Friday, April 29, 2011

Memento Mori: Michael Scott

The Office will never be the same. Not going to lie, I did shed some tears last night during the final episode starring Steve Carrell as the incomprehensible and endearing Michael Scott. I bid you adieu with a That's What She Said montage video:

Memento Mori: B+W Lamont (2006)

Lamont!! by la_maladroite
Lamont, a photo by la_maladroite on Flickr. 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Why I'm Vegan: Industrial Animal Agriculture Hates/Heats the Planet

We should all be able to recognize by now that Industrial Animal Agriculture (CAFO systems aka Big Ag) is the LARGEST contributor to climate change and environmental pollution. These city-sized manure factories dump billions of tons of solid, liquid, and gaseous waste that degrade our environment, create antibiotic resistant diseases that contaminate other farms and in turn the public, and there are always evident workers' rights and animal welfare violations in such industrialized systems. Not to mention how unsustainable it is to filter all our natural resources through that dirty, inefficient system (water, feed crops, fuel, antibiotics, land, etc.) U.S. taxpayers foot the bill for environmental clean up, CDC costs, animal rescue, and ridiculous health care bills to name a few, totaling to billions of dollars lost each year. See below for additional information if you need any more convincing.

Great news though! Plate to Planet is new project from Farm Sanctuary! It will feature media and educational tools on the intersections between factory farming, how it affects the planet, and in turn human health.They produced a great video narrated by Jason Schwartzman, please watch it and check out their new site:

To find out more on why Big Ag hates the environment, check these out:
United Nations 2006 Report: Livestock's Long Shadow
Farm Sanctuary
Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production 
The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming
Sustainable Table 
Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future
Farm Forward
Food and Water Watch 
Price of Meat
Sierra Club 
CAFO: The Book
World Watch Institute: Livestock and Climate Change
Mother Nature Network: 25% of US Meat Contaminated
Nebraska Center for Rural Health Research: Report on CAFO's Potential Implications for Public and Environmental Health
American Public Health Association's 2003 Proposed Moratorium on CAFOs
UNESCO Report: Energy Flow, Environment and Ethical Implications for Meat Production Down on the Factory

And because environmental conservation and public health are just two pieces of a huge messy puzzle, here is just one case exemplifying the issue of food (in)justice. The U.S. government would rather spend money buying out food subsidies that make America's children sick and keep private corporations rich. The Catharine Ferguson Academy--a public school for pregnant teens in Detroit with a garden and daycare--is being defunded and shut down. A thorough piece on this obscene act at Grist and coverage from Rachel Maddow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DC: Tuesday To Do's

Go eat at Everlasting Life Cafe! Tuesday is Shepherd's Pie and Eggplant Parm, and as always, the best Mac in town! One of those I Can't Believe It's Vegan kinda meals.

While you're doing that, listen to these lovelies! There's a show from 7-10pm:
Everlasting Life Cafe

2829 Georgia Ave. NW
Washington, DC
7:00pm - 10:00pm

A little taste of the hometown heroines Hot Mess:

Monday, April 25, 2011

DC: Magical Perfect Sunday

image cred: Jennifer Parks
Prelude to summa summa summatime:

Woke up early for a Sunday and found a new cat friend on the block that tried to make our house his new house, named him Bob, an ado male tabby that loves our front porch. I will try to get a picture if he comes a calling again. 

A lazy brunch at Sticky Fingers. French Toast hell yes! The grits, not so much.

Bike ride on Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, almost 10 miles round trip! Portions of Beach Dr. are closed to cars on the weekends, so take advantage of only having to dodge pedestrians, strollers, and other cyclists. And it's one of the best (and free) things to do in DC!

Dinner consisted of ginger-soy marinated tofu with beets, orange chunks, over romaine and spinach. I can't wait until the 2011 Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market season begins and I can score better food!

Ginger-Soy Marinade:
2T fresh grated or powdered ginger
2T soy sauce
equal parts rice/balsamic vinegar and olive oil
toasted sesame oil (sparingly)
spoonful of Dijon mustard
squirt of agave nectar
oregano, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder to taste

Whisk all ingredients together. Taste. Add flavors as needed. Submerge food of choice in marinade and refrigerate for minimum 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

DC: Last Chance for the Crochet Coral Reef Exhibit

Go see the Community Coral Reef at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum! Last chance to view this amazing community craft collaboration is Sunday, April 24th. You can even peep my name on the contributor plaque, I submitted a few crochet coral pieces last year along with the Warm and Fuzzies

The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project intersects a traditionally feminine craft with mathematics and conservationism, exhibiting globally to demonstrate the impact climate change has on our oceans. Founded by two kiwi sisters, here's Margaret Wertheim giving an amazing TED talk on their conservation/art work and the geometry behind it.   

photo cred: goshdarnknit

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Why I'm Vegan: Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary

