Do you love science, ecological disasters, and rubbernecking at car crashes? Well do I have a special treat for you. BP had been refusing to release video footage of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill/leak/-ocalypse, making it nearly impossible for scientists to evaluate the extent of the ongoing damage. So Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said, “This is a whole heap of bullshit,”* and demanded a live video feed of the gushing oil be made available online to everyone, immediately.
Less than four hours later, BP responded, and promised to make the webcam available within 24 hours. The result is now live on house.gov and Ustream.
The spill cam is for independent scientists and the general public to hold BP accountable. We already know that BP undercounted the rate of oil flow by 20 times from their original estimate, thanks to the limited video footage that they reluctantly released. With the current estimate at 4 million gallons each day, that’s an Exxon-Valdez-size spill every three days still pouring into the Gulf of Mexico.
I know! Shocking! Who would have thought that the guy who recently bought himself a burial pyramid would also have wacky ideas about food?
Anyway, so Nicholas Cage (my absolute favorite Hollywood actor right now. Have you SEEN Knowing? The Wicker Man remake? GENIUS) has apparently announced that he only eats animals that have “dignified sex.” Which animals are the most dignified lovers? According to Cage, birds and fish.
Was that title lame? That title was totally lame wasn’t it. Or does it sound like gay porn? Shut up don’t tell me I hate you. What I’m trying to get at: Homemade Twinkie Challenge!
Instructables.com, the superfantastic SF-based how-to site, set out to discover which was the best homemade Twinkie recipe. They tried a straight-up copycat, an organic version, a gluten-free recipe, and a vegan version. I do not want to spoil the results for you! But they sure are surprising if you are stupid and don’t know what this blog is about!
So I presume this was held in San Francisco—were any of you there? Color me curious.
Check out my righteous (literally!) new bag! My friend Hillary picked this up for me at Cary Lane in Hayes Valley. Cary Lane has lots of designer sample sales and recently had an Obey trunk show. OMG I can’t believe I missed it! But Hillz went and when she saw this, she knew I needed it. What a sweetheart! JK, she’s trying to get in my pants. Sigh, that’s just the burden of being me. Or maybe she’s trying to minimize my long, long adoption speech I give to every unsuspecting person who asks to pet my dog. Now I can walk in all, “ADOPT, bitches!” Because Shepard Fairey says so.
Fairey teamed up with adoptapet.com to make this nice “ADOPT” design. I’m a fan. Especially since everybody has been all Banksy-obsessed lately, it’s nice to get back to Obey. Or maybe Banksy will get inspired and do something with an animal-friendly message! Who can say.
I don’t know if you can still find these at Cary Lane but they do have them on the Obey shop site. They also have shirts and even dog collars, and all the profits from the adopt-a-pet design are donated to the cause!
On hypocrites: Graham Hill of Treehugger talks about why he's a "weekday vegetarian"
As a vegan, there are few things more nails-on-chalkboard grating than hearing yet another word or phrase invented by green-minded omnivores to feel better about themselves for eating meat. If you call yourself a “pescatarian” or “flexitarian,” unless you can point me to the pesctable and flexifruit aisles of the produce section (and no, Monsanto gene-splicing doesn’t count), you’re really just a meat-eater appropriating vegetarianism to latch onto some kind of perceived moral credibility.
So I braced myself for Graham Hill’s TED talk on “weekday vegetarianism,” half-expecting to get a new neologism-from-hell (weekdaytarian? weekdgan?) out of the deal. I had always known that Graham Hill wasn’t, in fact, a vegetarian, and has spoken about it quite candidly on Treehugger. He knows it’s a contradiction, and, as an environmentalist who should know better, he still can’t bring himself to never eat meat ever again.
In a way, it fits. Treehugger is very much in the “What do we want? Incremental progress! When do we want it? In the second quarter of next year!" vein. They celebrate bikes and bike lanes, but they also really want you to read every fuel-efficient-car press release.
Graham Hill is a hypocrite, and he knows it. He goes one further: he embraces his hypocrisy to (he hopes) commit a mainstream audience towards making better choices. Because given two binary choices—don’t eat meat/drive/pollute vs. live the McMansion/SUV/Walmart dream—most people will pick a side, and it’s not the one we’d like.
Consistency has achieved the status of our highest national virtue. It’s better to let the world drown in oil and choke on cow exhaust than be a “hypocrite” explaining away the daily contradictions of living in the world; when you’re explaining, you’re losing, they tell us. But maybe the world needs more hypocrites, individuals who are at least committing to something better, and nudging others who would normally leave their heads buried deeply in the sand.
We still need vegans and vegetarians more than ever. It keeps the Overton Window wide open, and makes room for this idea of “well I could never do that, but I could do it half/most of the time.” Graham Hill’s punchline? ”If all of us ate half as much meat, it would be like half of us were vegetarians.” I would take that in a heartbeat.
It’s art! It’s adorable! It’s my dream come true! Aussie artist Bennett Miller created Dachshund U.N. for Melbourne’s 2010 Next Wave Festival. There’s some sort of symbolism in this performance piece but really, OMG dachshunds pretending to be the U.N.! Adorbs.
