as on her blog—and show you that it’s not so scary to do.
Important note: Do everything as she says; I didn’t on my first attempt, and the whole thing bombed. Basically, make sure to ferment it long enough to have a sharpness but not so long that it loses the mildness of mozzarella. I only did six hours on the first try for fear of making it too sharp, and the cheese tasted like nothing. I would taste as the hours go by and stop fermenting* when it’s right for you. Because it had no tang, and in an effort to salvage it, I continued to further screw up by adding lemon juice. I’m no scientist, but apparently lemon juice doesn’t like agar agar. The balls didn’t firm up (hee hee) in the water and it was a mushy mess. So, no lemon juice!
The one thing I did change in my second attempt, which didn’t seem to ruin anything, is add a whole teaspoon of salt, because—well, I just really like salt.
The second batch came out beautifully. The cheese firming almost immediately in the ice water was very neat—like Magic Shell chocolate sauce (side note: You can totally make that stuff yourself!).
I made a stacked Caprese salad with a reduced balsamic drizzle (dudes, it’s just boiled vinegar) and also tried it on pizza. The Caprese salad is remarkably similar to the non-vegan version, and on pizza it’s much more satisfying than Daiya and melts into a smooth ricotta-like texture with a slightly sharper flavor. I plan to melt it onto pasta next. I did this with Miyoko’s gruyère and some store-bought pasta sauce and it was delicious!
I hope you guys try it. I don’t do math, but this is probably more affordable than buying Dr. Cow or Daiya all the time (true?). That’s probably not counting the blender though. But really, buy that blender if you can. If you don’t have the money now make your next birthday request from friends and family to be a contribution to your blender fund. And you can buy them refurbished, which saves you $100. Plus they’re like Volvos and last forever.
So get to it! Make some fancy cheese and have that fancy holiday wine and cheese party you’ve always dreamed of.
Fresh Mozzarella di Bufala (di cashews) by Miyoko Schinner
Ingredients 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for several hours in water ½ cup Rejuvelac pinch of sea salt ½ to ¾ tsp. Xanthan gum optional: 4 Tbsp. canola or refined coconut oil (for meltability purposes—not needed if using for Caprese salad or otherwise serving cold) 2 Tbs. agar agar flakes ⅔ cup water
Instructions In the morning (or the day before) Drain the cashews and place in a blender with the Rejuvelac and salt. Blend, stopping to push down and scrape as necessary, until absolutely creamy and smooth. Add ½ tsp. of the xanthan gum and reprocess until it thickens and looks gooey. Place in a bowl, cover, and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours, depending on the temperature of your room. Mozzarella has a mild flavor, so be careful not to let it sit out too long lest it develop a tang. You want it to develop some flavor and depth, but still be mild.
In the evening or the next day Place the cheese back in the blender. Dissolve the agar agar flakes by mixing with the water in a small pot and bringing to a boil; allow to simmer, stirring with a whisk, for several minutes until completely dissolved. Pour the agar agar into the blender and blend until completely incorporated. To achieve a “stretchier” consistency, add an additional ¼ to ½ tsp. xanthan gum.
Forming the Balls Have ready a bowl filled with a quart or so of cold water and 1 tsp. salt. Immediately after blending, use a small ice cream scoop to form little balls of the soft cheese; drop into the water. They will harden almost instantaneously. Refrigerate for up to one week.
*If you are celiac or wheat-allergic, try replacing the Rejuvelac with a probiotic mix of ¾ tsp. of New Chapter Probiotics dissolved in 1 cup warm water, and use half of that for this recipe. I have a theory that this may produce a more mild sharpness—so I plan to experiment with this change as well.
Vi Zahajszky, originally from Hungary, Boston, and New York, drove across the country to San Francisco two years ago with her husband Chris and a rescue pup named The Bandit. Here, among other things, she’s studying fashion design and pattern-making, and making many delicious vegan meals!
Vegan Thanksgivings taking over newspapers across the country!
