Fuck yeah, Kathy Freston! »
I’m hearing lots of vegans talk smack about Kathy Freston, and I get it. I don’t think I’d want to hang out with her (or maybe I would, do you think she’d buy me a Prius if I lost 10 pounds?) and I don’t totally understand her kooky rich-person ways but DAMN, she’s reaching a shit-ton (technical term) of people! Do I wish someone else repped veganism on Oprah and Martha? Yes, I do. But I’m also beyond stoked that she’s out there doing it. The fact is, if Kathy Freston weren’t on Oprah, NO vegan would be on Oprah. They’re friends, I think her husband might own part of Oprah’s network/soul, and you know what? I trust Oprah. Call me crazy but she’s motherflipping OPRAH. She knows what she’s doing! You don’t become Oprah without knowing a thing or two about EVERYTHING.
I know the Oprah vegan episode wasn’t 1/20th of what a lot of us wanted, but you can be damn sure that many people went vegan that day. And you know where they’re gonna head? To the internet to learn more! That’s more people buying vegan cookbooks, reading vegan blogs, and becoming radder people. It makes me want to service Freston sexually. Seriously, the vegans of the world should all be going in on some kind of gift for her. If you don’t think I’m sexy enough (SCREW YOU I’M SEXY), how about a pool boy? Some stock in Gardein? One-tenth of her next salon visit? Let’s brainstorm!
As far as the honey-on-Martha thing, I think Megan’s response is spot on. Yeah, Freston should’ve said something, but she’s a person with flaws, just like you and me. I mean, Martha didn’t even trust Freston to supply her own recipe for the show: they made someone else’s! How sad is that? And what does that tell you? Martha does not suffer fools; clearly she was all, “FRESTON! STAND HERE! DON’T TALK! IF YOU MISBEHAVE, I’M EATING YOUR GENITALS!” You guys, no joke, Martha is fucking terrifying. I would not step to her, and I’m made of NO FEELINGS and cold, hard steel (underneath my layers of sexy chub!).
I agree, it’s annoying that Freston is basically a spokesperson for Gardein, but you know what? THAT SHIT TASTES GOOD. People already know about vegetables; what they don’t know is that as vegans, they can still have comfort food like mac and cheese and hot dogs! She’s like, “Check it out, you can have your cake and eat that same cake covered in facon and Vegenaise! BAM!” I do wish Freston wouldn’t harp on veganism as a weight-loss diet. It’s the only thing about her I have a problem with, and yes, I’ve heard her laugh. I think Freston fell into the trap because she’s naturally skinny and so she has no clue what it’s like to be fat. No amount of vegan food is going to make a fat person skinny. Uh, unless it’s a very small amount. Sure, if you were eating a REALLY unhealthy S.A.D. before going vegan, and you switched to a whole-foods diet with major portion control, you’re gonna drop the pounds,* but that’s a restrictive DIET. It doesn’t have much to do with veganism, and Freston freely admits that she’s ALWAYS been skinny. Girl, you know your weight ain’t got nothing to do with veganism so quit your frontin’, and let’s eat some vegan Twinkies.
Let’s face it: Rich, famous people rule the world and right now, Freston is our vegan lifeline. Maybe she’s not doing things exactly how I would but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be getting a tattoo of her face on my back. The thing I ultimately give a shit about is who is helping the most animals, and Kathy Freston and her cheesy (tight!) ass are saving a lot of them. We can make fun of Freston all we want (and how!) but at the end of the day, only one of us has a bestselling book,** appearances on Martha and Oprah that are convincing thousands of people to eat more meatless meals and go vegan, and is laughing all the way to the bank. Where she probably has them open the vault so she can roll around in her piles and piles of money. The rich get richer, for realz. I don’t totally accept that, but I understand it’s the current way of the world (we’re all going down in flames!) so to Freston I say: You go, girl. I’d Jazzercise with you any day!***
DISCLAIMER: I know this post is dated but I’m busy and sometimes it takes me awhile to get around to shit so you know, catch me in a couple of months and maybe I’ll have an opinion on who killed Laura Palmer!
*At first, but you’ll gain that shit back the second you discover Coconut Bliss VEGANS AM I RIGHT?!
