The New York Times tackles the cilantro divide, and why it inflames passions on either side. As a certified cilantro hater, comparing the flavor to soap doesn’t quite cover how it tastes to me. More like engine degreaser. But restaurants love garnishing food with handfuls of the stuff, even though, as it turns out, many of us from entirely European ancestry have a genetic aversion to the taste.
The Oxford Companion to Food notes that the word “coriander” (cilantro’s alias for when it’s trying to sneak out of the country on another passport) comes from the Greek word for “bedbug” based on how its smell reminded them of bedbug-infested clothing. I have no idea what that might smell like, but it sounds totally delicious.
Bottom line, if you’re cooking for other people or if you own a restaurant, please, for the love of Morrissey, make the cilantro garnish optional or leave it out. It’s fine and necessary as a spice used sparingly in Indian food. But picking out individual leaves of unwanted garnish isn’t my idea of a good meal. My brain registers it as poison, and now I have the New York Times to back me up. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Anyway, let’s take a poll. Where are you on the cilantro divide? Love it, hate it, or don’t understand what people like me are on about?
Today’s health scare story floating around the tubes is about the use of hexane to process isolated soy protein, a common ingredient in non-organic veggie burgers. Even though this is old-ish “news,” it’s one of those zombie stories that keeps resurfacing every six-to-nine months as “THE REAL STORY” about the dangers of soy, which means that vegans are, once again, wrong about everything/lying to ourselves/the real killers because once a field mouse wandered into a tractor harvesting soybeans.
If you’re eating organic soy, this story has nothing to do with you. And if you’re eating unprocessed, unpackaged food that you cook yourself or leave to cooks who care about fresh ingredients, this story still has nothing to do with you. If you’re eating packaged food manufactured by giant corporations, well, you get what you pay for.
But despite all the dire warnings in the Cornucopia report about hexane explosions, there’s a curious lack of any statistics about any actual deaths or disease caused by trace amounts of hexane in non-organic veggie burgers or soy baby formula. Which means that the number, as far as we know, is zero.
To be fair, the report is only calling for an FDA investigation into whether or not hexane residue is dangerous. And go for it; food safety is important. But the real agenda here is to cast soy as dangerous—maybe even explosive!—by innuendo, while glossing over the toxic waste dump of meat and dairy and the raging epidemic of death and disease caused by their overconsumption. But the public always loves a “this thing we thought was good is actually bad!” story, so expect to see this one reposted on your Facebook wall about 12 times by your smug-omnivore distant cousins.
[Correction: The post originally stated that the Cornucopia Institute is funded by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a pro-meat-and-dairy think-tank. While Cornucopia and WAPF share resources, and Cornucopia’s founder has ties to WAPF and to the organic dairy industry, we were unable to verify a financial connection between the two organizations.]
Terra Plana makes shoes out of recycled materials! They have won design awards for making eco-friendly shoes that are not hideous, which is pretty fantastic, because we don’t all want to wear Chacos and tell the world hello! with our toes all the time, you know? Barf.
On the other hand, a good number of Terra Plana’s shoes are made of recycled leather, which is awesome for people who want to wear leather without contributing to more pain and destruction, but not so great for those of us who don’t, so if you’re shopping, definitely pay attention to that. This pair, the Juniper, is vegan! Also, super-fun for spring! And summer! Thicker heels are back now, and Terra Plana is all about making shoes that won’t give you hammer toes and/or bunions after one wearing, so probably these
would be pretty comfortable to actually walk in.
Many more attractive men’s shoes are made of recycled leather that was vegetable-tanned. I found this nice pair, the Claudius, but my favorites were tragically leathery, which made me sad. This style is basic enough to be neutral while stylish enough not to be completely boring, though, so you wouldn’t be taking a huge risk wearing them. Of course, if wearing them is taking a huge risk for you, you’d better buy them—or a pair like them—right away, because your wardrobe needs some thrills.
I just heard about Rescue Chocolate when Food Fight Grocery tweeted about their Peanut Butter Pit Bull chocolate bar yesterday, declaring it “weirdly good.” Kind of an odd endorsement, but what an adorable company! They sell vegan chocolates and 100 percent of the net proceeds go to animal welfare organizations! AHHHHHH! I’m overwhelmed with warm fuzzies! The only thing that could possibly make this any cuter would be if Mr. Winkle delivered the chocolates to your door on a throne made of babies.
I haven’t tried them yet but best believe I’m ordering these mofos today. They have four different chocolate creations that benefit a number of organizations.
It’s been a good few months for vegan Mexican food! It’s everywhere. Well, in two places. Gracias Madre is considerably better than when it opened. Or maybe I’m just less of a bitch today. PEOPLE CHANGE. Not me, but I’ve heard that some do. Like, in movies about people changing. Anyway, I highly recommend the cheesy cauliflower and patatas bravas because they are both the tastiest. But we aren’t here to talk about that cult restaurant, we’re here to get down on some delicious East Bay Mexican food from Flacos. Yes we’ve reviewed them before, but now they have a stand-alone restaurant and it’s bare bones. You probably shouldn’t go with a group larger than four and you won’t all be sitting together. The food is worth it though, with the tamales and taquitos being the stand-out stars of the menu. Skip the pozole unless you’re a fan of things that are flavored like “red.”
I guess I really have nothing else to say. AND STILL I RISE. I guess I just wanted to tell you that Flacos is open in Berkeley and y’all should go so their asses stay in business and continue to be awesome so that I might get as delightfully fat as possible. Oh and they’re open from 12-9 Tuesday thru Saturday. And are cash only. FOR THE TIME BEING. I think they’re working on getting a credit card machine and to that I say: WORK FASTER! I joke but really, fuck you, Cha Ya.
Same day, different giant wild animal in captivity
Only two months ago, a killer whale in Orlando killed a trainer. Only a few days ago, an elephant trainer in the Shrine circus was killed by an elephant in Pennsylvania. Just like with the killer whale attack, this is not the first time an elephant in captivity has gone off on someone; it happens with quite a bit of regularity. There are rampages with some frequency and about one trainer a year dies in the U.S., making it one of the most dangerous professions in the world (when you look at how few elephant trainers there are—it’s MATH, jerks! Ever heard of it?). If you’ve never seen an elephant throw a tantrum, that shit is scary. I watched a few videos, because I’m basically a professional reporter, and it’s NUTS. They don’t just storm off and leave a path of destruction in their wake, it’s more like a psycho, OCD pastry chef that just can’t get the cannoli right. An upset elephant will knock a person over and then roll them back and forth over and over again with their trunk, occasionally dropping down on them with their head or knees. Jeez louise, just writing that freaked me out! Like I said: shit is scary.
As scary as this is, there’s a very simple explanation: elephants shouldn’t be in captivity, dummies! It’s like this thing I heard somewhere, “wild animals can be trained, but they can’t be tamed.” What does that mean? Take a look at Pet Monkey Info’s testimonial page and you’ll see—actually, don’t because it’s gross. People’s cute little pet monkeys have been GOING TO TOWN on them. Apparently pet monkeys DO NOT FUCK AROUND. And neither, as it appears, do elephants.