Well, at least in Philadelphia. The above-the-fold (newspaper talk!) article in the Philadelphia Inquirer food section on Nov. 11 was all about accommodating guests with different dietary needs—namely, VEGANS! They featured several vegan recipes from Skinny Bitch and whatnot but I’m kind of more interested in this vegetarian cornbread-stuffed squash pictured left from The Adaptable Feast by Ivy Manning. Care to veganize? Looks like it’d be pretty easy; most of the non-vegan items are in the corn bread and I find baking goes well with the replacements.
Oh! There’s also a vegan wild mushroom and asparagus risotto recipe that sounds BANGING but there’s no picture. I love risotto!
So how about other cities? Anybody spotted any of the local papers with some vegan Thanksgiving-related articles? Holler at your girl!
Friends, strangers, vegans at large, please welcome back our official raw food writer—and our favorite eater of raw food in general—Sarah E. Brown!
For more than six months, I’ve served as the Vegansaurus raw vegan correspondent, and I’ve been delighted to report about Bay Area raw food awesomeness in a light-hearted fashion.
But this is a serious post. A very, very serious one. It’s about the very real, growing epidemic of ex-raw vegans. First, I should say that this is not a post aimed at typical vegans who sometimes cook food and sometimes don’t. Please understand, I’m not out to lord raw veganism over anyone trying to live compassionately (and deliciously) as a plain old awesome vegan. This post is directed towards ex-raw vegans, many of whom (though certainly not all) came into the vegan movement for health reasons, then left it for health reasons that are downright avoidable.
Many find they feel better for a while when they incorporate more raw, plant-source-only food in their diets, and eliminating the dense animal proteins, processed sugars and refined carbohydrates that are endemic to the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Yet it is commonly observed that many raw food vegans eventually start feeling “less-than-optimal,” and begin reintegrating animal products into their diets. So why do many mostly live, plant-source-only eaters switch to animal products? It could be that the typical, raw-cacao-filled, high-glycemic, raw vegan diet is the culprit of this lifestyle conversion. How could plants, especially plants in their raw state, be high-glycemic? Of course fruit sugar is better than processed sugar, but it still affects our bodies. In addition, many of our essential minerals, amino acids and essential fatty acids (including the all-important mood and health-boosting Omega-3s) come from lower-glycemic, raw vegan foods. What does this mean? It means the “fun,” dried fruit-filled, agave-filled, high-sugary-fruit-filled raw diets, which initially draw people into the lifestyle and can help them initially get healthier—because they are still taking in less harmful stuff than on the SAD diet—cause them to burn out. Cacao can also fatigue the adrenals when it is not eaten in moderation.
The problem with formerly raw vegans who eat this way is that they often believe their imbalanced diets to be due to the fact that there are no animal products, when many health experts, including Dr. Gabriel Cousens, M.D., have shown that this is not the case. Instead of eschewing their ethical diets in favor of animal products, raw vegans can feel better by changing the nature of their raw vegan diets. Perhaps that might mean incorporating some more grounding cooked vegan dishes like quinoa or lightly cooked soups and vegetables. It might also mean cutting down on high-glycemic, raw vegan foods and desserts in favor of a more balanced diet.
The secret to sticking with a vegan diet long-term is to focus on longevity. If being a vegan for the long haul means you’ll need to kick ass and take names at every vegan bake sale, then honey substitute, DO IT! But if you’re a raw vegan in it for health, that means eating more mineral and essential nutrient-dense, lower-glycemic, raw vegan foods and supplements. Dr. Cousens has recently published an article that explains how both meat eaters and vegans—raw and predominantly non-raw—need to supplement their diets with essential nutrients such as B-12 and essential fatty acids like DHAs. So we can all keep living this way, it’s good to pop a pill every once in a while and eat some greens. OK? That’s all I’m saying. Here’s to ex-raw vegans realizing you can be healthy and avoid killing and exploiting things, because that means less overall suffering.
This is the latest in Sarah E. Brown’s raw vegan series for Vegansaurus. Thanks, Sarah!
