Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Christmas!

Or Kwanzaa...Hannukah...Festivus...Happy Whatever You Celebrate!

My Beloved and I, although secular in disposition, do enjoy a good celebration - especially when it entails a couple of days off work, alone with each other and our Little Ones, and the chance to sit by the fire, drink wine and open presents that we really do not deserve.

So yesterday - Christmas Day - was just a delight.

We started the day comparatively early by making some vegan yummy french toast (from Sarah Kramer's La Dolce Vegan) with local maple syrup and a pot of steaming coffee. The sun was out, the sky a gorgeous shade of blue and the snow had receded just a touch, so we planned the hearty brunch to sustain us through the later walk with the boys. With temperatures actually above freezing, we figured Sir Humphrey wouldn't mind a little ambulation around the neighbourhood - to sniff his p-mail, shout at passing dogs and greet random folks on the street with his customery nose to the groin.

So this was the breakfast:

The boys were unsure were unsure as to whether they'd been naughty or nice all year and were worried that Santa Paws may have skipped them altogether. Sir Humphrey (aka 'Captain Piddles') was particularly concerned.....

However, the scene that greeted us was one of plenty:

How thoughtful of Santa Paws to put all of the gifts out of doggie-reach!

The boys had a great time:

And My Beloved was thrilled with his vegan cordials....

The rest of the day was spent lounging by the fire, Skyping with our relatives in New Zealand (Hi Kiwis!!) and playing with our own toys. I was totally spoiled by My Beloved this year and received an iPod Touch! Oh man, I love that little gadget! The first app I downloaded was from VeganYumYum and it's a recipe database, complete with step-by-step photo instructions for each dish. Magic! I was like having a tiny laptop in the kitchen and meant I no longer have to run between kitchen and study to check a recipe, or wastefully print out the recipe. The app's available free through iTunes and I am in love with it already!

So much so that we made VYY's stuffed seitan roulade for Xmas dinner. OK, it didn't come out as fancy as the original, but we enjoyed it with lemon roasted potatoes, herb roasted roots (carrots, parsnips, garlic cloves, celery and onions), and a garlic-mustard gravy. The stuffing was forbidden rice-pistchio-pear-cranberry, based on a recipe over at Nava Atlas' site here and slightly adapted.

And this was the end result:

We had a chocolate bundt cake sitting in the sidelines but were waaaaaaay too stuffed to contemplate even a slice-let, so that survived the day!

Darwin was exhausted by all the gift opening and the strain started to tell:

Snooze well, little guy!

Oh, and stay vegan, Friends! :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What to do with the leftovers?

One of the final baking tasks I had to complete before the Christmas break was to create a gift-tin for my mother's companion, we'll call him 'D'. Now 'D' is remarkably difficult to buy for at Christmas, so I decided this year to bake him some good vegan treats, ship 'em over to Blighty and pray that they arrive within a reasonable timeframe and in a respectable state.

So, in case they don't, and in the full knowledge that 'D' will never read this blog post, here is the finished tin, just awaiting mailing tomorrow:

Oh, and these are the titular 'leftovers'....

My Beloved is suddenly all in favour of leftovers.....hmmm...strange that!


Oh, and in case anyone out there is concerned about the apparent neglect of my own little cookie monsters - Darwin Dog and Humphrey Hound - rest assured that I did not forget them in this baking extravaganza. Indeedy no. See here, just fresh out of the oven and still too hot to put their paws on:

Carrot and pea biscotti!

Frozen peas are caught in an intimate embrace with freshly diced carrot and bound together by wholewheat pastry flour, a silky ribbon of canola oil and a sprinkle of baking powder. The dough is baked, sliced into squares, baked again, removed from oven and squished tentatively before being baked one more time. To achieve the preferred level of crunchiness beloved by beagles and their little brothers everywhere. Well, here in Westfield, anyhow!

And if you are still reading this and wondering why oh why is she baking up a storm on the final Sunday (and therefore shopping day) before Christmas???? Well, these views from various windows will show you why:


Stay warm, and vegan, friends!

'Tis the season....

...for folks to play 'Surprise the Vegan'. Or so it seems to me.

