No duh, Salon: government subsidies make good food expensive and horrible food cheap  »

Guess who just figured out that food subsidies are all fucked up? Good job, Salon, you’re just behind the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (remember Megan Rascal’s compare-n-contrast graphics? Kick-ass), and King Corn, and Fast Food Nation, and (our best frenemy) Michael Pollan. Only, what, a decade behind the rest of us? Not too bad!

This quote is good, though:

Indeed, this is a problem not of individual proclivities or of agricultural biology that supposedly makes nutrition naturally unaffordable — it is a problem of rigged economics and corrupt policymaking.

Because you have to reframe the argument. Vegans will never, ever win the elitism fight (until the day we’ve all turned into disabled queer people of color through the power of white-cis-guilt/will), but we can point out that the relatively higher price of eating vegetables is a national problem with deep, ugly roots that’s bad for everybody except big agriculture executives. Who are mostly grody white dudes who don’t give a fuck about your need for more than corn-syrup-covered Potato Buds.

Fuck the man. Eat a vegetable and yell at your representatives and tell corporate agriculture to fuck right off. Food stamps at farmers’ markets forever. Food accessibility is a vegan issue.


Guest post: Food accessibility is a vegan issue  »

I was sitting at my desk, staring at my coffee, when my co-worker walked in with a bag of cherries and said, “God, organic fruit at the farmers’ market is fucking expensive.”

At least we have a farmers’ market nearby selling local, organic fruit and vegetables, I thought, and my co-worker has the resources to buy some. When discussions of veganism and privilege come up–as they seem to be doing with increased frequency—there’s some understandable defensiveness from vegans, and some valid concerns that the “veganism is for rich white people” trope is both wrong and insulting to anyone not rich or white. But there remain striking differences food access across communities. This should concern everyone, but especially us veganism advocates.

A recent survey [pdf] by the very rad Food Empowerment Project (FEP) lays out the data. Looking at Santa Clara County specifically, they found that:

“On average, higher-income areas have twice as many locations with fresh fruits and vegetables compared to the lower-income areas…14 times more locations with frozen fruit and six times more locations with frozen vegetables.… In addition to being generally less available in lower-income areas, the variety of produce is also limited in these locations.”

Some of these findings are helpfully laid out in chart form:

Other sections point out things that should be obvious to those of us who live, work, or generally exist in urban cores, but are worth stating plainly: there are fundamental differences between supermarkets and small corner groceries; meat and dairy alternatives are virtually nonexistent in many communities, despite high levels of lactose-intolerance in some of those populations; that, along with being “cash-poor,” many providers in low-income communities and communities of color are “time-poor,” way too overstretched by multiple jobs and responsibilities to travel to a distant shop for decent produce, return home, and prepare dinner. The FEP study calls this “environmental racism.” Check out the full thing, along with their recommendations, here [pdf].

Your ability to make healthy food choices shouldn’t depend on your address or income, and lack of access to fruits and vegetables amounts to a public health crisis in many places. The growing trend of farmers’ markets accepting food stamps is a welcome development: by expanding access to good food rather than restricting access to junk, it’s also a much smarter, and less paternalistic and classist way to encourage people to eat well. (Another option would be to eat all the locavores, provided they were humanely put down, with reverence for all that they would provide us, but that’s a topic for another post.)

As vegans, it should matter to us especially. When we tell others to go vegan–which we should–it’s crucial to consider what barriers might stand in their way. Some are ideological, reflective of long-standing habits and assumptions, but some are more practical, like whether they can get to a market that sells non-gross apples. The ability to do so does mark a sort of privilege that needs to be recognized and dismantled, even if anti-vegan internet goofballs like to cite it for their own purposes.

And finally, concern about food security and access shouldn’t be the domain of a borderline-sociopathic “locavore” community that seems to raise these issues only to argue that we need to kill chickens in our yards. We shouldn’t cede that ground (sign a petition against at-home chicken-slaughter right now!). Everyone deserves decent food, produced sustainably, locally, and without poisons, and vegan advocates should be on the frontlines of that push. The FEP’s work is a good place to start.

Rick Kelley is a recent transplant to the Bay, having fled the brutal Minnesota winters for warmer climes. He spends his days at a Oakland workers’ rights nonprofit and his evenings probably playing moderately accurate renditions of Propagandhi songs with his awesome partner and their rescued pup, Bandit. He’s also currently active in organizing against Oakland’s “Let’s All Kill Some Chickens in Our Yards For Fun” proposal. He used to blog, and might do so again someday.


