Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's the little things in life...

What could be more exciting for a vegan than getting $50 worth of goods for $25 at The Body Shop ( )? How about discovering that at last there is something vegan I can actually eat at the mall food court?

In this case, it's a cupcake.

Granted, a chocolate cream cupcake that just happens to be gloriously vegan is not the most filling of lunches, but then I have been accustomed to ignoring the mall food court since I went vegetarian several years ago. Sadly the one eatery I used to enjoy lunch at was called Desert Moon, a TexMex place that even bragged about its vegetarian menu by posting the list for all to see. Now it is a greasy, fat-filled Taco Bell. That was the last time I bought anything to eat at my mall's food court.

But now, to my greatest joy, as of a month ago, Sweetz Bakery has arrived, with all sorts of custom made treats, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, AND they also do custom orders. I have no doubt my exuberance convinced the young lady working the stall that I was strange, to say the least. No one who chooses the whole animal kingdom to dine from can possibly understand how thrilling it is for a vegan in THIS part of Virginia to find ANYTHING with the label vegan attached. I devoured this sweet cupcake with such joy (think of the scene in JULIE AND JULIA, when Julia Child had her first taste of that fish in France, and you will understand what I felt!). I thanked my husband profusely for pointing out this treasure in our mall when he wandered to the food court to get himself a snack. Had he not walked by, I would STILL not know of this wonderful veggie oasis in the least likeliest of places.

GET A LIFE, you may be thinking. I say, take your joy whereever you can get it in this gloomy, oil-soaked, deficit-rising, animal-exploiting world. I am not only happy for my own selfish wants when I see places like Sweetz Bakery pop up in shopping malls--I am happy for the animals whose lives are saved because more eateries are recognizing there are millions of us who choose NOT to eat animals and desire guilt-free treats to sooth our sweet teeth. If only Dunkin Donuts could comprehend this, and give us some good vegan doughnuts. But that is a complaint for another blog.

To paraphrase a famous French queen, "let em eat vegan cupcakes!" : )

The Hoppy Vegan

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summertime...and the living is easy....

Cocoa and Ruby - life ain't too hard for these two loveydovey lagomorphs!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Home Sweet Home

The poet Robert Frost wrote "Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in." I thought of this line when I got home last night after a very long day at work. I felt guilty yet again of making my six furry rabbits wait for their dinner as I put in the overtime and then--oh the audacity of this!--stopping off to try the Berkeley vegan pizza at ZPizza. In my defense, I ordered this pizza to go and therefore it was not as hot as I would have liked it to be when I was finally able to sit down and eat it. Nevertheless, when I got home around 6:30 last night, we were facing some very put-out rabbits. Ruby, our diva, who does not comprehend the meaning of the word subtle, posed by her empty food dish, staring into it intently. You could HEAR the thought prcess--"What is wrong with this picture, HUMANS??"

I can't recall exactly when we started feeling guilty for trying to have a life outside the world with our rabbits. Don't get me wrong--the rabbits bring my husband and I the greatest joy, but we do miss sometimes the freedom of just going somewhere at the spur of the moment, have drinks and cigars somewhere, or maybe catch a movie at the last minute (I believe the last time we did THAT was pre-2002!) Last night was not exactly sneaking off for pleasure--that is not how I define working overtime, though I did enjoy being able to buy vegan pizza hot from the oven--and yet I felt overwhelmed with guilt when I got home.

Home is where the rabbits are, for hubby and me. Luckily for us, our lagomorph kids are still willing to take us in, and not just because we are their sole source for their nutritional needs. I can feel their love minutes later, after the initial "scolding" wears off, when Cocoa gets on the floor and welcomes me as I lie next to him to stroke his velveteen fur. Or when Ruby jumps on my back, and nudges the back of my head gently with her nose. Or when Cinnamon does a binky when I present her with her (tardy!) dinner. I would not give up those moments for ANY chance of "social freedom". I want what I already have. And that should be enough for anyone.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bunny Does Take Out

"Hey! Where are the water chestnuts??"