My reasons for opposing elephants and other animals in circuses are simply because they abuse the shit out of them. And ELEPHANTS, lord, the elephants! I love them so much! Unlike gang-banger killer whales (ask Laura), elephants are lovely, emotional beings. Normally a baby elephant will stay with its mom for up to 10 years; circuses removed them from their mothers at age two to can “train” them—which is to say, torture them and break their spirit until they are terrified into doing ridiculous, painful stunts. Good lord, there are some straight-up awful videos out there documenting elephant abuse in circuses. Some are pretty much unwatchable (do not click unless you want to be burdened with these disturbing images documenting depths of cruelty we are capable of), while others aren’t going to murder your heart but still get the point across. For me, it’s just the worst. Like, I’ll see one of these videos and not leave my house for two days because I can’t stand to look at another wretched human. There is so much animal cruelty out there but the circus elephant stuff, that basically incapacitates me. Everyone must have something that just hurts them a little more than everything else, right? I just love the damn elephants! Do you know that they mourn their dead? They are amazing.
I don’t know what will happen to the elephant that killed the trainer in this instance but we know what happened to Dumbo’s mom. This makes me cry every time:
Another day in New York, another vegan restaurant! I ventured out of Brooklyn to meet my pal Brittany in her neighborhood, the Lower East Side. OMG my big day in the city! We were searching for a place by her apartment and with the help of Happy Cow and SuperVegan, we decided on Tiengarden. It’s completely vegan and the internets are calling it Chinese food but I felt like it was kind of Thai (the lovely Brittany agrees), but maybe I’m a racist.
We shared spring rolls and they were adequate. I’m like a spring roll ninja (why’s it got to be a ninja Megan? Racist!) so you can’t just come at me with any old thing, but they were enjoyable. Brit (an omni) got the stir-fried noodles and she liked it, but says it was a little oily. But dude, she was totally into it. She was even talking about becoming a vegan but she didn’t really have any other reason besides liking the stir-fried noodles. I was like, homegirl, it takes commitment! It’s like on America’s Next Top Model, you can’t roll in on day one thinking you’re Tyra! You can’t even smile with your eyes!
Whaaaaaat was I talking about? Ah yes, nuggets! Well, I was about to. I had T11, the special nuggets with peanut curry sauce. Boy were those nuggets special! I think they were deep-fried chunks of tofu—I can get down with that. There were also zucchini, broccoli and other veggies along with some sort of brown rice. I’m a peanut sauce enthusiast and the more it tastes like peanut butter, the better. This sauce was excellent, very peanut-buttery (not thick like it, just the taste). If you like that spicy non-peanut-buttery peanut sauce, you are out of luck.
Other things to note: they have lots of desserts available but I didn’t try any because I had places to be (I’m a big-city girl now!) but they looked good. I’ll definitely have to try the carrot cake next time—cake is my favorite vegetable! Oh and they didn’t have regular soda but Brittany got this Chinese cola thing and now she’s all about it. It’s like, there goes Brittany with that Chinese cola! Sheesh, if I had a nickle…etc.
Overfishing, under-(cover)inspecting, producing better produce plates, arguing about Alice Waters and MORE in today's link-o-rama!
Dolfapedia says, “They’re gonna make the dog ride the zip line because they need the coverage on Vegansaurus.” Doubt it! But if this happens someone better let us know so we can let you know and we can amass a zip line protest group ASAP. It’ll be the funnest protest ever (we will take over the zip line).
The LGBT Army of Compassion will hold a peaceful demonstration against animal cruelty on Sunday, Apr. 28 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Northeast corner of the Heart of the City Farmers Market at U.N. Plaza. Click here for further information.
FDA inspections of food manufacturing plants are few, far-between, and essentially useless. Color me fucking shocked.
But big businesses are using their big dollars to fight for the closure of legal aid clinics, including that of the University of Maryland, which filed a lawsuit against Perdue in March, “the first effort in the state to hold a poultry company accountable for the environmental impact of its chicken suppliers.”
This year’s first “positive side effect of global warming” is the super-low price of California and Florida strawberries. Fresh strawberries are SO GOOD, you guys, and remember, buy local and organic whenever possible because berry pesticides are nasty.
We have an appreciate/desire-to-punch-in-the-face relationship with Slow Food Nation—roasting a piglet for two days is saving the planet how?—but declaring 2010 the "Year of the Heirloom Apple" and providing consumers with a fancy informational booklet all about that fruit earns them a mark in the “appreciate” column.
Another study shows that unless you are participating in a lot of activities that make you more likely to get cancer, eating produce won’t make you less likely to get cancer. Kind of. It’s complicated, which probably means the science is real.
Europe is tired of cupcakes! Hi, All of Europe, you probably just haven’t enjoyed enough vegan cupcakes, because duh they are the best and everyone loves them forever. Who wants to move to a Nordic country, open a vegan bakery, and eventually find nice citizens to marry? Totally awesome social services for life, plus neargender/classequality! I speak two European languages and am NOT AT ALL JOKING about this.
More Social Kitchen news: They have a brewer’s permit, and have scheduled a “soft opening” for Tuesday, Apr. 20. Plus: the menu will be split into thirds for omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan dishes. Party in the Sunset!
Jonathan Kauffman loooooooves Gracias Madre, he just loooooooves it. “Oh Gracias Madre, mi amor,” he says, “te amo, te amo mucho.” Or something like that anyway.
Ezra Klein is mad as heck, and he is most likely not going to eat it anymore! What “it” is this? The ubiquitous, irritating, boring-ass grilled vegetable plate that totally doesn’t count as a “vegetarian entree,” gosh darn it. And Julian Sanchez totally concurs.
Here is a serious reason not to smoke, like, ever, as in not even when you’re drinking or stressed or sad or hanging out with other smokers or watching a lot of Mad Men, really for real never: the filters are made with pig’s blood.
Wired explores foods/food-like substances/food-creation methods that are “changing the way we eat,” including pseudo-meat and aerosol pancake batter.
The Kitchn gives us 10 ideas for vegan breakfast, none of which includes aerosol pancakes.
What does “biodynamic” mean in relation to growing wine grapes? How does it compare to organic growing conventions? If you ever wondered when reading a wine list, this article may answer some of your questions. Maybe.
Regardless, I would rather drink a million bottles of mediocre, confusing, goddess-blessed biodynamic wine than one meat-infused cocktail, because BARF to the MAX. Why, god, why.
John Joseph (who was in kind-of-important New York hardcore band Cro-Mags) is writing a new book. It’s called Meat Is For Pussies. And from what I understand, it’s a hyper-masculine version of Skinny Bitch. Here’s the first paragraph:
Who propagated this bullshit that meat makes you macho? My guess is it’s the same big business assholes that told you the Marlboro man was a stud. Eating defenseless animals doesn’t make you tough numbnuts. It makes you a coward. You wanna eat meat? Instead of purchasing factory killed, slickly packaged animal parts, have some balls and try this: Go out to the woods or jungle, tear down an animal with your bare hands, rip it apart and eat it. I guarantee you you’ll find out just what a big pussy you are because you’ll get your ass handed to you like some idiot on that TV show When Animals Attack.
It’s the question on the left of the front page of SF Gate. So far it’s losing. Badly. And that’s some bullshit. These things matter and there are thousands of veg people in San Francisco*, please help our voices be heard!
*Those of you in other better and worse cities can vote too!
Unlike everyone else at Vegansaurus HQ [Ed.: Except Meave!], I’m still a die-hard Follow Your Heart user. But I know you guys are all on the Daiya Cheese fandom, so you’ll want to jump on this. I’m anticipating mile long lines and bloody brawling because this is too good pass up. Quoted in its entirety from Rainbow’s Facebook page because I’m too lazy to summarize:
Just wanted to let you know that we are having a major sale on Daiya vegan Mozzarella/Italian style “cheese.” $6.99/lb until this batch is gone! This fake cheese is made with cassava root (like tapioca) and has been hugely popular over the last six months that we’ve been able to get it. We pack it in 16-oz. tubs and keep it in our cheese department. Only 300 lbs. at this price so don’t delay!
