Product Review: Maple Bacon and Sweet & Salty Kettle Chips! »
Say what you will about the “hipster” movement over the last few years, but there is a silver lining in the black-Levi’s-with-keys-on-a-carabiner-dangling-from-a-belt-loop cloud. So-called “foodies” have been putting bacon on everything, which is pretty disgusting and unfortunate, but it’s provoked vegan and vegan-friendly food chemists to create some more mock-bacon food stuffs. The bacon craze has always been weird to me; even in my non-vegan days, I never understood the infatuation. I’ve even seen Torani, the company that makes sugary syrups for your coffee beverages, add a “bacon” flavor to their lineup. Seriously dudes? Bacon-flavored coffee? But I digress.
Kettle Brand certainly isn’t the first potato chip company to take a crack at bacon flavor, but as a company who is proud to stamp their bags with “GMO-free” labeling and as a company that knows what “vegan” means, I was pretty excited to try their new summer flavors, Maple Bacon and Sweet & Salty.
If you’re one of the many vegans who couldn’t care less about finding a bacon replacement, then these Maple Bacon chips are actually going to be right up your alley. They were incredibly delicious—they just weren’t bacony. At all. They tasted more in line with K.C. Masterpiece BBQ-flavored Lays, but with Kettle Brands’ better chip as the base. Plus, I can guarantee, with no prior research, the fine folks at Lays probably go to the same country clubs as the fine folks at Monsanto. Again, I digress.
After eating the Maple Bacon chips, I became curious as to what the Sweet & Salty were going to taste like, because that name easily could have gone to the bacon chip, and no one would be the wiser. The Sweet & Salty, however, are WAY sweet. Like, almost as sweet as I am (awww, also I’m single, just kidding (no I’m not)). My vegans-of-Instagram pal Chris, aka @dinotheman, said it best: “Imagine chips with a hint of pineapple flavor and [there] you have it.”
These chips should be already on your grocer’s shelves, just in time for summer cookouts, or in my case, dinner. I’ve eaten entire bags of chips in one sitting before and I’m not ashamed to admit it. They’re both a must-try and please let us know what you think! Kettle Brand deserves a Lays-sized display in the chip aisle. Say no to Monsanto. Monsan-no.
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California. He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island-based hip-hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
International tragedy: Britain’s National Pig Association predicts global bacon shortage »
[T]he European Union pig herd is declining at a significant rate, and this is a trend that is being mirrored around the world. Pig farmers have been plunged into loss by high pig-feed costs, caused by the global failure of maize and soya harvests.
(“maize and soya” means “corn and soybeans,” but you knew that already.)
Global warming is fucking it up for you meat-eaters all over the place: those cows being fed gelatin and sugar instead of corn; the World Water Week scientists predicting our need for water will make eating meat globally untenable. We are running out of water to nourish everything on the planet that needs water (read: everything on the planet), and raising commercial livestock not only requires massive amounts of water, but it contributes to the global warming that makes water even more difficult to get.
It just gets harder and harder to be a meat-loving food-obsessed asshole, doesn’t it. Even with the Today Show inanely calling this whole thing “ham-maggedon” like colossal fuckfaces. At least it’s not “bacon-gate.” I really hate meat-product fetishists.
[Photo: Oklahoma bacon cheeseburger at Native Foods by Jeff Gunn via Flickr]
(Source: The Huffington Post)
Vegan maple-frosted donut with homemade “bacon” from Sexy Vegan Mama! Dang, son! Hella cray. Yet, yummy-looking! I’m glad the Sexy Vegan Mama makes her own bacon because I haven’t found a vegan bacon I like. And maple is one of my favorite things. Maple sugar candy was my jam as a kid! Then one New Year’s Eve when I was 17 I drunkenly ate an entire box of maple sugar candy and haven’t been able to shake the bleh since.
Anyway, I NEED THIS IN MY MOUTH.