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Going to the Supermarket

The late great George Carlin once did a hilarious bit about supermarkets and asked the audience if they ever noticed what foods other people put in their carriage. ("Ugh! F*#*ing canary mix!") I thought about this the other day at Whole Foods as I looked over my own carriage. Interesting choices--tofu, Field Roast vegan sausages, So Delicious nondairy mocha fudge ice cream, ham steak...

Whoa! Back up the truck. HAM steak?

Well, obviously it is not for me!

Still, I felt guilty as hell standing in line. I watched everyone else to see if they were checking out my groceries, preparing my defense if they dared to meet my eyes and give me an odd look. This is for my husband, I would explain hastily, a man who has yet to come to the inevitable conclusion that eating animals is ethically and morally wrong. Anyway, it is not like I buy him this every week. Usually I save the ham for Christmas...

The only other time I felt this awkward was another trip to Whole Foods when I was wearing one of my many pro-veg T-shirts. It didn't occur to me till after I put the hot italian sausage into my basket how odd an impression THAT must have made. I don't think even now my husband realizes what emotional turmoil a jaunt to a supermarket can be for me. At some gut level, I am selling out my own principles when I select meat products he likes, but what about this--what about the principle of marital compromise??

One of the complications when one in a married couple is a vegan and the other an omnivore is trying to find a middle ground when it comes to filling the food larder. I know hardcore vegans won't even allow meat in their homes, let alone cook it, and that is fine. But if you have been married to someone as long as I have (almost 20 years!) and you have changed on your own, there has to be reasonable compromise. My husband has come a long way and in some ways I know I've influenced him. He won't eat certain animals anymore--duck and lamb, forget it (still working on the pig and chicken!) And in truth, he is more a flexitarian than a meat-and-potatoes man, which he never really was, even those many many years ago when we met in high school. If he really wants to have meat, he usually has it outside the home. Still, I feel compelled that I have to give him some of the foods he has been familiar with. WHY, I ask myself constantly. Why is this? Why can't I just put my foot down and say, "Hon, I can't DO this anymore?" Why can't I just say that this really bothers me. I suppose at some gut level I am afraid I will lose him over this issue. After all, this is not just an issue of diet change. This is a matter of entire values-change. Literally a new way to look at the world. I no longer see the world as he does and I keep hoping he will see it as I do now, that killing and eating animals is unnecessary, unhealthy, AND it perpetuates suffering and violence. The kick-in-the-ass question is, what if he never does? Where does that leave the two of us? How long can any compromise last?

The Hoppy Vegan

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Where Every Squirrel Knows Your Name

This is just a frivilous blog today about the joy of sitting on my deck and watching critters of all kinds come to visit. When I got up this morning, Ben the rat (our new neighbor whose home is this narrow burrow he made under our outside air conditioning unit) was sharing the birdseed with Templeton (our name for whatever squirrel happens to be dining in at the time). Later, as I had my lunch outside, I watched grackles, cardinals, wrens, and mourning doves take their turns at the feeder. At first they did not want to approach, flying past the deck on several runs. Perched in the tree in the common area, they all loudly tweeted their protests of my presence on the deck. When they realized I was not going anywhere with my glass of Pinot Noir and red quinoa salad, they risked it all and came to eat. Later in the day, as I passed the deck door and looked out, I saw Chippie the Chipmunk (yes, I know, our names for our animal neighbors are abyssmally unoriginal!)snuggled on the rim of the feeder, stuffing his cheeks with seeds. I happily delight in the idea that my deck and birdfeeder is the CHEERS bar of the animal kingdom in my town. I still fondly think of those moments during our February blizzard when so many of these animals ate together, the cardinals AND the squirrels AND the chipmunks. Everyone huddled together to eat and survive. I would like to think they are grateful for the human efforts to keep them fed, but I know I am anthromorphizing. I CAN say with certainty that all these beautiful creatures, small, furry, beady-eyed, red-feathered, bring me the greatest joy in this life.