300 lbs! That’s two of me, IN CHEESE FORM. I’m going to buy it all and carve two vegan cheese statues of me to guard my front door like gargoyles.
We’re used to Gothamist being an ass about anything veg-related, so we’re glad to see that SFist has taken a break from posting about ALL THE CRIME THAT HAPPENS IN OUR CRIME-RIDDEN CITY to spew some more veggie hate. Man, it’s like someone over there was violated by a celery stick.
SFist is the most highly trafficked San Francisco blog, so shouldn’t it reflect the spirit of the city more? If, as they say, having Meatless Monday is like having Buttfuck Tuesday, then maybe SFist should cover veg issues with the same fervor and positivity that they cover gay issues. Or at least pretend to cover them with a modicum of positivity, like, ever.
Or why not cancel Pride Week? Because who in San Francisco doesn’t already know that gay people exist, or that we’re so surrounded by daily reminders of man-on-man handholding and baby adoptions that isn’t a big parade just, oh, a bit tacky and “superfluous”? Or maybe it’s not just about us and our own civic navel-gazing. Maybe these symbolic resolutions and street parties are our way of showing the rest of the country who lives here and what we’re about, and if we’re so “inundated” with vegans and farmers markets, then why are you demanding that we shut up about it like some kind of family shame? Because if SFist were to step outside their bubble of above-it-all for just a second, there’s a whole world out there where people are still hating on each other for what they put in their mouths, whether it’s cock or tofu, and isn’t San Francisco where we live to get away from all that bullshit? And no, a grilled vegetable plate is not an acceptable option.
Or maybe our flagship San Francisco blog should move its beat somewhere it would have some actual relevance. Are SFist trying to align themselves with Republican senators from Michigan who tore apart their governor for daring to declare Michiganders abstain from meat for ONE DAY A YEAR. Seriously, is this the kind of backwards shit we want?? Or linking to the CATTLE NETWORK? A big pro-ag “news” source when plenty of local sources covered it, including us? Or sneering at outdoor ad bans (which our voters approved TWICE)? At least we know there’s hope for Fountainhead Fridays—SFist is already circulating the petition.
Vegans are painted as either wealthy elitist jerks, or perpetually broke, style-phobic hippies who will never know the good things in life, depending which wrong we’ve committed this time. It just sucks when a blog that’s supposed to cover San Francisco—home of wealthy elitist jerks, perpetually broke hippies, and plenty of other economic groups—demonizes part of its population like it is trying to hurt the city, or something. Which is so moronic and small-minded, you’d think SFist were forming its own little anti-veg Tea Party. The SFist Meat Party for the Eradication of Vegans and Their Evil Agenda. What’s next, a Photoshopped Ellen DeGeneres with a Hitler ‘stache?
Of course there’s backlash to this resolution: if jerks are against it, that means we’re doing something right, yes? Yes. And nothing is worth fighting for if it doesn’t piss someone off. Further, this resolution isn’t going anywhere; it passed with 100 percent support, so Meatless Mondays will continue after you babies are done wailing and gnashing your teeth (canines and molars alike). SFist may hate resolutions because they have no actual political power, like every time the Board called for an end to the Iraq War, but they are important: what starts as language can grow into action. San Francisco is the first city to start Meatless Mondays, but we’re sure it won’t be the last. Someplace has to be the instigator; why not here, the birthplace of haute veg cuisine?
Fucking relax, already. Flipping your shit over a resolution that encourages restaurants to offer more vegetarian options ONE DAY A WEEK? Damn. The resolution doesn’t even urge San Franciscans to give up meat on Monday; it just urges business to offer more plant-based options (Hey! SFist, perhaps you’d like to read the damn thing!). Even if it did encourage people not to eat meat on Mondays—WHOA NELLY ONE DAY A WEEK SOMEONE DOESN’T WANT US TO EAT MEAT OMG I’M AMERICAN WHERE ARE MY RIGHTS AND MY GUNS We understand that change is hard; even entirely voluntary, symbolic change that in the short-term may not affect you one tiny bit. Real talk. I’m proud to live in San Francisco; it’s one of the most exciting, progressive, diverse, dynamic cities on Earth. Wouldn’t it be amazing if SFist celebrated that, instead of posting veggie-hate and constant crime stats. Oh and links to posts about graffiti. Just a suggestion—I’m full of ‘em! I’ll be here spit-balling ideas all night!
This post is brought to you by Meave, Steve, Jonas, and Laura. We had things to say, OK??
Sometimes a girl just has to take a break. Sure, it would be great to head to Costa Rica or Tokyo, but sometimes all you have are $15 and an afternoon, in which case I recommend the beach, with a couple of important stops:
Underdog is just as cute as can be! This tiny little space seats maybe eight people, including the little bench outside. What it lacks in seating, however, it makes up in vegan sausage options! On the day of my visit, they had no fewer than seven vegan sausages (including such stars as Field Roast Apple Sage and Tofurky Italian, and also what appeared to be a homemade variety). You get your choice of white or whole wheat bun, and then you load it up with classic, all-organic toppings. Oh, and did I forget to mention sides? Underdog has both Tater Tots and vegan potato salad. Also, everything is cheap! Like, $3.69! Or less! And there is a great selection of organic sodas and juices, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and vegan ice cream. The icing on the cake is the super-cute and nice person who works at the counter and calls you nice names, like honey, which is just what I needed. Thanks, Underdog! [Ed.: Underdog was originally reviewed on Vegansaurus last year but this adds to the convo so we put it up because we like to add to shit.]
2. Trouble Coffee Now, I’m normally a bit hesitant to recommend a coffee
place that doesn’t offer any vegan food options, but in this case, I feel an exception is warranted. So, while Trouble Coffee doesn’t offer any vegan pastries, it does offer a cooler full of whole coconuts, which they will expertly whack the tops off of and give to you with a straw and a spoon. They also have great coffee (De La Paz) expertly made, and they use Wildwood soy milk, which I think is nice, and they know how to make it foam up real nice. No overly-milky soy cappuccinos here! This tiny little place is four blocks from Ocean Beach on Judah Street and is, like Underdog, super-duper cute. There’s only seating for about six or seven people inside, with a bench outside.
The girl working the counter was a bit, um, aloof, and when I asked her about vegan food options, she picked up her cell phone and started texting before answering me with a vague, distracted, “Not right now, but we’re thinking [mumble] we have grapefruit juice, though….” She sort of indicated that they were maybe thinking about getting a vegan item or two, though Trouble is one of those places that only really has two or three food items, so who the hell knows. Maybe if someone can get hold of the barista’s cell phone number, we could all text her about it.
Anyway, it’s a nice place close to the beach with good coffee and WHOLE COCONUTS, so I recommend it. It’s also right by Other Avenues, so you can pick up something to soak up that caffeine on your way home.
If you’re into decadent vegan desserts (uh, why am I even qualifying this?). You’re into decadent vegan desserts. If you live anywhere near Philadelphia, you probably have access to the most delicious vegan treats in town: Vegan Treats. My East Village obsession Atlas Café gets a few dozen assorted vegan donuts EVERY TUESDAY (coconut cream, Boston cream [pictured], rainbow sprinkle, chocolate, and cookies and cream). So, haul your going-to-get-so-fat-off-of-these ass to Atlas to get an cookies and cream filled donut! Yeah, I said it. Cookies and motherfucking cream. And by the way, Vegan Treats doesn’t do any of that cakey, depressing shit. They fry their yeasted donuts in delicious, soul-stirring oil. Yummy oil.