On Friday, my department (a small one of 6 people) held our pre-Christmas party. Like plenty of companies out there, our employer has scaled back the official festivities - 'given the economy' - and so it fell to us to amuse ourselves. Which we did by way of a potluck.

Now, of course, I am the only vegan in the group and, as such expect, to be overlooked and disregarded. I have learned that it's vital to bring waaaaaaaay more food to such events because inevitably everyone will **love** the vegan food, won't be able to believe that it's vegan, will nonetheless scarf it all up PDQ and your plate - and hence tummy - will be left woefully empty. And so it was simply astonishing to me when I was faced with the following:

- My boss brought in a massive crockpot of vegan 3-bean chilli.
- His boss brought in some homemade hummus, pita bread and red onions.
- One coworker's husband had made a massive tray - a veritable fieldful - of roasted root vegetables with rosemary.
- Another coworker got up super-early (we start work at 8am) to bake stuffed mushrooms.
- And there was also plenty of homemade salsa, chutney and sundries.

All vegan.
All wicked delicious.

Now I know that I said of the last group of people that I worked with that they were fantastic and I couldn't have found a better crowd, but I think my current coworkers - and friends - are just about the most accommodating people I have ever had the privilege to work with.

So C'pak people - you know who you are - I think you guys are awesome!


Oh, and if you are wondering what I brought to the event:

Chocolate-Stout cupcakes with peppermint 'buttercream' frosting (from VCTOW)
Super-fudgy brownies (from JVB)
Almond cake topped mincepies (from my own special recipe)

I also baked up some of Isa's Rumnog Pecan Ball Cookies and some Snickerdoodles, from VeganYumYum, as presents for the gang.

Despite the snow storm which initially dumped about 12 inches of snow on us and is **still** snowing even today (almost 2 days later) a good time was had by all!

Am starting to feel all kinds of festive. Bring on Christmas Eve!


Oh, and stay vegan, Friends!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Double-Dose of Erik Marcus!

Am I a lucky girl or what?

Today I managed to get a double-dose of Erik Marcus! First his newest book arrived on my doorstep, The Ultimate Vegan Guide: Compassionate Living Without Sacrifice, courtesy of those wonderful fulfilment folks at

Then, I also noticed that he's created a cute little SpringWidgets widget on his site, so I added that to Cackleberry too! (see column at your right ---> ) The funniest thing is that Blogger wouldn't add it as a widget the first couple of times so I gave up in abject frustration and foul temper only to find, when I logged on this evening, that no fewer than 4 instances of the widget had appeared!

Ah well.....for all his great work, Erik richly deserves the exposure! Nice one, Erik, my friend!

Oh, and the book's well worth checking out too - a nice primer on veganism for those who are perhaps on the fence and considering making the switch. A smooth read with vignette-style chapters on topics ranging from the intolerable economic realities of modern agribusiness to meal planning and basic nutrition to vegan activism. I am not sure that seasoned vegans will find anything particularly new here but, as with all of Erik's work, it's very well researched and really accessible. His pragmatic, common sense style is evident in his approach to the subject matter and I heartily recommend it!

Stay Vegan, Friends! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

But where do you get your...

It’s ironic that the burden of justifying possible nutritional deficiencies rests on vegans (“where do you get your protein/vitamin B-12/etc.?”), because research shows that vegans typically have twice the fruit and vegetable intake of people eating the standard American diet. In recent studies, vegans had higher intakes of sixteen out of the nineteen nutrients studied, including three times more vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber, twice the folate, magnesium, copper, and manganese, and more calcium and plenty of protein. Vegans also had half the saturated fat intake, one-sixth the rate of being overweight, and, while vegans were shown to be at risk for deficiencies in three nutrients (calcium, iodine, and vitamin B-12), people eating the standard American diet were at risk for deficiencies in seven nutrients (calcium, iodine, vitamin C, vitamin E, fiber, folate, and magnesium).

- Dr. Will Tuttle

Veg Inspiration of the Day
November 30, 2008

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In a kitchen redolent of nutmeg and spice...