Eat this NOW: cupcakes and pie in a jar from Fox & Fawn Bakehouse!  »

You gotta eat these cupcakes right now. Fox & Fawn Bakehouse make honestly some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten in my life! I know I say that almost every time I write about anything (best ass-kicking of my life! best lobotomy of my life! best shit sandwich of my life!) but for real, I really really really mean it this time, for real! The cake was spongy and light, and the frosting was sweet but not cloying. Deeeeeelicious. Man, I could eat a few right now and that’s no joke! These are the cupcakes you wish you could make but you just don’t have the skillz to pay the cupcake billz. Speaking of honesty, I honestly have no clue how my fingers haven’t fallen off from all the typing I’ve done in the past month. The fact that I can still walk upright and (kinda) speak English are miracles.

Anyway, you will not regret getting these cupcakes into your mouth, so go ahead and order from them immediately. Oh, and the pie in a jar? RIDICULOUS. It’s a PIE in a JAR and it’s the perfect wedding favor, housewarming gift, present to yourself for making it through the day. Also, Fox and Fawn Bakehouse prices are extremely reasonable! $24 for a dozen is only $2 per cupcake and that’s way less than what you spend in a store. THE DEAL! It is AMAZING! So order a bunch of stuff and fan them on Facebook and generally just eat the shit out of their goodies because even though I got some for free (doesn’t guarantee a good review or even a review period), I’m totally planning on ordering cupcakes from them and PAYING. This is the Real Deal, people, because I don’t like to pay for shit, ask anyone. I mean, ANYONE.

Oh and if you’re not into special ordering things (I don’t know why this would be the case but maybe you’re too poor or don’t think you’re special enough), you can track them down at the Benicia Farmers’ Market, where they’ve been selling out!

Plus, look at this damn logo:


[Cupcake photo by Damien Jay! Thanks, Damien!]


ForageSF is back with a bigger, better market: all day and all night!  »

YOU GUYS. Essentially all day and all the night* on Saturday (tomorrow! Jan. 15!), Public Works is hosting a huge food-n-drinks market!

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can shop for prepared and packaged foods, and crafty things like body care products (possibly made in a hippie’s bathtub, but with the finest ingredients Rainbow’s Dumpster had to offer. UPCYCLE 4 LYFE). From 6 p.m. to 2 p.m., it’ll be all hot food, cold drinks—TWO BARS!—and a dance party, OH YEAH. Also “street performers,” but you already know to avoid anyone wearing body paint or wielding weapons, Hacky Sacks, or anything on fire so probably there’s nothing to worry about.**

It’s 21-and-over—leave the babies at home with their sitters!—and a free ForageSF membership is a requirement to get in. Entrance costs $5 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and $10 from 11 p.m. on. Essentially, this is going to be a big indoor farmers’ market party—why wouldn’t you want to go? Discover new, delicious foodstuffs! People-watch! Start your Saturday drinking really early!

Get more information here, including a list of vendors. Night Market is a combined effort of ForageSF and Public Works, and will be held at Public Works, at 161 Eerie St., between Mission and 14th Streets in the Mission. We recommend going after hitting up the SF Vegan Bakesale and safely storing your delicious treats at home/in your stomach.

*You know, “all night” in this city means “until 2 a.m.” Damn liquor laws (and lazy residents).
**YES, your Vegansaurus has serious loathing for neo-hippie bullshit, but some of us went to U.C. Davis, some of us went to Oberlin, and some of us were raised by actual sub/urban hippies, so it’s not exactly baseless.


Sometimes it’s almost our birthdays and we feel unaccomplished and sad; sometimes there are kiwi shortages, and robots milk cows: it’s this week’s link-o-rama!  »

Ein Geburtstagskuchen! Really, any cake is a birthday cake if you deem it so. This is vegan Schwarzwälderkirschtorte—lecker! [photo by benjamin_lebsanft]

Tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 20, Dolores Park Works will hold a Dolores Park Clean-up! Your Vegansaurus wholeheartedly endorses this endeavor, what with loving Dolores Park so terribly, terribly much, and we owe it to our neighborhood to go! Meet at the Dolores Park Works-branded toolbox behind the tennis courts at 18th and Dolores Streets at 10 a.m. tomorrow; DPW will provide all the equipment, and work is scheduled until 2 p.m.

