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Happy Valentine’s everybody!

I wish I had time to make more heart-shaped food, some part of me loves a useless holiday that embraces little more than a funny symbol. Hehe. When I was in high school I used to treat it kind of like Halloween for softies, and dress up in pink and white taffeta and striped red stockings and give out chocolates to my friends and anyone in the halls who looked like they wouldn’t be offended by an overly friendly “happy valentines!!” and a little dark chocolate square. Today I don’t have time, and I don’t know how amenable the militantly awkward art school kids would be towards pure fluff and hallmark celebration (maybe they would get the irony?). So I’m off to paint two brazilian men kissing, and then I’ll buy pecans for the smlove so I can make a big wonderful pie for my family when I go home for reading week tomorrow.

On an unrelated note: I listen to CBC radio every morning while eating my breakfast (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) and this is the second day in a row that they’ve had an extensive discussion on veganism! Yesterday they hosted Rory Friedman (the author of Skinny Bitch), and then a reaction interview with Debbie Rasmusen (the publisher of Portland’s Bitch Magazine) and Annahid Dashgaardt (the Executive Director of Anima Leadership, a Toronto-based organization dedicated to community building). I’m not the biggest fan of the Skinny Bitch book, but there were some interesting points brought up – like the fact that the information on farming and animal rights in the book is actually somewhat sound, and that it’s the first mainstream piece of vegan literature to be embraced in popular culture. I can’t wait to hear what they talk about today. I do have to say… Rory kind of rubbed me the wrong way in how she almost greasily sidestepped direct questions about the so-called “healthiness” of the diet proposed in the book (it’s a diet book! IT IS A DIET BOOK! and not a good one). And Debbie and Annahid thankfully made a strong argument for healthy body image and rejection of (even vegan) fad diets. Ideal solution being intelligent integration of the information offered in the book and ignoration of the idea that we all stand around hating the thinnest girl in the room? Could take a lot more social change than we’ll see in our lifetimes…
They even brought up the racism factor – by flat-out demonizing meat and cheese, the book is creating guilt on a cultural front, too! Oh god, I hope I’m not getting preachy. Ha ha ha. Does it help that I don’t know exactly where I stand with all this and so really can’t be preaching at all? It was interesting to listen to, I know that.

I propose a day in the garden and a rainbow-bright spread of veggies and grains for alllll the skinny bitches (people of all sizes and temperaments) of the world. Or maybe a square of dark chocolate and a flurry of fuschia lace. La la la la! This bitch is off to go paint…

( oh what do I spy? )

( yes, I do spy! )

( nicely labelled for later consumption – thank you mom!! )

I’ve never tried soy nog! Or any nog, for that matter. This should be good, I even have a little bit of whiskey with me – people do that, right? Mix whiskey with nog? Anyway, I bet it’ll taste good.

I haven’t been cooking so much, at least nothing that exciting. Mostly bean dips and soups for the family (really wishing I had my gluten flour around so I could show them something cool), but I’m looking forward to more creative opportunities over the vacation. Even if we’re kinda low on supplies, I’m sure I can whip up at least a few batches of cupcakes, and maybe Dreena’s chickpea tart for christmas. I was going to make a tofurkey, but it depends how many vegetarians come for dinner (and seriously, I’ll be happy with stuffing and a little pumpkin pie – the 2 parts of holiday feasting I can’t get any other time).

Also, with access to cable I’ve been watching the Food network a lot, and getting slowly disenchanted with it all. It’s not so much that it’s a bad little network, but damn that’s a lot of olive oil being thrown around, not to mention the TOTAL celebritification of all their non-chefs – like today I saw that both Paula and Rayray have their own holiday magazines!! Holy overkill.

(I still love Good Eats though, and Bobby Flay, and okay so I have a kind of sick fascination with Paula Deen. She drinks butter! :D )

Okay, seeing as people are getting into the nitty-gritty of their vegan ways, I guess I should follow suit. Plus, it’s excuse to post a sketch instead of my dinner. :p

I grew up in a very british-styled household, at least concerning food. My mother was the master of scalloped potatoes, pork chops, beef stews, rich cakes, yorkshire puddings, casseroles of every flavour, you name it. I don’t think I ever really took to it (except maybe the potatoes), so when we eventually started living in a communal household with some hippies and midwives and professors and nerds, all of a sudden food came alive. Every night all 11+ of us (plus a rotating roster of semi-permanent and always welcome houseguests) would sit down at this HUGE round oak table they’d gotten in the Phillipines to a spread that just filled the senses with it’s love and variety and interest. I don’t think we could do a meal without having at least 7 or 8 various optional dishes; tapenades, marinated seasonal vegetables, dips and spreads, homemade breads, always a soup, and always a gigantic salad bowl with greens from the garden and a homemade vinaigrette or two on the side.

So I kind of fell in love with food there, and was vegetarian pretty much the moment I stepped in the door. That was at twelve or so, and then at sixteen I decided to climb the horse and go all the way vegan! I made it a year, and I’ll be honest – I couldn’t let go of Sour Skittles completely, and my nutrition was probably lacking around the edges. But it felt really really right.

After that year passed I got busy. School got hard, I think I accidentally ate a slice of pizza, and veganism was shelved for a long long time. And it always kind of tickled the back of my mind, like I was really only eating yogurt and eggs because they were cheap and healthy and not because I really enjoyed them. So I was thrilled when I realized this summer that YES I have time to soak beans again and YES I have a few extra bucks to spend on supplements, and I CAN BE VEGAN AGAIN (thank all that is soaked in tamari!).

So yeah, it really comes down to, this is who I am, this is how I like to eat. I love animals and I’m vehemently against the farm industry, but I haven’t seen Earthlings or any of those movies and don’t really care to. I’m just happy (and my soul rests a lot easier) knowing that my footprint is smaller for the way I choose to eat, and plus, food like this just tastes better, you know? :)

Edit: I saw Earthlings and it disturbed the bejeezus out of me, which is pretty much why I didn’t want to see it. hmm. Still glad it exists, though.

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