Banning sale of downer pigs in California? YES PLEASE. »
It could happen, folks. This case is going all the way to the Supreme Court and God and Asshole Lobbyists willing, the judges won’t be total dumbasses about it. Light a candle, people, because this is something we know we can’t count on. You see, there was a law passed banning the sale of downer pigs (yay!) and then the American Meat Association was all, “BUT BUT BUT WAHHHHH!!!” and then they did what they did best: threw tons of money at the problem! Brilliant! Why didn’t we think of that! Oh that’s right, there the only ones who aren’t FLAT BROKE. It pays to abuse animals! Anyway, as soon as the AMA raised a fuss, that shit was overturned in Fresno, Calif., and now the battle goes to the Supreme Court.
If the state law of California can hamper the pork production and profit making of the pork industry, other states might then be able to enact similar laws, further cutting into industry profits. The meat packers want to overturn such a ban and the efforts of a very large state such as California to regulate slaughterhouse operations in a way they don’t like. If the the Supreme Court rules against the ban on using lame pigs for meat, then it may become the legal framework preventing any other states from ever enacting a similar ban, and therefore the meat packing industry wins the whole game. Also if the the meat packing plants can legally simply shove all the lame and sick pigs into the grinder so to speak, there won’t be any evidence of animal disease, neglect or abuse remaining.
The Supreme Court will begin reviewing the case in October: National Meat Association vs. Harris, 10-224.
An aside: I love Herbivore’s BACON HAD A MOM t-shirt, and think they should add a: YOUR BACON WAS A PIG WHO COULDN’T WALK BECAUSE SHE’D BEEN ABUSED SO BADLY ENJOY YOUR BREAKFAST, ASSHOLE. You like?!
Veganized for your pleasure: brown sugar bacon buttermilk waffles »
Why yes, that is rice whip on my waffle. I do not mess around.
I really don’t understand this longstanding bacon obsession in America. And when it got to the point where it was showing up on magazine covers, in chocolate bars, in squeezable formats, and with full-on "trend" status (If one more person tries to get me to eat bacon by saying, “but bacon doesn’t count,” I will have a conniption), I was confused and, yes, hurt. But just because we don’t want gristly bits of dead pig on top of our cupcakes doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the flavorful combination of sweet and smoky, the textural dissonance between chewy and fluffy. Peep this recipe, gag, and then make this bitchin’ and infinitely more animal-friendly version:
Fakin’ Bacon and Buttermilk Waffles
makes four Belgian waffles
One package or recipe of tempeh “bacon” (I used Tofurky’s)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
6 Tbsp. hot water
2 cups soy milk (or whatever other vegan milk you use)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Spray a cookie sheet with some nonstick. Arrange the pretend bacon in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top of the strips as evenly as you can. I won’t judge you for licking your fingers. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the sugar has become pretty liquidy. Let it cool, and then chop the sticky strips into little pieces—or break it apart with your hands if you’re nasty (related: I’m nasty).
In a bowl, whisk together the flax seed and hot water till it’s as frothy as your little hands can make it. In another bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Watch as it gets all curdled and weird-looking. Okay, focus! Now in a big bowl, sift together your dry ingredients (flour down to salt in the list above). Marvel once more at the crazy milk transformation, and whisk in the flax seed mixture, oil, and vanilla. Pour it all into the dry ingredients, and mix till it’s mostly combined. Then stir in the pretend bacon bits.
Follow your waffle iron’s directions to make as many waffles as possible. Cover it in Earth Balance, maple syrup, jam—whatever you put on waffles. Serve with orange juice, and pretend you’re being healthy. Eat, and slap yo’ mama.
This ain’t no ordinary waffle. As you can see, there’s chewy, savory tempeh bacon in there!
Shut up, NPR: “Why Bacon Is A Gateway To Meat For Vegetarians” »
NPR has gone totally punch-in-the-faceable with its article exploring the science behind bacon’s mass appeal, particularly to people who don’t eat meat.
Come on, Eliza Barclay: this trend piece is already three years old, people who rescind on their commitment not to eat animals aren’t exemplary of the veg community, and not all humanity is in love with bacon, anyway. Me, I didn’t like it even as an omnivore, and when I was an omnivore, I declined no meats, however foreign and terrifying. Bacon never did it for me, and I am not the only one.
I can’t believe it’s 2011 and the media are still acting like bacon is the be-all, end-all of foods. “We even talked to vegetarians about this, and one said, ‘I have long thought if for some reason I ever started eating meat again, I would start with bacon.’” Wikipedia doesn’t accept one anonymous source as legit proof for a claim, and omitting the specific number of vegetarians you “talked to about this” is pretty telling—even a toothpaste will tell you how many dentists recommend it.
