Today, Friday, Nov. 19, Chef Roberto makes a vegan Thanksgiving meal on The Ellen Show! Boyfriend whips up a seitan-based vegan turkey that sounds absolutely delicious and they eat it and it looks rad, and there are recipes for the rest of Ellen and Portia’s vegan Thanksgiving feast on the website. Now we can all be more like Ellen and Portia because really, that’s how we should all live our lives. Every morning, get out of bed and go, “How can I be more like Ellen and Portia today?” The world would totally be a better place if everyone did that. And a cuter place. And a smarter place. And a more hilarious place. OK, I’ll stop while I’m still slightly short of Single White Female.
Interview with a vegan: Lisa Congdon! »
Lisa Congdon is a talent to be reckoned with. And by reckoned with, we mean PURCHASE EVERY PIECE OF ART SHE’S EVER MADE. Seriously, this lady is crazy-talented. My favorite pieces change moment to moment, but I’m currently lusting after this finch and "Brave Bear" (OMG I LOVE YOU BRAVE BEAR). Actually, I’ll just take one of each, please!
Lisa has lived in SF for 20 years. She is a woman entrepreneur (love) and co-owner of Rare Device, an art gallery and store that sells everything awesome and good (if you haven’t been, you are a fool who is missing out!). We love crafty vegans because they make the world a prettier place and can also design and paint stuff for the rest of us when we need it. You never know when you’re going to want a watercolor of yourself hugging a baby hippo in outer space. Actually, you probably want that right now, huh? Anyway, follow Lisa on twitter and buy everything in her Etsy store and visit Rare Device and be really happy that such a rad chick is vegan!
Vegansaurus: Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Lisa Congdon: All three.
V: How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
LC: I have been a vegan for about two years. I had been thinking a lot about becoming a vegan for a long time, but when I did it, I did it pretty much “cold turkey,” as opposed to weaning myself off stuff over time. It’s sort of funny how it finally happened. My partner and I were visiting my family in Portland. We all love to eat, and we had this really gluttonous weekend of gorging on food, which included a lot of rich cheese. That Sunday we were at the airport for our return flight and we felt horrible and gross from eating so much crap. We went into the bookstore in the airport and we saw Skinny Bitch on the table. A friend had told me about it, so we bought it. We dove into it right away right there in the airport and read it together. We finished it before we got back to San Francisco (love the book, but it’s the Reader’s Digest version of “why be a vegan”). That same week I went a little heavier and read the The China Study and, we also went to see Food, Inc. That movie sealed the deal, and we both became vegan that same week. We’ve continued to educate ourselves as much as we can about the benefits—health, humane, environmental—of eating a plant-based diet, and feel like it was one of the most important choices I have ever made in my life.
V: What’s the best part of being vegan?
LC: There are so many amazing things. I’ve never felt so good in my life, both physically and mentally. I have far more energy than I’ve ever had, which is scary because I have always been pretty energetic. I sleep better, I never feel sick after eating—except maybe after I have the potatoes at Gracias Madre, which are completely naughty. I also feel good about causing less harm to other living creatures and the environment. I revere animals, and now I feel like I walk the talk. I can be more like Ellen DeGeneres, who is my personal hero. Oh, and I have become a mean vegan chef.
V: Do you have any companion animals? Where are they from?
LC: I sure do. First off, I have Barry and Margaret, my cats. I got them about five years ago at the SPCA. Margaret is secretary of the house. She makes sure everyone is doing what they are supposed to and if you aren’t, she lets you know. Barry lives a less stressful existence, mostly staring out the window onto the action on Capp Street from our apartment. [Ed. SO CUTE! Also, Vegansaurus HQ used to be on Capp! Perhaps Hazel barked at Barry and Margaret in your window at some point!}
Then there is Wilfredo. Wilfredo is a chihuahua I rescued from Wonder Dog Rescue about three years ago. He’s three and a half, and he’s a very good, sweet, gentle, loving boy. He’s just the kindest dog you’ve ever met, and very cuddly and amazingly loving. He’s got a really wonderful, distinct personality and beautiful green eyes. Unlike many chihuahuas, he loves people, even strangers. And he doesn’t bark, which is also pretty ridiculously amazing. Wilfredo and I will be featured on the The Bold Italic’s upcoming Pet Week [Ed.: It’s THIS WEEK and culminates in an awesome party on Saturday night at The Women’s Building in SF! The party will benefit Rocket Dog Rescue and there will be all sorts of vegan food there, including cupcakes from Fat Bottom Bakery and Sugar Beat Sweets, cookies from Eat Pastry, and VEGAN SANDWICHES FROM IKE’S PLACE! Plus, vegan chili and cornbread and BINGO and a pet fair and awesomeness! COME!]!
V: What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
LC: Oh geez, I HATE this question. It’s a toss-up between dogs, horses, goats, and sheep. Although this summer I visited the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen and I really must say I have a thing for pigs. And cows. Someday I want to have a barn.
V: Does being vegan affect your art? If so, how?