There’s an international kiwi crisis brewing as the trees are being clobbered by a nasty bacteria called PSA. “International” because Italy actually produces more kiwifruits than New Zealand, annually. The U.S. and Russia, among others, are looking at meagre winter harvests, so countries that import most of their staples can expect those prices to increase between 11 and 20 percent next year. Because poor countries don’t have enough problems! In China, the government has begun distributing food subsidies in the form of money and actual comestibles, as food prices there went up 10 percent in ONE MONTH, and inflation grows faster than people’s incomes. UGH.

Meanwhile we are still the luckiest jerks: California is full of awesome farmers markets, and we’ve got Local Harvest, which helps you determine not just your nearest awesome farmers markets, but where all the food sold there came from. The USDA keeps a national list of farmers markets, too. If you can take advantage of this, DO IT. You owe it to everyone who eats food with a massive carbon footprint because that’s the only food they can get. We’re so well off, there’s no excuse not to be selective about our groceries. You eat vegan, local, organic food, and know that in that part of your life you really are doing your best. No brags, no smugs, just dedication to the right thing. Well OK, maybe we in the U.S. aren’t the best-best off: Grist hosts two solid debates on the Food Safety Modernization Act that, in part reveal that our current standards are depressingly low. Um, so maybe you’d like a recipe for spiced sweet potatoes? Possibly the most depressingly recounted recipe ever written in English?

Our pal Justine Quart, interviewer of vegan burlesque queens, has written a fantastic article in the SFAppeal on the problem of shark fin soup in San Francisco and how it’s being addressed. Goodness it is an EXCELLENT article, you really must read it. A horrible human being has been strangling seagulls with beer cans since at least Nov. 3. Thank goodness, Wild Rescues saved one gull this week! Here’s a small good thing: the California Beer and Beverage Distributors doubled the bounty for the fuckface bird-torturer. If you need to indulge in a little vicarious revenge, Netflix is streaming Whale Wars season three. Just imagine you are steering the boat, only it’s your fist, and it’s going right into the bird-strangler’s throat. When you open your eyes again, you have committed zero violent acts, just as it should be.

Hooray, it’s the Week in Vegan, by our own Laura! Unfortunately she made a small error regarding my number-one dream husband Vincent Kartheiser, as the public transportation-lover/car-despising vegan around here is me. Whoops! Lely: the dairy maintenance company of the future? Because robotics? Your Vegansaurus finds all this suspicious and a little creepy. Really, the cows are actually happy? REALLY? Perhaps in this same future we’ll all be wearing nutria-skin hatsnutria, the ethical fur! HA. Or, OK this isn’t so strange: Eric Hanson has drawn a sort of “geography of Thanksgiving,” with illustrations based on the most popular Google recipe searches measured on the day before Thanksgiving. Kentucky’s is “broccoli casserole,” which could be gross, or delicious, depending. Crossing our fingers for delicious, Kentucky!


Farmers markets, consumer warnings and political scandal in your egg-recall update!  »

The Humane Society wants us to know that eggs from the farmers market can come from hens treated just as terribly as hens that supply eggs for supermarkets. Many of you are probably like, “duh,” but before I became vegan, I was unaware of this sort of thing. I even assumed “organic” automatically meant humane! But it’s just not so.  Side note: that was actually why I initially became vegan, because if you don’t go directly to the farm, you just don’t know how the animals are treated. But I can’t be running around on farms everyday just so I can eat omelets! I’ve got work to do and dance moves to perfect!

Last week, the Humane Society sent letters to California’s farmers markets asking them to forbid the sale of eggs from caged hens: “To increase food safety, improve animal welfare, and to meet the expectations of their consumers, we hope California’s farmers markets will stop allowing their well-earned ‘halo effect’ to extend to companies and products that don’t deserve it.” LGBT Compassion regularly protests the live-chicken vendors at Heart of the City Farmers Market—did you know that these hens aren’t protected by California’s poultry slaughter laws?

Of course cage-free doesn’t necessarily mean the hen can go outside or anything silly like that, but they generally* do have enough room to spread their wings and actually move in general. And as the Humane Society points out, “cage-free” also means safer, according to the last 10 studies on the subject.

In other egg-recall news, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says consumer notification systems in food-recalls are plain janky. She says it’s imperative for their health that people get up-to-date information and they should be notified within 24 hours of any recall. I’m going to have to cosign this movement as I was talking to friends just last weekend who had heard jackshit about the egg recall. Dang it! I love most of my friends! I don’t want them to die from Salmonella!