So like I said, head over to Atlas to get your treats. They come in fresh every Tuesday, but by Thursday if they have any left over, they might give you a discount. They charge $3 (yikes!) but at least something (your wallet) will be getting slimmer from eating all those calories.
Winning hearts, minds, and stomachs: Adventures in vegan cooking
A year ago, I couldn’t do anything in the kitchen beyond stir frying vegetables and pouring cereal. My family looked upon my Thanksgiving Tofurkey with pity. I was the lone vegan in my circle of family and friends.
But a lot’s changed in a year. Before, it was like I was vegan by default. I would never think of not being vegan, because I knew that veganism was the best thing I could do for animals, the environment, and myself. I liked that every day, I was doing something good. But I didn’t really talk about it or think about it that often. And the food I ate, while vegan, wasn’t really food I was excited about; it was processed, quick, and often involved a box of Swedish Fish in front of the TV.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a little vegan candy. But in the past year I’ve learned that when you really let the values and joy of veganism into your life, and your kitchen, the effects can be astounding. I’m not sure how it started. Maybe I just got tired of broccoli and rice every night; maybe I wanted to take advantage of having a real, kitchen, rather than the dollhouse-sized one in my college apartment. Regardless, last summer, I started to cook. Like, really cook. I made everything myself, from fruit tarts to spaghetti sauce, to my own homemade bread, to an aioli mayonnaise. And though it took a lot more time in the kitchen than I’d ever spent there, it deepened my relationship with food, and got me back in touch with what I was putting into my body. Along the way, I found a real fondness for the culinary arts and even, I hope, gained some skill.
Now I make a big vegan meal at least once a week at my parents’ house. They still have a nicer kitchen and more cooking equipment than me; plus, I could never handle all those leftovers myself. Cooking healthy, interesting vegan meals and getting knee-deep in as many vegan cookbooks and recipes as I can get my hands on, like stuffed acorn squash from The Vegan Table or marinated tofu skewers with coconut peanut sauce from The Candle Café Cookbook, has coincided with an all-around vegan makeover. Not only am I more educated about vegan cooking and nutrition, I’m more in touch with my vegan self and more apt to share my vegan experiences and enthusiasm, including my food creations, with the people around me. My boyfriend, who I never thought would join me down the vegan path, became vegan. This was probably from a variety of factors—like learning about factory farms, the fucked-up way people treat animals in general, and how the meat industry is wreaking havoc on our environment—but I like to think my cooking also had something to do with it. Because hey! being vegan DOESN’T mean you’re stuck with raw tofu and salads all time.
After I casually let my mom know about the PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart program, she decided to give it a try. After all, she’s always looking for ways to stay young, stay healthy, and not have a stomachache—I suggested many a time that veganism might be the answer. It’s been over a month and mom’s going strong. Her new vegan chef daughter is helping her with meal ideas and recipes. Even my dad, a personal trainer, is asking me for non-meat protein ideas he can tell his clients about. My aunt, a definite non-vegan, will sneak into my freezer to steal one of Alicia Silverstone’s vegan chocolate peanut butter cups.
I’m not saying that your cooking will magically turn everyone you know into fellow vegans. But I do think the joy you exude, in and out of the kitchen, rubs off on others and shows them that vegans can get excited about food, and that being vegan is a joyful, exciting way to live. Food is so often the centerpiece of an event, and the kitchen is often the most-used room in the house: if you inject a little vegan-ness into your food and your kitchens, you might see a ripple effect into other areas, and other people, in your life. I’ve toned down my cooking-from-scratch habits a bit. I still make my own bread, but I buy my aioli from the store. And every once in a while I’ll still make a Tofurkey sandwich. But getting down and dirty in the kitchen is one habit I’ll be keeping, and I hope, with love and some more culinary mastery, I can help veganism find its way into more people’s hearts, and their stomachs.
This is Kayla Coleman’s second post for Vegansaurus! Kayla is a freelance artist and writer in the Bay Area. When she’s not baking vegan goods or spoiling her pets, she is working on her up and coming blog, Babe in Soy Land — look for it!
Vegansaurus wins award; world does not spin off axis
Check it out, we won a thing! What is it? Why, it is an SF Weekly Web Award! Specifically, SF’s Best Blog Post, for Other Avenues! Also, FAT PEOPLE RULE! written by our own founder, Laura Beck! Hooray! Congratulations, Laura, you have always been the best, but now it is acknowledged online by a city alt-weekly! We are proud of you!!
To celebrate, SF Weekly will hold a party tonight at 111 Minna (at, yes, 111 Minna St. at 2nd Street) from 5 to 9, catered by our BFF Cinnaholic! Details here.
In sum: vegans are awesome, fat people rule, and fat vegans are basically the best people ever. FUCK YEAH VEGANSAURUS!
Or at least oysters, according to Christopher Cox, writing in Slate today about how he keeps a completely vegan diet except for oysters, because they don’t have a central nervous system. He gets his information from Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, which is basically like God Himself giving you a gentle punch on the shoulder and saying, “Go for it, bro,” I mean, right?
While Our Lord Singer has noted that there is “a scintilla of doubt” about the oyster’s perception of pain, it is so small as to be nonexistent, so he says, go for it. The argument being that anything without a CNS is basically a plant, and if we are all right eating plants, then we should be fine eating their non-flora equivalents. Right? RIGHT? Because otherwise it’s just a “fashion” diet.
I am going to continue not to eat oysters, because they’re still animals; I don’t kill bugs unless I really, really have to (thankfully I don’t live in a place where bugs and I battle for supremacy). The line is fuzzy, fine, but I would rather be too careful and do as little harm as possible. We’re not just individuals, after all; we have a collective responsibility to our communities, our planet, and each other. Compared to that, what are a few moments of gustatory pleasure? Especially when there are so very many delicious, cruelty-free foods to enjoy.
National nightmare continues: Zooey Deschanel no longer vegan
In another crushing blow to the already-weak vegan heterosexual male community, your object of Tumblr obsession Zooey Deschanel is apparently no longer a vegan!
In this interview with Health.com, she fesses up to giving up the lifestyle because she had way too many food insensitivities and it was “impossible” to get enough calories. Those of us who watched Top Chef Masters last summer remember that Zooey was not only vegan, but also gluten and soy-free.
Her admitted “guilty pleasure” food is naturally, the preferred binge food of SWB’s everywhere: chocolate chip cookies from NYC and L.A. bakery Babycakes. She admits to keeping their cookie dough in her freezer but “almost never” touching it.
If you’re a fan of the Deschanel sisters, don’t despair: Zooey says her sister Emily, star of the T.V. show Bones, is still vegan and has been for 15 years!
Every Monday is "Vegetarian Day" in San Francisco!
A resolution declaring every Monday as “Vegetarian Day” to urge all restaurants, grocery stores, and schools to offer a variety of plant-based options to improve the health of San Francisco residents PASSED TODAY! First city in the nation to have a regular vegetarian day! GO SF!!!!
The resolution was introduced by Supervisor Sophie Maxwell and passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors this afternoon. More official details if you’re all intellectual and questioning of My Word and shit. It’s a terrible PDF (they’re the WORST!), you’ve been warned.
We are totally having a party at Vegansaurus HQ and will have a full update later but for now, LET’S DRINK VEGAN WHITE RUSSIANS AND EAT VEGAN DOUBLE DOWNS UNTIL WE PASS OUT AND THEN DO IT AGAIN!