LC: Not really; my subject matter hasn’t changed too much since I became vegan. That said, I make the bulk of my living doing illustration work, and I did turn down a high-profile illustration job recently—it was for a cookbook—because they wanted me to draw diagrams of animals about to go to slaughter, with the cuts of meat and the like. I said I wouldn’t do it and told them why—as professionally as possible, of course. I lost the job and I have no regrets.
V: You have lots of art with animals in it; do you have a favorite?
LC: I think my favorite animal painting I’ve ever made is the "Mountain Goat".
V: What’s your favorite vegan cookbook?
LC: That’s another hard question! It’s a toss up between Veganomicon for basics, The Conscious Cook for fancier recipes—such amazing concoctions in there and I do like Gardein a lot—and Vegan Table for awesome seasonal recipes.
V: Favorite vegan restaurant? Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
LC: Gracias Madre. I am not sure what I ever did without it. It’s also rad—and dangerous—that it’s around the corner from where I live. And my favorite dish is their naughty Papas al Horno, potatoes with cashew nacho cheese sauce!!!
V: Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
LC: All 11 of you? ;) [Ed.: YES! God!]
Thanks, Lisa! You’re the most amazing and we are officially in love with you. Check out our other Vegansaurus interviews and apply to be interviewed YOURSELF! Just email and we’ll totally interview your fascinating ass.
[Lisa’s amazing portrait of Wilfredo is above; all photos and art in this post by Lisa!]
More magical fish, cockfighting in California, boring old French food, surprise! cats: it’s this week’s link-o-rama! »
These are portraits of donkeys at Donegal Donkey Sanctuary by artist Julia Feliz, a member of Etsy for Animals. Read about her work at the sanctuary and her efforts to raise funds and encourage others to volunteer at their local sanctuaries—she’s great.
There’s a new magic fish in town! Not a SuperSalmon, no; this one is the barramundi, a near-vegetarian (har) that produces loads of Omega-3, poops fertilizer, and smiles before it’s killed. That last one is a lie. The other ones are real, though: ask Barry Estabrook, who wrote a whole article about it in the Atlantic food section! It’s probably totally credible: his primary source was Australis Aquaculture, the biggest (only?) barramundi farming operation in the world! That is not a lie, and it’s gross. Cockfighting is also super-gross, but especially here in California, where a first offense is a fine rather than the misdemeanor it is in other states. According to the Humane Society, California hosts more cockfights than dogfights because of this little fine business. Tenderblog picked up the story of LGBT Compassion’s longtime protest of the super-gross, super-illegal, bizarrely overlooked sale of live, “spent” chickens from factory egg farms, so that’s good. Whether a person agrees with selling live chickens in farmers’ markets is moot; this operation is illegal and the city is ignoring it. Gross.
Reader Alanna sent us this lovely photo of the black turtle beans she grew in her garden this summer! Thanks, Alanna, these look wonderful. It has been a banner week for beans!
[Do you have awesome pictures? Gossip? News? Events? Do please let us know!]
We know animals sleep differently than people, and that they dream, but might they be capable of spirituality as well? We’ve seen chimpanzees, you know, “confront” death; do animals have near-death experiences? Sloane Crosley would like to clear up rumors about “cat people,” i.e. “crazy” needn’t be their constant adjective; cats are perfectly fine, perhaps spiritual creatures themselves. In San Francisco, planners are now considering how to adjust buildings to prevent accidental bird deaths. Virgin America—also in San Francisco!—will from now on use eggs from cage-free hens in all their eggy in-flight meals.
Hey, a new fight about consumer information/OBESITY OH NO!: The Institute of Medicine would like to see food packages with a label on the front, listing “the nutrients most responsible for obesity and chronic diseases: calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium”; the FDA also wants to start labeling packages on the front, but so far “standardizing nutrition labeling” is still “a proposal”; and of course “food” producers aren’t very pleased about it and, of course, have “been in discussions with the F.D.A. as it develops its recommendations.” Whatever, vegetables are for cool kids, exxxtreme baby carrotz!! The U.S. isn’t the only country with food problems, though; apparently France is no longer the destination for la cuisine la plus haute du monde. Our traveling Vegansaurs have enjoyed their culinary adventures: maybe more adventures in vegan cooking with French techniques is the answer, messieurs et mesdames les chefs. Certainly you oughtn’t cook up anymore de la dinde—what we must do is listen to our pal Ellen and adopt a turkey from Farm Sanctuary! If you’re in the right mood (read: maudlin as a great-aunt on her third tumbler), looking at those turkeys can make a person tear up.
Jordan tries to act all normal, but clearly cats (at least!) are different in Canada.
[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]
Finally: “How about that Rainbow Grocery? It sure is full of hippies!” —Jay Leno.
Why vegans are DOMINATING »
With the news of Jessica Simpson becoming vegan [Ed.: lolz!], I want to remind all the vegans out there why we still win in this crazy competition called life.
To begin: Cesar mother-fucking Chavez. BOOYAH! It makes a million dollars worth of sense to me that Chavez, activist for immigrant labor rights, was vegan, as the meat industry is notorious for abusing immigrant labor.
