When it comes to Michael Pollan take-downs, Adam Merberg is truly the champion  »

Sometimes your Vegansaurus feels like the only sane Michael Pollan critic in the world—we try to exercise restraint, but can you blame us? It’s Michael Pollan, one of our sworn enemies! Who can be calm around a sworn enemy?

Happily, we are not alone: our internet-pal Adam Merberg has an entire site dedicated to Michael Pollan’s hypocrisy, inaccuracy, and general bad attitude, particularly toward vegans, as Adam is both clever and vegan—and has extra time on his hands, we’re not entirely sure but the point is Say What, Michael Pollan? fills a niche vegans and vegetarians were dying for.*

Adam’s most recent post addresses Pollan’s most recent piece for the New York Times Magazine, a 4,000-word feature on a 36-hour dinner party with his family and a few of his chef and baker friends ["well, one of my homes”] and their families, and just how amazing and wonderful it is to eat good, local food prepared by talented local food professionals, not to mention the local wine, oh isn’t my life the most? We cooked in an outdoor oven that’s really a hole in the ground, it was such a “primitive…cooking device” just like they use in the Mediterranean, O glorious!

Beg pardon; we cannot, do not, will not help ourselves. Adam, taking a studied and serious approach, draws more interesting conclusions:

"To reconcile Pollan’s published accounts of his own diet with his advocacy for eating ‘mostly plants,’ it is helpful to consider something he said in a CBC interview in June:

For better or worse, we’ve democratized meat-eating. Meat-eating is something that was a special occasion in most households for many years….The poor got very little animal protein. So one of the nice things about industrial meat production is it makes this human desire—because it is a widespread human desire—something that even the poor could satisfy, and if we eat meat more responsibly, you know, it is going to be less democratic.

"Putting everything together, the underlying message seems to be something like this:

We need to move to a system of meat production that I consider acceptable. That’s going to make meat more expensive, so you are going to have to start eating mostly plants. I, on the other hand, have so much money that I don’t need to have even a single animal-free meal.

"Happily, those of us who don’t make as much money as Pollan don’t have to miss out on the carnivory altogether, as Pollan has thoughtfully shared his account of  the dinner party in a prominent publication. Maybe we can’t afford to buy good meat, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have the privilege of reading about two accomplished chefs ‘giving the baron and the saddle a deep-tissue massage…and then wrapping them in a beautiful white lace of caul fat.’"

We strongly suggest—no, we REQUIRE, Vegansaurus requires you to read Adam’s entire post, and then read all the rest of Say What, Michael Pollan?, and subscribe to it in your feed reader so you never miss another soundly reasoned argument against Michael Pollan’s anointment as the Savior of Eating Habits, or whatever.

*or at least this vegan; I really can’t stand that guy.


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?


Bourdain in the city: initial reaction: UGH  »

My parents have digital cable. It goes with their digital internet. It gives them access to hundreds of channels, and the DVR can record multiple programs simultaneously, while you watch something different at the same time! Basically, it is amazing.

It still doesn’t make television good, though, and that was the problem with the San Francisco episode of Anthony “Pig” Bourdain’s show No Reservations: it just wasn’t very interesting. At the end of the show, I learned that Bourdain is either under the impression that martinis aren’t vegan, or that vegans don’t drink, the way he kept yelling about how a city known for meat-abstainers could have so many places to get a good drink. While, of course, the largest and most regular meeting of our kind occurs at a martini bar, but it’s probably not fair to expect grandpa Lipitor to learn so much about new and different things. Like I don’t talk to my grandparents about progressive political issues!

Later on there’ll be a better write-up, with violence-inducing transcripts! For now, the highlights. I especially like the part where Bourdain races in his Mister Steve McQueen big penis Bullitt car across the Bay Bridge to teach us about how The Other Side in Oakland Lives, and how we should “remind [ourselves] that maybe not everybody lives like [us], or can afford the best, or has time to grow vegetables in the yard they don’t even have.” There’s nothing I appreciate more than a pedantic lecture about social strata from a non-local. Also really cool was when we learned that Bourdain’s cuisine “line absolute” is monkey brains: he will not eat them. This just after a long close-up of two shiny red kidneys lying on a white cutting board, but before the paper cones of “Iberico ham crystals fried in duck fat,” it makes tons of sense. An absolute line, what kind of hypocritical bullshit is that? Without trying one single piece of vegan food?