Thanksgiving this year was wonderful. Coincidentally, it fell upon My Beloved's birthday but he gave me the best present...a ticket out of the tortured-turkey nightmare by way of a trip to Cape Cod to stay at the area's only vegan inn. The Shady Hollow Inn is in some ways a quaintly typical New England establishment - wide plank flooring covered with sumptuous rugs, perfect white trimwork, handpainted works of art, Shaker-style furniture, and a slightly nautical feel. Everything was comfortable, our wishes were not only accommodated but also anticipated and we wanted for nothing.

But it was more than that. What made it distinctly atypical was the ethic of the innkeepers themselves. David and Ann are simply terrific people with a vision for the inn based in living their own values, which extend far beyond simply offering guests a break from life. Their values are founded in compassion and respect for the natural world: long time veg*ns, they serve only organic vegan (and local as far as is possible) food, recycle and reuse, tend a wonderful garden, decorate the inn both inside and out with 'animalia' and offer the local avian population the widest choice of feeders that I have ever seen.

I knew I was 'amongst friends' the second I arrived when, welcomed into Ann's kitchen, I espied her stack of vegan cookbooks open to several of my favourite recipes. We bonded over cashew cream (from the Joy of Vegan Baking) and vegan pumpkin pie, debated the finer points of the Veganomicon and were excited to find we both possessed largely the same array of culinary tomes. I instantly felt like I had met up with an old friend - one fortunate enough to possess a beautiful, old-worldy kitchen, comfortingly redolent of nutmeg, cinnamon and spices, in which to while away the afternoon. I was enchanted and could have happily spent the whole weekend right there - this is no exaggeration.

On the promise of dinner, however, I managed to tear myself away and set off, albeit somewhat trepidently, for the Ocean House Restaurant. Now, if you do happen to check out their menu you will see a veritable Noah's Ark of animals thereupon. When Ann recommended them, I was hesitant but trusting and I am so glad I was able to put aside my worry. I had a really delightful meal:


Mine was 'The Pear', a delightful concoction the essence of which was a pear-based eau de vie. My Beloved enjoyed the Mojito, made with Kaffir Lime Vodka, fresh mint and lime. To the right on the pic you can see the bread which is worth pointing out. They take a section of a french stick, make several vertical cuts almost all of the way through and into them insert some crispy flatbreads, which end up looking like sails in the wind. Moving beyond the usual herbed olive oil, these breads are accompanied by a white bean, chilli oil and miso puree which was a very nice touch I thought.

The appetizers were extraordinary and the presentation fanciful:

I chose the vegan spring rolls which were accompanied by a ridiculously fresh and citrus-y Asian coleslaw, a dipping sauce and a Chinese mustard drizzle.

My main course was a cobble-together of various entrees: the cod over a bed of pumpkin risotto, minus the cod but with a side of the tenderest, freshest spinach sauteed with sliced garlic I have ever enjoyed. The risotto itself was soft to the bite with not even a hint of nuttiness and yet the rice grains held their shape. Added to that, I split a side of Thai fried rice which omitted the usual eggs and anchovy sauce in favour of 10 different spices, vegetables and even a suggestion of pineapple. It was simply divine.

Oh, and dessert. Well, far from having to 'settle for a sorbet' we opted for it: a fresh, home made apple cider sorbet, delectably sweet and creamy. It arrived with a slender candle and 'Happy Birthday' which once again embarrassed (but secretly, I think, delighted) My Beloved.

Happy Birthday, Darling!
Not a bad start to your 42nd year!

Until the next time, Stay Vegan, friends!

I'm Vegan - The Movie!

I am SOOOO ready to tell you all about Thanksgiving but that will require more time than I currently least while I'm blogging surrepticiously here at work.


So, although I know you are waiting with bated breath for reports of Thanksgiving (and My Beloved's birthday) on Cape Cod, I hope this will tide you over. Cape Cod...tide...geddit?? Ha Ha.

So, while surfing around randomly trying to catch up on blogosphere developments I stumbled across a call for vegan documentary stars! Curious? OK, here's the scoop.....

Over at An Animal Friendly Life a casting call has just gone out for participants. Eric says:

Casting for I'm Vegan has now begun!

I'm Vegan is a series of short documentary profiles that will feature vegans from all walks of life, perhaps including you! The project is is intended to address preconceptions about vegans and veganism, which may increase normalization of and appreciation for veganism. It is also expected that I'm Vegan will be a catalyst for some viewers to go vegan. Completed profiles will be distributed for free over the web so that anyone can share the videos with family, friends, and visitors to their own sites. A full-length documentary is also in the works.

