Sunday, November 27, 2005

where is the umlaut on this thing?

If I could find it, I would explain to you that Greta is the name of the new hund, and you would know what I mean, but as it stands we'll just have to rely on good old fashioned intuition and uncertainty. At any rate, here are some pictures of the greyhound. I love her.

Also, did you notice that I've been "blogging" kind of a lot today? That's kind of depressing, but then it seems equally depressing to have a blog and then not ever post on it, so I don't know.

Finally, someone wrote in the comments section that they would gladly make an attempt to go vegan if they had someone to help them out. Let me say that I'm welcome to provide any advice, recipes, question-answering or cooking that I can, so don't hesitate to use me as a resource. Also, this person mentioned being at times overpowered by cheese. This is totally understandable, as cheese is yummy. The best advice I could give regarding this dilemma is to give veganism a shot, but with the understanding that you'll probably eat cheese again, maybe once a month, maybe once a year, whatever. A lot of people are probably shocked to hear me say this, vegans especially, but I remember reading an interview with dairy-farmer-turned-animal-rights-activist Howard Lyman, and he said something that really resonated with me. I paraphrase: any meal that doesn't contain animal products is a step in the right direction. I think a lot people set themselves up to fail, and then they say "I tried going vegan...I just couldn't do it because of cheese, ice cream, blood sausage, etc.", and then they just go back to eating a ton of cheese and dairy and eggs and whatever else. I think it would be a whole hell of a lot better to set realistic parameters for yourself, take the guilt out of it, and go from there. That way you can feel positive about your choices instead of feeling defeated for trying to take on too much.

I don't know, it's never been a contest for me. Generally the self-righteous end up falling out anyway.

Isn't Greta the cutest most awkwardest dog you ever saw?

for your animal friends

Minneapolitans! If you own a pet, I behoove you to purchase your pet related products at UrbAnimal (formerly Pet Central) on Lyndale in Uptown, right across the street from the Wedge and just a few doors down from some rockstar liquor store.

We went there to buy boots (!) for our new greyhound, Greta, and when we did, the nice lady behind the counter was so taken by Greta's awkward charms that she gave her a squeaky toy for free!

In this world of Petsmarts and Petcos and Petmultinationalconglomerates, it feels good to pay a little extra to get a little extra at a nice little neighborhood pet store. They even hooked us up with a lady who makes custom dog coats...we just put an order in for a black little number with a yellow fleece lightning to follow.

temptation revisited (and how!)

Not long ago I posted on this very blog about the apparent merits of Tempation non-dairy ice cream. What follows is not science, merely speculation, but it came at a cost to yours truly.

One night I ate a lot of the peach cobbler variety of said product. It wasn't good, but it was there, and it was taking up space in the freezer (the container is kind of enormous), so I ate it, and just kept on eating. Later that night, while in the midst of sweet slumber, I was awakened by a churning in the stomach and a thunder in the basin, if you catch my meaning. Okay, I thought, that's what I get. Operator error. Don't eat so damn much ice cream next time, especially a flavor that you don't enjoy.

Fast forward to the day after thanksgiving. My wife and I were eating apple pie, made with pink ladies (the best apples on earth in my opinion), topped with Tempation vanilla vegan ice cream. My wife, as she often does, got full in a hurry, so I ended up finishing hers as well.

The sharper readers among you can already guess where this is going. For the rest of you, I have compiled the following links that outline possible connections between Tempation and diarrhea:

Okay, so I couldn't find any links, and I have to say that it isn't my intention to slander the good name of these people who have fashioned the best vegan ice cream to come along in a while, it's just that, on the odd chance that I'm right, I can at least caution you to be cautious, or what have you. I'm dumb enough that I'll probably still buy and eat the stuff, but maybe I'll have some pink bismuth by the bedside.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

vegan cheese slices!

I love sandwiches. I really do. For this reason it is a problem that I now live near a very expensive sandwich place that uses vegan mayo and makes an amazing $10 14" vegetable sandwich.

But it's also a problem because there aren't that many options for vegan cheese slices, and nobody wants a plain sandwich. That's why I was so glad when I discovered Tofutti cheese slices. Finally, I told myself, the food scientists had gotten it right. I was even able to make grilled cheese with the stuff.

The biggest problem was that I could only find it at one store in town, the East Side Food Co-op in Northeast Minneapolis. I like Northeast, and it was an excuse to stop in to either Holy Land or Marina for some good Middle Eastern (or, for all of you into that chic post-9/11 jargon, Mediterranean) food.