We already told you a bit about San Francisco’s new Vegan Happy Hour, but we thought we’d give you some more details this time around. Vegan Happy Hour SF is the brainchild of Mike Desert, long-time vegan, boozehound, DJ, and TOTALLY COINCIDENTALLY, my husband. No conflict of interest here, folks! I pried a few words out of him about the event while he was trying to ignore me and play video games.
Mike says he had the idea for Vegan Happy Hour SF after attending the Vegan Happy Hour at the Short Stop in L.A. back when he lived there. “It got really popular and was a great way to meet new people
and eat lots of good food, and it was a great way to show non-vegans that vegan food is so much more than just salads, cold tofu, and mediocre veggie burgers,” he said. Since he already had a DJ shift at the Hemlock once a month, he decided to give it a go, and with a nod from bartender extraordinaire Nikki, the event was quietly launched last month, in the middle of a torrential downpour. Asked what he’d like to see people bring this time around, Mike replied, “being at a bar, unhealthy bar food is always welcome. People who don’t know their way around a kitchen are always welcome to bring chips and salsa, or stop by Trader Joe’s and get something vegan. Mostly,” he says, “don’t stress about it. Bring something, anything vegan, and just have a good time.”
Mike’s goal for the event is for it to be a “fun Friday eating good food, drinking booze, and listening to music.” It’s not necessarily about activism per se—hanging out, eating, and drinking are the focus—but if people get turned on to veganism or vegan food by these events, that’s okay with him.
When asked why he saw the need for another vegan booze event here in the Bay Area (we’re already blessed with two Vegan Drinks chapters), he answered, “there can’t really ever be too many vegan-and-booze themed events. Vegan Drinks has a bit of a different vibe to it,” he says, “so this is a bit more low brow and rock ‘n roll,” for those that are into that kind of thing.
You heard it here first! Come on down to the second monthly SF Vegan Happy Hour! Friday, Apr. 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hemlock Tavern. Scumbags always welcome.
You know, like Lady and the Tramp: Stamps to the Rescue, along with Ellen and the United States Postal Service, is releasing lovely little stamps highlighting the beautiful little tramps you can find in animals shelters. There are 10 different stamps, all dogs or cats, and they each have a little story behind them about how that pet ended up in a shelter. Here’s what happen to Teddy (pictured):
Teddy Wired-Haired Jack Russell Terrier The owners of Teddy’s mother were surprised when she gave birth to another litter. They couldn’t afford to raise more puppies, so they gave Teddy and his siblings to a shelter. Today, Teddy lives with a loving family, their other Jack Russell, and a cat.
In honor of the new stamps, Halo, Ellen’s pet food brand, is donating 1 million meals to shelter animals.
I love these stamps! I love adopted animals! The next step I guess is to try and remember how to write letters or whatever you need stamps for. My motto is, “if I can’t do it on the internet, it doesn’t get done.” Well, it’s less of a motto, more of a crippling personal flaw. The only thing I actually mail are my Netflix rentals and of course those are pre-paid. I don’t know anyone I want to write a damn letter to! Another problem: I write like a frustrated 10-year-old boy, which makes my letters scary and hard to read. Wait wait wait! Genius idea: let’s all get prison pen-pals and write to them! Better yet, vegan prison pen-pals! Let it be done!
It promises to be a fun time for all, and it’s going down on Sunday, Apr. 11 at 6 p.m. in Oakland at Issues, and on next Monday, Apr. 12 at 7 p.m. at Needles and Pens here in San Francisco. Be there, or be a dried-up husk of an old punker!
KFC to unleash the Double Down sandwich, we celebrate by cracking the code
Over at The Consumerist, they’ve been following KFC’s new (and revolting) Double Down sandwich. In case you’re new to the story, the Double Down is a bacon and cheese sandwich, with two slabs of fried chicken replacing the bread, and a mystery yellow substance they’re calling “The Colonel’s Sauce” (a name that implies more intimacy with the Colonel than, we hope, is actually involved). After months of rumors and marketing teasers, the Double Down is finally real, with a scheduled release date of Monday, Apr. 12 at a KFC near you.
As vegans, we’re of course bound by blood oath to be outraged by meat surrounded by meat and drizzled in dairy, especially when mass-produced by a megacorp dedicated to poisoning as many people worldwide as possible. But sometimes something is just too ridiculous to hate, and like a game of culinary marry-fuck-kill, we saw the Double Down and chose “fuck.” So with that, I present:
It’s actually good! And by “good” I mean “not good.” Or a word that means a mix of good and not-good, where “not good” describes how you feel after downing this fistful of instant regret. Here’s how you can make your own and share my suffering. You know you want one.
First thing’s first. Start by getting your kitchen stocked with vegan substitutes.
Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini
Lightlife Smart Bacon
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
Energ-G Egg Replacer
Earth Balance Natural Shortening
Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack
You can replace the shortening with canola oil or even Crisco, if you feel like taking your life into your hands. Before doing anything else, I fried up about six pieces of Smart Bacon, and thinly sliced the Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack using a mandolin. If you don’t have a mandolin, a cheese slicer will do the trick, or a sharp kitchen knife if you’re really patient. You should also thaw out the Gardein patties, which are usually kept frozen.
The Colonel’s Sauce No one has any idea what’s in this stuff, so I basically went for “yellow”.
4 Tbsp Vegenaise
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp turmeric
Mix it up until it looks yellow. Adjust as needed.
2 Tbsp garlic salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp garlic granules
2 Tbsp onion salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp onion granules
3 Tbsp dried parsley
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp powdered vegetable bullion from Rapunzel, or any vegan “chicken-flavored” bullion.
1 pack of McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix (available at Safeway), or 1 packet of any vegan tomato powdered instant soup.
Grind into a fine powder using a food processor or blender, and set aside.
Making the batter and deep-frying it all up
3 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer
4 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp canola oil
½ cup unsweetened, plain soy milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg replacer, water, canola oil, and soy milk. This is your “eggs and milk” batter.
Now is a good time to get your deep-frying apparatus into gear. If you own a deep fryer, you know what you’re doing here. For everyone else: melt the whole box of Earth Balance shortening in a wok or cast-iron pan on medium heat. Top it up with canola oil if the pool of oil isn’t deep enough.
Next, thoroughly mix together the flour with the “secret” herb and spice mix that you made earlier. Spread out the flour mix onto a long sheet of baking paper.
You basically want to coat the living hell out of the Gardein patties, then deep fry them until your kitchen smells like KFC. So: take a patty, dip it in the batter, then roll it in the flour/spices until it’s completely coated. Then take the same patty and repeat; you want to coat the coating.
Finally, drop in your patty and deep-fry it for a few minutes, until golden brown. You can test out your oil beforehand with a small glob of batter and flour. You really don’t want to cook them for too long!
Putting it all together then nomming the shit out of that Now you’re ready to assemble your Vegan Double Down: two slabs of fried fake chicken, stuffed with fake bacon, fake cheese, and fake “Colonel’s Sauce”. Make it look pretty.
You will eat about half of this before realizing what a mistake it’s been. But until that moment, it will taste like sweet, deep-fried heaven.
Sometimes I’m weird and I don’t get wordplay right off the bat. What I’m getting at is I went to this restaurant before I got the G-spot pun, FYI. But I’m glad I went because it was muy delish!