**Where is my g-d book deal?! I’ve got some motherfucking wisdom to impart! I’m over here dropping truth bombs and there ain’t a Simon or a Schuster in sight! And where’s Penguin?! I’m assuming that company is run by a very well read penguin with the power to make or break authors like Salman Rushdie and Shakespeare. Yo, Penguin! Holler at your girl! I will totally hook you up with a little top hat!
***Fit is IT, baby!
Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday (on Thursday)! »
You guys, with all the stress of this thesis and nerve-wracking interviews (I have had about a million and am still waiting, so cross your fingers for me), and turning 27 (which begins with me questioning whether I’ve done enough with my life and ends with me insisting that the only way that I can make this year the best of my life is by wearing bright red shoes to work), I have been at my wit’s end. So you know what I did this weekend? I bought a knitting machine. Why?
Because I have decided that my hobby, which I enjoy and is supposed to make me less stressed, actually makes me somewhat more anxious (what with all the dropped stitches and the tangling) so I needed to find a way to make it less stressful. The bad news is that the machine is going to take about a week to get here. The good news is that I’ve spent the past few days watching this woman, Cheryl Brunette, teach me how to make sweaters by machine. What I like best is that all of these sweaters, and her patterns, are straight out of the ’80s and will make gift-making a complete joy.
You know what else stresses me out? Charities that don’t do what they’re supposed to. I’m not even talking about Madonna’s or Oprah’s charities, because you expect those to be disasters, but my good friend Adrienne sent me a link to this super-sad article about ex-racehorses that are starving to death because the charity tasked with their upkeep has not made good on their mission. WTF, Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation? You’re supposed to be feeding and caring for these horses, chilling with them and making them feel loved! Instead, you’re starving them to death? What is wrong with you? I get that donations are down (this is a horrible economy, I empathize) but you knew this was happening and were all, We’ll just stop paying farms for upkeep and hope for the best. “The best,” as it turns out, is euthanizing a horse suffering from malnutrition. This leads me to another point: If you’re supposed to provide upkeep for a retired horse who has already been through a lot, don’t be pulling a Ms. Hannigan and letting horses die under your care. Like I said above, I get it, the economy is horrible, but get it the fuck together. Some ideas: Contact the g-d media. If the horses have been neglected for a while now, why is this the first we’re hearing of it? Horses ain’t done nothing to you except be hella majestic. Treat them with respect!
Our next link comes from my boyfriend Allen. Oh, before I get into this, I have to tell you about how we went to Dash Cafe tonight and heard the most obnoxious book club (why is this not done at someone’s house?) discussing The Art of Racing in The Rain, which actually sounds pretty awesome, and is about a family drama told from the point of view of a dog named Enzo Ferrari. However, the people discussing the book were being super loud and laying out incredible gems such as, “I mean, this book was OK, but I wouldn’t see it if it were made into a movie. The movie ruined Twilight for me, and now I can’t think of Edward as anyone but Robert Pattinson!” (Note: Stephenie Meyer ruined Twilight with her plot and writing. The movie just made it worse.) And, “DOGS ARE VERY EMPATHIC! ANYONE WHO DOES NOT LIKE DOGS IS A COMPLETE FUCK-UP AT LIFE! I’M SORRY, BUT IT’S TRUE!” The last of these actually offended me because Allen, while OK with animals, does not particularly like them, and I resent that some dude was loudly proclaiming that anyone who is not into dogs is a fuck-up. People are fuck-ups for very different reasons (one of them being inclined to loudly make proclamations and blanket statements in a tiny cafe where everyone is trying to enjoy their expensive sandwiches).
If there’s one thing this dude had right it’s that dogs are very empathic. A good example of that is this amazing dog who stayed with his sick friend in the aftermath of the tragedy in Japan. That’s some empathy and loyalty for you. Tragedy is all around and this dog is all “This is my friend, yo. I’m not going without him!” Luckily, it has been reported that the dogs have both been rescued and should be okay. Come on, though, that is awesome. How many of us have a friend that would do that for us? I can only think of two people. One of them is my mother, who would stand there and tell me exactly what I did wrong to get into the position that I needed her to risk her personal safety in order to deal with me. The other is not Allen, because he would be gone like a shot as soon as Prison Wives returned from its commercial break. He just loves to watch people make bad decisions on cable television.
