Thanks to Bernal Heights food blog Married…with Dinner for the info, because apparently we are too lazy to walk uphill anymore. In the same little shopping area, there’s a little deli called Paulie’s Pickling that, yes, specializes in pickled items—right now they have amazing-sounding green beans, asparagus, and artichoke hearts, though we are hoping later this year for tomatoes—and El Porteno Empanadas that appears to have at least one vegan item (word is out on the empanadita de manzana).
Congratulations on the new Marketplace (331 Cortland Ave. at Wool Street), Bernal! And extra congratulations on the VEGAN FUCKING BAKERY! Now we all have more reasons to walk up the hill.
The Perfect Saturday in San Francisco! YES, TODAY.
Hi All. It has come to my attention that today could seriously be an amazing day in San Francisco and it’s not too late for you to enjoy it. So if don’t wanna sit around in your underwear watching instant netflix on your wii (I’m not hating because that shit is fresh), here is another alternative:
You get to Buffalo Exchange on Valencia Street (or any in the city if you just want the awesome deals but if you’re doing my perfect day then you’re gonna hit the one a block from my house OK) and buy tons of shit for ONE DOLLAR and the money goes to the Humane Society of the United States to help protect wild life. Fresh. You need some cute new clothes and you’re broke so do it to it. It opens at 11 a.m. so get there early for the good stuff.
Next, head down the street to Beats n Brunch by Homemade Hustle at Bollyhood Cafe. This thing has a million names and we’re not exactly sure what it is but apparently the food is hella good and includes a large vegan brunch menu with shit like French toast and vegan buttermilk pancakes and huge scrambles and all sorts of deliciousness. Plus, it’s like a block from Weird Fish so you can flip them the bird while you eat your epic vegan feast. It goes from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. but head over right after Buffalo Exchange so the unorganized hippies (WHO SAID THAT) don’t run out of shit.
AND THEN. You go to the vegan bakesale in Dolores Park and lay in the sun, eating cupcakes. It goes from 1 to 4 p.m. so it should work into your day perfectly.
HAS ANYONE EVER GIVEN YOU SUCH A GIFT AS THIS DAY OF PLEASURE, ROMANCE, INTRIGUE, AND FUN??? You can send your panties to me now. WHY ARE YOU STILL READING AND NOT SENDING ME YOUR PANTIES? Jesus Christ, I have to do everything around here!!
Do you have cable? If so, you should watch the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards this weekend! They’ll air on Animal Planet twice: tomorrow, Saturday Apr. 24 at noon, and on Sunday Apr. 25 at 1 p.m. (PDT).
Harvest Home Sanctuary will host its very first Poultry Boot Camp to teach you all about “poultry health, nutrition, and rescue opportunities.” The event happens at the Sanctuary on Saturday, May 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $25, which includes materials, snacks, and a tour. RSVP by May 1.
Miscellaneous items of varying importance! Everyone’s going nuts for Social Kitchen and Brewery—Eater SF has a tour and a menu preview, and Beer & Nosh has an interview with Brewmaster Rich Higgins. As you know, the menu should be composed of 1/3 vegan and 1/3 vegetarian items, and our Sunset correspondent Megan Allison will be on the scene as frequently as possible with the report.
Don’t like beer? Drink some tequila! Now you can get super-fantastic, super-fancy, super-local tequila, WOO and another WOO because tequila on a gorgeous spring day in the Bay Area are two of my favorite things possibly ever. And no I am not going to flash you, jerk.
Instead let’s serve a delicious vegan supper, with these recipes from the Kitchn! I swear they are doing these articles just to get on our good side. Whatever their nefarious plan is, it’s working, because here is another link, hello.
Let’s go to the farmers market instead! Apparently there are super-awesome ones not only in our beloved San Francisco, but in Madison, Wisc.; Little Rock, Ark.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Des Moines, Iowa. Who knew—outside of the residents of those cities, obviously?
The always-genius Bay Area Bites presents a totally relevant, not-at-all obvious list of ways to “green” our kitchens.
Guys, guys, get this: the civet is a smallish mammal who lives in Indonesia, eats coffee berries, and poops out the beans that have been fermented through its digestive system and will make reportedly the tastiest—or at least, the priciest—coffee, like, ever. So instead of following civets around and picking up their droppings to find the beans, people are—you’ll never guess—catching them, caging them, and feeding them beans! God, isn’t capitalism the fucking best?