Does anyone else remember the E. coli outbreak in spinach in 2006? When I went to Whole Foods around then, every single bag of spinach had an E. coli warning—have they done that with the eggs? I don’t know, I don’t buy eggs, but I doubt it. And you know why? Politics!

That’s right, in the world of food safety, corruption abounds. A survey released yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists showed that almost half of the scientists and inspectors at the federal agencies in charge of food safety say big business and congress has interfered in their work. This was a problem under the Bush administration and apparently there’s been little improvement under Obama. From the LA Times:

"What we found is that action is needed to curtail interference in science, both political and that driven by the private sector," said Francesca Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. "We have two very different agencies giving very identical responses, and this suggests the need for broad reform."

Inspectors responding to the survey reported pressure from their own agencies to make problems disappear and to help offending companies remain open even when there are clear violations. So basically, we’re screwed! Business over safety, that’s the American way.

Speaking of business and corruption, Grist had a good piece yesterday about the crazy egg empire of Jack DeCoster. DeCoster owns Wright County Egg, one of the egg factories subject to the recall, and according to Grist writer Tom Philpott, he’s “one of the most reviled figures in industrial agriculture.” DeCoster views violating food safety laws as no big deal, and paying fines as another part of doing business. OMG this guy rules! Wright County Egg is only the ninth-largest egg producer in the U.S. BUT! DeCoster may very well be numero uno of the egg market! BUT! It’s very confusing! Philpott tries to get to the bottom of it:

[There are] four large egg producers—DeCoster Family Farms (Wright County Egg), Hillandale Farms, Ohio Fresh Eggs, and Quality Eggs of Maine—which [are] controlled by or have extremely intimate links with Jack DeCoster. The Cal-Maine list of the largest U.S. egg producers puts the hen flocks of DeCoster Family Farms, Hillandale, and Ohio Fresh at 9 million, 14 million, and 7.6 million, respectively. It doesn’t list Quality Egg of Maine, but the Boston Globe says it keeps 5 million hens…. [T]hat amounts 35.6 million hens under management by companies owned by or tightly linked with DeCoster—more than 10 percent of the nation’s total flock (340 million).

Philpott is not done yet but I’ll keep you updated. God bless his tireless soul!

I know our vegan readers don’t buy eggs, but many of our friends and loved ones do. One thing we can do is get them hip to the farmers market jive and tell them to always ask egg vendors if the hens are cage-free, and to ask farmers market organizers if they allow eggs from caged hens. I find that even when omnivores don’t care how animals are treated, many of them are über-scared of food-borne illnesses so the increased danger caused by small cages is a good thing to make them aware of. Everybody now: BABY STEPS!

*This is an update. Cage-free doesn’t necessarily mean they can spread their wings or anything superfluous like that. FYI.

[Top image from; click to see full chart. Bottom from Grist]

Guest post: Stonestown Galleria farmer’s market!  »

Stonestown Galleria Farmer’s Market
Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Stonestown Galleria mall, at 19th Avenue between Eucalyptus and Winston Drives.

After moving to San Francisco three months ago, I’ve come to refer to my Sunday excursions as “free breakfast.” The many bread-bakers and fruit-sellers at Stonestown Galleria set out platters of samples, and sometimes approach you with tongs and chunks of their goods; the prepared-food vendors seem extremely interested in giving you a taste. And for good reason—they know that you’ll find it hard not to walk away with their product.

If you have ever visited a farmer’s market in San Francisco, you’ve probably encountered the Afghan culinary delight Bolani. These people shove tender, flaky, stuffed breads topped with unctuous and flavorful spreads at you like they think you’re starving. Only one of the spreads contain dairy, the breads are all vegan, and they even have butter-free baklava. A few stands down, Tofu Yu—tasty local soy products—and Sukhi’s—Indian snacks and condiments, with a delectable jalapeno chutney—will also press samples on you. The Hummus Guy is actually “manned” by a woman, whom I used to avoid: She seemed like the cat lady of hummus, hunched protectively over her various tubs veggie-based salads and spreads, surrounded by bags of pita chips; but when I lingered long enough she offered to let me try whatever I wanted, and was quite kind—her roasted red pepper dip is impressive, though everything I tried was great. The Nago Foods booth is also on that aisle, and sells miso salad dressings, with samples drizzled over little cups of greens—only one of their dressings is vegan, but if you’re munching your way down the aisle, you might as well. Across the market, M&CP Farms have apparently been growing olives in Orland, Calif. for the past 50 years; you can find them here every other Sunday. They don’t just grow, brine and sell some remarkably delicious olives of quite a variety, but they put almost all of them out for sampling, as well as a couple other pickled items and a few spreads. One or two contain cheese, but everything else is vegan: spicy olives, dry-cured olives, almond-stuffed olives, lime olives, just to name a few. If you can coordinate your visit, do not miss this stand. The dudes that run it are super-nice, too, always ready with crackers topped with tapenade.