This article is unimaginative, obnoxious, and misspells the name of the author of Vegetarianism: Movement or Moment—how are you gonna use Donna Maurer’s Howard Lyman-recommended book to help work your dumbass angle and then not even bother to get her name right? Fucking FAIL on all counts, NPR.
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.
- 2 Gardein Chick’n Scallopini patties: 180 calories, 4g fat
- 2 Tbsp Vegenaise: 180 calories, 18g fat
- 25 percent of the batter recipe (plenty for one sandwich): 225 calories, 25g fat
- 2 oz Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack: 140 calories, 14g fat
- 3 strips Smart Bacon with cooking oil: 60 calories, 8g fat
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!
[link via Bacon-loving Hipsters Can Kiss My Vegan Ass]
KFC to unleash the Double Down sandwich, we celebrate by cracking the code »
Over at The Consumerist, they’ve been following KFC’s new (and revolting) Double Down sandwich. In case you’re new to the story, the Double Down is a bacon and cheese sandwich, with two slabs of fried chicken replacing the bread, and a mystery yellow substance they’re calling “The Colonel’s Sauce” (a name that implies more intimacy with the Colonel than, we hope, is actually involved). After months of rumors and marketing teasers, the Double Down is finally real, with a scheduled release date of Monday, Apr. 12 at a KFC near you.
As vegans, we’re of course bound by blood oath to be outraged by meat surrounded by meat and drizzled in dairy, especially when mass-produced by a megacorp dedicated to poisoning as many people worldwide as possible. But sometimes something is just too ridiculous to hate, and like a game of culinary marry-fuck-kill, we saw the Double Down and chose “fuck.” So with that, I present:
It’s actually good! And by “good” I mean “not good.” Or a word that means a mix of good and not-good, where “not good” describes how you feel after downing this fistful of instant regret. Here’s how you can make your own and share my suffering. You know you want one.
First thing’s first. Start by getting your kitchen stocked with vegan substitutes.
- Gardein Lightly Seasoned Chick’n Scallopini
- Lightlife Smart Bacon
- Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
- Energ-G Egg Replacer
- Earth Balance Natural Shortening
- Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack
You can replace the shortening with canola oil or even Crisco, if you feel like taking your life into your hands. Before doing anything else, I fried up about six pieces of Smart Bacon, and thinly sliced the Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack using a mandolin. If you don’t have a mandolin, a cheese slicer will do the trick, or a sharp kitchen knife if you’re really patient. You should also thaw out the Gardein patties, which are usually kept frozen.
The Colonel’s Sauce
No one has any idea what’s in this stuff, so I basically went for “yellow”.
- 4 Tbsp Vegenaise
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp turmeric
Mix it up until it looks yellow. Adjust as needed.
- 1 Tbsp sage
- 1 tsp ginger root
- 1 Tbsp rosemary
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- 1 tsp marjoram
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp chili powder or cayenne
- 1½ tsp thyme
- 2 Tbsp garlic salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp garlic granules
- 2 Tbsp onion salt, or mix 1 Tbsp salt + 1 Tbsp onion granules
- 3 Tbsp dried parsley
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp powdered vegetable bullion from Rapunzel, or any vegan “chicken-flavored” bullion.
- 1 pack of McCormick Thick & Zesty Spaghetti Sauce Mix (available at Safeway), or 1 packet of any vegan tomato powdered instant soup.
Grind into a fine powder using a food processor or blender, and set aside.
Making the batter and deep-frying it all up
- 3 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer
- 4 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- ½ cup unsweetened, plain soy milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
In a mixing bowl, beat together the egg replacer, water, canola oil, and soy milk. This is your “eggs and milk” batter.
Now is a good time to get your deep-frying apparatus into gear. If you own a deep fryer, you know what you’re doing here. For everyone else: melt the whole box of Earth Balance shortening in a wok or cast-iron pan on medium heat. Top it up with canola oil if the pool of oil isn’t deep enough.
Next, thoroughly mix together the flour with the “secret” herb and spice mix that you made earlier. Spread out the flour mix onto a long sheet of baking paper.