Hey people! You know I have fly shoes and now that I’m back on the East Coast where we got the snow, I began to worry about my superdope boots! I don’t want the rain and snow to ruin them! AND THEN! Reader Shelly P. sent us these Patagonia boots to check out as they are made of all kinds of vegan materials! Perfect timing, Shell-boogie! (today only! Free nicknames!) So I was looking for the boots online (you know, the internets) and found them along with several other nice winter boots on planetshoes.com, who has a lovely vegan shop. Let’s check them out!
First, we have the Patagonia boot that inspired this round-up. It’s pretty dope. I like the whole handle thing it’s got going on, seems very practical. And you know me! Señora Practical Shoes! But for real, I’m always like, Why the heck do I not own a shoehorn? The shoehorn is really some genius time-tested technology. It should totally be added to the Simple Machines list. I know, right?
Next we’ve got the Earth Pride boot. I like the fake shearling and it comes in plum—purple is so hot right now. So hot.
This is a hemp boot from Simple. Look jerks, I’m not a hippy! These are just kind of cool and look a little rough and tumble. Or rififi as les French say. Damn, I’m always teaching you guys stuff. Congratulations!
All right all right, here’s your round-up wild card: the Acorn Ergo bootie! I know, they look a little ridiculous. Truth be told, I could do without the embroidery but I think it’s quiet enough over the charcoal color. These could be totally fly with some skinny jeans, for real. And like all the others, they are waterproof! SHWING! (today only! Wayne’s World exclamations!)
OK, that is your winter boot round-up—for the time being! Stay warm! And classy!
Being invited to participate in Vegansaurus’ Project Just Desserts: Veganizing Top Chef! was a huge honor for me. Although we’re in the midst of gearing up for the holidays here at Allison’s Gourmet, I enjoyed the diversion and was excited by the challenge. We live out in the sticks in Nevada City, Calif., and choose not to have cable. Yeah, we’re like that. However, on a recent trip, I got to see my first episode of the show and immediately fell in love with Yigit. So, although I haven’t watched all the episodes, I did have a favorite chef. Of course I was thrilled when I learned that he was the winner (he’s adorable, gay, and loves Madonna—the only thing missing is a declaration of veganism!). Plus, the “Tasting Menu” theme was just perfect for me since I often describe myself as more of a taster than an eater. The winning dessert itself wasn’t terrifically inspiring to me, so I chose to take several components from the various winning desserts and rearrange them into something more exciting to my palate, even if there was no chocolate to be found. Uh-oh, I know I uttered a negative there, but please stay with me so I can win you back with the caramel part.
One of the winning cakes, Muscovado Braised Pineapple & Coconut Cake, was described as “sticky,” which doesn’t sound so good to me when we’re talking cake. Sticky caramels, I get; sticky rice, check; but sticky cake, uh, no thanks. Coconut is always at the top of my list (just below chocolate and caramel) so I made a rich Coconut Milk cake topped with a Salted Caramel Glaze (I told you there would be caramel here!) and a Pineapple-Lime Filling with Spiced Rum. I know how much those Vegansauri like their booze! Oops, did I assume too much? Well, even if I did, make this and take a bite (or 10) anyway. You’ll be glad you did.
Coconut Milk Cake with Pineapple-Lime Spiced Rum Filling and Salted Caramel Glaze Serves 8
Ingredients Coconut Milk Cake 1 cup sugar 1 cup water ½ cup coconut milk creamer (original) ½ cup sunflower or safflower oil ¼ cup applesauce, unsweetened 1 Tbsp. real vanilla extract 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar 1 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed ½ tsp. sea salt 3½ cups unbleached spelt flour 2 tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. baking soda
Pineapple-Lime Spiced Rum Filling 2 cups crushed pineapple, strained, juice reserved 1 cup reserved pineapple juice 2 Tbsp. sugar ½ tsp. sea salt 3 Tbsp. spiced rum 2 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
Salted Caramel Glaze 3 Tbsp. coconut milk 4 oz. vegan caramels 1 tsp. salt flakes, reserved for garnish
Instructions Cake Make sure you have an oven thermometer—this is crucial to good baking results. Place a baking rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom and sides so that the cake won’t stick. In a large bowl, whisk sugar, water, creamer, oil, applesauce, vanilla, vinegar, lime juice and salt. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and soda. Add to the large bowl with wet mixture and whisk to combine. Do not over-whisk or your cake will be tough. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly. Turn out onto a cooling rack and cool for at least an hour before frosting.