Probably the only vendor this market lacks is a good vegan dessert—the cupcake lady here only does vegan ones on special advance order. But that leads me to the fruit—every type you can imagine. The fruit vendors are too numerous to name, but I enjoy visiting Malik Ranch for this farmer’s dried fruits as well as various almonds available to try. I particularly appreciate this stand as he actually lists his ingredients for his flavored almonds on the bags, in clear view, and practically all of them are vegan.

If you visit this market, I also recommend you try some of the unusual Asian vegetables. They are extremely cheap and I have yet to be disappointed by an exotic leafy green, even when I didn’t know what it was called (though of course it doesn’t hurt to ask the seller for advice on preparation). Heaps of ginger, garlic, lemongrass, okra leaves and Japanese eggplants dominate your view. From shiitake mushrooms to squash to chard to cauliflower, I rarely have trouble finding the veggie I’m looking for.

Now let’s get to the hot food stands, the real jewel in the crown. The omnipresent Kettle Corn guy is here, as well as a couple Southern-food stands (one actually has a vegan gumbo which is mostly okra, and not bad at all), waffles, and the Pie Press, which sells savory pies, apparently with vegan crusts but rarely vegan fillings; perhaps we should lobby her. The standout is definitely Happy Dumpling, which virtually always has a line, even at 9 a.m. Upon seeing the stand for the first time, with its prominent sign that said “Islamic Chinese lamb kabobs,” I had little hope for the place. However, I’m eternally grateful that I asked, because their vegetarian dumplings as well as their green onion pancake are vegan. The first time I had the dumplings, stuffed with minced, deliciously seasoned veggies and clear yam noodles, my mind was pretty much blown. Best of all, they’re incredibly cheap—$2 for three large dumplings. They are on the soft, doughy side, with a crispy fried exterior, and best dunked in the vinegar and soy sauce available at the condiments table. I recently I tried the green onion pancake but was less impressed. It’s basically crispy-fried thin dough with some green onions folded in—a good conveyance for Thai sweet chili sauce, but not too remarkable on its own, though pulling the layers apart better revealed the flavor of the onions. It’s still a great deal at $2, especially if you are craving something greasy.

I think if Happy Dumpling didn’t dominate the hot food market, Indian Gourmet would likely have a huge line also, because based on the samples they set out of chewy, incredibly fresh naan and dishes like chana masala, mixed vegetables and vegan saag, their culinary skills are quite impressive. Even better, their extensive menu—which includes samosas, wraps, platters and subsi/dal to go in a tub for $5—clearly indicates the vegan item.

I have to admit I rarely eat at the hot food vendors, mainly because I tend to go relatively early and fill up on delicious, but one stand I never miss anymore is Gaga Café. Though I would typically balk at paying $3 for an 8 oz cup of coffee, these locally roasted beans are some of the best I’ve ever tasted, and great to sip on while wandering the market. Given that there aren’t many good cafes in West Portal, he is a godsend. The man who runs it is friendly and works fast, despite brewing each cup individually. If you don’t like to walk and drink (or eat), you can have a seat at one of the many round tables arrayed around the little performance area, which always has live music.

Now that San Francisco’s true summer is supposedly on its way and even this generally foggy ’hood is starting to heat up, consider checking out this unique market, to support the various sellers who help make it a wonderland of vegan eating!

Tamara Failor currently lives in West Portal, and will soon relocate temporarily to Mongolia for work. Though Mongolia is quite possibly the least vegan-friendly country on the planet, she feels excited and up to the challenge. Tamara has lived in Portland, South Korea and North Carolina, and while in Portland documented and reviewed the city’s various vegan reubens. This is her first post for Vegansaurus; all photos by Tamara Failor!