Homeless dogs in Moscow keep warm by sleeping on the subway, just like homeless people. Please pass the tissues, I am going to cry my damn eyes out. And no I don’t know why English Russia tagged this article as “Funny.” [photo from English Russia]
And while we’re sobbing, maybe it’s time to look at this World Press Photo 2010 Award-winning photo series by Tommaso Ausili called “The Slaughterhouse,” which for the sensitive among us (read: me) could be too much to actually really look at. But you are brave and bold, do please check them out.
Hilariously, a beef-industry-funded survey “of American beef eaters” found that cattle ranchers and farmers have “the third greenest profession” in the U.S.! Of course they’re environmentalists—they commute to work on horses! Har har har.
Significantly less disgusting, and in fact quite wonderful: Healthy Happy Life’s slideshow of amazing vegan desserts in New York City.
The geniuses at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have decided that migratory pelicans are ruining everything—i.e., eating all the native and artificially stocked trout that people want to fish—and because the Feds won’t allow them to shoot the birds, they are going to release non-native badgers and skunks into the area to deal with the problem “naturally.” Not everyone agrees that it’s the pelicans causing the decline in the trout population, and letting non-native species out into the wild hasn’t always (ever?) gone well in the past, but fuck it, people want to fish for their motherfucking trout.
Whoops, pescatarians! Watch out for that ahi tuna from Hawaii, it’s full of salmonella! Better stick to a delicious lion and antelope burger from Sacramento. God knows what kind of “lion” it is or how the proprietors can say it’s from the U.S., but hey, this “article” is 50 percent cut-and-pasted quotes from Facebook, so who knows anything? And anyway exotic is the new cute-n-cuddly, right?
Because we’re Vegansaurus, we’re obviously not down with congressional hopeful Sue “crazypants” Lowden’s idea to barter chickens for healthcare. If we weren’t capitalists—do note the subjunctive case there—we might be into the idea of trading vegetables, or vegan suppers, for something like ophthalmologic care (someone needs a new pair of glasses) (hint: me!) or a motherboard for a MacBook. Steve Jobs, the Apple cafeteria cannot serve all your gustatory needs, I know it. Regardless, we do like the disco remix of Crazypants Lowden’s proposal, mostly because of the happy (?) dancing chicken. [if you can’t see the video, click through to vegansaurus.com!]
The kid in the "Is Veganism Safe for Kids?" Scare? He's a PESCATARIAN. OMG, SHUT UP, MEDIA. Oh also, same article says vegan diets are TOTALLY SAFE FOR KIDS. OMG SHUT UP AGAIN, MEDIA. (I apologize for this title! I am out of control! Love, Laura)
The Guardian posted a somewhat interesting article (nothing fully interests me anymore, le sigh) called “Is Veganism Safe for Kids?" It’s pretty mild and basically she’s like, give the kids supplements and vegan kids are probs healthier than non-vegan kids (I almost wrote "regular kids," but then I was like, what the eff are you trying to say about vegans, Megan Rascal?). I thought it was pretty positive overall, but I’m like the mayor of being wrong so who knows. It sounds good to me, though:
Amanda Baker at the Vegan Society says the real issue isn’t whether a child’s diet is vegan or not, or restricted or not-–the important thing is whether it’s healthy. “There are plenty of children who are eating a bad diet, and they’re not vegan,” she says. “Vegan parents have to plan their child’s food carefully. Of course there are pitfalls, but there are pitfalls for all parents and for any diet.
"The reality is that vegan parents are more likely to cook at home, and are likely to be very knowledgeable about nutrition because they have had to make a lot of effort to follow the diet they do. Many of them follow a wholefood diet, and avoid trans-fats and too much salt. It’s actually much easier for vegans and their children to meet the five-a-day guidelines than for other people."
The article was sparked by a recent case where social workers totally tried to take this kid from his parents because they thought his dairy-free diet gave him rickets. What the hell are rickets? I mean I know I can look it up but I’ve got the tireds so forgive me. But for real, rickets sounds like something you’d get in medieval times.
One important note: the kid isn’t even vegan, he’s pescatarian (sorry I said the P word! I just want everybody to make fun of pescatarians because it’s hilarious).
In cuter vegan kid topics, this seems like a good time to mention my favorite website everrr, veganlunchbox.com. It’s the best! Just lots and lots of cute-ass bento boxes filled with vegan goodies. There’s even a book! I have no kids and I have no bento boxes but I love this site.
