NPR does vegan: Bryant Terry recipes and more! »
Last week, with everyone on vacation and news slow, NPR’s Morning Edition deigned to do a two-part series about veganism. Coverage is coverage!
“It isn’t all brown rice and steamed vegetables,” says Renee Montagne. I’m just going to assume she’s pretending to be ignorant for the benefit of her ignorant listeners.
Best part of the interview: two recipes from Bryant’s most recent book, The Inspired Vegan! His black-eyed peas in garlic-ginger-braised mustard greens, and molasses, miso, and maple candied sweet potatoes sound perfect for chilly winter nights. Check them out on the NPR website, or maybe just buy his book, because you know it’s full of good food, and suggestions for excellent literature and music accompaniments.
[photo by Jennifer Martiné/Da Capo Lifelong Books via NPR]
NPR calls for end to Omni-Veg holiday food wars »
Remember a couple months ago, when NPR went veg-trolling with that “Do Vegetarians and Vegans Think They Are Better Than Everyone Else?” story? And it turned the answer was, “Some of them do, but you wouldn’t want to hang out with anyone with a superiority complex, so let’s just chill,” and all we meat-abstainers went “Fucking DUH, NPR,” and turned up the Ryan Tedder’s Greatest Hits playlist on Spotify instead?
I thought not. We remind you of that nonsense because of this week’s ridiculous veg-baiting, “It’s Time to End the Turkey-Tofurky Thanksgiving Food Fight.” Right now you’re thinking, “What food fight? You mean the holiday meals when I get a main dish all to myself and at least half the sides are vegan, because either I make them or I have an accommodating family who realizes that the taste differences between non-dairy and real butter are totally negligible?” Which, you’d be right. Author Tania Lombrozo has nothing new to say here:
For the turkey-eaters: vegetarians probably aren’t judging you as harshly as you think they are. For the Tofurky-eaters: making meat-eaters feel judged is no way to win converts. And for the turkeys: better luck next year; I’m on your side.
How about: Don’t eat actual turkeys, like the fine specimen above; eat fake turkey, like the fine specimen below. And if your dinner guests give you shit, don’t invite them over next year.
Both tastier and cheaper than Tofurky!
Did you vegan Thanksgiving-celebrators have a good time? Did you harangue your relations about the horrors of U.S. turkey production until they threw you out? Were you mocked for your animal-product-eschewing ways until you wept? Did anyone get a drink in the face? No, right? I swear, this contentiousness exists almost exclusively in fiction. We in the real world are doing just fine sharing meals.
[Wild turkey photo by Wayne Dumbleton via Flickr]
Conservation Biologist Thor Hansen explains why feathers matter »
This week on Fresh Air, Terri Gross interviewed Thor Hanson, a conservation biologist and author of the newly published Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle. As part of his research, he plucked a dead wren to count its feathers. It had 1,500. A tiny wren, like the Australian white-winged fairy wren in the photo!
In the interview, which you can listen to on NPR, Hanson discusses the biological makeup of feathers, why he thinks birds evolved feathers, and how they adapted them to flight. The first feathered animals might’ve used them primarily for insulation, and now, every single individual flight feather is an airfoil, while being part of the airfoil that is the bird’s wing. Double-airfoil action for maximum flight!
Animals are amazing! So is science!
[white-winged fairy wren photo by David Cook Wildlife Photography, via Flickr]
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! WOOHOO!
Good news: A judge has rejected the foie gras industry’s attempt to put a hold on California’s new law banning the force-feeding of ducks (and selling products from force-fed ducks).
More good news: North America’s largest foodservice distributor, Sysco, is the latest food giant to come out against gestation crate confinement of pigs.
In response to the gestation crate debate, the National Pork Producers Council’s communications director was seriously quoted in the National Journal this week saying: “So our animals can’t turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets…I don’t know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around.” (No, this isn’t a quote from 30 years ago—it’s July 24, 2012. Seriously. Yes, I know.)
