vegansaurus!

12/07/2010

Give yourself the gift of a DOWNER  »

I know not everyone watches as much TV as I do so I’m not sure if you’ve all seen the latest KFC commercial.* It’s a peach. Just kidding, it’s crazy! They tell you to “give yourself the gift of time,” this holiday by getting their $19.99 “Festive Feast” for your special dinner. They want you to make a TRADITION out of it. Dudes, that’s fucking TRAGIC. I can only imagine that you would only buy this meal for Christmas or your holiday of choice if you really had to because you can’t cook and can’t afford anything else. That is such a downer, KFC. Like I said, TRAGIC. It’s especially a tragedy considering the cost of KFC to your health and the planet is way more than $19.99.

This is my favorite scene in the commercial:


They have this winter wonderland thing going on with snow and all and then this giant snowball drops down! But wait! That’s not a snowball! Gross.

The truth is that you don’t have to eat KFC’s “feast.” If you have no money and aren’t the best cook, you can still make a great family meal. Actually, in my family, on Christmas eve our traditional meal is spaghetti! Spaghetti is cheap! Math time! Let’s look at the figures:

Walgreens sells Barilla spaghetti (16 oz.) for $1.59 and Ragu pasta sauce at two jars for $3; that’s $4.59 with extra sauce to boot! They also have garlic salt for $.99 and olive oil for $3.49, and my corner store sells french bread for $.99; for $5.47 you’ve got garlic bread (with plenty of olive oil left over). For vegan meatballs, I’m afraid you won’t have any luck at Walgreens—though in SF and NYC, you might find some at your corner store (we live like liquor store kings!). VeganEssentials.com has Nate’s meatless meatballs for $5.29 so I’d imagine they’d be priced similarly at the grocery store. All together, that’s $15.35 and you’ve got sauce, olive oil, garlic salt, and probably meatballs left over. BOOM! Yummier and cheaper than the KFC meal!

So this year, give yourself the gift of spaghetti! Yay!

*That link is probably temporary. But see it now!

10/13/2010

Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

Man, kids these days. Remember when the awesome college part-time job was waiting tables or bartending or working in a video store (personal favorite!)? And remember when KFC wasn’t paying coeds $500 a pop to hand out fliers while wearing pants with “Double Down” emblazoned on their “buns”?  Yeah, me too! So WHAT HAPPENED? KFC has been struggling as of late (apparently they lost 7 percent of revenue in the last year?) and it turns out that their target audience can’t even recognize the Colonel anymore. So instead of thinking “Dude, our problem is that our food is super-gross and also unfit for consumption, so maybe we should get rid of that monstrosity we introduced last year and rethink our horrible horrible menu as well as our choice to be known as chicken murderers,” they decided that their best course of action was to rent ad space on the behinds of college women. This is bad for several reasons. Number one: STOP KILLING CHICKENS! Number two: This is hella sexist. Why do you have to advertise on lady lumps? That is degrading! Number three: Goddamn, are those pants ugly and ill-fitting. KFC is desperately trying to sell “fun and sexy” but is coming up with “fire-engine-red wedgie.” NO ONE WANTS ANY OF THAT! Thank god some colleges are against this, but it really makes you wonder exactly what’s going through the minds of the college deans (deans are like principals, right?) [Ed: Sometimes! Depends on the structure] who do allow this on their campuses. Probably nothing good.

Here’s another thing that’s wrong with today: Hog Out Month in Texas. Have you guys heard about this? Apparently Texas is SOOOOOO overrun with feral hogs that its department of agriculture has decided that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. In fact, the department (run by the delightful Todd Staples) is not only encouraging people to go out and take vengeance on these monsters that destroy farmland, parks, and GOLF COURSES (I knew we would get there eventually), but is actually offering grants to spur the Texas counties into a veritable Hogocaust. They’re giving away cash prizes! Let trappers onto your land to turn it into a grisly bloodbath, and your county could win up to $25,000! It’s not just for money, though. It’s a challenge! Like in fifth grade, when you were supposed to read 20 books over the summer and then you would get a free book from the library? Just like that! Except with less reading and more muffled squeals of anguish. And the smell of burning flesh.

But sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES, good things happen. Usually it’s all fire and brimstone, though, and things that make me toss and turn in bed at night. Which is unfortunate because Allen thinks we have bedbugs now, so every time I accidentally kick him as I am pondering the plight of the human race and the cruelty we all visit upon the animals and each other, he wakes up and insists that a bedbug has bitten him. And then he gets the flashlight. I hate it when he gets the flashlight. Anyway, GOOD THINGS. On Oct. 3 Colombia celebrated World Animal Day for the first time, and over 500 people marched through the streets to stand up against the mistreatment of animals. This video is awesome, and what’s even more awesome is the closing message: “Even though animals cannot speak, they deserve love and respect.” Why can’t we all just get along?

That’s it for this week! Please leave suggestions for next week in the comments, or email me. Have an awesome Wednesday!

09/15/2010

PCRM’s ad campaign: Science says Big Macs are nasty!  »

[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine* (PCRM) released the above commercial totally and morbidly dissing McDonald’s after a recent study they conducted shows just how unhealthy McDonald’s food is. And McDonald’s is pissed!:

This commercial is outrageous, misleading and unfair to all consumers. McDonald’s trusts our customers to put such outlandish propaganda in perspective, and to make food and lifestyle choices that are right for them.

Outrageous and outlandish? Them’s fightin’ words! But PCRM’s findings are pretty scary. The Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese has 42 grams of fat, 740 calories, 155 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,380 milligrams of sodium. HOLY CRAP! Check out that sodium number! Good lord. Even the sweetly permissive USDA only recommends up to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, and that’s counting foods with naturally occurring sodium (although mostly those are dairy products, ew).

Other people are backing McDonald’s in this time of need, including the Wall Street Journal community. So far, 54 percent of them say the ad is unfair! Wah! BTW, I say we go over and vote. Give them some perspective! Our Meave had a few words to say in response to this:

Of course the WSJ crowd is voting it “unfair”; readers of the WSJ are [stereotypically] super-capitalist, super-individualist Randies who’d be libertarians if they weren’t so into government breaks for big corporations. “We are responsible for our own decisions,” says a commenter, as though anyone can make a good decision without pertinent information. UGH.

Besides, this Question of the Day isn’t asking, “Is McDonald’s responsible for all heart disease, ever?” or “Should the government expand healthcare to cover people who ONLY EAT MCDONALD’S BECAUSE THEY ARE STUPID POOR FATTY FAT FATS WHO SHOULD KNOW BETTER?” It’s an AD CAMPAIGN. And one might think that WSJ readers, being on the whole very staunchly pro-business, would support the right of an organization to run whatever ad campaign it so chose. I suppose that when that ad campaign comes into conflict with the interests of a major international corporation, WSJ readers would rather see the big, profitable corporation continue to dominate.

Everyone’s favorite, Eater, had a bit to say in McDonald’s defense, calling the ad “a crazy new commercial” by PCRM, adding that

PCRM is known for their somewhat insane vegan agenda—back in May, they wrote a press release advising KFC to follow the same guidelines the FDA sets out for tobacco producers and not advertise near schools and put a warning label on Double Downs. In this this ad, they recommend “Tonight, make it vegetarian.”

Somewhat insane vegan agenda? Duck and cover! But then the example they give sounds very sane to me, considering another study showing how fast-food chains target children and then feed them horrible crap.

Now, if you are a vegan anything like me, you love your vegan cupcakes and vegan fried food. It’s like we always say, vegan doesn’t equal healthy. But we’re not talking about cupcakes; we’re talking about POISON. Remember Super Size Me? This stuff will kill you! And the main difference is that they don’t want to tell you. Vegansaur Jordan was just saying the other day that she will tell you in plain language that her vegan cupcakes are far from vitamin bars. And if PCRM wants you to know about the nutrition information of McDonald’s food and its ramifications on your health, what is so “unfair” about that?

*Disclosure: Our Laura has worked on contract for PCRM in the past.

05/05/2010

Oh SNAP. We may have beaten KFC on the Double Down launch, but Food Swings in Brooklyn just kicked everyone’s vegan asses with the first fast food vegan Double Down for sale anywhere. Anyone tried it yet?

Oh SNAP. We may have beaten KFC on the Double Down launch, but Food Swings in Brooklyn just kicked everyone’s vegan asses with the first fast food vegan Double Down for sale anywhere. Anyone tried it yet?

04/23/2010

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]

04/05/2010

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:

The Vegan Double Down

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.

KFC’s 11 Secret Herbs and Spices
The actual recipe is a closely guarded secret, but this is close enough. I adapted the recipe from KFCChickenRecipe.com with vegan substitutes where 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.

01/06/2010

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.

