Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just a smidge to the left, please

When vacuuming your bunny, please be sure to use the BRUSH attachment. Cocoa here goes crazy for this whenever we bring out the vacuum cleaner. Somehow the other bunnies Ruby, Woodstock, Cinnamon, Ghirardelli and Willow can't get into it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Miss Your Meat?

I know, what a repulsive title, but I have to be honest. As someone who came to a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle late in life, I can't help having moments when I miss certain dishes. Let's face it--for 40 years, I ate cows and pigs and chickens and I enjoyed it. Meat is delicious, there is no getting around it. I was, if there is such a thing, a major steakaholic. I say only half kiddingly today that when I went veg, I saved cattle ranches full of cattle, that is how much steak I used to eat. And I blush when I think of all the legs of lamb I cooked over the years. It is all unthinkable now. Repulsive, even. But I digress...

The other day I was thinking of my grandmother--she passed away in 2006 at the age of 93--and recalling with great fondness her wonderful food. She was Italian-American and frankly the best damned cook I ever knew. She made the best traditional Sunday gravy--for the unitiated into the Italian culture, gravy actually refers to the tomato meat sauce we had with pasta. A gravy takes hours to put together because it usually involves pork chops, meat balls, sausages and--sometimes, to my hypocritical horror back then--PIG'S feet. And the secret to her meatballs was the mixing of veal, beef and pork AND cheese. Delicious, yes. Ethically? Morally? All so, so, so wrong. But the truth is, food is usually always tied up in memories of warm family gatherings and people you love (ESPECIALLY in an Italian household)--in the heart, it is hard to separate the two, and often that is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when giving up meat. Happily you don't have to give up the warm memories when you give up the gravy. Life goes on--time to make memories with all vegan dishes, something so easy to do these days with the plethora of vegan cookbooks out there.

In the long run, the past is the past. Denying its reality is pointless and denying that meat is delicious is silly for a latter-day vegan. I confess I do envy younger people today who have been raised vegetarian and have never tasted meat. It is good that they don't know what they missed for so many reasons. Do I miss the meat? Sure. I miss my grandmother more.

Dedicated to the memory of Fanny Raphaella O'Brien

The Hoppy Vegan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

To be vegan is to be free

Taco Hell has that old catch phrase, think outside the bun. Well, in a way, that is what we need to do as aspiring vegans. Think outside the traditional meal! We have been raised with this "rule" that a meal has to consist of animal, potato and vegetable. Boooooooooooooring!!! What is wrong with just doing a dish of veggies, as long as they are creative and flavorful? Tonight, for instance, I made a quick dinner of Tofurkey vegan cheese pizza and Swiss chard sauteed with lots of garlic (gotta get those dark leafy greens in! And I had them on the side, by the way, not ON the pizza--just so I;m clear.) Yummy! That was enough for me. Sometimes I will have broccoli, steamed, with nondairy butter, and a baked potato. Or maybe a bowl of soup--Imagine makes quite a few vegan soups that you can just plop in a pan and heat, adding whatever herbs and seasonings you like for a fast meal. I can tell you, I can make a meal easily JUST out of the lemony roasted potatoes from VEGANOMIGON cook book. Do whatever you want! BE FREE!! Why do meals have to follow any sort of game plan anyway? Make the only rule be that your dish is cruelty-free.

Of course, this is NOT so easy when you have an omnivore hubby to cook for, but that is an issue for another day. :vO

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You Can't Always Get What You Want

"More willow toys! What, no chocolate???"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Rabbit Shorned

Nothing like getting the cold bunny butt when you've accidently clipped off one of their front claw/nails. In our defense, Cinnamon fidgetted just at the wrong moment; the next thing we knew there was blood and cries of guilt-ridden lamentation on our part as we whipped out some flour to stem the bleeding and dabbed on some antiseptic cream. (Of course, Cinnamon also received extra treats--victim's compensation.) We even gave her a shot of pain meds too since Cinnamon tends to stress out about the LEAST little issue. Now as I write this, she is snuggling with her mate, Woodstock, totally ignoring the human who had held her while her claws were getting clipped. Best I can tell, all is forgiven, but if two weeks pass and I haven't blogged here, then she very well may have had her revenge...: )

Monday, August 2, 2010

Book Review: Ninety-Five

Most people in America have never met a living cow or a pig, a chicken or a turkey. In No Voice Unheard's outstanding book NINETY-FIVE, through stunning photography and very moving stories, America can encounter the faces of animals normally perceived as mere food to be put on the table.

"Ninety-five" refers to the number of animals per year people on a vegan diet are estimated to save. Whether or not you accept that number, you will meet 95 of the millions of America's farmed animals in this powerful and moving book. These are 95 lucky souls who one way or another found themselves at animal sanctuaries around the country.

Take the rabbits, Farrah and Damien, for example. These poor animals were destined to be food until a kind person, horrified at that prospect, bought them, the rest of the litter and their mom from the marketplace and brought this fortunate rabbit family to an animal sanctuary. There is Julep the duckling, who had been rescued from a fois gras facility where she and other ducklings had been dumped into a trash can. And there is Peapod, a pig I happen to have met a couple of years ago at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Maryland--this poor "babe" had been a prize in a greased pig contest. The person who "won" him took him into a parking lot whereupon he began lobbing rocks at and beating him. A security guard's intervention brought Peapod through a rescue group eventually to Poplar Spring. I can personally attest to this pig's sweet nature--he was very small when we met him and he came running to us when we called his name. I will never forget how he bounced off all the other pigs in the barn to get to us.

But then like the animals at these special homes,I'm lucky. I live close to an animal sanctuary so I can visit--and do every year--and spend time with turkeys and rabbits and pigs and sheep. NINETY-FIVE may be the closest most people will ever get to seeing the faces of these animals and bearing witness to their suffering. Each story, each photo, is rife with emotion and will stir your soul. How can you not be affected by the love story of Libby and Louie, a hen and a rooster who stood by each other's side through near-fatal illnesses? How about Linda and Tricia's story? Tricia is a blind dairy cow who came to the sanctuary in total distress and mourning because her calf had just been taken from her and sent to slaughter before she missed being sent to slaughter herself. When introduced to Linda, a disabled cow who had been living with the sanctuary's sheep and goats to avoid accidental injury by interacting with other cows, Tricia took to Linda right away, licking her new companion for hours. They are now inseparable companions, fulfilling each other's needs, just as we humans do in this crazy world of ours.

NINETY-FIVE is one of those rare books that you want to give to everyone. You can order it via, OR even better, you can order it directly from NO VOICE UNHEARD, the nonprofit organization who produced it ( NO VOICE UNHEARD offers a giving packages deal, where you can buy 5 copies of the book at a discounted rate. Nonprofit groups can also get in on some discounts as well. Their online bookshop reads, "Because our goal is to educate and inform, we want to make No Voice Unheard publications as accessible as possible. We have set cover prices lower than similar quality books produced by commercial publishers. By ordering directly from No Voice Unheard you are helping to support ongoing outreach efforts."

Get a copy, everyone. Do it for you but mostly do it for Goosifer the goose, Swoozie the goat, Aunt Bea the bunny, Rhubarb the rooster, and all the lucky farmed animals who survived a horrible fate. Perhaps you will find you will want to help make millions of other farmed animals lucky too.