Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"The Face on Your Plate"

One of my favourite authors, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, is at it again. Not content with tempting me from afar with exotic visions of the Antipodes (New Zealand specifically), now he's written a new book that I can barely wait to get my sticky paws on!

From his website, I learned the following:

I have finished The Face on Your Plate, The Truth About Food, a book about vegetarianism and veganism, which will be published in March 2009 by W.W. Norton. Here is the table of contents:

Introduction: The Gold Standard is Green
1: The Only World We Have
2: The Lives They Lead
3: The Fishy Business of Aquaculture
4: Denial
5: A Day in the Life of a Vegan

Given the quality of Masson's previous research and writing, and his commitment to veganism, this is sure to be an outstanding work to add to the compassionate cannon!

Stay Vegan, Friends!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Is raw where it's at for you?

I'm a big fan of Happy Cow - no, not Happy Meat - Happy Cow, the online resource for locating vegetarian and vegan restaurants and stores worldwide. I have used it several times to find somewhere to eat and have resolved always to post reviews of culinary experiences to help build out their database.

So, with that in mind, I've just submitted my review of Grezzo, a raw vegan restaurant in Boston that I visited last weekend with My Beloved and our good friends C and D. This is what I had to say:

Last weekend, I visited Grezzo with friends from out of town. This was my intro to raw food and it was great in many ways. We mainly opted for the sampler menu - many courses, small portions - and were delighted by how much food apppeared. The quality seemed excellent (although, ofc ourse, I have nothing to guage it against!) and the staff were superbly knowledgable, friendly and helpful. The plates looked like mini works of art and often it seemed a shame to eat them.

On this occasion, the chef's taster menu included soups - Mushroom Tea, Thai Hot and Spicy Coconut - appetizers - Grezzo Sliders, Pickled Asparagus Salad, Gnocchi carbonara - salads, and entrees - Tomato Ravioli, Land and Sea, and Lobster Mushroom Fettucini.

The ravioli was nice but way too simple to be a good menu choice. The Land and Sea was a complex dish, artfully presented and delicious, and my husband - initially the most skeptical of our group - particularly liked his entree: the lobster mushroom fettucini which was finished with a saffron 'cream' sauce.

The desserts were wonderful and really, if we have the chance to go again, I think I'll be tempted to skip straight to them! I had the choc brownie sundae with home-made gelato and ultimately had to share with everyone - it was soooo good! The rest of the party opted for the Mexican Chocolate Torte which was good, but heavy on the hot pepper!

Of the experience in general, my husband made an intriguing observation: with raw food, there is little smell. Since smelling the food is part and parcel of enjoying its taste, I guess this was the only thing that counted against it. Of course that's not a critique of Grezzo as much as of the genre of food.

The venue itself is ridiculously small: 'cozy' is an desperate understatement. The few tables really are crowded together and the plush overstuffed dining chairs are a luxury the space cannot really afford.

Overall, it was an excellent intro to raw food and, if you are interesting in dipping your toes in that particular pond, Grezzo is a great place to do it!

Although we definitely all enjoyed the food, the chance to meet with our friends and spend a chunk of time catching up was certainly the best part! Given the circumstances, I think I would have enjoyed a veggie burger and fries on Boston Common just as much, as long as the company was the same! And I am relieved that I have not developed a sudden urge to 'go raw' in the same way as I was overcome with the need to go vegan almost a year ago. My Beloved, too, is breathing a hefty sign of relief, especially as we have just purchased that 'sales-tax free stove'.....

Raw food is fine - delicious, nutritious and all that jazz. Don't let anyone kid you that it's all grated carrots and sprouts - that is a tremendous dis-service to the whole ethic. But I do think that it's also somewhat contrived - 'ravioli' and 'fettucini' dishes without pasta? Hmmm...I know that raw foodists will disagree and that the same skeptical criticism is levelled against faux meats/meat analogs/mock meats/whatever you want to call them. And I eat those things happily, given the chance! But I remain unpersuaded by the whole raw deal. Perhaps it is because the basis of my veganism is ethical and springs from a horror of the atrocities committed against farmed animals and a refusal to partake in or support the industry. It does not spring from health concerns and so the additional nutrition benefits derived from raw veganism just don't cause too big a blip on my radar.

But if raw is where it's at for you, more power to you. And if so, visit Grezzo - the staff really is wonderful and you will be very well looked after.

Main thing is - whether cooked or uncooked - stay vegan, friends!