This is from the Next Wave site:
Dachshund U.N. is both a joyful and chaotic experiment, and a meditation on the utopian aspirations of the Commission on Human Rights, and our capacity as humans to imagine and achieve a universal system of justice. Audiences are invited to these exclusive live viewings of the operations of the Dachshund U.N., where 47 specially recruited dachshunds will engage in rigorous debate.
AWESOME. I don’t really get why they’re dachshunds. But I like it! For more pictures, check out this slideshow from Life. I also found this cute behind-the-scenes look into the project, OMG!:
Some actual good news! Greenpeace is announcing today that Nestle will end the use of everything in its supply chain linked to rainforest destruction. Nice!! And yes, that includes palm oil, which unfortunately is an ingredient in Earth Balance. (Though they claim their palm oil is “sustainably harvested" so let’s hope they either find a replacement, or open up their supplier records to prove it, because it would be awfully lame if Earth Balance were more evil than Nestle. HINT, you guys.) The Gulf of Mexico is still drowning in oil, so we’re not quite ready to declare the world as unfucked, but at least for the orangutans, they’re already planning their celebratory forest rave. See you at the map point!
State legislation that would make it illegal for landlords in California to require animal declawing or devocalization as a condition of tenancy passed in the Assembly on a 63-7 vote Thursday…
AB 2743 also would forbid landlords from giving preferential treatment to tenants with declawed or devocalized animals and from advertising in a way designed to discourage applicants whose animals have not been declawed or devocalized.
Yay! Go kitties, shred the carpet, shred the carpet, go kitties! And puppies, your vocal cords will soon be safe!
This seems like maybe it’ll be hard to enforce but still, a very positive step! I HATE the idea of devocalizing dogs. It’s completely crazy. Someone actually suggested I do this to my dog Figaro. I’m serious! I mean, the boy does seem to be 75 percent lung power—he’s loud as all getup. But I’m always like, he talks way less than I do! And everybody LOVES me. But can you imagine? If you couldn’t talk? Barking is just how a dog expresses her or himself; if they can’t bark, how are they supposed to tell you when Mitsy is breaking into your brand-new bag of pita? I ask you!
And declawing—don’t get me started! Did you know declawing is pretty rare outside of North America? BECAUSE IT’S INHUMANE AND CRAZY! It’s illegal in many countries and I swear it’s the same countries where capital punishment is illegal. I’m not saying causation but I think there’s totally a correlation. Countries advanced enough to recognize the death penalty as cruel and inhumane are also advanced enough to recognize the need to protect those who can’t protect themselves—like poor lil’ kitties. It’s like that Gandhi quote, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” DUH EVERYBODY.
In other animal cruelty news, here’s Figaro in his latest photo shoot!:
(It’s cruelty because I’m making him read Nathanial West. But I’m like, put down the Cosmo and get some damn culture, Figaro!)
Start with two pounds of cherries that were fresh last week. Realize you have to do something with them, and look up recipes until you find the right one for you. Realize you don’t have enough cherries, and add fresh strawberries until ideal weight is achieved. Wash, stem, and pit cherries. This will take longer than you think, but it won’t be nearly as irritating as you expect, I swear.
Adjust your recipe according to your ingredients and tastes. “But it’s a pie! I’m afraid!” Don’t be; the filling is super-easy and you have leftover crust from your last pie in the freezer, so now all the hard work is over.
I adapted the above-linked recipe and this is roughly what constituted the filling: 2 pounds fresh cherries, and 1/2 pound fresh strawberries 1/2 cup sugar (could’ve been less, really, the cherries were very sweet) 2 Tbsp. water 1/4 cup lime juice 1 tsp. vanilla extract (there wasn’t any almond) a dash of whiskey Stir, cover, and let sit for a few hours. Now you can defrost your pie crust, and clean up your mess. Fun!
Now instead of making one giant pie, maybe you want to make two smaller pies. I did! Unfortunately after rolling out two pie crusts and heaping the tins full of filling—no pre-baking the crust this time—I didn’t have any crust left over for a top. What to do? Make a crisp topping, obviously! 1 cup oats
3/4 cup flour 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup non-dairy butter cinnamon, to taste Combine in a bowl until everything is all pebbly. Then sprinkle across the tops of your pies, like so. Very nice!
While you’ve been mixing and sprinkling, your oven has been preheating to 400 F. When it’s ready, pop the pies in, with foil over the tops, but make sure they’re on some kind of tray, because they will probably erupt a bit and you don’t want cherry-strawberry mess all over your oven. I had to bake mine individually because of this. Pro tip: If you re-use a tray that’s already covered in semi-carbonized pie overflow, it’ll bake on so hard it may never come off. Best not to.
After 30 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F and remove the foil from the pie. Bake for another 30 to 45 minutes (mine needed 30), then take out of the oven—mind the spillage on those trays!—and place on a wire rack to cool. See how much overflow there was? Thank goodness I used a tray!
