Interview with a vegan: Kate Dollarhyde! »
Vegansaurus: Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Kate Dollarhyde: When I first decided to go vegan it was absolutely for animal rights reasons. How could I see the evidence of animal abuses and torment and not act, especially when the act, for me, would be so easy? I was lucky to go vegan where I did—right in the center of San Francisco: a block from a forward-thinking Safeway, a quick jaunt from Rainbow Grocery, mere feet from the Castro farmers’ market. It was like magic, the convenience of it.
As I matured in my veganity, I read over and over about how destructive animal farming is to our ecosystems, our soils, and that’s what really sealed the deal. And health? I was never concerned with health! Do you guys know how many cupcakes I eat? I’m at like at least 1,000 per day. I might have a problem.
Vegansaurus: How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
Dollarhyde: I’ve been vegan for four-ish years. I’m not completely sure, but I know my veganniversary is in April sometime. I was a vegetarian for two years before that, though that was much more difficult than the veganism is because my family was less willing to accommodate me, especially during holiday meals. But my dad is vegan now, so it’s all good.
Vegansaurus: What do you do to make monies? Tell us all about it.
Dollarhyde: I do very thrilling desk work for a biotech start up in Berkeley; you know, research, coffee brewing, presentation compiling, dish-doing, all the exciting stuff. I was wary of taking the job because (in the interest of full disclosure) the company I work for contracts with labs that do animal testing. I didn’t have a lot of options when I graduated from college with a useless BA in a field that requires a doctorate, so when I was offered a job that would pay me a living wage with health and dental insurance included, I couldn’t turn it down.
The device they’re developing could save millions of human lives a year, but I still find it difficult to square with my vegan beliefs. Of course I’m against animal testing, but if one of my family members contracted the disease they’re trying to cure would I be glad the device existed? Heck yes I would be.
Vegansaurus: I know you volunteer with various organizations—what’s up? How can we get involved with some of them?
Dollarhyde: I volunteer at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art every Saturday, down in the museum district near the SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. It’s a fantastic space and the people I work with are phenomenal. The museum works hard to engage the community for education and fun times, so every first Thursday we host a crafting event in partnership with Etsy called Craft Bar. It’s always hugely crowded and rowdy because of the cheap beer and is always the highlight of my month.
The best way to get involved with the museum (and other small, under-funded museums like them!) is to ring them up and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Small museums are chronically understaffed and could always use a helping hand at the front desk or during events. And unlike at the large museums with competitive volunteer waitlists, small museums will usually give you the opportunity to do a variety of work. I was asked to help with aspects our recent exhibit installation and it was too dang fun.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any companion animals? Tell us all about them!
Dollarhyde: I have two cats! Boris, a giant bruiser of cat, and Rhubarb, a feisty little spitfire my partner and I adopted from the SFSPCA. Some complete jerk abandoned her in a cardboard box in the parking lot outside of the shelter at night, in the winter. Boris is a total weirdo, really vocal, and needy in a completely adorable way. He likes to wake my partner up in the morning by standing on his chest and licking his hair. Rhuby is a much more normal cat; she’ll roll on her back and lure you in with the promise of sweet, sweet belly rubs, and then just bite your shit like it ain’t no thing. She likes to sleep under the covers with us so she’ll usually stand by my head at 2 a.m. and meow until I lift of the covers so she can come in for a snuggle. It’s too cute to be annoying.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any super-cute photos of animals to share with us?
Dollarhyde: Have you seen this video of someone’s pet fox licking a window? Because it’s amazing.
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
Dollarhyde: I’m boring—I’ve always been a panda person. And my family was really weird about it! Every holiday someone would give me a panda stuffed animal until suddenly I was 18 and there were like 30 stuffed pandas in my room and people would come over and be like, Kate, wtf?
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan cookbook?
Dollarhyde: That is an impossible question, Laura. You know that is like the meanest question ever. But, well, fine. It has to be Vegan with a Vengeance. When I first went vegan I, like most newly hatched vegans, had no idea what or how to cook. Isa showed me the way, and now I cook every damn day and I’m actually not too bad at it. The book is the stuff of dreams.
My other favorite cookbook is Strong Waters but it’s not exactly vegan, just full of exciting recipes for exciting alcoholic beverages. I like to brew when I have the free time and Strong Waters covers all the esoteric weirdness I love to make the most.
Vegansaurus: What’s your favorite vegan dish to make? What about for a vegan bakesale?
Dollarhyde: Call me Garfield, baby, because I love lasagna. For a bakesale? Carrot cake! Always! Carrot cake is my second favorite food; it should be a food group all on its own. And it should have the biggest part of the food pyramid.
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
Dollarhyde: How could you do this to me? How could you make me choose? Southern fried tofu and collards at Souley Vegan, or curry soba soup at Cha-Ya? Is there even a God?
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan restaurant?
Dollarhyde: Ugh, it’s impossible. Souley Vegan.
Vegansaurus: Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
Dollarhyde: Yes, absolutely! Party at my house! You bring the booze, I’ll make the tacos!
Vegansaurus: Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
Dollarhyde: Is there a secret clubhouse I can visit? [Ed.: We wish! Someone finance the rent on a secret clubhouse/large cardboard box we can use as a mobile office!]
Are you a great vegan? Are you doing great vegan things? We want to to know more about you! Email Laura for more information on The Vegansaurus Interview!