So my initial reaction: If you haven’t got anything new or even outrageous to say, just keep your yap shut.


St. George Spirits on No Reservations. PUKE.  »

Anthony Bourdain, that hella old white dude who likes to pose with hamhocks over his junk* and who is all I’M A TEAR A BITCH UP but is really just some smarmy once-upon-a-time chef hosts a show on the Travel Channel called, No Reservations for Smarmy. This week, they hit up San Francisco and there is a sneak peak up of their visit to Alameda’s St. George Spirits.**

So watch that video and then all I have to say is A) what is up with the screeching car sound effect when he pulls up? Are we supposed to think, GOD HE IS SO BADASS? I’m confused, because what crossed my mind was that’s total midlife crisis, STOP EMBARRASSING ME WITH YOUR CHEESY CAR, DAD stuff right there; B) Do you still get hangovers when you’re 1,000 years old? And is it cool to play them up when you’re SO OLD WHY WERE YOU UP PAST 9 P.M. DRINKING ANYTHING BUT METAMUCIL?; C.) YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT A METH LAB LOOKS LIKE, SO STOP ACTING LIKE YOU HAVE STREET CRED. Ugh obnoxious. The closest that white-bread motherfucker has ever been to a meth lab is watching an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent; C) Man, I am disappointed in St. George Spirits. They have been nothing but awesome to me since way back when I lived near their old warehouse and they let me in for free tastings. It was just a couple of people then, including a really old awesome German dude with VERY rosy cheeks, if you know what I’m saying.*** I’d come in and we’d talk animals and sip port and there would be some awkward flirtation and I’d leave before it came the time when someone was about to Cross the Line. Anyway, they were always supportive of animal rescue things I’ve pitched at them, readily supplying delicious vodka to benefits and just being the raddest best. But now I see this video and firstly, where is my old German homie? And who is that roided-out, beanie-wearing d-bag and his friend, live-action Howard the Duck? Did they eat my old German bro when they warped in from 1997? I’m ascurred. And now they’re making FOIE GRAS VODKA? Did they do this just do this because they knew Bourd-lame would crap his ill-fitting pants when they saw their nasty-ass concoctions and therefore they’d definitely get on the show? I mean, that’s like the ultimate example of media whore-ery. Way to get famous for being the cocksuckers who impressed the king cocksucker. Man, just look at those three. I’m tempted to challenge you all to a game of fuck, marry, kill with those three champs but it’s like Sophie’s Choice: you can’t win. I guess I’d have to choose murder-suicide?

There is no real reason for this post except to say, man. Fuck the world. Nothing is good and pure and I hope they choke on that foie gras vodka. Ugh, back to Safeway Select vodka for me. Oh well, it’s cheaper and tastes the same(-ish). Plus, it soaks up infused flavors better SO THERE.

Also, Pirate Cat is having a viewing party tonight if you’re into that. Apparently they’re serving up bacon (of the pig and non-pig variety), if you’re into that. Which you might be. I’m not one to judge you, lovely reader.

**I know Meaverly and MD will be bringing you more insightful awesome scoop on the whole show but I just like to get angry and shiz.
***I’m saying he was a raging alcoholic.


Alice Waters + Humane Society = Sharks!  »

Well, well, well; it turns out Mrs. Slow Food Nation, Queen of the locavores (GOD I hate that term) Alice Waters has a heart after all. She may have once been crazy about shark fin soup, but since Friday she is firmly against it, “committing never to [eat] or serve” anything with shark fin in it. Looks like the Humane Society schooled her pretty good—not sure how they got to her, as she was very publicly pro-shark fin soup just a few months earlier—but their methods are beside the point.

For all the praise that “eating local” gets, the truth is that limiting your meat consumption is a lot more helpful for the damn environment than scarfing down whatever fish caught within a 100-mile radius of your house. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been telling you that for years, A-dubs. Good on you for finally saying something both positive and sensible. As for us nonentities, we can help support the Shark Conservation Act from behind our computers by sending strongly worded emails to our senators, demanding (politely) that they vote for the bill that the House has already passed.

(because all this converges with the Discovery Channel’s SHARK WEEK 2009, maybe you want to know there is a free video podcast that accompanies said SHARK WEEK broadcast, which—if you are into this sort of thing—is fairly interesting.)



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