Now, allow to cool for a good long time before devouring. Why? First, because the pie filling is like sweet, delicious lava that will blister ever part of you that it touches. Second, because, like a pudding, it’s still setting. You don’t want to cut it open and have all the filling spill out like some ridiculous fruit-waterfall, right? Of course not. So, wait. Give it a good hour at least.
Finally, slice and eat. Although to be honest, this pie is best served at room temperature at least 12 hours after baking. The flavors need more time to develop, I guess, to get comfortable with each other, so try not to eat it all up that night. Allow their relationship time to grow!
Still, definitely eat a piece when it’s done. You pitted cherries for this!
In San Diego there is this phenomenon known as the “Potato Rolled Taco” [Ed. Generally, a “rolled taco” is a taquito if it’s made from a corn tortilla, and a flauta if it’s made from a wheat tortilla]. Jonas is from SD and practically never shuts up about the magicallity of the PRT at Pokez. Having never been to Pokez I can neither confirm nor deny that they are magical but I can say that my boyfriend knows what’s up when it comes to food. He is skinny but he is fierce. In a related note, god bless a skinny person who can throw down when it comes to food. I am bigoted to assume that skinnies can’t bring it when it comes to the dinner table but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a few in my day. In fact, I know a girl in NYC who is built like a brick house but regularly eats five sandwiches for first dinner. FIRST DINNER. I don’t even want to tell you about second dinner because that shit is not fit for prime time. Needless to say, I curtsy to you, madam.
ANYWAY, the point is, if Jonas said the PRT is the bomb, it probably is. AND I WANT IT. But also, when the hell am I in San Diego? I’m not Republican, I don’t surf, and I can get all the (LEGAL PRESCRIPTION) drugs I need without hopping over the border so really, there is no need. That’s where Los Jarritos comes in. Los Jarritos is a family-owned sit down Mexican food joint at South Van Ness Avenue and 20th Street in the Mission. You walk in, sit down at a table with menus, order potato flautas and a Jamaica and eat chips and salsa for five minutes until your meal arrives. SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD NOTE:
1) The agua frescas are the size of toddlers. Delicious hibiscus-flavored toddlers. LOOK AT IT NEXT TO THAT CHIP, it’s 50 times its size! Amazing!
2) POTATO ROLLED TACOS ARE THE POTATO ROLLED BOMB. Eat them always. Also, the lovely waitress knew what vegan meant and that just put me at ease. Jonas got the sopes and I can report that they were also the bomb. The veg ones are made with nopales (that’s cactus, gringo) and they are deeeelicious!
3) This place is EL CHEAPO. All you can eat chips, a giant agua fresca, and two HUGE meals set us back 20 bucks! Cha-ching!
Over all, 50 million stars, will be back for more, more, more, more, more I LOVE YOU, LOS JARRITOS.
Los Angeles Road Trip: NiceCream's dreamy vegan ice cream!
Sorry my northern compadres, but NiceCream is based in LA. While not totally 100 percent vegan (some of their ice cream has honey in it, but these flavors are clearly marked, and they wrote about their use of honey on their website; decide for yourself), this raw ice creamerie is one of the only (or the only?) dedicated nondairy ice creameries in Los Angeles. Located conveniently off of the 101 at Cahuenga Boulevard (and only a few doors away from SunPower Natural), NiceCream has an assortment of rotating raw flavors (notable: maple pecan, banana chocolate swirl, ginger-basil); toppings include Newman O’s, granola (à la Café Gratitude), raw caramel (made up of some sort of desert plant or something pulsed with macadamia nuts and vanilla), raw chocolate sauce, Dagoba chocolate chips, raw cacao nibs, and chopped fruit.
Pictured is a scoop of ginger, beet, and something-else-I’m-a-bad-foodie-I-forgot-sorry next to the mammoth of ice cream porn: raw chocolate soft-serve (first of its kind?!!?) mixed with fresh cut bananas, doused in raw caramel. SO FUCKING CREAMY AND AMAZING AND YUM OMG. The two together were like $10. Steep? Yeah, no kidding. It’s $3.99 for a scoop of ice cream and the soft-serve can range from $3.99 to $7.99 depending on the size you get. Toppings are $0.99/each. Yeah, that’s pretty fucking pricey. But I guess it goes along with being raw, maybe? Well anyways, it would be nice to see a price drop, but it’s great to finally see a vegan ice cream place open up shop in LA. Oh, and did I mention this place also doing smoothies, juices, and milkshakes?!?! DAAAANNGGGG. Gotta go back to try GoGreen the Sequel: cucumber, kale, celery, lemon, and spinach blended with avocado, Himalayan crystal salt, and chile.
Debating organics, praising McDonald's (?!!??), drinking mezcal and MORE in today's link-o-rama!
This chinchilla is wearing a boy! This boy is wearing a chinchilla! Who’s the boss? With animals who have not been domesticated for very long, like chinchillas, you never can say. Just stay very still and marvel at how light they are compared to how dense they look. [photo credit: I have no idea, sorry. Let us know!]
