Category Archives: Vegan Recipes

on making soup from what you have.

Cooking for a family isn’t quite the thrilling experiment that cooking for a partner or a group of friends used to be. You have less money, less time, and a more critical audience than you ever did before.  I find its hard to try new recipes when they invariably necessitate a trip to the store, and I’m bound and determined to cook with whole foods and the ingredients I already have laying around.  A few months ago a friend asked me for a soup recipe, and I had to admit I didn’t have a recipe…

just a method.
here it is.

1. Begin, always, with onions.

1. Begin, always, with onions.

2. Be fearless with your spices, and buy them in bulk so they are fresh and cheap.

2. Be fearless with your spices, and buy them in bulk so they are fresh and cheap.

3. Grow at least one of your ingredients yourself. it feels good to harvest into your cookpot.If you can’t, make it a point to buy direct from a farmer every now and then.  Look for a local farmer @ your farmers market who doesn’t advertise as organic, & ask them if they use pesticides. Many, like Whistling Train Farm who sell @ almost every Seattle Farmers Market, grow without chemicals but cannot afford the organic certification— their veggies are more affordable than the ones labelled “organic.”

3. Grow at least one of your ingredients yourself. it feels good to harvest into your cookpot.
If you can’t, make it a point to buy direct from a farmer every now and then. Look for a local farmer @ your farmers market who doesn’t advertise as organic, & ask them if they use pesticides. Many, like Whistling Train Farm who sell @ almost every Seattle Farmers Market, grow without chemicals but cannot afford the organic certification— their veggies are more affordable than the ones labelled “organic.”

4. Cook with your nose and your sense of color. Both should delight you. If they don’t, add more of something that does.Use things from your fridge that are wilting or nearing expiration. Waste not want not.

4. Cook with your nose and your sense of color. Both should delight you. If they don’t, add more of something that does.
Use things from your fridge that are wilting or nearing expiration. Waste not want not.

5. you will almost never go wrong by adding more garlic or more greens.

5. you will almost never go wrong by adding more garlic or more greens.

6. Chickpeas or red lentils will give a protein boost, add heartiness, and scarcely impact the flavor.

6. Chickpeas or red lentils will give a protein boost, add heartiness, and scarcely impact the flavor.

7. At least 2 of these items go into almost everything I make. (apple cider vinegar, braggs liquid aminos, tahini, miso paste, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, nutritional yeast)

7. At least 2 of these items go into almost everything I make. (apple cider vinegar, braggs liquid aminos, tahini, miso paste, lemon juice, toasted sesame oil, nutritional yeast)

8. Make your kitchen (or at least a corner of it) into a place you find lovely.

8. Make your kitchen (or at least a corner of it) into a place you find lovely.

10. A library of inspiring cookbooks just in case.

9. A library of inspiring cookbooks just in case.

10. take notes on your successes

10. take notes on your successes

11. Figure out what your cooking music is (mine is Gillian Welch) and keep in mind that a good apron never hurts.

11. Figure out what your cooking music is (mine is Gillian Welch) and keep in mind that a good apron never hurts.

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Filed under aprons, basic goodness, Family, Food, Garden, Ordinary, Vegan Recipes, wendell berry, winter garden

On Feeding Our Son Food.

Callum with garden beets

This is Callum. He’s 1 year and 8 months old. He likes birds, buses, water, dancing, pushing things with wheels, reading books, especially ones with monkeys, stacking canned food, throwing rocks at the beach, petting his dog-sisters, and roaming around the yard. He also loves food. Avocados, Yams, refried beans, tofu, goji berries, strawberries, kale, tempeh, zuccinni, lentils, brown rice, crackers, peaches, yogurt, blueberries, apples, raisins, spicy things, coconut milk, sunflower seed butter, garbanzo beans, watermelon, garden tomatoes, indian food, thai food, vietnamese food, peanut butter, toast, noodles, calzones, oatmeal, farmers market fresh apple juice, grapes,   (I could go on).