It looks like a really interesting project for those of you who are not as camera-shy as I am! So why not drop him a line and get your face in the movies!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Iron Cupcake Challenge

With the turkey massacre that is Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I am feeling more glum by the day so it is time to think about something slightly lighter....the Iron Cupcake Challenge. This is some fun devised by the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen whereby each month an ingredient is announced and folks compete to create a cupcake using that 'guest' ingredient.

There are monthly prizes and the November ETSY PRIZE-PACK is from the following artists:


as well as a pair of cupcake earrings from LOTS OF SPRINKLES.

OK, so last month it was cheese which presented a unique challenge to a vegan baker to be sure and so I ended up letting my entry slide. This month, however, the mytery foodstuff is the ever-so-humble-but-completely-wonderful-superstar-of-the antioxidant-izers: the CRANBERRY!

So for my entry I have created the Thanksgiving Stack cupcake!

Its base is a lemon, almond and vegan white chocolate cupcake - lusciously light yet moist and a fraction chewy from the ground almonds. To create the multi-layered effect, I just added some red food colouring to one half of the cupcake batter and then sliced and stacked the layers alternately. The filling is a light vegan buttercream frosting with a swirl of fresh cranberry confit.

As part of the entry I have uploaded my pix to the cupcake group on Flickr where you can see the competition is in full swing! I know I need to work on my 'mis en place' a bit more, but heck...this is going to be one sweet dessert to share with My Beloved in front of the fire tonight!

Anyways, click on over the ICC page and vote for Cackleberry! Let's have a vegan cupcake win this time!

And...stay vegan, friends!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Animal advocates will cherish you...

An open letter, crossposted from

I could not agree more....


Dear Friends and Family,

As you plan your Thanksgiving dinners I urge you to pardon a turkey this year.

Each year nearly 300 million turkeys killed in the U.S. Most of these turkeys spend their entire lives crammed together in cages or sheds. They live, breed, and die according to our wholly unnecessary desire to consume dead turkey flesh for a holiday meal. These turkeys suffer heart attacks, broken limbs, lameness, and death from their genetically-induced accelerated growth rate before they even reach the slaughterhouse.

See for yourself in this video:

The ones who do get to the slaughterhouse are often cruelly tortured on their way to death, as uncovered by investigators:

If you won’t avoid turkey for the animals, do it for your health or the environment. Gentle Thanksgiving offers ten reasons to have a turkey-free holiday meal:

10. Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol, and hormones.
9. You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.
8. You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.
7. Animal advocates will cherish you.
6. You won’t have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.
5. Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.
4. Commercial turkeys are too obese to breed. Won’t happen to you.
3. Your kids can tell their friends about their cool “tofurky.”
2. You are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball”?
1. You won’t fall asleep during the football game.

Have a truly happy turkey day by not eating turkeys. Happy for you and happy for turkeys. Give everyone something to be thankful for.

Here are some vegan Thanksgiving recipe ideas, either for you or for the vegetarian or vegan sharing your holiday with you:


Oh, and in case that's not quite doing it for you, check out this link as reported in today's New York Times....

Someone wise once said of their vegan Thanksgiving dinner:

It is better to show grace than to say it.

Stay Vegan, friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Delivery from May Wah!

Just the thing to lift sagging spirits... a delivery from May Wah!

A couple of weekends ago at the Boston Veg Food Festival we were treated to samples of vegan chicken, beef, shrimp and the like and really enjoyed them. Just for a change, not as an everyday food. OK, I guess it is a bit strange to be munching on a vegan chicken leg and really enjoying it, but it was the taste and texture that did it for me. And, of course, I never said that I didn't like the taste of meat...I just can't stomach the taste of cruelty.

And so it was with no small measure of glee that I enjoyed this for lunch:

My Beloved opted for less fat (I know, I know, there's a lesson in that for me) and got a heaping serving of channa masala and tofu saag. Believe me, it tasted divine.