Exciting vegan-style events! Hey L.A.! This weekend Keep is having a sample sale, where you can save up to 60 percent on all kinds of super-hot sneakers. Be at the Keep offices at 418a Bamboo Lane today and tomorrow, Friday and Saturday May 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for shoes shoes shoes.
Tomorrow, Saturday May 15, BAARN will participate in an international day of awareness for marine mammals in captivity, and protest in favor of the retirement of Lolita, the oldest orca in captivity (and also possibly the loneliest—her companion of 10 years basically committed suicide in 1980 and she’s been on her own since). There will be two events from noon to 2 p.m.: one at the entrance of Pier 39, near the Embarcadero and Stockton Street in San Francisco; and one at the Berkeley Marina, at the first parking lot on the left in the south sailing basin. BAARN asks that you email here for further information.
Items of varying degrees of interest! So how did the foie gras protests at Thomas Keller’s restaurants go last weekend? According to Eater, “rowdy,” “timid,” and “calm,” depending on location. CNN seems to have just cottoned on to the notion that some people find foie gras reprehensible.
Lebanon made an obscene amount of hummus and falafel, beating Israel’s obscene record of hummus and falafel, and uncomfortably get all nationalistic for reasons we don’t understand. Still: hummus and falafel, yum yum yum.
The Chronicle's Cellarist blog thinks that mezcal will be the big new liquor. I say, YES PLEASE. I had the most amazing cocktail in Mexico City made with mezcal; it was smoky and a little fruity and a little sweet, wicked strong and so delicious, and I’ve never been able to find a recipe online that makes sense. And no, vegans, mezcal does not need to contain a drowned worm to be authentic.
Mark Bittman is agog because distance runner Scott Jurek somehow manages to eat “5,000 to 8,000 calories a day”—as a vegan! What what what?!??!! Isn’t vegan food all super-low-calorie and super-healthy? Doesn’t everyone eating a vegan diet lose 50 pounds, like, one week after starting it? Aren’t all vegans super-skinny, struggling to get enough calories as regular, non-athletes? HOW IS SCOTT JUREK MEDICALLY POSSIBLE?!??!!!
Meanwhile, the Independenttries to convince us that McDonald’s “has been a positive force for change.” Still “killing lots of mass-produced animals”? I’m not convinced. Get your blood pressure down with an interview with Grist's Tom Philpott on the role of class in “the food debate.”
Back in April, the National Research Council released a report stating that genetically modified crops weren’t all bad—mostly right now what’s bad is the way they’re being used, and monopolized, and how we the public have no trust in them. I will agree that I don’t trust them, and Monsanto is the devil, but that’s about it.
Sorry about being totally tardy to the party here, but a couple weeks ago there was an awesome fight in Foreign Policy that you guys will totally love. First, Robert Paarlberg gets all snotty about how “the organic movement” is a big waste of time, only for rich jerks, and if we really want to feed the world, we have to follow the rules of industrial agriculture. Second, Anna Lappé totally smacks him down with a perfect deconstruction of his silly arguments, explaining how truly organic farming could feed the whole world much more efficiently and sustainably. It’s so good.
And of course you’re like, I DON’T FUCKING EAT MEAT so it’s all,
And you’re like, JEEZ LOUISE I LOVE YOU SO MUCH FOR SHOWING ME THIS SITE, MEGAN RASCAL!
Mon pleasure, pals! More deets: It appears that all the main page recipes come from epicurious.com and the veg recipes link to recipe.com. It also appears the recipes are not infinite. When you choose “I DON’T FUCKING LIKE THAT” it takes you to another recipe but eventually they start to repeat. But trust me, there’s plenty to work with!
I’m sure you noted that it says “vegetarian” and not “vegan;” I checked it out exhaustively and it’s pretty even vegan recipes to vegetarian recipes. Many of the vegetarian ones can be easily veganized. Oh—BONUS!: an occasional vegan recipe appears on the main page too! Yee-ha! They’re assimilating us! Nice. [Ed.: BUT IT’S NO VEGWEB.COM, THE BEST RECIPE WEBSITE IN THE WORLD!]
This news hit me deep in the gut. I’d been hearing some rumblings that Ike was having trouble with one of the neighbors, but I didn’t know it was this bad. How bad is it? Real effing bad.
On Monday, [Ike] Shehadeh went to court to see if he could the eviction from landlord Denman Drobisch thrown out. The plea was denied. Shehadeh has a few more days to answer the complaint, which, unless Shehadeh decides to shut down Ike’s, will almost surely mean going to trial. The problem with that scenario, Shehadeh says, is that he doesn’t have the cash to pay the legal fees. “There’s not much more than a handful of dollars,” he says.
Here’s the problem. As any business owner will tell you, “why not move?”, well, it’s not that easy. Moving to a new location means getting the money together to start up what would essentially be a brand new business. And without his popular Castro location, there’s not enough money coming in to make it happen.