You see, I moved to Brooklyn from San Francisco on Saturday, and boy are my arms tired! But seriously folks, I now have to totally reorient myself in a new vegan-friendly city. Turns out, right in Park Slope—my new ‘hood!—there’s a lovely little all-vegan restaurant: The V Spot! So my dear omnivore brother and I decided to go there for brunch.
When we got there it was pretty empty and we were concerned that it sucked, but it was only empty because everyone was sitting on the lovely back patio! The patio was bumping as it was a very nice day. The V Spot specializes in “latin cuisine” (“latin cuisine” makes me think of bacchanals and olive branches, btw) and for brunch they were serving breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, and other such things. They also had straight-up tofu scramble and even pancakes. My brother got the burrito and I got the tofu scramble with a pancake on the side. They ALSO have an all-you-can-drink mimosa special for $10 during brunch, which of course we got; we would basically be losing money if we didn’t! That’s what I like to call “economics.”
The mimosas were good, duh. My brother loved the breakfast burrito and declared, “I’ll come here ANY time!” Quite a win. I liked the tofu scramble; it was your basic yellow tofu scramble with broccoli, peppers and onions in it. The home fries were decent and the vegan sausage was great. The pancake was excellent! I might have to get them for the main dish next time—you can add blueberries, chocolate chips, bananas, oh my! Then the next time I go, I’ll get the huevos rancheros! Let’s just plan my whole life now! Because I need some direction.
One thing to warn you about: service was SLOW, with a capital GODDAMN. We had to ask for the mimosas twice, my toast twice, my tea twice, etc. It seemed like there was only one waiter for all the tables. It was Easter so maybe they couldn’t get anyone else to work or something. The main dishes came out on their own but for everything else, I suggest you ask twice—that seemed to be the trick to it. I’ll tell you though, it really hinders your all-you-can-drink mimosa experience.
Oh, I almost forgot my favorite part of the restaurant! The sign in the window for when they’re closed says, “Sorry vegans, we’re closed.” And the sign for when they’re open says, “Sorry carnivores, we’re open!” Haaaaaaaaaaaaa. I am a fan of this sign.
Fun-times vegan-style events! OK there’s only one this week, and it’s not even 100 percent vegan, but one is better than zero, right? Right! So: Tomorrow, Saturday, Apr. 3 from 5 to 11 p.m. in the Laskie Street parking lot (off Mission Street, between 8th and 9th Streets) in San Francisco you can attend the first Underground Street Food event! The website is a garish nightmare and requires you to subscribe to a mailing list for details, but it might be worth checking out.
Items of social and political import! It seems like supperclubs in New York are having as much fun and success as they are in San Francisco. Although we are sure none holds a candle to our beloved friends at Brassica.
Even more awesome: Brenda Shoss of Kinship Circle organized an email petition of Missouri state legislators, asking them to vote against opening a horse slaughterhouse—currently illegal in the U.S.—and in return many representatives harrassed her.
It’s hard out there for an omni-locavore; “there are a lot of people out there who raise great animals for us to use, and they don’t have the opportunity to get them to us because the slaughterhouses are going away.”
Even Josh Ozersky, the coolest eating-est dude who ever ate a cool thing, advocates giving up bluefin tuna, lest the species be eaten to extinction.
Watch out for 2008 pinot noirs from the Anderson Valley; winemakers have been using isinglass, “milk byproducts,” and egg whites to alter the extra-smoky flavors left by the wildfires during that year’s grape-growing season.
Is veganism a religion? Maybe not, but this article by attorney Sherry Colb makes a good case for veganism being taken as seriously as religious faith—at least in the prison system.
In the article, Ms. Colb examines the case of Paul Cortez, a prison inmate convicted of killing his girlfriend in February 2007. Mr. Cortez went vegan about two years ago, citing the cruelty and aggression in the prison system as the wakeup call that prompted him to give up animal products. Mr. Cortez’s new lifestyle hasn’t been well received by the prison system, however, which has maintained that the only way for him to get access to vegan food is for him to show a bona fide religious basis for his food choices and claim protection under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, a piece of legislation preventing federally funded institutions (including prisons) from placing “substantial burdens on religious practice.”
Ms. Colb makes a compelling case for accommodating the dietary requirements of vegans in the prison system by making a strong case for the ethics of vegans, and she even ends up advocating a vegan diet for all inmates. It’s nice to see this issue getting some real scholarly consideration in a mainstream legal forum (even though I still think it’s balls that vegans have to prove that their ethics are somehow comparable to religious beliefs, still the gold standard for evaluating sincerely held beliefs), and hopefully this is just the beginning.
Megan Rascal here, on the lexical beat. Last week, the Boston Globe presented us with a new word: Hegan. Yeah, it’s what it sounds like, “he + vegan = hegan.” They define it as “men in their 40s and 50s embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death.” This sounds like hegans are vain middle-aged men who don’t care about animals. Hey, to each his own, I’m glad more oldbros are going vegan, regardless of the reasons. However, the definition seems a little jerky, no? Maybe their reasons are a little more deep than that. Or like they’re more mature now, and that has influenced their lifestyle and the choices they make. Also, while I have to admit I consider veganism a restrictive diet, why is it a restrictive lifestyle? Like we’re celibate or something.
They interview some all-American tough guy* who ran into health problems in his forties and “On the advice of his childhood friend Brian Rothwell, a yoga instructor and lifelong vegan, McCain cut meat, dairy, eggs, chicken, and fish from his diet and added power vinyasa yoga.” Say what?! Mr. Tough Guy has a yoga instructor BFF? Maybe he’s not the average Joe America they paint him as after all.
While I like this term—or rather this article—more than the femivore piece, it’s still fucking lame. I don’t like that they’re separating these men from the general vegan population. It’d be more beneficial for the vegan public image if these nouveaux vegans are considered part of the overall fabric of veganism. In reality, vegans are a diverse group, no? Some people love to reduce and simplify us and our motives but I declare: that’s whack! We all have different reasons, different opinions, etc. so why should we segregate these men who have wised up and come to the vegan side a little later in life? Hegan just sounds like a joke and this article is totally portraying these men as this funny cultural oddity.
Another issue I have with this, and boys please weigh in, is that it kind of implies that all the males who’ve been vegan forever are wussies, or nonexistent. Like why not pay a little lip service to why other men are vegan if hegans are such a new and distinct thing?
I’m all for noting and exploring new cultural trends, but when you make up a name for something, you pull it out and separate it from all things non-hegan. What do y’all think? There were several dudes who took issue with the satirical song about vegan boys, and I’d like to know where they stand on this: is it a step in the right direction because it’s butching up the image of the male vegan; is it totally a slap in the face? Or, you know, none of the above?
*I’m not trying to pigeonhole this dude, this is the impression I think we are supposed to draw from the article: this is the all-American weekend warrior who you’d just never guess was vegan. OMG never.
The biologists profiled in this week’s New York Times big Sunday Magazine article, "Can Animals Be Gay?" would like you, general public, to please stop associating the terms “gay” and “lesbian” with non-human animals. This is extrapolation that they, the disinterested scientists, do NOT do, and that we the general public should not do, as it muddles the very important distinction these scientists draw between non-human animals and human animals, and they do not want our anthropomorphism and judgmentalism and morality getting in the way of their scientific conclusions.
Fair enough, to an extent. I do not want horrible eugenicist bigots demanding that we isolate the so-called and still-debated “gay gene” and allowing for some kind of “gaythanasia” escape clause in their no-abortions-ever laws, and that is a possibility—touched on by one of the scientists interviewed—if we allow for the blurring of that line.