I really don’t see the point of this bill, or how it could possibly do anything to fix climate change. The Senate is about to release its own version of the climate bill (remember, the House of Representatives already passed a not-great-but-not-terrible climate bill last year), and just in time for Earth Day, Senator John Kerry has released some key details about the bill. And it’s a horror movie. It’s like the Senate read up on everyone’s worst fears and decided to twist the knife a bit deeper.
No gas tax. No more EPA authority to regulate CO2 under the Clean Air Act. No more state authority, like what we have in California, to set tighter rules. More natural gas. More “clean coal.” And the ultimate middle finger? Agriculture, which I’m assuming will include factory farms, would be entirely exempt.
Listen, I get it. John Kerry is trying to put together a bill that can pass, and that means compromises. Get it done and fix it later. And Kerry’s bill is said to meet the same targets as the House bill’s 80 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2050.
But here’s the problem. Meeting those targets, and really meeting them, is going to require fundamental changes in how we use energy, how we grow food, and how and where we live. Any plan that entrenches the status quo will only ever work on paper. For the same reason you can’t give children free rein over the school lunch menu (and those of us with man-crushes on Jamie Oliver know how well that goes), leaving grown-up choices to polluting industry does not and will never work. It should be “you’ll eat your veggies and LIKE IT” time for them, not all-you-can-eat Tater Tots and pizza bites.
Calorie count cage match: KFC Double Down vs. Vegan Double Down
Everyone and their dog knows that the KFC Double Down is cardiac arrest in sandwich form, and our vegan version isn’t doing much better. But we at least would never lie to you. Kill you, quite possibly, but never lie.
Unlike KFC, who would do both. Their marketing materials had clocked their version in at a lean-and-mean 540 calories and 32 grams of fat (practically diet by fast food standards), and now CityRag is calling bullshit. By their math, using published nutritional data, the KFC Double Down’s real calorie count? 1190 calories and 86 grams of fat—over twice as much as advertised.
So, not that you should care, I thought I’d run the numbers for one serving of our version to see how it stacks up.
Grand total: 785 calories, 69g fat. I think that means, we win! Or, we lose! Also, let’s be realistic. Neither of these counts include the vat of fryer oil we’re using. So add another 300 to 500 calories to both those numbers.
Moral of the story? There is none. Life isn’t Beatrix Potter, and sometimes we eat stuff that might kill us. The end. As long as it’s only killing ourselves without dragging any animals along for the death ride, I don’t see the problem. You know what, I think there is a moral after all. Mentos!
Yesterday, we covered the ethics of “too cute to eat" regarding meat-eaters who shy away from eating rabbits but will happily dig into a dead cow or lamb. The arbitrary line between animals-we-pet and animals-we-eat is a common refrain among vegans, and when we can’t rely on cuteness to predict who will end up on the menu, we at least have the law. But thanks to the help of Tennessee and Missouri, foodies may soon have a new cute animal to plunder all over again. Yep, horse slaughter is coming back:
On Apr. 8, a subcommittee in the Tennessee House approved a horse slaughter bill 7-6. A week earlier, the Missouri House approved 91-61 bill HR1741. The bill hasn’t yet been scheduled for the Senate calendar.
Awesome. I really can’t wait to hear all about how horse is the new, more sustainable cow. Thanks, elected jerks in other states!
At the rate we’re going, we’re long overdue for a cute animal dead pool. Any predictions on which animal is next to earn the coveted ”delicacy” title? Deer are the obvious choice, but squirrels and raccoons both have that some-say-cute, others-say-pest appeal. Obviously it’s all about eating your way through the entire zoo, but you have to hand to the foodies for taking a methodical approach instead of jumping straight to common Occidental house pets.
Some innocent intern at the Environmental Protection Agency wrote a little post on the Agency’s Greenversations blog on Tuesday about abstaining from meat because of “the negative environmental effects of meat production,” and the American Farm Bureau Federation lost its shit.
"The EPA should control its blog space," said AFBF President (and massive bully) Bob Stallman. How dare an intern actually say "the easiest way to lessen the environmental impacts [of meat production] is to become a vegetarian or vegan"—what is the EPA for, telling citizens the fucking truth? What the HELL is going on here?
The Greenversations comments section quickly filled with horrible comments that made everyone with a soul want to curl up and die, because of hatefulness. What’s next, telling us that leather production isn’t environmentally friendly, either? Oh how the world comes crashing down.