Ike’s Place in the Castro employs 40 people. Is the middle of the worst recession since ancient Rome really the time to be harassing Ike’s Place out of business? Do we really need to lose the only sandwich shop in SF that caters to vegans and vegetarians, barely a month after this city passed a Meatless Mondays resolution? If Gavin Newsom can personally intervene to keep Medjool open, maybe one of those “visionaries” on our board of supervisors can pay attention to this shit. Because this would be such an unbelievable blow to meatless dining in San Francisco that I don’t even know where to begin. If our city is serious about promoting vegan and vegetarian food options, then working out a compromise between Ike and his NIMBY neighbors would be a great place to start (Any vegan lawyers willing to get paid in sandwiches?).
P.S. to Ike’s NIMBY neighbors: If you don’t like living above a popular business, then don’t live in a commercial district. Go move to the ‘burbs (home prices are low!) and enjoy your cone of silence, just keep your g-d hands off my sandwich.
There’s been a good debate this week over whether people who don’t believe in any god lose anything by not believing; in particular, “How do you feel about death with no prospect of an afterlife?” For me and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones (linked), we believe nothing happens: you fade to black, that’s the end, and yes, it can be an unpleasant thought. The Christians and spiritualists on the other side of the debate contend that atheists lose something by giving up the comfort of an afterlife. The exchange is less about “does an afterlife exist?” and more about “is it better to live as if an afterlife exists does exist, even if it doesn’t?” I find the whole thing interesting.
Until I get to this:
But either way, does this really reveal something essential about what it means to be human? In one sense, yes: a knowledge that someday we’ll die is unique to humans (though fear of death plainly isn’t), and our response to that knowledge has been a defining feature of human cultures for millennia.
Is it? Is the understanding of death uniquely human? Like funerals or game theory or cities or tools or self-awareness or grief? Because the more we learn about how animals think, the more we realize how similar we are. What if empathy and self-awareness and fear of death are all pieces of the same puzzle? If the entire purpose of life is to survive, then why wouldn’t some base understanding of what it means to not survive be encoded in the DNA of every living thing?
"Only humans do this" is just another way of declaring our dominion over all life on earth. If only our kind and no one else is capable of considering death on any level, then killing animals for our own use requires no justification. Wouldn’t that be so much easier?
Urban farming gets WACKY with Triumph's rice-growing bra
I think we’re all supposed to say “oh those WACKY JAPANESE” because nothing says “I’m not actually racist” better than writing about an entire population as a singular entity perpetually obsessed with family honor and tentacle/schoolgirl fantasies. But really, what else will CRAZY JAPAN think up next? Triumph’s rice-growing bra is the perfect gift for the femivore on your list who’s too busy at the club to tend to her backyard rice patties.
No word on if the bra is lined (or removable) because that shit’s going to get nasty at some point during your rice’s 110-day growing cycle. But don’t worry, if you lose patience with your miracle of edible life, rice-patty bra can double as an iPad stand for your/my instant Netflix addiction. Which reminds me, it’s probably time to queue up Idiocracy again, because if we’ve found a way to sexualize urban homesteading, “Adult Tax Returns” and “Extra Big-Ass Fries” can’t be too far off.
I know lots of people like to get all fancy with their daiya creations but I like to kick it after-school-snack-style! Whole-wheat English muffin + tomato sauce + Daiya mozzarella = Childhood, veganized!
I suggest you make yourself little English muffin pizzas right now. Then grab your chocolate soymilk and enjoy this very special anti-drug episode of Punky Brewster:
Miranda rights? Obama Administrations says: What's THAT? Who's SHE?
Apparently, Will Potter and I have very similar brains—except his is smarter than mine. This is frustrating, because the subject of his post yesterday (on the most excellent Green Is the New Red blog) is exactly what I was thinking about writing up for Vegansaurus this morning. ARG! WILL POTTER! GIVE ME A BREAK, WILL YA?
So, it’s already been written about; I’m now going to write about it with more swear words. What is it, exactly? You’re going to love this. Serious. I hope the other Vegansaurs are ready to field the massive influx of people and other media outlets flocking to this captivating post, because today’s topic is: Miranda rights!
Seriously, though. It turns out that despite the fact that Obama was a fucking CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER in his past career as a CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER AND PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, he and his administration are attempting to enact a law that will allow interrogation of people suspected of involvement in terrorist activities without informing them of their Miranda rights. That means that people arrested or detained on terrorism charges won’t be informed of their right to remain silent or their right to an attorney. These rights were guaranteed to Americans in 1966 in one of the most important cases in criminal law, Miranda v. Arizona, the decision of which basically said that interrogating suspects without letting them know that they don’t have to answer questions and that they are entitled to have a lawyer is FUCKED UP and DOESN’T SERVE THE INTERESTS OF JUSTICE ANYWAY, and it is, believe you me, a BIG FUCKING DEAL that these rights are now being rolled back. The idea is that allowing law enforcement officers to interrogate people suspected of terrorist offenses will somehow…um…OK, seriously, I’m having a hard time following exactly why this will help ANYONE AT ALL. I think they’re trying to say that not having to read the five-second Miranda rights statement to suspects is going to allow officers greater “flexibility” to really, FINALLY, crack down on the terrorists (who have been getting off so lightly!), not to mention the fact that they’re allowing exceptions to major, big-time constitutional rights to be made based on the fact that someone is SUSPECTED of being involved in terrorist activity—as in, not yet confirmed to be a threat? Excuse me, I need a couple seconds to pick the exploded pieces of my head off the floor.