That’s a real bird, you guys! No Photoshopping! How is this amount of cuteness even possible? Also, is it bad that I want this bird to be my friend? Man, you know what would be awesome? Hanging out with Cheryl Brunette AND this bird, knitting and eating birdseed and wearing giant clip-on earrings. That would be amazing!
That’s it for this week. Send me links for next week and have a happy
[bird photo by Gerard Girling for the Telegraph]
Megan Rascal curates all the vegan news you need to know in this week’s link-o-rama! »
You may have heard that our dear Meave has gone to be a Republican in Georgia so in her absence, I’m taking over link-o-rama this week! Let’s turn this party inside out! Just kidding, it’ll probably be similar, just slightly more vapid, as me and Meave are similar, I’m just slightly more vapid. Let the games begin!
If you are wondering what the top picture is all about, it’s a new campaign from La Leche, a group dedicated to educating people on the benefits of breastfeeding (I’m a supporter). I thought I’d note that the fantastically popular and extra lame “Got Milk?” franchise made a deal with La Leche so they can use their stupid tag for good—you know, instead of its regular, milk-mongering evil. Hmm, this gives me ideas for, “the other white meat,” eh?
This week in beauty contests, Eater.com is doing a Hottest Chef in America competition and one handsome young vegan chef has made it to the final round! Portland’s Wes Hannah could very well be the next Hottest Chef in America! I don’t know about you but I would tap that seven ways from Sunday! Yes, friends, my vote is in: Hannah 2011!
In rescued-circus-animal news, remember those dear lions rescued from Bolivian circuses that Meave told you all about? Well, they touched down in Denver on Wednesday! Safe and sound! With Bob Barker on hand to yell, “Lion No. 1, come on down!” You know, “mimicking the way contestants were introduced on his game show The Price Is Right. Ever heard of it?
This Dish is Vegetarian has the lowdown on a crazy restaurant in Brooklyn where you can eat a steak and then buy a briefcase made out of the same cow? Is this what progress looks like?
The Verdant Life has an awesome looking recipe for broccoli vegan-cheezy pot pies (pictured above)—can I get a what-what?! That looks crazy good. I’m so ready for this. You could make that for your Great American Meatout party! And invite me!
Everyone’s favorite vegan, Sarah Kramer, has made some super-cute journals to sell with 100 percent of the proceeds going to help the sweet dog she is fostering. Get yours! And foster dogs!
In famous non-vegans, Mike Vick was going to be on Oprah and now he’s not? I kind of wanted to see that. Word is he canceled for “personal reasons.” Would that personal reason be cowardice? Probably not but zing!
Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue is having a free bird care class in SF on Sunday! Go forth! Care for birds! Maybe they will finally teach us the secret of flight!
Over at SuperVegan.com you can read a review of the movie Chow Down that I’m actually going to see tomorrow night. Does it sound a bit boring? Maybe I’m just immediately bored when I hear about middle-aged males. The world kind of revolves around middle-aged males, that’s why the world is so boring. Mystery solved! But I’m excited anyway—there’s a panel! And panels are nothing if not nonstop excitement!
Lastly, I want you to read all about Pinnacle over at HuffPo! Very soon, I am going to write all about it so you might as well read up and get ready! OMG also! I was at Lula’s last night and guess who was there: Pinnacle founder Joshua Katcher! I said hi because I’m totally a confident and outgoing individual. He was super-handsome! And nice, which is less important but a definite plus.
Oprah’s Vegan Starter Kit »
Besides big ups for calling so much attention to veganism, can we also give Oprah’s vegan challenge credit for bringing some solid graphic design up in here? So colorful! Because vegan graphic design is not always the best—and that stuff is important. It took me about two years to finally try the Ener-G egg replacer I bought because the crazy ’70s box scared me so much. I’m so serious.
As the picture suggests, Oprah has posted a vegan starter kit on her site! It has meal plans, shopping lists, all that good stuff. Not to mention, a “vegan IQ” quiz! Umm, I got three out of six correct. That’s a 50 percent. That’s an F. I’m a vegan failure!