Over at Gilt, they’re having one of their famous ridiculous sales, and this time it’s on stuff you might actually want instead of their usual assortment of leather and luxury hotels. It’s Earth Day, and what better way to say “Thanks, Earth!” than to undo a year of trashing the place with a bit of green consumerism. Wait, this is a bad pitch, isn’t it. What I meant to say was, BUY STUFF! Think of it like you’re buying the Earth a birthday present.
On sale right now are Matt & Nat bags, Loomstate, Dr. Hauschka, and actually this eco-spa in Costa Rica looks really good, along with Edun, Stuart + Brown, and more. Gilt is members-only, so sign up and give me credits so we can get started early on our annual Vegansaurus HQ corporate retreat in Costa Rica. Also, everything on Gilt tends to run out really quickly so HURRY UP AND BUY NOW! HAPPY EARTH DAY!
The author here does make one good point, which is: why are some animals “too cute to eat,” while others aren’t? To us, that point is moot, but maybe the rest of the world, which eats meat, might want to consider it?
You know your Vegansaurus cares a whole fucking lot about not eating rabbits, not least because one of our (ir)regular columnists has a bunny sidekick. Also, not just because they’re “cute.” We care about all animals, however aesthetically pleasing we may find them. The point is, obviously, they’re animals, and they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not fucking eaten.
Apparently author Michael Procopio wasn’t prepared for readers to share our outrage, because in response to the upset comments his article garnered, he linked to this little gem from HuffPo by Craig Goldwyn, which demands that whenever we “strident” veg bastards see a link to an article about meat, we ignore it, because our “meat is murder” opinions are not welcome. In fact, by “preaching…proselytizing…[and] moralizing” in the comments section, we are “only undermining [our] own cause" [italics his]. You know, FYI. Just keep out of their clubhouse, OK; they don’t want our kind there.
You know what? They’re right. We are basically “yell[ing] ‘Jesus Saves!’…in a Jewish Synagogue,” and expecting everyone in there to immediately convert, and it has to stop. From now on, whenever anyone has anything positive to say about eating meat, or farming animals, or wearing fur, or breeding animals and selling them as pets, I will not read the story. I will turn down the radio, I will change the channel on the TV, I will close the tab in my browser. Ignoring something I—and many, many others—view as a massive, multi-level, global problem will make it go away, right? Just like wishing really hard attained women’s suffrage in the U.S.! And complaining to each other at dinner established the Department of Veterans Affairs. When serious business gets you down, handwrite it in your diary, put it under your bed, and don’t talk about it, because making a fuss never changed anything ever.
I know, you are up in arms about Monsanto and school lunches and my computer, and the weather is gloomy and nothing will ever be good again. I KNOW. It sounds like you could use some cheering up, my babies. So how about we look at some pretty, pretty shoes that are on super-duper sale?
Cri de Cœur is an all-vegan, eco-friendly company that makes pretty, pretty shoes, and Billion Dollar Babes is having a massive sale on some of their styles for the next 24 hours. Billion Dollar Babes is one of those members-only “HUGE DEALS ON DESIGNER STYLES” sites, but you don’t even need a recommendation from a current member to join; just put in your name and email and you’re in. If you’re interested in Cri de Cœur shoes I would recommend joining, as they seem to be significantly cheaper than usual.
Of course we’d all prefer to buy from a local retailer, but according to the Cri
de Cœur website, the only two places you can buy them in California are in Santa Monica or Laguna Beach, to which we in Northern California say, Boo, we may eat like hippies but we dress like grown-ups, dang it. I mean they sell them in Brighton, which as I understand it is the English equivalent of San Francisco, so let’s get on it, people. I don’t see why a pretty pretty dress store like Ambiance couldn’t carry a few styles. They have enough Michael Stars “one size fits most” shirt/dress/whatever garments to clothe a little army, anyway.
This seriously takes 3 minutes and can make the difference between kids getting veg options at school, or dying at the hands of the lunch lady. Btw, the lunch lady these days is just a giant microwave. So comforting. Remember how when we were kids, we had no veg options and had to walk uphill both ways in the snow to simply get to a veggie dog? Don’t do that to our veg children. Be a pal, call congress and ask for healthy veg school lunches so students today don’t have to resort to eating ketchup with a side of ketchup doused in ketchup. DO IT.