Lawyers obviously have their underpants in a knot over this, but why should vegans care? I will tell you why! Vegans, friends, are subversive, dangerous, suspicious people. With the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and the pursuant fuckery of charging non-violent animal activists with terrorism, it’s not that far-fetched to say that the next person who’s denied their rights and interrogated for hours before receiving proper treatment could be YOU, when you get arrested at that foie gras protest or for laughing out loud on the internets when some anti-vegan jerk gets pied. OK, probably not. BUT! Do you see what I’m trying to say? If you engage in any kind of protest over animal rights (and especially regarding vivisection and animal testing), it’s not inconceivable that the rights that are being whittled away by the Obama Administration could directly affect you. BAM!
So what? Well, yeah, this is just kind of angry-making news. It’s the kind of thing that really makes it hard to deny that these times we’re living in may not be so great after all, and that the Constitution is just as likely to be used as a weapon by Tea-Bagging wackos as it is to be respected and thoughtfully applied by our lawmakers. What to do? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure, but it’s important know about this kind of stuff and talk about it and make sure that people KNOW what kind of bullshit is being sold in the name of the STILL-GOING-ON-EVEN-IF-YOU-DON’T-WANT-TO-ADMIT-IT War on Terror (and/or Vegans). They don’t want us to stay silent? YOU GOT IT.
Finally, apologies if this comes across as paranoid crazy. Writing this post made me feel like I’ve accidentally lit on something vegans and Tea-Baggers can agree on (We <3 the Constitution—albeit largely different interpretations thereof), which made me feel kind of weird, but I still think it’s an important issue. In conclusion, thanks FOR NOTHING, Obama Administration!
"What are you talking about, crazy?" Extrapolate: It’s not just pollution produced by the cows in giant feedlots that’s thinning out the ozone; it’s the feed itself, which is given to eatin’ and milkin’ cows alike. That’s why California’s San Joaquin Valley has such horrible air pollution: all the dairies! Wow!
Adorably, Ethicurean concludes that “[d]airy farmers in other concentrated…areas probably don’t need to rush out and change their practices, as the geography of the San Joaquin Valley makes it…uniquely susceptible to air pollution.” That’s definitely the right attitude, guys—see a huge problem, advise against system-wide solutions! Because why would anyone want to prevent pollution? Ridiculous.
Getting educated: vegan truffles at Natural Gourmet!
Natural Gourmet is an awesome fucking institution. Yeah, they use poultry and other animal products in their cooking school. But it’s one of the few professional outlets where the public/you can take a baking class—entirely VEGAN!—and learn some real technique. Hands-on, did I mention? I’m a student, and it was really awesome to have a non-academic thing to do on a Thursday night post-finals meltdown. I had the lovely opportunity to drop $110 on a class titled “Decadent and Delicious Vegan Truffles.” Running 3.5 hours, we had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.
The class was lead by sassy-but-classy Fran Costigan, a pretty respectable self-proclaimed Diva of Vegan Desserts (yes, it was embroidered on her uniform). I mean, look at that paper toque; this woman means business. We learned that ganache is the base for all truffles (or at least the ones she was showing us); and that the key ingredient to a good truffle is really really good chocolate; and, just a tip, the cacao content should be at least 65 percent—the more cacao, the thicker the ganache. The chef recommended a bunch of eco-friendly, fair-trade, vegan chocolate brands (read: Theo). The set up consisted of a short lecture/introduction by the chef, followed by recipe assignments and hands-on production of the truffles. I made a regular old chocolate truffle (no frills) rolled in cocoa nibs.
And my truffles were fucking delicious. At the end of the class, they sent us around to everyone’s stations to stock up on everyone’s truffles. The result: chocolate even CocoaV would be jealous of. I think the $110 price tag was a bit excessive, but in the end the hands-on nature of the class made it all worth it. Oh yeah, and DID I MENTION THAT THIS CLASS WAS 100 percent GEARED TOWARDS VEGAN BAKING?!?! Everyone in the tristate area should take a class there immediately. Oh and guess what I made this morning? Lavender-vanilla chocolate truffles, using a master recipe edited by yours truly. I’m on my way to becoming the best vegan chocolatier out there.
If you’ve visited New York and have wanted a grand tour of all of the top vegan restaurants in the Village, you’ve probably been recommended Angelica Kitchen. It’s pricey, often overcrowded (by hipsters), and some of the waitstaff can be really fucking rude. Like, obnoxiously self-entitled and bitchy. For no reason. Oh, and the food is kind of mediocre. That was the negative vibe I had about the place the first two times I went.