Live from the pool: it’s your hot and bothered link-o-rama!  »

Events for your vegan weekend!
This is Genie the pigeon, recently adopted from Mickaboo Bird Rescue! Help out Mickaboo this weekend by stopping by the Rummage Sale for the Birds on Sunday, August 1 at the Market Street Co-op (1884 Market St., at Laguna and Guerrero) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There’ll be clothes, books, furniture, unclassifiable treasures, and if nothing pleases you, Mickaboo welcomes straight-up donations. Every cent benefits birds like young Genie here.

Of course, you had better go to the SF Vegan Bakesale tomorrow (Saturday! July 31!) in front of Mission Bicycle (766 Valencia St., between 18th and 19th Streets) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or we’ll have no money for the good people behind Rocket Dog Rescue and the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco! And then needy puppies and people will be homeless and probably die and do you want that on your conscience? So come on over and help out, already.

Would you like to be a vegan model? No, not just being pretty and eating celery, you guys. Really, walking in an all-vegan fashion show, as part of the 2010 Vegan Expo on Oct. 2 in Albany, N.Y. Check out the details and maybe see about entering! There are no size requirements AND you could end up wearing Vegansaurus favorite Vaute Couture!

Vegan-style news items
SFoodie visited two new city farmers markets this week—one at Cow Palace, and one at Mint Plaza. They sounded nice? Not very busy, but you know, new markets, and did anyone hear about them? Did any Vegansaurus readers go? Let us know if you do! Otherwise you’re just going to have to keep reading about them on other sites because after nine months of taking it twice daily almost every day, I am never taking it again. That bus is as anarchic as the 33 after dark, but it’s twice as long and picks up more passengers with face tattoos. [SFoodie]

Overfishing is killing our oceans! Phytoplankton are vanishing from the seas at an increasingly, terrifyingly rapid rate! You know, phytoplankton, “the basis of the entire marine food chain,” the wee algae which “produce around half of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere”? You guys we are all going to die, do not reproduce. [Scocca, New Yorker, Edible SF]

This week in Fucked Up Things Humans Are Doing to Animals, meet Enviropig™! Enviropig™ has been genetically engineered by the University of Guelph to produce an extra digestive enzyme that allows Enviropig™ to digest “plant phosphorus more efficiently” than standard pig. Further, Enviropig™ requires less food and produces less waste than standard pig! You may also be interested in pigs which have had “the fat-1 gene from C. elegans" "inserted…into" them, which converts omega-6 fats into omega-3 fats inside the pig. No? Well, Europe sure is! Europe, it turns out, is crazy for Animals With Whom People Have Been Genetically Fucking Around. [Shut Up, Foodies!, NY Times]

The State Fair is such wholesome fun! Except when a pregnant cow “rampages”/”stampede[s]” through the fairgrounds while exhibitors are setting up—then the police have to shoot to kill. []

OK this is much better cow-related news: Catalonia just yesterday became the very first region (officially “autonomous community”) of Spain to completely ban bullfighting! The Spanish prime minister seems a bit miffed, and Placido Domingo is being a complete ass about it, but you know the Canary Islands banned in in 1991 and they technically “belong” to Spain, so this wasn’t even the first Spanish territory or whatever to put an end to the nastiest legally sanctioned “sport” since, what, bear-baiting? Or I guess cock-fighting is still legal in some countries. Someday. And then we’ll come for you, greyhound racing, and if our children’s children aren’t burned to death in the no-atmosphere, horse racing. OH YES. [CAS, AFP]

Have you ever had an ant invasion? How did you deal with it? What about a serious ant infestation? Tom Junod writes about a horrifying ant infestation his family endured, and as an admitted ant-freer and E.O. Wilson idolizer, I thoroughly enjoyed it. [Esquire]

Our Laura wanted to include this inspirational list of the Top 10 Things [Sherold Barr] Wish[es She] Knew Before [She] Was 30, and because I love our Laura, here it is. Some of us apparently are not afraid to expose our secret inner-hippie. Bravo for bravery, yes? Yes. [Crazy Sexy Life]

This is more the Megan Rascal beat, but it’s so hot, let’s give a girl a break: in New Hampshire, a black bear broke into a home, ate some fruit, and before running away at the sound of the garage door opening, “grabbed a stuffed bear.” OMG YOU GUYS WHAT DOES THIS MEAN. It means simultaneously tearing up and smiling, is what it means. Bear! [Daily Intel]