OK, fast forward to last Sunday evening. My Beloved and I were reliving the high spots of the BVFF and decided to check out May Wah's website. We ended up ordering mainly 'seafood' but with some 'chicken' thrown in for good measure. Having duly noted our vegan status in the comments box, we sat back and waited.

Today is Tueday.

And look what was on the front door step when we got home:

Ohhhh, the excitement...

The tension mounts...

The final lineup...

Vegan chicken, codballs, tuna, prawns, salmon and crab.

Isn't that amazing?

Yes, it's true that it's not a good thing to have these as staples for your diet. But they won't be, they're just treats and are now safely stashed away in the freezer! All of which means that it's now time to get back to my pot of thoroughly healthy puy lentil soup with fresh rosemary and thyme, which is simmering on the stove. So, for this evening, I bid you Good Night and stay vegan, friends!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A small, secret wince...

Given my focus on food, plus my previous 30-odd years as an omni, it will not surprise you to learn that I am not exactly the most svelte vegan in the world. A chunky vegan is closer. And downright voluptuous (in places) is probably most accurate. However, I am trying to change this both by being conscious of what goes onto my plate and by working out at my local Curves. Although I am extremely proud of my choice to turn away from animals and ther secretions, I always have a small, secret wince when I tell new people that I'm vegan because I know that I don't physically represent a great advert for the health benefits. And I do so want this to change.

So while I was sweating it out around the circuit tonight, I decided to take the 'Nothing to Lose' pledge, the newest scheme Curves has come out with. During the holidays, members pledge to basically maintain the status quo - you don't have to lose weight, but you shouldn't gain either. OK, I thought, that'll be helpful - it'll encourage me to keep to my thrice-weekly schedule and to not go crazy over the next 5 weeks or so eating everything in sight.

But it was with no small amount of sadness and disappointment that I then noticed the 'Closed for Thanksgiving' sign displayed at the reception desk. It sported a clip art image of a roasted turkey, surrounded by all of the fatty trimmings with banners proclaiming 'Happy Turkey Day' arcing above it.

And I couldn't help but think that a real opportunity had been lost here. Wouldn't it have been less fattening and healthier all around to have promoted a meat-free Thanksgiving celebration? Was this not the perfect way of showing members how a vegetable-based dinner stacks up - calorie-wise - against a cruelty-free alternative and perhaps a mean to turning people on to reducing or eliminating animals from their diets. Apparently, for all the healthy eating hype, Tradition trumps Dietary Good Sense every time.

And on a separate but related theme: yesterday marked the first time this year that we were offered the grocery store discount coupon for the Butterball turkey. I gaped at the clerk in amazement, she might as well have offered to roast my dog for me. My Beloved handled it better than I, simply pressing the coupon back into her hand and saying gently 'We don't need that'. But when confronted by this sort of thing, I feel like I always go to pieces. Having seen some of the undercover investigations in Butterball processing plants, words can't describe the anger and sadness that descends on me when a teenager at a checkout glibly offers me a discount on the bodies of those tormented birds.

It's been a difficult day.

Stay vegan friends.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Please check your brain in at the courtesy booth....

Who says Friday night in with a burger and fries can't be a great vegan experience? Well, whoever it was was sadly deluded....Last Friday My Beloved and I were just completely exhausted from the week as a whole and all we wanted to do was check our brains in at the courtesy booth, sink our behinds into the sofa and our teeth into a big, juicy, cheesey burger. So that's exactly what we did....

and the full thing:

The cheese was a slice of the rice milk cheese and doubled really well for the standard American Cheese. The rolls were onion and herb, the salad fresh and crisp and the burger (hiding modestly in the pic above) was a giant portabello mushroom, sauteed off in a little Braggs and olive oil. 'Meaty', juicy, succulent and really hearty, this burger paired very nicely with some oven baked 'fries' (potatoes, olive oil, salt, papper, chilli flakes, a dash of paprika....) and a large glass of red wine. Ahhhh, the's a beautiful thing.....

Yesterday, we opted for something just that little bit less 'junk food-ish' and, having spent the day tramping around a muddy farm in the cold New England drizzle, we had a bit of a blow out at dinner. Finding organic butternut squash on sale for $1.49lb, we selected one that would have fed a small army never mind the two of us and stuffed it with a mix of black and mahogany rice, kidney beans, canellini beans, red onion, carrots, tomatoes and various herbs (I forget now which ones...) and served it up with some garlicky green beans and a small side of scalloped potatoes. This is not the best pic, but it gives the general idea.