Chavez strikes a blow to that tired old bullsheezy that veganism is for rich white people. Every time I hear this, I’m like STFU because the first vegans I ever met were Black Panthers. Again I say, BOOYAH.
Next, Ellen Degeneres! If you don’t like Ellen, you’re totally crazy and most definitely have a heart made of cold hard steel. Ellen is the greatest. Remember when they told her her career would end if she came out? SHUT UP stupid jerks! Ellen came out and she’s taking over the world. If Oprah is the queen, Ellen is the princess and she’s gunning for that throne. Plus, her wifey is hot as all get out.
Are you ready for my next entry? Leonardo da Vinci! I KNOW, RIGHT? OK, oK, scholars are only sure he was vegetarian but I’m inferring that he didn’t eat milk or eggs because of this:
da Vinci even entertained the notion that taking milk from cows amounts to stealing. Under the heading, “Of the beasts from whom cheese is made,” he answers, “the milk will be taken from the tiny children.”
Now maybe I’m wrong but if history is any indication, I’M ALWAYS RIGHT. And you can’t get better than da Vinci; we could totally beat the non-vegans with him alone! He’s THE MAN.
On to a modern-day superstar: Russell Simmons! Besides pioneering rap, the most popular music everrrr, did you watch him on the Rev. Run show? He’s SO COOL! Always giving kids good advice and stuff. Plus, another blow to the white vegan stereotype. I would totally marry him if he weren’t so into meditation. Meditation makes me want to stab my eyes out with a broach. Which is to say, it’s kind of boring.
This one totally seals the deal, like no question we’re DOMINATING: Prince! I knowwww, we rule! Prince. PRINCE! I can’t take it. And don’t hate, “Diamonds and Pearls” is my fucking jam.
Now for the king of all things indie: Jason Schwartzman! I’ve been somewhat obsessed with him since Rushmore. He’s so great! Remember that part, “O R they” bwahahaha! Seriously, I love this guy. One day we’ll meet and he’ll immediately see that we’re perfect for each other. I WOULDN’T MAKE UP A THING LIKE THAT!
Next: Daryl Hannah! Star of Splash, the best movie ever made! She’s also in 8 mile. Case closed! [Update! Daryl Hannah was not in 8 mile, it was Kim Basinger. Sorry I’m on crack all the time! Just kidding, I’m not sorry. Thanks for the correction Ready4uu78!]
Last but most hot, Joaquin damn-I’d-tap-that Phoenix! Jeez louise he’s the HOTNESS. I don’t even care about his insane “rap” “career,” I’d bang him, beard and all. I hear he’s also an actor—kudos!
That is all for today, but that’s more than enough to prove we’re winning. I’m totally expecting there to be lots of “she/he’s not vegan!” comments and that’s OK, because the more you know, the more you grow.
Stamps for tramps! »
You know, like Lady and the Tramp: Stamps to the Rescue, along with Ellen and the United States Postal Service, is releasing lovely little stamps highlighting the beautiful little tramps you can find in animals shelters. There are 10 different stamps, all dogs or cats, and they each have a little story behind them about how that pet ended up in a shelter. Here’s what happen to Teddy (pictured):
Wired-Haired Jack Russell Terrier
The owners of Teddy’s mother were surprised when she gave birth to another litter. They couldn’t afford to raise more puppies, so they gave Teddy and his siblings to a shelter. Today, Teddy lives with a loving family, their other Jack Russell, and a cat.
In honor of the new stamps, Halo, Ellen’s pet food brand, is donating 1 million meals to shelter animals.
I love these stamps! I love adopted animals! The next step I guess is to try and remember how to write letters or whatever you need stamps for. My motto is, “if I can’t do it on the internet, it doesn’t get done.” Well, it’s less of a motto, more of a crippling personal flaw. The only thing I actually mail are my Netflix rentals and of course those are pre-paid. I don’t know anyone I want to write a damn letter to! Another problem: I write like a frustrated 10-year-old boy, which makes my letters scary and hard to read. Wait wait wait! Genius idea: let’s all get prison pen-pals and write to them! Better yet, vegan prison pen-pals! Let it be done!
Portia de Rossi breaks out the bedhead for stray cats! »
Yes, the ever-lovely Portia de Rossi has kicked off Alley Cat Allies' new series of PSAs. Call me a star-fucker if you need to but I do not care, I love Portia! I liked her as soon as I saw her with her glorious hair on Ally McBeal, but then when I found out she was a lesbian, well, then I LOVED her! But since she went vegan? HOLY CRAP I need a new word for how much I love her. She and Ellen light up my life.
Ellen Degeneres Talks Veganism with Katie Couric! »
Ellen Degeneres is the shit. Watch this from 15:25 on. She’s so fucking right on. Love, love, love, love, love. My favorite is when she tells Katie Couric that Food, Inc is like a Disney movie compared to Earthlings. GET IT, GIRL!
Hat tip to VegNews!