In addition to breastmilk, Callum thrives on whole foods. Fresh foods. Garden foods. Foods high in protein, rich in vitamins, filled with fiber, minerals, and good complex carbs. We supplement his diet with a children’s multivitamin, a vitamin B-12 supplement (he loves it when we spray it right into his mouth)  kiddo probiotics, and plant-sourced vitamin D and DHA. He has an exceptionally healthy digestive system, and he’s never been sick. Runs a fever or gets a runny nose occasionally when he’s cutting a tooth, but that’s about it. He’s exceptionally well-engaged with the world, a keen observer, experimenter, risk-taker, and adventurer. He’s self-sufficient, sweet, creative, and unbearably cute.

He’s also vegan. His poppa is vegan. His momma is mostly-vegan. When I tell people we are a vegan family, it tends to make them uncomfortable. Some ask questions, like “is your son getting enough protein and good fats?” Others change the subject. Rarely does anyone ask why. Of course, I’m not in the habit of asking people why they eat meat, dairy, or eggs. I’ve never asked another parent if they think their children are getting enough complex carbs, fiber, or leafy greens, or if they’re possibly getting too much protein, transfats, or meat- and milk-borne antibiotics and hormones. I assume that they’re educating themselves about their children’s nutrition in the best way they know how.

By their questions and comments, not a few people have made it clear to me they assume we are undereducated about nutrition, or that we’ve chosen a path of deprivation for political or far-left ideals.  Many people clearly believe its one thing for us to “do this” to ourselves, but another thing entirely to subject our son to our beliefs.  Leaving aside the fact that they’re overlooking the superb nutrition that takes place in our home, they miss a fundamental point: every parent “subjects” their children to their beliefs.  Every parent raises their children the best way they know how, based on what they know about the world and what matters to them.

I’ll tell you what though…. Our table is hardly a place of deprivation.  We use our cookbooks like other people use facebook. We season, sautee, bake, experiment, and savor daily. We love flavor, we love spice, we love to eat, we love to share good food with friends. We embrace dessert with gusto.  And we enjoy our food all the more because we know that the choices we make in our kitchen are in line with our most deeply held values.

compassion. health. stewardship and sustainability. community.

compassion.
Ryan and I believe that if we can eat delicious, filling, sustainable, and nourishing foods without causing suffering, then that’s what we want to do. We don’t judge other meat eaters, and we understand that humans and other animals have been eating meat for millennia. What hasn’t been happening for millennia is the factory farming industry, which causes horrific suffering for chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals, for the entirety of their lives. They do not experience the “humane,” painless deaths we would like to believe, and their bodies are flooded with terror and pain and adrenaline as they are slaughtered. That’s just not something we want to eat, and its definitely not something we want to feed our son. The meat, dairy, and egg industries have gotten savvy to the fact that people are disturbed by these realities, so they market things like “cage free eggs” and “happy meat.” Both of these labels are words used in an effort to sell products. They very rarely reflect reality.

I have a great love for cheese, and my periodic indulgence in it is what makes me refrain from calling myself a vegan. I am not oblivious to the suffering that indulgence necessitates. The cow that gave the milk for the cheese I love didn’t give up her life for my smoked gouda, but her male calf did. To get milk from a cow, you need to get that cow pregnant, then take away her baby so you can take the milk for cheese. Male calves aren’t worth much now that veal is unpopular, so they’re not kept alive. In Tillamook County, Oregon, there are so many of these throwaway calves they’re talking about using their bodies for biofuel. Which takes the edge off my cheese craving. Going through the intense, demanding, exhausting, and often painful physical processes of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding also put a dent in my desire for queso. I did these things out of love, and they were hard. I shudder to imagine doing those things under coercion. Sometimes I still eat cheese. But it just doesn’t hold the appeal it once did.

health

Healthy eating habits are learned in childhood.  My parents and Ryan’s parents raised us on balanced meals, and the love which with they prepared the food we ate as children set the stage for our choices as adults.  We want to do the same thing for Callum.  If we can start him off with a craving for kale, an appetite for whole grains, a passion for fruits, and a love for legumes, than by golly, that’s what we’re going to do.