I swear either I have to get a better camera or maybe just read the manual for the one I have. Sheesh!

OK, so that was the main course. We went a bit overboard and also indulged in a spoonful of dessert too: an autumn fruits crisp with Tofutti vanilla ice cream. I got the base recipe from The Peaceful Palate but added pears to the apples and cranberries and just a touch of ginger.

The topping originally called for 3/4 cup walnuts but, having none, I subbed in a mix of sunflowers seeds, sliced almonds, chopped dates and pistachios. Added to this is 3/4 cup maple syrup, a pinch of salt and a cup and a half of rolled oats.

And so here it is with some yummy ice cream....

On reflection, I suppose that this really is one of the few advantages of being in New England in November - the abundance of beautiful fall produce and the sheer inevitability of gorgeous desserts. OK, so I know you can get apples, pears and cranberries on the gloriously sunny west coast but, when it's 80 degrees outside and the AC is running, who wants 'fall fruit crisp'?

Right, am off now to thaw my bones in front of the fire.

Vive le weekend!
And, until next time, stay vegan, friends! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Phenomenal Soup

A couple of days ago, My Beloved talked me into making a soup. It was against my better judgement as - that night - I really wanted some vegan 'junk food' and this soup seemed altogether too healthy to even contemplate.

However, I am awfully glad that I listened to him (for once!) as this was just about the most perfect soup ever! It is from Jo Stepaniak's classic Vegan Vittles** and is the Potato, Tomato and Cheez Chowder, with two slight deviations: no tomato, and a small substitution.....


2 cups diced potato (peeled)
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery
6 cups vegetable broth (stock)
2 cups soymilk
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cashew butter
(originally the recipe called for 1/2 cup of tahini, which I did not have so substituted the two nut butters instead)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

Here's what you do:

1. Combine the potatoes, onion, celery and vegetable broth (stock) in a large pan and bring to the boil.
2. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 mins.
3. Combine the soymilk, flour, peanut butter, cashew butter, nutritional yeast, roasted red peppers, lemon juice, onion powder, salt, garlic and dry mustard in a blender. Process until smooth.
4. Pour this mix into the pot with the potatoes, celery etc and stir over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes. It'll be ready when it's smooth and thickened.
5. Stir in the parsley and serve.

The pic does not do it justice, but lemme tell ya, it was creamy, savoury, velvety and so more-ish that we both ended up with 2 bowls each and then I had the remainder for lunch the following day. It was awesome!

With food as good as this, it is really easy to...

Stay Vegan, Friends!

** If you try this recipe and like it, please do think about buying the book. It's understated but really quite the find!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On Prop 2: Ask yourself 'What would she want?'

In case, in case, in case there's anyone in California who's unsure which way to vote on Prop 2, please let me introduce you to someone who might help you make up your mind. Her name is Blaze and she currently resides at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary. Isn't she gorgeous?

Now, I know that there's this huge ideological chasm between welfare reformers and abolitionists about Prop 2 and other similar ballot initiatives and equally I know that the issues are complex. However, when I look into Blaze's eyes, those intelligent, inquisitive, forgiving, comical eyes, I know which way SHE would want us to vote. If we can offer even a modicum of comfort, succour and relief to the millions of caged animals that Prop 2 seeks to assist, I think she'd want us to do it.

OK, the phasing out of intensive confinement (battery cages, gestation crates, veal crates) does not bring us immediately to a world without suffering, a world of compassion and respect, a reality in which our fellow sentient creatures are no longer used and abused for our taste and our whim.

But look into those eyes. Let yourself really see her for the singular creature that she is. And then tell me that these measures wouldn't have made any difference to her?

Stay Vegan, Friends

Read about Blaze, and Edith, Pillar and Dora at Joanna Lucas' beautifully written blog, Peaceful

Gnarly Head or Blue Star?

On this auspicious day, My Beloved and I prepared a small celebration. The drinks are ours; the decision, yours!

Voting Today?

East Coast: Yes on Question 3

West coast: Yes on Prop 2


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Avocados do not have rectums....