Take the Veg Pledge 2010! (Or vegans, tell your friends!)
Students for Animal Rights (StAR) is organizing their first annual Veg Pledge for 2010. Their goal is to get 25,000 people to cut down on meat, dairy and eggs for the month of May, and they need your help.
As a university student, I am a leader for my generation and an example for society. I am concerned about the suffering of farm animals and the impact of animal agriculture on global warming, the environment, and my health. By signing my name, I pledge to cut down on meat, dairy, and egg products for the month of May, 2010 and commit to exploring a more humane and sustainable diet.
If they get to 25,000 pledges, StAR estimates that 250,000 animals will be saved, CO2 emissions will be reduced by 2.5 million pounds, and 5 million pounds of livestock manure will never get…manured. Not too shabby.
You can pledge at one of four levels: Platinum (all-vegan for all of May), Gold (vegan for five days a week), Silver (vegan for one meal a day), or Bronze (vegan for one day a week).
Taking the Veg Pledge is a great excuse to try something new, and to show people how easy it is to go vegan, or to at least cut back on the meat. So if you or your green-minded friends have been looking for an excuse to rethink your diet, May is your month. We won’t even make you grow a mustache.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, here’s a case we’ve already lost. Justice Clarence Thomas is refusing to recuse himself in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, which will hit the Court next month. Thomas, one of the reliable right-wingers on our already conservative-leaning Court, was an employee of Satan Monsanto from 1976 to 1979. It’s an obvious conflict of interest.
The worst part of it? Justice Steven Breyer, a reliable liberal vote on the Court, is recusing himself from ruling on the case, because his brother, Charles Breyer, ruled in the original 2007 case. At issue is (what else?) genetically modified crops:
The court will hear Monsanto’s third appeal in the Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms case, which called for the halt of planting GM alfalfa seeds until an Environmental Impact Statement was completed.
The lawsuit was filed by organizations like the Center for Food Safety, the National Family Farm Coalition, Sierra Club, Dakota Resources Council and other farming groups and environmental associations.
One of the plaintiffs, alfalfa farmer Pat Trask said Monsanto’s biotech alfalfa would ruin his alfalfa seed business because his 9,000 acres would be contaminated by the genetically modified crops.
Remember, this is the same Monsanto that sues farmers when the company’s patented seeds (a concept that, on its own, should make anyone want to throw things) blow from their customers’ land onto those other farmers’ land and take root. This lawsuit would turn the tables, and treat Monsanto’s “intellectual property” like the contaminant it is. Too bad it’s already lost.
The decision in United States v. Stevens was 8-1 against the law banning “the interstate sale of depictions of torture and killing of animals” based on its violation of First Amendment rights, and get this—that one vote keeping the ban in place was Samuel goddamn Alito.
Shocking tasers, shorted-out circuits, and food porn in today's SHOCKING (themed) link-o-rama!
How about that: a goat in a blue suit! According to Vice, who did the photoshoot, it’s Look 25 from Dunhill’s spring/summer 2010 collection. I’m not sure about that, honestly—I think it just as easily could be Look 27. Thoughts?
By the way, this is Steve filling in for Meave this week, who blames her absence on a shorted out MacBook keyboard following a coffee spill disaster. But between you and me, I’m suspecting cilantro poisoning.
Upcoming vegan events! Like vegan cupcakes? Feeling judgy? Then sign up to be a judge for the 2nd Annual Vegan Cupcake Bake-off on May 22nd in Oakland. This will probably be the biggest field trip ever, so get those permission slips sorted out in advance.
Here’s an epic battle of the century that you won’t want to miss, organized by VegNews and Earth Island Journal. Cattle rancher-turned-vegan Howard Lyman and Niman Ranch co-founder Nicolette Niman will debate why or why not meat is a sustainable and ethical product. Tickets are $10 and will sell out quickly.
Miscellaneous items of significant social importance! The Taser company funded a “study” that involved anesthetizing sheep, putting them on a methamphetamine IV drip, and then shocking them with Tasers—in order to test “the effects of Tasers on meth-addled targets.” But don’t worry, it didn’t cause the sheep any immediate heart problems!
Speaking of grossnosity, McDonald’s really, really doesn’t want to buy even 5 percent of its eggs for its U.S. stores from cage-free sources.
Mumbai now has an all-organic farmers market, which sells produce, cotton candy (YES PLEASE), “paint, paper, furniture, and cosmetics,” and prepared food like vegan quiche. Because we didn’t need enough reasons to visit India.