There is a literal epidemic of obesity and childhood diabetes in America. The leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease and cancer.    One of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk or heart disease and cancer is to eat a plant-based diet.  The vast majority of animal products in the United States are filled with hormones, to make the animals grow bigger faster (to achieve maximum profit) and antibiotics, to prevent the animals from succumbing to disease in the severely overcrowded and filthy conditions in which they live (again, to achieve maximum profit). If you consume food with growth hormones and antibiotics, you are incorporating those substances into your body also.  Numerous studies have found that animal products consistently arrive on grocery store shelves contaminated with fecal matter and foodborne illnesses like salmonella.  No thanks.

Thanks to our decades-old habit of using the oceans as a dumping ground for garbage, toxic waste, and the radioactive effluence of nuclear power production, seafood is extremely high in nasty crap like heavy metals. Being at the top of the food chain has its price—small amounts of toxins absorbed by plankton become concentrated in greater amounts in the flesh of the fish that eat that plankton. And so on, in the bodies of the humans that catch and consume that fish. Its called bioaccumulation. That means that if I feed my twenty-four pound son fish, he’s consuming a significant quantity of heavy metals.  That’s a lot of work for tiny kidneys—and our son was born with only one kidney. So we’re not messing around.

stewardship and sustainability.

I was raised to be gentle with the earth, and to consider how my choices impact the air, water, and overall health of the world around me. Animal products exact a severe toll on the environment.  Agribusiness has a vested interest in keeping this toll off the front pages, so you don’t tend to read too much about it.  Two trillion pounds of animal waste are produced by the livestock industry in the United States every year.  It has to go somewhere, and it usually ends up sitting in poorly managed holding ponds (from which it evaporates!) or running into waterways.   It takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from plant protein.  It also takes roughly sixteen pounds of grain feed to produce a pound of meat.  That same amount of grain could feed a lot more people than that pound of meat.  There’s a lot of people on this planet, and less and less space left to produce viable food crops.  Meat just doesn’t make much sense.

community.

Yes, there are farmers out there raising meat, milk, and eggs who are dedicated to compassion, health, stewardship and sustainability.  If you eat meat, milk, or eggs, seek them out.   They are doing something difficult and noble and their product is worth every penny they are asking for it.  Unfortunately, they produce only a teeny, tiny fraction of the meat, milk, and eggs (something like 1%) consumed in the United States.   Most communities that host meat, milk, or egg production have a long list of chronic health problems, thanks in large part to their exposure to toxic watershed and air pollution.  Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) are breeding grounds for infectious disease (think bird flu and swine flu) which can of course spread far from the “farm” on the flesh of animal products).  Slaughterhouse workers have one of the highest rates of occupational injury of any industry in the country.   Animal product production is bad for communities.

When its time to sit down to eat…

We don’t think of our meals as “vegan.”  We think of them as food. We are feeding our son food.  Varied, nutritious, ethical, delicious, plant-based food.   We are not alone in believing this is healthful.  “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. “
We are not alone in believing this is delicious either.  We would love to have you over for dinner. If you live far away, I will mail you cookies.

I’m going to keep feeding my son food.  And I’m going to send him out into the world knowing how to ask questions, think critically, and stand by his decisions—no matter what they may be.

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Filed under coexistence, community, culture.society.anthropology., Family, Farm Sanctuary, Food, Garden, healthcare, mostly vegan, motherhood, Peace, Vegan Recipes, violence

saturday night

saturday to everyone else is tuesday on my calendar. I worked a long lunch shift, and took tiny comfort from the fact that at least a couple of the waitresses wanted to be somewhere else as badly as I did. We are experts on each other’s fake smiles.