Pineapple-Lime Spiced Rum Filling In a small saucepan, combine the pineapple and remaining juice, brown rice syrup, vanilla, and sea salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Set aside to cool. Then stir in spiced rum and lime juice.
Salted Caramel Glaze In a small, heavy saucepan on low heat, add caramels and coconut milk. Stir regularly. Once the caramels have completely melted, drizzle over the top of the cake.
To Serve Use a serrated knife to level the top of the cake. Cut cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Spoon Pineapple Filling on the bottom half and cover with another layer of cake. Glaze the top layer with Caramel Sauce and garnish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of salt flakes. Serve with tannic, fruity Mango Ceylon Tea.
Shark fin soup is bad news! Here's how you can help!
Poor sharks! They are being hunted and killed for their fins to make shark fin soup. SF Appeal had a great piece about the issue last week and I learned so much! The soup is a traditional dish in many Asian countries served at special occasions. It’s supposed to show how much of a baller you are because it costs up to $100 a bowl. LAME! SFAppeal and other sources are blaming the shark’s bad rep for the indifference to the fact that 70 million sharks are killed annually and 30 percent of shark species are threatened with extinction. Seventy million? Goddamn. Many times, because people don’t want shark meat, their fins are cut off while the sharks are still alive and then they are just dropped back into the ocean to die. OUCH! You can see just how awful it is on YouTube but I won’t assault you here.
Hey U.S. readers! Send us your vegan Thanksgiving photos!
Are you celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday? Your Vegansaurus wants to know all about it! Whether you’re the only vegan in a huge family or having a all-vegan Thanksgiving, whether you’re cooking at home or going out, we want to see what your Thanksgiving plate looks like this year!
Please send me your photos along with a little information about them. We’ll be posting them on Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday, as well as pictures of our own Thanksgiving foods, of course. The more participants, the better it’ll be, so take minute to take a picture and mail it on over, it’ll be great!
OMG, Congress actually DOES something: "Crush" videos banned
The impulse to crush and/or smother things that are just too damn precious is a near-universal aspect of the human condition, much like love or pooping. But as anybody whose read John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men knows, actually following through and smashing attractive things to death is a horrible idea. So horrible, in fact, that Friday the U.S. Senate—which usually can’t do anything right—unanimously approved a ban (already passed by the House) on so-called crush videos, which are basically fetish porn in which a woman’s bare or high-heeled foot stomps a small animal to death.
We here at Vegansaurus aren’t ones to judge (j/k, yes we are!), but this is an obviously ridiculous fetish. Sex involving animals should be limited to those vibrators that look like rabbits or, shudder, furries. At least if you’re not Danish. And even then, there should be mutual consent.
Despite this seeming like a no-brainer, though, a previous (1999) law that effectively banned the sale, distribution, manufacture, etc., of the videos was struck down by the Supreme Court because its broad scope supposedly infringed on our freedom of speech. While such animal cruelty remained legal even after the Supreme Court’s ruling, existing laws applied more to the videos’ initial production (that is, crushing an animal to death) than their distribution. The new law is more narrow in scope, and exempts videos depicting fishing, hunting, and trapping, because this is America, God bless us and our guns.
The law’s unanimous passage isn’t a surprise, given that the Republicans’ only desire greater than legislative gridlock is banning everything possible that’s sexually aberrant. Still, in this case, their anti-kinky agenda definitely works out for the best, because, you know, jerking off while watching something die shouldn’t be anyone’s idea of a good time. Ugh.
The price is hidden until then, but based on the sale price of the non-vegetarian version, it looks like it’ll be $17.50, which is half off the list price, and $5 off Amazon’s regular price. If you’ve been waiting to get this book, for yourself or for others, now’s as good a time as any!