Your summertime Friday link-o-rama is high on sunshine, and righteous anger  »

SF Animal Care and Control rescued these barn swallows whose nest “in an area of a residential home” had been vandalized. They made them a new nest with this basket! [via Pawesome]

Events and happenings!
Hello bunny-fans! Missed your chance for a rabbit at the previous Harvest Home Sanctuary event? That’s OK, because there’s another, even bigger one tomorrow! On Saturday, July 22 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the House Rabbit Society (148 Broadway St. at 25th Street in Richmond), you can visit the bunnies, eat veg food—including vegan chai cupcakes and sno-cones—listen to live music, and of course, adopt! There are 80 rabbits who need homes! COME ON DO IT GET A RABBIT THEY ARE THE BEST. Check out some of your future best pals here. Maybe bring your single bun to make a friend!

Any Canadian readers? Vegansaur Jordan informs us that the Edmonton Humane Shelter is in the middle of an "Indy Cat 500" drive to adopt 500 cats between July 16 and 31. Apparently Edmonton is full of cats—at its previous cat-adoption event, the EHS adopted out nearly 200 cats in two days! Come on, Canada, spay and neuter your kitties, already.

On Monday, July 26, Hot Spud opens. Hot Spud is a baked potato restaurant, run by Simone Powers, formerly of Café Gratitude. It is not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, but perhaps Chef Powers, who “perfected her baking skills” at a raw restaurant (…) will one day offer a vegan option. However! Reader Xin is the baker for Wicked Grounds (“San Francisco’s first and only kink café and boutique”), and reports that all the baked goods are vegan, including: “scones, cookies (chocolate chip, peanut butter oatmeal, and double ginger), waffles, and other specials depending on what I feel like doing, like cinnamon rolls (which are ridiculously fatty and delicious). You should totally come check us out!” Thanks, Xin! [Hot Spud news from Inside Scoop; awesome tip from awesome Xin]

Articles of interest!
The Department of Homeland Security wants Your (“alert, outgoing, active, confident”) Purebred Dogs! They will pay! And yes some of the trained officers (the dogs become actual officers) have attacked civilians in the course of performing their duties, that’s OK because they’re dogs, these things happen. Meanwhile, breed-specific legislation has allowed the slaughter of thousands of innocent pit bulls across the country. [Tom Scocca and Pawesome]

Hey remember last week’s super-gnarly episode of Top Chef where they murdered live crabs without even blinking? Turns out the Maryland crab industry is really, really exploitive of the migrant workers—mostly women—who come every season to pick the crabs. It’s unbelievably fucked up! [Shut Up, Foodies, to which we were referred by SFoodie—thanks]

Eater interviewed GZA and guess who’s vegetarian! And apparently really into raw food, and staunchly against pork. There goes your theory, Tara Duggan and Eric Tucker (that one stung, you know?). Might we suggest this goddamn amazing-looking vegan Cuban-style sandwich, should you find yourself craving something melty and meaty one night? Or ever? [Eater and Vegan Happy Hour]

Hello penguin! This fine fellow, a Magellanic penguin was rescued by SOS Fauna Marina on the coast of the Department of Maldonado, Uruguay. According the the L.A. Times, “at least 100” of these penguins were rescued after being soaked “in an hydrocarbon” [all sic] while migrating. [image AFP/Getty via L.A. Times]

Hey, how’s the Gulf oil spill cleanup going? WELL: the fresh water from the Mississippi river being pumped into the wetlands to keep the oil out is poisoning all the oysters, who live in saltwater! It seems like the river water went right to the oysters through channels that oyster-farmers demanded be built years ago, because the levees kept out too much of the Mississippi and the salinity was too high. Man, we can’t get anything right! At least WE CAN STILL EAT THE REMAINING OYSTERS AND THAT IS THE IMPORTANT THING. Fish are basically vegetables, anyway. As for animals who eat fish, as of July 20, 1,282 oiled pelicans have been rescued—that doesn’t mean “saved” or “cleaned” or “released,” just “taken from the wild, covered in oil”—and 969 oiled pelicans have been found dead. Super. Right? Super. [WSJ and BBC]