However, as a vegan, I believe that the more similarities we find between “natural” human behavior and “natural” animal behavior, the harder that will make for the general public to accept abuses such as animal testing (let alone eating animals—come on, son). Because we’re people, and, “As the biologist Marlene Zuk explains, we are hard-wired to read all animal behavior as ‘some version of the way people do things’ and animals as ‘blurred, imperfect copies of humans.’”
Now, as many “it thinks it’s people” jokes I may make, I do not believe that animals are “imperfect copies of humans” and find it, oh yes, offensive that others might. It’s cute when a non-human animal’s behavior reminds me of a human’s behavior, but that doesn’t mean that the dog is actually “trying to be” a person. It does have agency, however; it does have its own biological makeup, just as we have our own that allows us to feel and behave compassionately. So if you feel like maybe animals can be gay, like maybe that is an argument for the “naturalness” of homosexuality, maybe that should inform your behavior toward animals in other areas. If animals of all kinds share so many similar traits, how humane is it to make such clear distinctions between “us” and “them,” really?
My name is Martha and I’m an employee of the Government of Canada working on the seal file.
While some may not agree with the harvest itself, it is worth noting that the seal population is healthy and abundant. The Northwest Atlantic harp seal population is currently estimated at 6.9 million animals—more than triple the size of the herd in the 1970s—and is not considered a threatened or endangered species.
Fishery officers monitor the harvest closely and infractions are taken seriously.
Hey Martha! Thanks for stopping by! We love getting the other side around here, especially when it’s full of doublespeak from a government eager to wipe the blood off its public face. So let’s get a few things straight.
1. A “harvest” is when you pick fruit off trees or whatever. It’s not when you bludgeon the heads of newborn seals until they’re good and dead (and before they have a chance to breed because that’s so “sustainable”). I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the meeting where a roomful of government staffers decided which word to use. ”How about ‘cuddle’? Are we liking ‘cuddle’?” “I don’t know, I’m still pushing for ‘happy finish’.” “YOU GUYS. I’VE GOT IT: ‘harvest’.” And the room breaks out in high-fives and fist-bumps.
2. Well shit howdy, the herd size has tripled since the 1970s? I wonder what else happened in the 1970s. Oh yeah, that’s right: The United States of America, your No. 1 trading partner, banned the importation of seal products. You’re kinda making my case for me, Martha.
3. And well done ignoring the point of the post and the Humane Society’s video, which is to show unprecedented melting of Arctic ice. Melting that is only getting worse. Yes, I’m sure your office will say, “based on data from the last five to 10 years, we predict that we can continue to give sustainable happy finish to harvest X number of seals for the next five to 10 years.” Well guess what, the world’s climate is changing, and fast. What happened five years ago is nothing like what’s happening this year. Try reading the news sometime. It’s in that section buried under Sports, Gossip, and Offbeat. No, keep going, you’re at the comics. There it is. It’s called Science.
4. Lastly, did you not notice the name of the site? We don’t care if your seal hunt is sustainable or not. But let’s put it this way. You may think it’s sustainable, but it’s not. Because in a few short years from now, the habitat for those animals will be completely gone, and all of you will be taken by surprise.
Anyway, thanks again for stopping by, Martha, and feel free to stick around. We have some great recipes and movie reviews.
Somehow I’ve managed to become the “doom and gloom” guy around here, but the awesome environmental news just keeps rolling in this week, so what the hell, let’s go with it. I swear, on the inside I’m nothing but kitten videos and sunshine.
California and all of the West Coast are spared from the plan. So, yay us, I guess. Nearly all the states chosen appear to be “red states,” so if there’s a silver lining, it would be watching a right-wing NIMBY anti-drilling movement pick up steam.
The plan is to open areas for exploration, not yet for drilling. Oil companies are famous for not using their offshore drilling leases (too expensive to get the oil) so in all likelihood, very little will change. But unless there’s some kind of grand strategy at work, every second we spend chasing our tail on oil and coal is a colossal waste of time that kills animals (holla back, harp seals!) and threatens civilization. In summary, fuck that noise.
Movie Review: The Animals Film-–the vegan documentary I’ve been looking for!
I realized 30 seconds into The Animals Film that this was the “vegan documentary” I’d sought ever since we came up with the idea of “vegan movie reviews” a few months back. Investigative documentaries like Food, Inc. were informative but left me cold. Likewise, I thought Meat was a masterpiece, but it deals solely with the issue of meat production. None of them took a global view of the relationship between humans and other species. Turns out the movie I kept waiting for someone to make came out nearly 30 years ago.
From what I can tell, The Animals Film caused quite a stir in its native England upon release, mostly due to a unique opportunity to be aired on the then-fledgling Channel 4. The movie apparently also had a large impact in the Swedish Parliament, which revised a lot of its policies regarding animals following a screening of the film. The controversy is hardly surprising: the film opens with historical footage of animals being abused, molested, exploited for entertainment, brutalized, pulverized, electrocuted,* and generally destroyed by humans. As if that wasn’t enough, The Animals Film sets this sequence to the Talking Heads’ “Mind,” with its increasingly desperate plea for “something to change your mind,” extremely effectively. I thought this sequence was so moving—similar to what I imagine Errol Morris would do with the topic—that I watched it multiple times. The Animals Film continues on to critically examine the exploitation of animals by humans, be it in the form of meat production, hunting, entertainment, laboratory testing, or (the one that made me shudder the most) military testing.
The Animals Film makes a very important point that I actually feel is often lost among the animal rights/vegan discourse. I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I’m vegan, given that I’m not really an “animal person.” I’d point to the inevitable health and environmental reasons, but there was always another reason that I couldn’t fully express. Movies like The Animals Film and Au hasard Balthazar helped me explain—it’s the human reason. When humans inflict suffering on other sentient species, what does that say about us? The film’s tagline, “It’s not about them, it’s about us,” says it all. The U.S. government tied up animals on boats during the Operation Crossroads nuclear testing at Bikini Atoll, just to “test” the effects of atomic bombs on biological creatures? After the bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Really? Let me go ahead and give you the results of that test: NOT GOOD. How do we expect to eradicate human suffering when our way of life is so needlessly bound up in inflicting suffering? To those of you thinking, “but we have developed so many medicines because of animal testing,” The Animals Film makes an excellent point—penicillin kills guinea pigs! Fortunately Fleming and Florey never tested it on guinea pigs, or we may have never tried it on humans! Also, side note—why test LSD on monkeys?
This is how I logically found my way to veganism without being an animal-lover. I grew tired of lying to myself about what needlessly killing animals for food told me about me. Not to sound totally pretentious and condescending (or, for that matter, like a damn hippie), but in my mind, learning to honestly treat other species with respect is the next logical step toward ensuring equality among humans.
Seriously, I consider The Animals Film mandatory viewing for not only vegans, animal-lovers and the like, but for everyone. If I ever have the opportunity to teach that hypothetical “Animals in Film” syllabus knocking around in my head, The Animals Film would be the first movie I’d show. Actually, maybe it would be the last. I’m not sure what else I’d need to screen after this one.
*Seriously, Edison? You filmed yourself electrocuting an elephant? Electricity has to annoy me now?
When he’s not slowly burning out his projector bulb, Zach Cincotta is an entertainment and business attorney representing awesome bands, record labels, and other small businesses. His previous movie reviews for Vegansaurus can be found here, you can contact him here, and follow him on Twitter here.
Guest post: Vegan knitting: crafty, fun, and cruelty-free!