Sometimes it's almost our birthdays and we feel unaccomplished and sad; sometimes there are kiwi shortages, and robots milk cows: it's this week's link-o-rama!
Ein Geburtstagskuchen! Really, any cake is a birthday cake if you deem it so. This is vegan Schwarzwälderkirschtorte—lecker! [photo by benjamin_lebsanft]
Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 20, Dolores Park Works will hold a Dolores Park Clean-up! Your Vegansaurus wholeheartedly endorses this endeavor, what with loving Dolores Park so terribly, terribly much, and we owe it to our neighborhood to go! Meet at the Dolores Park Works-branded toolbox behind the tennis courts at 18th and Dolores Streets at 10 a.m. tomorrow; DPW will provide all the equipment, and work is scheduled until 2 p.m.
You can read the full text of the study online but I’m really into the Wired synopsis linked at the top because LESS READING. But yeah, this is all totally new data. These researchers studied 52 female bottlenose dolphins in the eastern gulf of Shark Bay, Western Australia. It looks like they chose these dolphins for their nature/nurture study because dolphins have a lot of things in common with us, such as, “Slow life histories characterized by late sexual maturity, long interbirth intervals, and extensive maternal care.” They say dolphins have those things in common with great apes, but that totally includes us and does that not sound familiar? Can’t you imagine those dolphins like totally screening their calls for mom? OMG cut the cord, Flipper!
The conclusion they reach is that “Female calving success depends on both genetic inheritance and social bonds. Moreover, we demonstrate that interactions between social and genetic factors also influence female fitness.” So essentially, DNA does matter but if you got them bad genes, your mom can offset that by hanging with the right crowd. Moreover, dolphins rule and I love them!
Two Thanksgiving recipes from accidentally vegan Epicurious!
If you get a CSA box in the Bay Area, it’s probably currently full of potatoes, leafy greens, apples, carrots and butternut squash. Maybe tomatoes & cilantro, too. And butternut squash. Let us marvel at its beauty.
In a recent search, I turned up not one but two (2!) delicious vegan recipes utilizing almost the whole box of produce, on Epicurious, a site that could also be named “Dairycurious with a Pork Garnish.”
Souley Vegan is doing a special Thanksgiving menu (info is further down the post). I’m hoping for a veganized deep-fried turkey leg. I wanna get Medieval on your asses!
Café Gratitude returns with their FREE VEGAN THANKSGIVING! No matter that it’s raw, it’s free! I mean, you’re already vegan, might as well become a full-on holiday meal weirdo. Oh, and it looks like you might have to work? But, er, FREE FOOD!
If you want to get a meal at a supermarket and bring it home, check out: Whole Foods varies what it offers store-to-store. Our pals in Los Angeles, quarrygirl, got the Whole Foods dinner last year and looooooved it. Search by store location on their site, or give your closest store a call and find out what they’re offering!
Andronico’s has a pretty rad deal at their eight Bay Area locations! They’re introducing a vegan meal this year and it sounds delicious: Field Roast: Wild rice, cranberry, fig and grain roast en croûte (1 pound) Roasted root vegetables (1 pound) Vegan yukon gold mashed potatoes (1 pound) Vegan mushroom gravy (½ pint) Cranberry orange chutney (½ pint) Vegan pumpkin pie (6 inches)
It’s only $30 for all that awesome food! GET ON IT!
Religious festivals provide new and fun ways to torture Australian sheep!
Because Australian sheep don’t suffer enough (see mulesing), Australian farmers ship them live to the “Middle East”* so they can be brutalized and then killed for Eid al Adha, the Festival of Sacrifice. For this year’s festival, Animals Australia investigators were onsite in Kuwait and Bahrain to document the cruelty, and caught some really effed shit. Shipping live animals is awful all on its own, but then once they get there, these sheep are sold on the street and chained to cars and whatnot to bring home to “sacrifice.” The picture above is one of many shocking photos; here we have sheep being forced into the trunk of a car to transport to someone’s home to be killed. Seriously, this picture makes me ill.
