Friday, January 11, 2008

On Self-Serving Hypocrisy

At lunchtime today I was sitting in a new cafe which has recently opened in Northampton, The Green Bean. It's a cute little place and extremely vegetarian and vegan friendly - their VBLAT is my current absolute favourite.....But that aside, what got my attention and made me fume was an incident which occured at the table next to me. As My Beloved and I were waiting for our lunch to come out, we noticed the folks at the neighbouring table receive their food. The older man had ordered tofu with steamed greens and brown rice (it looked awesome, I have to admit) but his younger companion had plumped for a cheeseburger. OK, this is an omni place, so this choice is not surprising in itself.

What blew my socks off was the way they linked hands across the table and bent their heads to say grace. I was really struck by the question - as I watched them thanking their god for the meal - of whether the cow appealed to his god as he faced slaughter. It seems to me, admittedly as a person of no specific religious doctrine, that the act of praising your god for receiving the bloody result of abject misery, suffering and horror (aka 'meat') is perhaps the worst kind of abomination.

I haven't necessarily thought through my feelings on religious people who preach compassion and mercy and then happily consume the flesh of a fellow creature who ultimately knew neither. But I suspect that I have little patience for such blinkered, self-serving hypocrisy.

Stay Vegan, Friends.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Jamie Oliver shows chicken's egg-to-plate hell

I am so relieved that someone of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's stature is finally getting involved in showing the realities of factory farming. That he's focusing on chickens first is also a step in the right direction as they are often - alongside fish - the last animals to come off people's menus.

According to an article in today's Telegraph, Oliver succeeded in showing the reality of a chicken's 39-day 'life' in Britain's poultry industry. Although it's hard to watch - and even harder to live with what you've seen - it is so vital that people wake up to how their chickens reach their plates. From the disposal of male chicks (via suffocation or maceration - yes, in the US they grind male chicks up alive) to beak-searing to the horrors of battery cage production of eggs to the torture of 'broilers' to the final slaughter of these gentle, docile birds...the whole industry needs to have the spotlight turned on it and people need to wake up.

Wake up!

This brutality cannot be acceptable to anyone with a conscience.

Thank you Jamie Oliver!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Cupcake Friday!

So as you know, I love to cook and share food with folks. And you might also know that I now have a second part-time job. How are these two factoids connected?, I hear you ask in breathless anticipation. Well, bear with me....I really like the folks in my new place (I've worked there in the past too) and so, to show my generous, giving, likeable side, I decided to institute 'Cupcake Friday'. The absolute beauty of this scheme is that it simultaneously provides folks there with some end of week cheer, introduces them to the concept of yummy vegan food, and gives me with an outlet for all of this frenzied baking I'm doing lately.

So here was my grand plan for World Cupcake Domination. I drew up a chart with everyone's name on it and a choice of orgasmic vegan cupcakes: mexican hot chocolate, margarita, banana split, coconut-lime, rum 'n' raisin, etc etc etc. This jolly little chart was printed out and stuck in the kitchen with the strong suggestion that folks all vote for their favourite cupcake choice. When votes are tallied on Thursday, I will know what kind to bake that evening to bring in for Friday.

Sheer genius!

Even if I say so myself! :)

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Calling All Brits!

...and you know who you are!

I've just learned that there is to be a new series on Channel 4, starting tonight and continuing on the 8th and 9th January at 9pm called 'The Big Food Fight'.

It features big name British chefs - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Gordon Rasmay, Jamie Oliver et al and aims to throw the spotlight on the factory farming issue. From cruelty to obesity to fast food, it looks like they have several angles planned, so I would love to hear back from those who manage to catch this series and let me know what you thought about it. Being across the pond here, I'll have to hope for it to get picked up by Netflix in the end....

The website boasts that 'After this [...] you will never look at food the same way again' - this is how I felt when I learned about the horror of modern agribusiness, so I hope it works for you too!

Stay Vegan, friends!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Worth Thinking About...

...when they say that veganism is a just new fad.


"Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds?


It is certainly not lions and wolves that we eat out of self-defense; on the contrary, we ignore these and slaughter harmless, tame creatures without stings or teeth to harm us, creatures that, I swear, Nature appears to have produced for the sake of their beauty and grace. But nothing abashed us, not the flower-like tinting of the flesh, not the persuasiveness of the harmonious voice, not the cleanliness of their habits or the unusual intelligence that may be found in the poor wretches. No, for the sake of a little flesh we deprive them of sun, of light, of the duration of life to which they are entitled by birth and being."

- Plutarch

Heaven is Melted Chocolate!

I must admit that when I initially considered becoming vegan - as opposed simply to vegetarian - the issue of chocolate was a problem. Having been brought up in the UK, I have a very specific taste for chocolate - what the Europeans laughingly tried at one stage to have renamed as 'vegolate' due to the low percentage of cocoa solids. I like milk chocolate - Mars, Rowntrees, Dove, Galaxy and the King of all choccies - Cadbury! Not, of curse, to miss out Thorntons - that divine store filled to bursting with tongue tempting truffle treats!

Beat that for alliteration! :)

However, chocolate is a luxury not a necessity so I accepted that it was just a sacrifice I would have to make....until I discovered vegan chocolates! Oh yeah! We have vegan 'meats', vegan 'ice cream' and of course vegan 'chocolates' - I must have been naive to have considered otherwise! So, at Christmas I became the delighted recipient of a big box of vegan chocolates from one of our local stores in Northampton, Sweeties, from My Beloved (wonderful man that he is!) and I set about them with gusto. As is my way. And this Bacchanalia led me to ponder whether I could, in fact, make some myself. So today, I had a go.

I purchased a couple of molds, some good chocolate....

and did a quick web search for a recipe for the filling. This is how it looks thus far:

OK, so it's fiddly and I don't yet know how they'll turn out, but I'll post comments again later, when I know whether the whole process was worth it or not. It was an exercise in patience, that's for sure, but on the other hand a little chocolate does seem to go a long way and I think I could probably get quite excited by the possibilities here!

We'll see - watch this space!!


Stay Vegan, Friends!