Our local paper of record likes us; they really like us. SFGate started up a new vegan and vegetarian lifestyle section. We’re looking forward to more local coverage of veg issues, but we’re a bit less excited about the witty and insightful comments that we’re bound to get from the white-flight crowd that hangs out over there. Flame suits, on.
The Kitchn is on a vegan kick this week, with 10 Vegan Lunch Ideas. But breakfast is the most important meal of the day (especially if you eat breakfast food for lunch and dinner), so why not click through to their 10 Vegan Breakfast Ideas while you’re at it?
Killer whales kill (duh), unless you’re a dog. Then they’re like, “hop on my back, little friend, and I will take you on a magical tour of my sea kingdom.” But dogs aren’t safe if sharks are around so don’t forget a pair of “I’m With Orca” board shorts for your dog on beach walks.
Oh great. Almost everyone knows about the trash island the size of Texas floating in the Pacific, but did you know there are four others just like it? Check out photos from the North Atlantic Gyre courtesy of The 5 Gyres Project. I really can’t wait for a future of marine life evolved to eat a diet entirely of plastic.
WildCare brings us 15 seconds of how-can-I-exist-in-a-world-with-orphaned-ducklings tears in video form. Spring time means heavy rains and orphaned ducks in storm drains, so go sponsor some baby ducks, or the videos will keep getting sadder and shorter. No pressure.
The Winter Olympics are over, but how about a video of two dogs who may just win the gold in luge in 2014.
Humans are smarter and better than animals at everything, except for all the things they do exactly the same as us. Researchers in Portugal discovered that rats can understand complex game theory, and successfully cooperate with each other or manipulate other players in the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma game scenario.
Here’s some vegan chocolate food porn from chef and food stylist Claire Thomas, along with some bonus food erotica from The Physiology of Taste, written in 1825, describing how hot chocolate would have been prepared (with water, no milk) at Versaille.
Vegan.com says that Michael Pollan is "dodging the discussion" with Jonathon Safran Foer over criticism in Eating Animals, but saying that “nobody is anti-meat enough for the animal-rights purists” reads more like fighting words than an outright dodge. Sounds to us like it’s time to settle this one in the Octagon.
And because cats are the best, we’ll leave you with a video news clip about the Agee Sanctuary near Sacramento, new home of feral cats recently rescued from a Chinatown housing project. Apparently they have their own Winston, not to be confused with fourfour’s Winston who just joined Twitter this week and has almost as many followers as us. It’s hard out there for a dino.
Vegansaurus was offered Être the Cow for review from publishers Health Communications, and being a now-famous book critic, I elected to do the work. Also because I’m in this for the free stuff.
Être the Cow was written by Sean Kenniff, whose name might be familiar to you, as he was a contestant on the first season of Survivor. According to his back-of-book bio, he is also a physician. Apparently he had some time post-layoff, which he spent “liv[ing] with the cows,” though this experience did not stop him from eating them.
The novella is odd. It’s narrated by Être, a bull, who is the only cow in the story who has a “real” name, which he apparently gave himself; he is the only cow who tries to communicate with other cows—and people—in English, though unsuccessfully, as no one can understand him. Also, sometimes there is singing, in French.
The whole thing is a tragedy, I guess, what with all the dying, but it’s written so oddly that it’s difficult to connect with any of the characters. Maybe it’s unfair to criticize Kenniff’s motivations for writing the book, but when it’s so painfully clearly a Book with a Message, then I feel like the author’s motivations are fair to explore. So: why did Kenniff write this book, if he still believes that eating meat is a fair and fine thing to do? If it is a parable, what lessons should the reader take from it? All I understood was, basically, “Special cows can sometimes have feelings too, but only special ones, and really those feelings are useless because they only lead to tragedy, so better to live your life like a regular, non-talking cow who doesn’t wish to be a human—sorry, a ‘Man’—and then you won’t know what you might have missed if you were anything other than a cow.”
Or, you know, something like that. Maybe this book wasn’t for me because I don’t go in for too much anthropomorphizing; maybe because I’m more educated about animal-cruelty issues that the readers the author is trying to reach. Maybe because it’s just not an especially well written book, and whatever message it is trying to send is totally garbled because Kenniff doesn’t seem to mean it. I don’t know. If you are interested, go for it. I have certainly read worse, in my life; but I have most definitely read better.
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!