I'm going to volunteer at the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary today! Be jealous. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary takes in rescued farmed animals from throughout the east coast, all of them survivors from cases of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. These animals, which are the unwanted remains of the Ag Industry, are retired and allowed to finally thrive in true natural elements: pair bond, dust bathe, be in social groups, be outside, feel grass and mud, receive proper vet care and nutrition, express their personalities, not fear for their lives or be subject to physical and psychological trauma. For having received the worst of human nature, all the residents at PSAS are pretty social and not afraid of humans, a testament to forgiveness and peace that I don't even have as much capacity for. Check out these guys!

oh hai!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I'm Vegan: Mercy for Animals Calf Farm Exposé

This is serious. This is an issue most people turn a blind eye to. This is not funny and should not be trivialized because there are other important issues out there or because of people's biases against certain species. This is common. Anything goes when money is to be made, regardless of the autonomy or independent will of another being. This will not stop if people keep paying other people to beat calves in the head with pick axes and hammers. For what? Milk, cheese, veal, and other products from the dairy and meat industry. Read more at watch the undercover video from Mercy for Animals.

Calf being beaten by employee of E6 Cattle Co. Hart, Texas. March 2011
Personally, I'd rather drink plant milk and not eat cheese than contribute to needless suffering of animals that never even had a chance to live (let alone what it's done for my health.) Plants have evolved to grow fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains for animals to eat and spread their seed. Animals have evolved legs to run away from carnivores. 

To boot, we have not biologically evolved to eat dairy for the most part, our bodies react in varying degrees of revolt against it. We are the only species that suckles from other animals, and into adulthood. There are numerous studies demonstrating as such, linking dairy intake to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, chronic sinusitis, allergies, asthma, Asperger disorder, breast, prostate, colorectal and other cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other illnesses that have created a modern pandemic of diseases of affluence in developed and now developing countries.  

More info on lactose intolerance, and dairy's correlation to disease: 

Finally, what strikes me at the heart of this particular issue, is the basic fact that humans have co-opted and exploited purely for financial gain the autonomy of billions of female mammals' reproductive cycles (and animals' repro cycles with eggs), in the most horrific and brutal ways imaginable (if you can think it, it's been done to female animals and babies in the Ag Industry.) We make commodities of cows' babies and the milk these mothers make for them. If you cannot see the intersection between feminism and speciesism, look harder. There is also a positive correlation between animal abuse (companion and farmed animals) and bestiality and sexual and domestic abuse. More on that here: 

Mother and her calf

Recipe: Soy-Free Vegan Matzo Ball Soup

Finally we can all stop complaining, here's a matzo ball soup recipe that works!!! The trick is to let them cook without being boiled (the boiling rips them apart. 

The Backstory: Matzo Ball Soup is actually what got me to give up eating eggs, do to an unfortunate and disgusting surprise chicken fetus in my matzo ball back in the day (thanks mom!) Eggs are mean and nasty and totally unnecessary (check Links to learn why!) 

Soy-Free Vegan Matzo Ball Soup
makes about 6 servings  

2 C matzoh meal 
2 t salt 
black pepper to taste
two dashes onion powder 
(minced parsley- optional)

6 T vegetable oil 
1 1/3 C water

1 giant pot-ful of vegetable broth (canned, boxed, or make your own stock!) 

1. In a large bowl combine matzoh meal, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Stir dry ingredients to distribute evenly. 

2. Add vegetable oil and water and mix well, forming into a giant dough ball. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for a half hour. 

3. While the matzo dough is in the fridge, get started on the vegetable stock. Heat on high. Add spices, parsley, noodles (i've done chow fun rice noodles or udon en lieu of the traditional egg noodles), veg like carrots, onions, leeks, celery, etc. 

4. Take the dough out of the fridge and form into small-sized balls (about the size of a golf ball.) It helps if you keep you fingers/palms oiled so the dough sticks to itself instead of your hands. 

5. Let a giant pot of water come to a boil, then lower heat to medium/medium-low until it's just barely simmering and gently add the matzo balls to the hot water, lowering them in with a slotted spoon, they will sink to the bottom. Cover with a lid and leave to cook until matzo balls float to surface (~20-30 minutes.)

6. Turn down heat on veg stock to a simmer/medium-low and add matzo balls gently to the veg stock and let cook further for about 10 minutes. Stab a matzo ball with a fork to see if the center has cooked all the way through, leave to simmer until completely cooked but still firm. 


*Note: you can also add 2 T Ener-g Egg Replacer to the water before you mix with the dry ingredients to be on the safe side. 

Obligatory Intro Post

I'm caving in and consolidating my rants, musings, grievances, loves, escapisms, and tips for navigating this crazy world. I consider this a personal archive of my own research and incite regarding veganism, feminism, living in DC, and everything in between.