Yes, that was the Quote of the Day at yesterday's Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. My Beloved and I managed to get there right on time and boy was it ever worth getting up early on a Saturday morning! The day started with a talk by Sarah Kramer on travelling as a vegan and she is so entertaining - funny, erudite, snappy, with a terrific presence and a good heaping measure of plain old common sense. She is exactly the sort of person you wish was your next door neighbour, your BFF or your older sister.

No papparazzi, sweetie!!!

But no, the above quote is not attributable to Sarah!

Next up was a legend in the vegan community: T. Colin Campbell. I was so honored to hear him speak and he did not disappoint. The room was packed - and I mean that there were people ranged along all of the walls (several layers deep), others sitting on laps, the gangways were packed with those who chose the floor and still others were crushed in the doorways, just to catch a glimpse. Professor Campbell was the first speaker that day to receive a standing ovation, so that pretty much tells you how thrilled the audience was. His presentation focused largely on how The China Study came about, his work with malnourished children in the Philippines and was very by its nature fairly dense with medical and scientific data. My Beloved loved it and is now interested in reading The China Study, so I'll have to procure a copy for him......

But, no once more, the above quote is not attributable to him either!!

Following Professor Campbell's talk, we were hooked. We stayed for all of the others throughout the afternoon and were alternately charmed by Karen Dawn, greatly entertained and enlightened by Dr. Michael Greger and delighted in Hannah Kaminsky.

Apologies for the terrible pix, but I truly could not get closer. And besides which, I was just so thrilled to have the chance to listen to these folks, I kind of forgot about camera angles....

Karen Dawn is very Californian and incredibly media-savvy. She is a true professional and you can just feel the passion oozing out of her. Highly energized and energizing, it is a privilege to spend time with her. Michael Greger is one of life's born teachers: the kind of peson you dream of having as your professor at university, but sadly never do! He's incredibly well informed and 100% up to date on his material, has all of the facts at his fingertips, knows the research inside out and has the charisma of the showman. His presentation was very audience-focused, with a lot of very dense information imparted in thoroughly entertaining ways. I would drive a fair few hours to hear him speak again!

Sadly, I have no photos of Hannah. Her spot was right at the close of the festival but still the room was packed. She presents as someone who is perhaps somewhat under-confident, but I think that's completely due to her tender age. There is no doubt that she was intimidated by appearing before so many people but I sense that she will grow into the role nicely and prove to be a wonderfully engaging and attractive advocate for veganism. I am excited to see how life develops for her.....

OK, I have tons more to say but it is cold here in my study and I am longing to curl up under the duvet(s) and read through some of the literature I picked up at the festival. So, you'll have to wait for Part Deux tomorrow, when I will indeed reveal who said: 'Avocados do not have rectums!'

Until then, gentle readers, stay vegan. Friends!

Friday, October 31, 2008

People continue to surprise me...

Final MoFo Post and Happy Halloween!

It's an odd thing. People continue to surprise me. Often in ways that leave me breathing a weighty sigh, it must be admitted, but not today. Today, I was pleasantly surprised and here's why....

I brought in the goodies I baked last night and we had a bit of a Halloween binge:

This was the finished cheesecake:

And here's a non-blurry shot of the fingers, complete with their spidery friends:

Thanks for the pix, Laura!

OK, so the other thing that was happening was that one of our 'corporate business partners' was bringing in lunch from Panera. I assumed that there would be nothing for me as Panera tends to use a lot of animals and their secretions as sandwich fillings, soups and the like. Plus, why would anyone think to get something separate for me?

Well, I was blown out of the water by the fact that when Bonnie arived with lunch, she'd brought for me some vegan tomato soup, a sourdough bread bowl, chips and salad. So within the space of 30 seconds, I went from having no lunch (the paninis of last night scarely lent themselves to offering leftovers!) to having a veritable feast. And it transpired that my boss had orchestrated the whole thing by calling her up and mentioning that I am vegan.

Now this is the sort of accommodation that makes me want to bake cookies and cheesecakes and cupcakes and whatever for these people Every Single Day. Because that kind of thoughtfulness and respect of my choices - even though they do not share them - are just a couple of traits that make the folks I work with the best on the face of the planet.