How many times have you been browsing patterns on Ravelry or clicking through the newest edition of Knitty thinking “GOD. I love this pattern but I’m vegan and I have no clue what yarn to use because the people at my local yarn shop are kind of mean about me being vegan and always try and sell me wool and then tell me that sheep like having chunks of their butts cut off without painkillers, so instead of knitting I’m going to go sit in the corner and cry.”
Yep, I’ve been through the same scenario quite a few times myself and it is not fun! The fact is, the vegan yarn market is severely underserved and being a new vegan, or knitter, or both can be quite daunting. Well consider me your brand-new personal LYS employee who won’t scorn your ethics with a withering, condescending gaze.*
Together we’re going to go through some of the most popular knitting patterns circulating the internet today and pick out which yarns will work best for the individual projects! [Ed.: While we’ve linked to the websites of those yarn companies with websites, be sure to look for the best deals on yarns at your local stores or other, online retailers.]
Clapotis, by Kate Gilbert With Clapotis, I feel that there are unlimited possibilities and you probably can’t go wrong. I do think a 100 percent bamboo or soy would work beautifully as they both have a silk-like, luscious drape that will compliment the bias knit quite nicely. Since it’s a scarf it’s not imperative that you match the gauge precisely, so go with whatever yarn is calling to you regardless of weight as long as you don’t mind smaller stitches. A DK weight bamboo from Southwest Trading Company would look absolutely stunning. If you’re looking for a slightly chunkier yarn try Classic Elite’s worsted weight Bam Boo or Queensland Collection Bebe Cotsoy, a worsted cotton/soy blend. If you absolutely want to stick with an aran weight yarn, then Anchor’s cotton/soy blend Bamboolo would be a perfect match!
Cobblestone Pullover, by Jared Flood For all you male knitters out there, this is the quintessential pullover. It calls for a wooly aran weight tweed yarn, so I must recommend Kraemer’s Tatamy Tweed Worsted (40 percent cotton, 60 percent acrylic), which you may have to adjust your needle size for, but no biggie!
February Lady sweater, by Pamela Wynne This is an extremely popular pattern that calls for a worsted weight merino yarn. It’s a lovely spring cardigan so I bet a plain ol’ cotton, such as Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton or Dyed Cotton, would work beautifully here. If you can’t afford that much per skein you can always try Lion Brand Cotton Solid or Knit Picks Simply Cotton. If you’re worried about shape retention then try a cotton/acrylic blend such as Lion Brand Cotton-Ease.
Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath The Bay Area is the perfect place for fingerless mitts, especially for all that bike riding and stuffing our mouths full of food we do here. Make sure you’re prepared for the fall and knit Fetching. Crystal Palace Bamboozle (55 percent bamboo, 24 percent cotton, 21 percent elastic nylon) has just the right amount of bamboo to keep your hands toasty and plenty of elastic nylon to help them stay snug on your hands.
Monkey, by Cookie A. If you haven’t knit socks yet, you simply must. They’re fun, quick, and turning the heel isn’t as scary as people make it out to be! This is a striking lacy pair of socks that any of the vegan Crystal Palace sock yarns would work well with. There is Maizy (82 percent corn fiber and 18 percent elastic nylon), Panda Cotton (59 percent bamboo, 25 percent cotton and 16 percent elastic nylon), or Panda Soy (49 percent bamboo, 33 percent soy and 18 percent elastic nylon) all of which come in both solid and variegated colors (choose variegated! Really!).
I’ve wondered just about twice a day my whole life why I don’t have a sweater with owls around the collar, and now here it is! The original pattern calls for a bulky weight wool yarn so Garnstudio’s Drops Ice (55 percent cotton, 45 percent acrylic) seems to have been made just for this pattern. Having a little acrylic blended with the cotton is important because you don’t want those owls to lose their shape and be sad, do you?!
As vegan bulky yarns can be a bit challenging to come by, I want to recommend a few other more budget friendly options, such as Berrocco Comfort Chunky or Knit Picks Comfy Bulky; both are cotton/acrylic blends.
*I have had nothing but amazing experiences at Bay Area yarn shops, but when I travel farther from our vegan paradise I tend run into downright bad manners.
Kristen is a graduate of San Francisco’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and is now stuck in the city without a paying job. Luckily, she recently landed a great internship with a local yarn company and is working towards becoming a knitwear designer. She spends most of her free time knitting, eating vegan food, and petting her cat named Cooper who surprisingly does not bother her while she knits (which is pretty much all the time, it’s kind of ridiculous). This is her first post for Vegansaurus, but she has her own fabulous vegan knitting blog, Tree Wool. Check it out!
Takes place tonight at 8 at Greenpeace’s office at 698 Indiana St. in Potrero Hill. This Oscar-winning documentary is all about dolphin-slaughter so it’s guaranteed to be feel-good; bring the kids! And popcorn to share! Also, apparently seating is limited so you’re encouraged to bring extra chairs or blankets to sit on. Just like a parade but with fewer kids on floats and more dolphins being murdered. Enjoy!
The Awl exposes the shocking truth about “OMG Cat” and other “adorable” YouTube cat images: “So, when you think about it, people being dead silent in their cat videos, knowing the audience hates when human intent meddles in their cute kittens… Combined with the fact that we DON’T CARE that the cats are sick or dead… It really says a lot about the patrons of this art. We don’t care about the cats themselves, or the people bringing us the cat pictures or videos. We just care about the ‘OMG cuuuuuute’ chemical reaction we get out of it. It’s pornography.”
Ugh, you guys. What a way to start the morning. I feel sick and guilty and terrible.
Oh happy day!!! Ami bones are now being sold at veganessentials.com! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS?! We don’t have to rely on those damn Brits (who are a culturally rich and adorable people) to get them from Italy for us anymore! Is this all over your head? Let me break it down for you because I’M THE NICEST KID EVER!
My dog Figaro likes him some chews. If your dog likes biscuits, you jerks got plenty o’ options. But vegan chews…they’re hard to come by. I mean, you’ve got several sweet potato chews to pick from but really, they take a measly five minutes for Fig to get through (though now he thinks he’s too good for them, goddamn princess) (actually it’s OK because he is just regulating his own weight for me! For real, I asked the vet why he wasn’t finishing his food and she seriously gave me Fig’s internal monologue: “Hmm, I think I’ve had enough calories today.” Who knew he was so reasonable?! Not the wino on the corner he snaps at on the daily! It’s so cute, I’m the only alcoholic he puts up with).
Then one day I found this super-dope website, veggiepets.com, that has ALL KINDS of vegan dog chews! Frickin’ hedgehogs and crocodiles—it’s a damn vegan chew jungle! They also sold Ami bones—VEGAN dog bones! Yeah, so, problem: these bones are from Italy. It’s not that I hate Italians, it’s that they just didn’t sell them in god-blessed America. See, veggiepets.com is a BRITISH site, and it’s not that I hate Brits, it’s that shipping is STUPID expensive. But I did it, people; I got fed up with not having good chews for the Notorious F.I.G. and totally ordered a crapload of the various chews all the way from the UK. It cost like U.S. $80 BILLION in shipping! I AM NOT EXAGGERATING! VERY MUCH!
Still: the chews went over really well; they probs didn’t last as long as a rawhide does maybe but rawhide is DANGEROUS FOR YOUR DOG! AND ANIMALS WITH SKIN! And Fig totally liked the veggiepet chews. They were just SO expensive to ship. Like, never-do-it-again expensive. Now, however, we can at least get the Ami variety from veganessentials.com! This is like basically a victory for all Americans. God bless us, every one.