Amazingly, USDA put out a newsletter this week including a mention of the health and environmental benefits of Meatless Monday. This of course drew immediate outrage from the meat industry and its allies in Congress (Rep. Steve King from Iowa tweeted that it was “heresy”), prompting USDA to immediately remove the newsletter and announce that it wasn’t properly vetted. Lots of coverage on this, though the national AP story put it best when it aptly concluded, “The USDA often promotes the beef industry by encouraging Americans to eat meat.” (NPR and NY Times had good coverage, too.)
How the ag industry’s hate brings positive attention to HSUS, and more! »
It’s Paul Shapiro’s Animal News You Can Use! Yay!
NPR had a recent important look at the vigorous efforts of the pork and beef lobbies to kill federal hen protection legislation. Amusingly, in the piece, the president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association calls HSUS “the devil.”
Speaking of what the agribusiness groups think, the always-insightful Counting Animals blog did a fascinating write-up and graphical illustration on the increasing attention the ag industry trade press is giving to our movement.
My colleague Matt Prescott’s got some sage advice on the CNN site about how folks can help reduce cruelty to farm animals. Check him out.
Expect a big fight in the Congress over Rep. Steve King’s (seriously, click through) crazy amendment that’s been added to the House ag committee version of the farm bill that would undo numerous animal protection laws.
And last but certainly far from least, since last week’s installment, even more major pork buyers have come out saying they’ll rid their supply chains of gestation crates: Sodexo, Kmart, and Heinz. And speaking of the pork industry, as if its leadership couldn’t sink to a new low, it’s now lobbying to keep pigs at greater risk of perishing in factory farm fires. Seriously.
P.S. Video of the week: Speaking of the devil, here’s some death metal for Maru the cat while he enjoys his boxes.
The most interesting information from NPR’s Meat Week is that eating meat is terrible for the planet »
[Source: J.L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, December, 2011.
Credit: Producers: Eliza Barclay, Jessica Stoller-Conrad; Designer: Kevin Uhrmacher/NPR]
I listened to NPR’s Meat Week stories because I always listen to Morning Edition in the wee hours while I’m getting ready for work every day (two-hour commute party!), and am a prisoner to whatever they put on the radio. At the end of June, it was all about dead flesh. Too cool.
Here’s a summary for you, so you know what we talk about when we talk about eating meat.
Day One: Some dope who follows the Paleo diet (and does CrossFit, shocking!) is an expert witness in “We Evolved to Eat Meat, but How Much Is Too Much?” Yes. Did they ask this guy on purpose, knowing he’d come off like an idiot? Maybe. NPR, you tricksters.
Day Two: In “The Making of Meat-Eating America,” we learn that Americans eat meat because we are wealthy and can afford it, plus it’s cheaper here. Also, technology! The railway shipped sides of beef from sea to shining sea! But we’re eating less now, mostly because it’s fucking unhealthy to eat so many animals.
Day Three: Nationally we’re choking down fewer dead cows (“red meat”) than ever before. “Why There’s Less Red Meat on Many American Plates” explores “changing trends in meat consumption,” namely, with a few exceptions—like those back-to-prehistoric times dolts—people are cutting back, because we care about our health, and our planet (n.b. the above infographic), and all those animal lives. Except chickens, it’s totally cool to eat chickens, right?
Day Four: You want independent farming? “Unlike Chicken and Pork, Beef Still Begins with Small Family Ranches” will see your independent farming and raise you a “the cattle industry is bottle-shaped,” in which the wide bottom is the many smaller ranches where cows are artificially inseminated to make new cows, the shoulders are the feedlots where not-yet-year-old cows are sent to put on grain-weight, and the neck is the four packing companies that kill-n-pack 82 percent of the edible cow sold in the U.S. Gosh, the death industry is revolting.
Day Five: Hey look, meaty billboards!
So there’s your Meat Week: Americans love eating animals, but maybe less than they used to (except chickens); the meat industry isn’t very big but it sure is mighty, and really horrible for the environment. Cool story, NPR.