So back in April, the Supreme Court heard U.S. v. Stevens and was all, OK this animal-torture porn conviction is way harsh, it totally infringes on your First Amendment rights. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) then sponsored a bill that says, essentially, trafficking in actual animal-torture porn is ILLEGAL and BAD and we will FUCK YOU UP if you do it—but SIMULATING IT? That’s…withing legal limits. Hunting and fishing videos and stuff, you can sell those too, but that’s all. And that bill passed the House yesterday in a 416 to 3 vote! Hooray! Now it’s in the Senate, where “it is expected to pass,” but you know, we’ll see. Those jerks loooove to pick fights. [L.A. Times]

Farm news! It is time for farm news. SFoodie totally kicked our ass reporting on farmers markets this week, which is super-lame of us and we are shamed. To wit: the Homegrown Marin Market, which we were absolutely going to tell you about before its debut last week, was pretty all right! There was vegan currywürst (NB friends: the umlaut is in “würst,” not “curry,” otherwise you’d pronounce it “cure-y”)! The Mission Community Market seems like it was a good time, too; very block-partyish, like the organizers had hoped for. Maybe if someone paid us to go places and report on things we would be better at this “job,” dang it. Over at Hayes Valley Farm, someone maliciously gassed two entire, mature honeybee colonies, and attempted to murder a third. The colonies were home to something like 60,000 to 100,000 bees. While we don’t believe in eating honey, humanity needs bees to pollinate flowers, and this is gross cruelty. Bees are awesome and we all need them TO SURVIVE so maybe murdering them is NOT THE ANSWER. Goddamn. In Africa, years of “careless interbreeding” of native cattle and European cattle has resulted in a major loss of genetic diversity in African cows, which is never, ever good, especially when “70 percent of rural Africans” rely on cattle for food and income. The new cows have no resistance to native diseases! And the climates are too harsh for them! So they’re dying all over the place! Whoops! [SFoodie; Hayes Valley Farm; TreeHugger]

Finally: Mike Tyson, vegan, gives a strange interview these days. This collection of veg cookbooks is fine and all, except that one of them clearly has A FISH ON THE COVER. Still, the recipe for Babycakes' cornbread is at the bottom of the page, so, win some, lose some. Most importantly, congratulations Cinnaholic on the good review from SFoodie! You deserve all the accolades coming your way!! (PS: Inside Scoop, taking photos and being snide does not count as a “review” so get it together and eat a cinnamon roll already, they are delicious.)


NYC discovery: Finnish ryes!  »

Just call me Christopher Columbus because I’ve made an amazing discovery! Just kidding, really I “discovered” America even though a bunch of people already “lived there.” I’m just kidding go back to the first sentence because I made an amazing discovery!: Finnish ryes by Northern Rye!

On Sunday, I went to the Park Slope farmers market on Third Street and Fifth Avenue and my sister-in-law pointed out that this one stand had “some vegan dipping thing.” I went to check it out and I find these funny tart-looking things. The nice women working the table told me they are called “ryes” and gave me an informative card. To quote said card, “hand-made right here in New York City, our artisanal* Finnish ryes are based on a traditional rye pasty recipe from Karelia, a region in Eastern Finland and Western Russia.” On the internets, they are called Karelian pasties (I know, pasties!!! Haaaaaa! Pervs.) [Ed.: that’s a short “a” sound, as in “rat.” Perv.] To liven things up, they make the ryes with cool non-traditional fillings, including a vegan sweet potato edition! Of course I had to buy one because they looked kind of interesting and I always like to let the omnis know they have a vegan audience.

When I say they looked “interesting,” what I really mean is that they looked “weird,” but I wouldn’t let that deter me! And boy am I glad because I ate it and it was superfantastique! There were caramelized onions and rosemary mixed in with the sweet potato and oh my lord, what a happy marriage of flavors! It looked like the crust part would be crispy and like fiber-y or something but it was not at all; it was soft and yummy.

What I would love to see is vegan versions of their spinach ryes and beet (and feta, bleh) ryes. My only problem with them is that, as far as I can tell, they don’t have a website. Is that even possible? I mean, every biz should have a website—I have like eight websites and I do absolutely nothing. But at least I know when and where to get them so I guess that’s all I really need!

For those who can’t make it to the Park Slope farmers market, I found a vegan pasty recipe! Turns out there exists a lovely all-vegan Finnish cooking blog and they have a recipe for a turnip-filled version. Root vegetables—how exciting! If any of you wonderful people make this recipe, please give us a review!

*I hate this word because I have no idea how to pronounce it. I was hoping it wasn’t a real word but apparently it is.

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