The Jerusalem Post has a really great article on Muslim vegetarians and how they view the holiday. It seems people question whether one can be Muslim and be vegetarian but the Post writes, “Liberal clerics, such as American scholar Sheikh Hamza Yusuf, point to Islamic oral traditions to justify vegetarianism. ‘Traditionally Muslims were semi-vegetarians,’ Yusuf claimed in religious audio tape. ‘Umar [the second Muslim Caliph] said: “Beware of meat, because it has an addiction like the addiction of wine”.’” And Muslims are generally pretty down on wine.
In a bit of good news, it looks like vegetarians aren’t the only people skipping the sacrifice; according to the article, some meat-loving people are forgoing the sacrifice for purely economic reasons—meat is expensive and prices have gone up. Still, they say 800,000 sheep were shipped from Australia this year for the festival. If they really want sheep, can’t someone raise them closer to Kuwait or something? And if they really want to sacrifice sheep, can’t they treat them with some decency before they kill them? If an animal is being murdered for you, you could at least be grateful.
*I don’t think we call it that anymore? I couldn’t find a definite preferred term. [Ed. The term has become pretty firmly entrenched, even in the area itself. Maybe West Asia as a substitute?]
The first brunch will take place this Sunday, Nov. 21 at their new storefront, Donut Farm in Oakland. The only details we have are that it’s a single-plate brunch offering from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, with coffee, espresso, and donuts also available. Because, duh, what’s brunch without coffee and donuts!? Knowing how these folks normally do it up, I bet it’ll be insane and delicious. I’m thinking I’ll hit Souley Vegan first and then make my way to Donut Farm, and then repeat? If I start early, I can get ‘er done.
Donut Farm is in Oakland at 6037 San Pablo Ave. at 61st Street. Brunch is expected to run every Sunday for the foreseeable future but, you know, let’s just pray it works out.
Josh Ozersky, bro-extraordinaire, gives us a super-rad guide on how to kill animals and clog your arteries in Portland, Ore. First I’d like to comment on Ozersky’s writing style: VOMIT. Like, oy, come back to Earth. Here’s a sample: “Unlike New York City, where the winds of reputation stoke the fires of resentment, Portland is supremely communal and laid-back.” The winds of reputation stoke the fires of resentment? Bleh, pass me a bucket! He also seems to have recently coined his own term, "lardcore," which he now likes to use. Self-referencing. Awesome.
On to the food, Ozersky brags that he was “writhing in pain” after a long day of eating various nasty meats. Dudes, writhing in pain is not how you should ideally end the day. He literally ate himself sick. DISGUSTING. Ultimately, all his pork-worshiping leads him to declare Portland, “America’s new food Eden.” Guess what, bro: vegans declared Portland food Eden decades ago! What’s more, YOU CAN’T HAVE IT, MEAT-EATERS! It’s ours, deal with it.
Let’s be clear: there is a vegan STRIP CLUB in Portland, OK? My debilitating moral code doesn’t allow for strip clubs nowadays but if they are going to exist, a vegan strip club is where it’s at. Besides that, you can get a vegan HAIRCUT in Portland. For serious! In fact, my sister got a cut there and came out looking even more adorable than she already is. It was a stellar cut, side-swept bangs and all. The Parlour St. Johns, where you can get said haircut, is part of the vegan STRIP MALL in Portland. There is a vegan strip mall! Talk about Eden [Ed. The Parlour St. Johns is not in the mini-mall. Thanks to our Portland-knowledgeable readers for correcting our geographical error]. This is where the famous Food Fight vegan grocery is. That place rules and the people are super-nice. But my favorite part of this strip is Sweet Pea Baking Co.—an all-vegan bakery. Sweet Pea has the most amazing scones I’ve ever had! And believe me, I’ve had scones. It’s the food of my people. So trust me when I say you’ve got to get the cinnamon scone. It’s off the chain.
Moral of the story: suck it, Ozersky. Portland is ours. Take your lardcore and shove it.
[map of vegan and vegan-friendly eateries in Portland from Happycow.com]