NPR wants to “crack the code” of vegan cheese analogs! »
Rachel Estabrook at NPR’s The Salt blog gets into the science of vegan cheese analogs, and poses some interesting questions. Why are we so obsessed with making some vegan cheeses behave exactly like casein-ful animal’s milk cheese? How are food scientists working on replicating this “hold onto itself and then lightly let go and then hold onto itself” action that makes dairy cheese melt? Which company has been the most successful so far, and who else is trying?
That answer is illustrated by this photo of Easy Vegan Info’s mac & cheese pizza with Daiya (here’s her recipe, I know what you really want). Yes, according to vegan cheese code-crackers, Daiya makes the best meltable vegan cheese on the market. Being a hardcore Follow Your Heart fan, I take issue with this assertion as nonsense, but also Daiya is a total gutbomb for me and I don’t eat it.* To each her own!
Maybe this new line of shredded vegan cheeses from Galaxy Natural Foods will be the melting vegan cheese that unites us on such a divisive subject. Has anyone tried it yet? It was supposed to be out in April and it’s already May! Give us our new toy, already.
If you want to discuss your most beloved/despised vegan cheeses here, please feel free. Category is: It melts!
*OK I might make an exception for this beauty.
[photo by Kelly Garbato via Flickr]
There may now be slightly less bear-murdering in New York state.
NPR reports that New York state, which has allowed the hunting of black bears since governments started making laws regarding wild animal-killing, has just passed the very first regulations on the trade of black bear parts. Wildlife officials don’t want people killing black bears in neighboring states and selling them in New York; poaching bears “has been a problem nationwide for years,” which this law is designed to combat.
Now, anyone selling bear parts in New York must document that the bears whose bodies once held those parts—particularly gallbladders—were killed legally. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem in New York, where permitted hunters can kill black bears, easy peasy. See, they’re not mad about killing bears, they’re mad about killing bears illegally, only for the gallbladders and paws, for use in “Asian medicine.”
Yeah, “Asian medicine.” Remember how in some Asian countries, they farm bears for their bile, and it’s absolutely fucking disgusting? In the U.S., they poach wild bears, take their gallbladders, and leave their bodies. Man we are the BEST at animals, right, humanity?
Listen to the whole story, or read it at NPR. Obviously we hate all bear-killing, but if this law stops the murder of bears exclusively for a few of their parts, it’s not the most objectionable thing. Right?
Today Abby Bean tipped us to the story of a rooster who spends his days outside Gus’s Fried Chicken restaurant in Collierville, Tenn. Everyone thinks it’s so funny! “He runs this place!” exclaims the titular Gus. People have called the local Animal Care and Control out of concern that the rooster will be hit by a car. He’s like their mascot!
Why do patrons of a fried chicken restaurant love to see a live, (relatively) free rooster outside of the place where they go to devour this rooster’s fellow birds? The fine people at Suicide Food (RIP) know: When the animal you’re about to eat seems to approve, and even encourage (this rooster “greets” patrons, remember) your consumption of it, you no longer have to feel guilty about causing a living being to suffer and die for your meal.
No matter what his true intentions, this rooster has become a chicken ambassador; his presence tells people, “I’m a chicken, and if I haven’t yet burned this place that cooks my dead fellows to the goddamn ground, then it must be acceptable in my moral universe. Fried chicken for all!”
I wonder how long until someone tries to feed the rooster a piece of chicken.
Celebrate fake meats for the Meatout! »
In honor of today’s Meatout, NPR’s The Salt blog got all excited over the rise in vegan meat analogues. According to the Global New Products Database, “110 new meat substitute products were introduced in 2010 and 2011,” and in 2011, sales of frozen meat substitutes hit $267 million.
I know not everyone loves the fake meats, but they’re so tasty. Do you know how many omnivores I’ve turned into Golden Era superfans? SO MANY, is the answer. So many superfans.
What are your favorite supermarket fake meats? I love Gardein’s chipotle lime crispy fingers, and basically every “mock” animal they sell at Asian groceries. (Also Soy Curls, but those don’t count here.) And I don’t think you can beat a sandwich with peppered Tofurky, spicy mustard, pickles, and lettuce. Though Janet Hudson’s Oklahoma sandwich does look insanely good.