Imagine my surprise, then, when on two recent visits, Eastside didn't come through. As a matter of fact, there wasn't a vegan cheese slice to be found in the place. No one there seemed to know what was going on, which is fair, as I understand there is one buyer who takes care of those things, but it does reveal a bigger question...

...what's up with Tofutti products? I know that Whole Foods (my friend Brian calls it Whole Paycheck, which is pretty funny, if not entirely accurate) and Wild Oats/People's Market don't carry Tofutti products because of some "standards" that the company or their ingredients don't jibe with, if you believe that there is a greater moral compass at work behind the corporatization of the natural foods industry. So what gives? I have nothing but love for Tofutti, and not just because I love those cuties, but because there's was the first vegan ice cream I'd ever tried, and just about everything they make is pretty damn good.

So. If you have a line on some Tofutti vegan cheese slices (or any others that are halfway decent), it is incumbent upon you to inform the surly vegan. Because I'm going to sniff them out anyway, and I promise you that you don't want me in your kitchen. I'm kind of creepy.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

here is a link for you.

Owen Johnson isn't vegan, I don't think, but as a vegetarian he doesn't use any animals in his clothing. (okay, i did just find out that he uses silk, but that doesn't mean you have to buy the silk items, right?) What's more, he's a nice guy and a good friend, so perhaps you should buy something from him. I think his website might be a little out of date, as there are pictures of his (reportedly insane) ex-wife, and the only messenger bag featured is made from cotton. Tonight he showed me one of his newer bags, definitely waterproof, definitely not cotton, and he is also going to make me a top tube protector for my bicycle. If I'm lucky, I might also get him to make me a tube top protector.

The point is, you should buy something from Owen (if you want to), and ask about some of the newer things he's working on. Tell him the surly vegan sent you.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

wool or synthetics?

i really hate to wear wool. i do.

but if the alternative is petrol-based synthetics, is organic wool going to be a better choice?

is veganism about more than just the animals?

help me out, people, it's getting cold outside.

Monday, November 07, 2005

tis the season, whether you fuckers like it or not.

That's right. 'tis the season for the following yummy items.

: It's like drinking a grapefruit. I love it.

: You should know that White Wave is owned by Dean's, which is something of a large dairy conglomerate, but goddamn if this shit isn't worth the ethical compromise. That said, I welcome any vegan nog recipes, because probably White Wave doesn't need my money.

UNTURKEY: Don't be fooled! While Tofurkey makes what is probably the fantastickest (you heard me) deli slices on the market, they fall short in other areas, including their Kielbasa and Bratwurst (despite the inclusion of the very delicous Full Sail Ale), and also in their holiday feast deal. Go with the Now and Zen (I promise I'm not making this shit up) Unturkey and you won't be disappointed, I promise. The more ambitious among you might even purchase some vital wheat gluten and make your own holiday goodness, but if you do, please make sure you knead that stuff enough, because nobody likes a doughy un-bird.

WHISKEY AND SCOTCH: Sure, these are kind of my baseline anyway, but they're easier to justify somehow in the cold weather. I suppose blackberry brandy fits in here, too, but that's a bit too close to drinking cough syrup for my tastes.

CANNED CRANBERRIES: When I was a kid I only liked the smooth kind, but now I love it all, especially the way they hold the shape of the can. Everyone should own a special fancy tray for just this occasion, and perhaps a gravy boat as well.

PIES: You can't go wrong with a good vegan pie. Just don't blow the crust, or the whole thing is all shot to hell.

That's all I've got for now. Runners up include Mexican hot chocolate (with the know what I'm talking about) and Russian teacakes, also called Mexican wedding cookies, oddly enough. Maybe I'll put up some holiday baking recipes when the time comes and get all Martha Stewart on your asses. Then I'll go to prison and become wildly successful.

My wife and I are actually hosting Thanksgiving for the first time ever, and actually this will be our first time hosting any holiday. My family has already announced their plans to curtail "the turkey dilemma" by purchasing a pre-cooked Thanksgiving dinner from a local grocery chain and bringing it to our house. So much for cooking, I guess, but we'll probably still whip up some amazing vegan goodness and silently gloat in the knowledge that our lovingly prepared food is infinitely tastier than their pre-prepared grocery store meal.

If anyone has any hosting horror stories or do's and don'ts they want to share, I'm all ears. Also, feel free to add to the list of fun things that you associate with this season. Jesus, how corny did that last sentence sound?