I figured the third time’s the charm, and sure enough it was. Granted, I went to AK at a relatively un-busy time (read: 3:30 p.m. on a Friday). But I got a really really sweet waiter who served up some really amazing food. The story is this: after a heavy night of drinking I had Pommes Frites at like 2 a.m. Oh, greasy amazingness. But even worse than the hangover was the post-2a.m.-French-fry-gorge-guilt. So I needed something really healthy and balanced. I needed macrobiotic food. I needed Angelica Kitchen. And can I just say that this healthy meal TOTALLY HIT THE FUCKING SPOT.
Pictured was the daily special: lemon-glazed seitan; sweet potato mash; quinoa, corn, and olive salad; arugula; and steamed green beans.
I also added two items from the “basics” menu for $2 or something reasonable like that. It was steamed kale, collard greens, and napa cabbage on a bed of soba noodles with a side of black sesame dressing. It was arguably my favorite part of the meal.
This was the Southern-style cornbread my meal-mate got. It was so good I didn’t even get a bite of it.
All in all, the service at Angelica Kitchen is totally hit-or-miss, which is really a drag. An obnoxious waiter/waitress can totally ruin the experience (and consequently, the food), so I recommend going at a non-peak time. It’s 100 percent cash-only, and you’ll probably get castigated if you go ill-prepared for that. Oh, and a lot of hipsters hang out there so be sure to wear your horn-rimmed glasses and ironic mustache.
Rice! Generic name, yummy food! I’m obsessed! It’s not all vegan but there are many vegan options. There are three locations, one in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn. One of the Brooklyn locations happens to be in DUMBO, four blocks from my school. I moved here a little over a month ago and I’ve been to Rice like 80 times already. That’s how I roll! I find something I like and I stick with it! Until I overdo it and get completely tired of it. It’s a system.
For the most part, it’s all rice bowls (there’s a few salads but salads are for nancies!). They have different options like lentil stew or ratatouille and then you get to pick what kind of rice you want! Hence the name. They have like 8 kinds of rice. I always get the brown rice but one day I will get the crazy purple rice, mark my words! It’s a dollar or so more but it’s purple! The color of royalty! It’s the king’s rice! I think it’s actually called black rice but I promise it’s purple.
UPDATE: The tofu satay is NOT vegan! It’s got fish in it! GROSS! I’ve tried a number of things there but I’ve finally settled on the tofu satay. It’s super! That’s a picture of it above—I took it myself! BEFORE I started eating! Because I’m a pro. I’ve also tried the lentil stew but it was a little bland. The Thai coconut curry is good but I’m obsessed with peanuts and that’s what the satay sauce tastes like. Now the other thing you HAVE to get is an order of the edamame* hummus. OMG IT’S AMAZING. Like, I could eat bowls of it. I wasn’t sure if it was vegan but they assured me it was, bread and all. It’s not that hummus-y; I can’t quite put my finger on what it tastes like but it’s super-delicious.
So if you get a chance, I say definitely try rice. And if you go to the DUMBO one, I’ll probably be there so you should say, “Hey Megan Rascal!” and maybe, “You look lovely today!” because that’s a nice thing to say and completely true.
*Once again spellcheck, I say screw you! Edamame is a word.
The Everglades are actually full of invasive, non-native species, but one time a python killed a baby, and they are SO FUN TO KILL YOU GUYS, so it’s open season on hunting snakes!
Fuck you Florida, television, and everyone else who is profiting from the murder of these abandoned “pets” that never should have been brought into the U.S. in the first place.
Relatedly, we’re keeping an eye on you, University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, and your massive feral rabbit population. Judging by the videos, the bunnies don’t have the same fear of people that truly wild rabbits do, which figures, considering they’ve been living on campus next to humans for something like 30 years.
Florida’s been on notice for a couple of months now, but though this is the first we’ve heard of the rabbit “problem” at U. Victoria, you’re on notice, too. There are humane methods of dealing with “pests,” regardless of the way they became pests—people-friendly bunnies don’t just show up at a college campus one day, just like snakes from Asia don’t just appear in Florida by magic—and we expect you to research them and do your actual best to follow them.
Maybe we’re giving Canada too much credit? They are cool with clubbing baby seals to death, after all. But B.C. is full of hippies, and bunnies don’t have anything to do with First Nations (that we’re aware of) so maybe there’s still hope?
Right, and there’s still hope for all those abandoned pythons, too. The majority of meat-eating people just don’t give a fuck. We can keep expecting the best of them, but that doesn’t mean they’ll give it—especially with regard to animals.
All week I’ve had these two birds hanging out outside my office window (literally two feet from my desk) hanging out in the overgrown ivy and twittering the old-fashioned way. These industrious (and romantic!) fellows are house finches, and they are a mated pair, building a nest!
Today I remembered we had an old iSight laying around from before they were built into every computer. And I’ve been watching it ever since! Before I hear any complaints, yes this is the best angle I could get. And I don’t want to stick my hand out there to move the ivy aside and risk disturbing them more than I already have. But I figure once they lay some eggs in their new home this angle will be ideal.