You basically want to coat the living hell out of the Gardein patties, then deep fry them until your kitchen smells like KFC. So: take a patty, dip it in the batter, then roll it in the flour/spices until it’s completely coated. Then take the same patty and repeat; you want to coat the coating.
Finally, drop in your patty and deep-fry it for a few minutes, until golden brown. You can test out your oil beforehand with a small glob of batter and flour. You really don’t want to cook them for too long!
Putting it all together then nomming the shit out of that
Now you’re ready to assemble your Vegan Double Down: two slabs of fried fake chicken, stuffed with fake bacon, fake cheese, and fake “Colonel’s Sauce”. Make it look pretty.
You will eat about half of this before realizing what a mistake it’s been. But until that moment, it will taste like sweet, deep-fried heaven.
Rest stops for beavers, delicious trichinosis, hating on bacon, Tamale Fest and more in this week’s link-o-rama! »
Vegan Tamale Fest at Papalote on Saturday!!!! Yes! That’s tomorrow, Dec. 19, beginning at 11 a.m. at the 3409 24th St. at Valencia Street location. Bay Area vegans, you are obligated to show up and eat as many tamales as you possibly can. Then, buy more to take home and freeze. Where there’s demand, there’ll be supply!
Wir liebe euch, beavers! Berlin cares about its minuscule beaver population—made up of younger beavers who’d left the rural colony to seek their fortunes in the capital—so much that the city built them a rest stop in the Spree river. Consider my heart warmed.
Let’s be friends on Facebook, anti-bacon vegans.
Sweden’s burning of 3,000 wild rabbits as an alternate to heating oil is the number-one “Oddball News Story” of 2009? You crazy (asshole) for this one, Time.
If asked to design a USB stick that was “neutral in appearance and lack[ed] emotional appeal,” would you cover it in real animal fur? No? That actually makes you sick to your stomach? Get out of my aesthetics.
I use that “the world is fucked" tag for almost every link-o-rama, because of things like this slide show of Ringling Bros. “trainers” using electrical shocks to “teach” baby elephants “fun circus tricks.” Humans are the best!!!
Dang it you guys, San Francisco is running out of sourdough bakeries. I have no idea, but it’s true. Looks like 2010 is the year of getting some starter and learning to make your own sourdough loaves.
People used to get trichinosis all the time from eating pigs; now they get it from eating bears. BEARS. Also walruses, deer, cougar, and wild boar (Pollan!). The solution, according to a scientists at the CDC: keep eating bear! Just use a meat thermometer, OK?
Animal studies have shown that diets lower in protein lead to longer lives. Is this a net win for us who don’t eat meat, or a net loss because all the fucking studies were performed on fucking animals who didn’t sign up to live in a lab on reduced rations? Yes, I’m even against experiments on fruit flies. It’s called compassion, asshole.
The Drakes Bay Oyster Farm was caught farming clams in a harbor seal refuge. Good move, guys; is there anything stupider than angering Marin environmentalists?
Vegansaurus contributor Zoë Stagg discusses cruelty-free (Christian) holidays with Eve of the SF Appeal at VidSF!
Finally, how about a recipe for vegan caramels laced with cardamom from Manifest: Vegan? Sounds amazing.
Store review: Layonna Vegetarian Health Food Market! »
Shit! I can’t believe I haven’t written a review of g-d Layonna! What is wrong with me?! Don’t answer that! Layonna’s fake meat is known by veggies and vegans the world over. Seriously. If you tell a vegan in motherfucking Kathmandu that you are from the San Francisco Bay Area they will be like, “OH MY GOD! YOU ARE SO LUCKY TO LIVE SO CLOSE TO LAYONNA!!!” This is not a joke and only a slight exaggeration. And yes, that is how they speak in Kathmandu.
Layonna is located in downtown Oakland. It’s tiny but filled from floor to ceiling with every kind of fake meat imaginable. Fake peking duck, fake scallops, fake monkfish (what?), fake bacon, fake baby, fake chicken drumsticks and more! They have an impressive selection of cheap fake beef jerky and stuff like mushroom broth and lots of types of noodles. Some good cheap ramen too! This place is a wonderland. Just like John Mayer sings so passionately about. In fact, that song is about this store, pass it on.