[Pizza image from QuarryGirl, KFC image from PETA, and Crazy Cat Lady image from Bebo]

12/28/2009

Grading the government, loving lemons, saving deer, giving presents to pigs and more in a special holiday link-o-rama!  »

The Humane Society gives the Obama Administration a B- for animal protection, based on the Change Agenda for Animals the HSUS set at the beginning of 2009. The full report is in this pdf.

Every country is crazy and racist in its own way: in Japan, you can buy a box of tissues shaped like a bucket of KFC “chicken” with Obama styled as Col. Sanders and emblazoned with the English word CHANGE. I don’t know.

Next Saturday, Jan. 9 at Mix (4086 18th St. at Castro Street) from 3 to 7 p.m., Rocket Dog Rescue and Muttville Senior Dog Rescue are cohosting Iris’ Memorial Fundraiser! There’ll be music, art, a raffle, snacks, and drink specials, with all proceeds to benefit Rocket Dog and Muttville.

Our friends at VegNews point us to the super-disturbing news that a “medium-sized” dog eats about 360 pounds of meat per year, which “combined with the land required to generate its food” means that a medium-sized dog has twice the carbon footprint of an SUV driving 6,200 miles per year, “including the energy to build the car.” In short: VEGAN DOGS 4 LYFE. The authors are also heartless advocates of keeping rabbits for company and supper, which obviously we do not support, but COME ON, vegans, are you really feeding your companion animals other animals?

Update: Just like Michael “shut up” Pollan’s “a Hummer-driving vegan has a lighter carbon footprint than a Prius-driving omnivore” (or whatever) comment, the above “facts” regarding the environmental impact of your meat-eating pets have been proven false by actual science. Vegansaurus maintains that giving your companion animals food like V-Dog instead of vile shit even offal connoisseurs wouldn’t touch is better for everyone.

Gracias Madre finally opened and we have a first report. (Should you go? YES you should. duh.)

Arizmendi Bakery, creators of amazing mint-chocolate-chip cookies the size of your face, among other phenomenal vegan baked goods about which Megan Allison has been known to wax rhapsodic, is expanding to the Mission! We are quite pleased.

Oh hey, the recipients of the Ed Block Courage Award were announced just last week Tuesday—NFL players are nominated by and voted on by their teammates—and guess who won for the Philadelphia Eagles? YES! Everyone’s favorite dog-abusing sociopath, Michael Vick! The Ed Block Foundation “celebrate[s] players in the NFL” while “improving the lives of neglected children and ending the cycle of abuse.” I can’t imagine what kind of courage it took to STOP TORTURING AND MURDERING DOGS and START PLAYING FOOTBALL AGAIN, Michael VIck; apparently, enough to reward you for it. A-plus, then. I guess neglected, abused kids have a lot to learn from such an upstanding citizen. Have fun at dinner.

The deer at Valley Forge got a “holiday reprieve,” as the National Park’s plan to have “sharpshooters” kill 1,500 deer over four winters (a November-to-March period), beginning with 500 in 2009, was indefinitely postponed by two lawsuits. The slaughter of these 1,500 deer would destroy 85 percent of the herd presently living in Valley Forge National Park.

LA Weekly says, Meyer lemons and red cabbage are where it’s at. I say, have you ever had German braised red cabbage, all sweet and sour and delicious? It tastes like staying warm on a snowy night, highly recommended.

There’s a new chef at Weird Fish who is reportedly changing the brunch menu and eliminating lunch altogether. Um. Do we have reason to worry, here? The brunch at Weird Fish is great, we fucking love Weird Fish, please do not mess around with our vegan brunch PLEASE PLEASE.

The Guardian has food writers name the most important (for varying reasons) food books of the decade. Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma get mentions, how broad-minded. Or, you know, shut up, England.

And speaking of publications that irritate me right out of my holiday booze-haze, Bon Appetit lists “the 10 best dishes under $10.” Repping for San Francisco—and the meatless—Harvey Slocombe’s tin roof sundae. Shut up, Bon Appetit.

Northern California Dungeness crab fishing: the season is short, the majority of the dead crabs are canned and shipped out of state, and it has nothing to do with honoring the values of Slow Food goddamn Nation. Color me shocked.

But HEY! here is a video of some pigs getting presents! Aren’t they adorable?

08/31/2009

DANG. Kentucy Fried HELLA RACIST. I’m surprised the camera didn’t swoop down on them in a rice paddy. Stellar work, KFC. And wtf is five-star taste? What does that EVEN MEAN??

Humanity is so fucked.

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