The finches (Mr. and Mrs. Atticus) seem to be most active in the morning: flying around gathering nest material, and hanging out singing on the nearby telephone wire. Then they disappear from 1:00 or so on. Where do they go? Happy hour??
Vegan-type fun-times events! The SF Vegan Bakesale location has moved! It’s still happening tomorrow, Saturday May 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but now it will be in front of Herbivore at 983 Valencia St. between 21st and 22nd Streets in the Mission. Be there or be an animal-hating, self-denying jerk!
After the Bakesale, you can protest Thomas Keller’s use of foie gras at the French Laundry in Yountville. The protest begins at 6:30 p.m. The groups will also protest at Keller’s restaurants Bouchon in Beverly Hills at 7 p.m., and at Per Se in NYC at 11:30 a.m. (EDT!). For more information, including contacts for carpooling, click here.
Burned out on Bakesales? Don’t want to cross the Bay Bridge? Maybe check out this mysterious “A Taste For You—Spring Flavor Vegan-Style” with chefs Wanda Crudas and HuNia at the North Oakland Senior Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. instead. The event features cooking demos and snacks (including Souley Vegan and Cafe Gratitude), local entertainment, activities for kids, and costs $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information, visit one ofthesesites.
Items of varying degrees of importance! PETA blows it again! Definitely, spending donations to fly a weird, nasty message over Mobile, Ala., was a good use of money. You guys are SO EMBARRASSING, GOD. That said, oil-drilling and fishing are ruining the oceans. Stop eating fish, stop driving so goddamn much, and bring some hair to the bakesale tomorrow to help clean up the animal victims of the Deep Horizon disaster.
Some lady—who isn’t a nutritionist, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or even someone with a certificate in “food studies” from a community college—would like parents to watch out for their "strict vegan" kids, who are probably suffering from "orthorexia." Ma’am, you are an idiot; kindly shut the fuck up. Also: would you like a cupcake?
Read a story that’s not worth a whole rant, but definitely rates an angry sentence or two? Send me the link. For the time being, look at my Oliver! Like Toto, poppies make him sleepy. Or maybe it’s the sunshine, who knows.
Obviously we aren’t going because we’re all blogging for pennies/underemployed and -paid/unemployed losers/neither scientists nor medical researchers (if we were, we wouldn’t be here, suckers), but: PCRM is hosting a two-day educational conference in August on animal testing that sounds amazing—it advertises “a global panel of experts to discuss existing and promising alternatives to the use of animals in research”—and if you are involved in the sciences, perhaps you should attend! And send us a postcard about how great it is.
The only place I’ve seen the Shelter Pet Project commercials is on MSNBC during The Rachel Maddow Show, and they are CHRISTMAS-THEMED. Not enough, you guys. Help get the word out—an adopted pet is the best pet!
Mine is now available on DVD, iTunes and Netflix! Buy it for your mom, if you believe in celebrating corporate holidays! You could also buy her a falafel from a Michael Mina restaurant, because it’s (apparently) vegan and moms love it when you spend lots of money on them.
A Canadian guy shot a bear that turned out to be a grizzly-polar bear hybrid. A marine biologist says this is a result of climate change, and predicts there will be more interbreeding between marine mammals as the ice caps melt. Uh, neat?
But a Dresdner man “married” his cat of 10 years, Cecelia, because she is already 15 and does not have much longer to live and he loves her very much. An unnamed actor officiated the ceremony. So that’s—less depressing than the police shooting your dogs for NO GOOD REASON. On the other hand, the Florida state legislature refused to pass an anti-bestiality bill, because of stupidity.
And it’s all our fault that chefs are now forced to accommodate people with food allergies as well! The temerity, thinking we could go to non-veg restaurants and eat anything!
Fuck it, you guys; I’m growing my own wheat and never buying anything from anyone ever again. If no one wants our business, then they don’t have to have it. I mean it’s not like the majority of us don’t have tons of disposable income and a massive interest in food, am I right?
Even with darling Ezra Klein all excited about “haute vegetarian cuisine”—like that’s an term he and Jay Rayner coined over mustard ice cream and red cabbage gazpacho at the Fat Duck the other day—it seems like the story most people want to tell is that we’re all unbearable boors, who when we’re not protesting something naked, we’re demanding restaurants cater to our every whim whether they’ve yet to open or are neighborhood institutions. HOW DARE WE?
Like we’ve said here about a million times before, we’re consumers. If you want our business, please provide us with options. Most of the time—especially when it comes to pizzerias!—we can suggest options to you. Cruelty-free eating is going mainstream, whether you small-minded, murderous jerks want it or not. Our diets aren’t whims; they’re political and social action. Put them down all you like, but we’re not shutting up, we’re not going away, and we’re going to continue to go out and buy food—probably overall better food than you, too, considering how much thought goes into our eating already. If you want to keep picking these stupid fights, go ahead. You’ll lose business, and that’s not our problem. There are plenty of chefs with broader palates and minds, and they’re the ones who’ll thrive.
Try telling a different story than “Ugh, vegans are so annoying, they make restaurateuring so hard” next time. It is a boring story, and a total lie.