Take the quiz and tell me what you get. It’s not that I want you to do worse than me, I just want you to do worse than me.
This Tuesday: Oprah goes vegan + SF viewing party! Be there! »
So, you’ve probably already heard but Oprah (WE LOVE OPRAH) and her staff are going vegan for a week and the show on Tuesday, February 1st at 4 p.m. (that’s TOMORROW!) is all about it. Rich, beautiful vegan Kathy Freston (check out her excellent interview in Vanity Fair!) is gonna be on the show talking up veganism and her new book, Veganist. Woo! In crappier news, Michael Pollan is also going to be there. He’s telling his fans to watch the show because he’s gonna talk about meat. Like, a lot. BECAUSE HE DOESN’T ALREADY DO THAT. Ugh, I really hope Freston can hold her own against Pollan and it’s not just 44 minutes of him mansplaining “humane meat and its environmental benefits.” Because, MURDER.
ANYHOO, that joyful vegan genius, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, is hosting a viewing party at Harvey’s in the castro. Harvey’s has a crazy amount of vegan options on the menu based on CPG’s recipes and they’re offering 10% off the vegan dishes for the viewing party! Oh, snap! Their onion rings are vegan! That’s all I needed to know.
From the invite:
We’re asking folks to get there by 3:30 latest to settle in (we’re expecting a packed house) and prepare to watch the show at 4:00. You can order food during the show, but you’re also invited to stick around for dinner, FREE cookies (thanks to Eat Pastry), and a brief discussion afterward.
RSVP on Facebook and we’ll see you there!
[Image from Petfinder! Adopt!]
Le Cordon Bleu student chefs get schooled by Tal Ronnen! »
Whether he knows it or not, Chef Tal Ronnen is starting a vegan revolution in the commercial kitchens of tomorrow, and he’s starting it at the grassroots that matter: student chefs.
Last Wednesday, we at Vegansaurus were lucky enough to sit in on a workshop led by Tal Ronnen at the California Culinary Academy, where he demonstrated gourmet vegan cooking to Le Cordon Bleu student chefs. Tal is known to most of us as Oprah’s personal chef during her 21-day vegan cleanse and author of The Conscious Cook, while Le Cordon Bleu is all about heavy cream, foie gras, bacon, ducks, rabbits, and whatever else didn’t escape the French cuisine zoo in time.
But if you’re thinking this is some kind of a wacky two-worlds-colliding contradiction, it’s not. As a classically trained chef, Tal praised the Le Cordon Bleu program and even encouraged vegetarian students to stick with it and learn the basics of gourmet food. And here’s where the “revolutionary” part comes in: by focusing on the classic ideal of what makes food rich and pleasurable to eat, vegan food can be for everyone, not just vegans.
It’s something we battle with often around here. With so few vegans in the world, how can a restaurant owner ever justify catering to us? Tal started by addressing this head on. With more food writers like Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan encouraging omnivores to eat mostly plants (and we’d say, skip the “mostly” and go with “all” but, baby steps), the message is starting to sink in. Chef Tal did his market research homework and estimated that 40 to 50 percent of Americans are looking to eat meatless meals, at least part-time. Okay, so how do we get people doing it?
The short answer is, vegan food has to appeal to the general population. This may sound obvious, but restaurants get it wrong all the time, like fake meat that doesn’t appeal to meat-eaters, or “the vegan plate” that’s all sides and no protein. According to Tal, a good vegan meal should feel substantial and satisfying to whomever is eating it. (One of his secrets? Cook with saturated fat.) And if more chefs learn how and plan more menus with meatless meals, then maybe people will finally stop thinking of meat as something you “need.”
So what about the food? Tal’s menu for the cooking demo: creamy celery root soup with granny smith apples; artichoke ricotta tortellini with saffron cashew cream sauce; and Gardein “chick’n” scaloppini with shiitake sake sauce, braised pea shoots, and crispy udon noodle cakes. (DAMN. Oprah gave that up after 21 days? What were you thinking?!) Gardein was the surprise hit; feedback from the student chefs included “I’m sold” and “the texture was fabulous.” And it’s available wholesale through Sysco, so how about it, hotels and restaurants?
We only were able to try small samples of the final dishes, so note to self, don’t show up with an empty stomach to a cooking demo put on by one of the world’s top vegan chefs. Unless you enjoy torture. Seriously, just kill me next time.
Alicia Silverstone on Oprah today! »
Set your VCRs, DVRs, and Bittorrent TV-stealy programs: Alicia Silverstone will be on Oprah today! She’ll be on with Michael Pollan (who I know most of you hate but I count anyone who goes around persuading Americans to eat more plants and less meat as an ally) with some footage from Food Inc. At this rate, the Oprahnator is going to need an entire show on her new TV network devoted to vegan cooking and food politics. (Hint, hint, and PS hire me to produce it, I’m not remotely qualified but I swear it’ll be good.)
Tune in today; check your local listings for times, or just watch the grainy version later on YouTube.
Vegansaurus predictions FOR THE DECADE AND BEYOND. »
Well, not really and beyond but you know, we talk big. And we back that talk up with fists so don’t even play. Now that that’s out of the way.
We’ve compiled a list of things we think will most likely happen in the ten-teens (um, what are these years called exactly? besides depression 2.0?) and now we will share them with you because we’re all generous and good looking and stuff. TA-DA!
WILL MOST LIKELY HAPPEN
King Oprah brings a lot more veggie guests/products/etc. onto her show. He is a benevolent god. We also expect to see many more celebrities “come out” as vegan, as well as lots more veg news from Ellen and Martha. Ladies, we loves you.
Fast food restaurants and national chains are required to offer vegan options on their menu. Let’s say all pizza places are required to have Daiya on hand. A GIRL CAN DREAM I MEAN THIS IS MOST LIKELY TO HAPPEN. Actually, we do think it’s likely that the majority of pizza places will be carrying vegan cheese by 2020.
Lab-grown meat replaces all (or most) ground beef and filler meat sold in the USA. (Please see: Chicken McNuggets, hambugers, etc). This will probably happen when it becomes cheaper because all these fuckers care about is money DON’T MATTER THOUGH BECAUSE IT’S A WIN FOR THE ANIMALS!
A standard “vegan” mark appears on food labels, as ubiquitous as the kosher parve mark. We’re already seeing this at Trader Joe’s; luckily it’s turning up on their most delicious products, like Candy Cane Joe Joe’s! Thank you, god!
A public advertising campaign against vegans and vegetarians, like “Got Milk?” but on the “fuck communist grass-grazers” side. It’s OK; this just means we’re really pissing them off. Good.
Cheese Whiz becomes vegan. Not sure if this is a win? Whatevs, we’ll take it!
MIGHT COULD HAPPEN
Oprah comes out as vegetarian! We immediately start going down on her. Actually, the latter is a MOST LIKELY WILL HAPPEN if the former occurs.
We’d love to see KFC go out of business. With it’s focus on fried foods and MSG, this is a serious possibility. We’d love to see colonel effigies burning in the streets across the United States. Or is that too creepy? Whatever.
Factory farms going out of business! Seriously, there is some MAJOR backlash starting and this shit is just gonna keep moving forward. Laws are being passed and people are noticing. This cannot stand. Hasta la pasta, assholes.
Michael Pollan resolves the omnivore’s dilemma by going vegan. This would really help him seem less crazy.
A Rosetta Stone of different animal languages is developed, allowing us to have conversations with dolphins and other species using a special device. OH MAN SO FUCKING AWESOME.
SUPER UNLIKELY BUT IT’S FUN TO DREAM
Oprah comes out as vegan and turns her show into Vegan Oprah and everyone follows suit because we are all sheep for the big O. That is why I am currently wearing jeans that Michael Jordan’s wife made and reading Angela’s Ashes. WHATEVER YOU SAY OH MIGHTY ONE.
Cats and dogs granted status as legal dependents and covered under health insurance. Cat ladies the world over weep, push for legal marriage.
Dr. Dean Ornish is named Surgeon General by President Al Franken in 2017 (or whatever veggie/vegan health person we’re liking this month). Of course, the Kuch has a place in the cabinet; he paved the way after all.
What are your predictions? What did we miss? Are we dead on? Or way crazy? Don’t answer that last one.