After my shift I buy toothpaste, because we are out. Walk home in a light rain, tired of being on my feet but grateful I’m walking for myself now, and not for someone’s side of ranch or glass of ice or fresh silverware. The Sound is blue-grey, the sky is blue-grey, and I’ve had the same headache for two days. Another random unexpected side effect of pregnancy. My body is producing whole pints of new blood, and all of it is taking a slow detour around my womb, made slower by my already low blood pressure. Which means, if I manage to trigger a headache, it’s aggravated every time I stand, sit, lean, or bend over. I record this as sort of an anthropological observation, but its true, I’m whining. The not-so-unpleasant side effect of the headache: I’ve begun to walk very deliberately. Gently, slowly, with intention, so as not to jar my skull or rush blood away from my head and to another part of my body. I notice more this way. More raindrops, more faces, more birdsongs.

Somewhere in Seattle, as I walk home, a family of elderly siblings is considering an offer Ryan and I made to buy their deceased mother’s house. Her name was Annie. She raised 6 children in the house and lived out her days there. It sits on a third of an acre in south Seattle, and is ringed with evergreens she planted in the 1930s. I promised her son Roger if we got the house I’d keep her birdfeeders full, something he’s been doing in her memory since the day she died. There’s a damn good chance we’ll get the house, and it won’t break us to pay the mortgage. All of this is surreal.

Walking down the alley to our house, I hold my breath to pass through the smell of the bag of cat litter one of our neighbors poured into the potholes. Our winter garden is still in the evening light, beaded with droplets of clear rainwater. The dog is giddy and overwrought when I unlock the door, and she runs in circles for a while, which seems to help.

When she’s calmed down, I profer her harness, and she walks willingly into it. We set out walking in the fading light. I leave her off leash for a while, and she bounds back and forth between smells, waiting at driveways and sidestreets on command. When we reach the busier street, she instinctively narrows the distance between us, walking in unleashed heel the rest of the way to the petstore. Inside, she greets the employees, all of whom she knows well. They lavish treats upon her in exchange for shakes and sloppy kisses. I buy her cheese hearts and peanut butter bones, and stock up on treats for a care package for my brother’s new dog, a German Shepherd rescue named Kodi.

Walking past the pizza joint on the corner, I find myself wanting pizza. We cross the street to the grocery store, where I pick out baby spinach leaves, two hothouse tomatoes, and a brick of vegan mozzarella. Also a peach and a plum, which arrived at my local grocery store courtesy of a long, fossil-fuel powered journey from Chile. I agonize over buying them for a while, then decide to get them anyway. I’m pregnant, for God’s sake. I’m allowed to do some things I wouldn’t ordinarily. This is what I tell myself in the produce aisle.

We walk home in the dark and the quickening rain. Assata takes her peanut butter bone into the livingroom, and I pour a packet of yeast into a silver mixing bowl. Feed it a cup of warm water and a tablespoon of good sugar, and sit down to wait while it “eats.” Five minutes later, add flour, then salt, then olive oil, then more flour. Easy peasy pizza crust. Knead it for a while, and let it “rest,” then roll it out on a cookie sheet. Listen to an Au Revoir Simone album, which Ryan procured for us last night. Its lovely, whimsical and sad and rambling and poignant all at once… perfect for making dough on a rainy January Saturday night.

Whisk olive oil together with dried thyme and good salt, and paint the crust with a pastry brush. scatter the fresh spinach leaves across, an inch and a half thick, then slice the tomatoes over the top. Grate on the entire brick of “follow your heart” brand mozarella, then slide the entire thing into the oven, listening for the muted clang of the cookie sheet on the hot baking rack, one of my favorite sounds.

Finish the plum, which is disappointing. A shallow imitation of what I’d really been craving, which is, to say, a plum-in-season that wasn’t picked three weeks and 8 thousand miles ago. The kitchen begins to fill with the smell of melting cheese and pizza crust and roasting tomatoes, and I start to think about baking cupcakes.

I’ve baked a lot this past week. Vegan dark chocolate oatmeal shortbread. A vegan poppyseed apple coffeecake. Then a batch of vegan peanut butter cookies. Dark chocolate vegan cupcakes seem like a logical progression. When Ryan gets home, I’m sifting cocoa powder and flour with a fork. We eat pizza and sit on the couch, looking out into the dark neighborhood and discussing the counteroffer the family made on the house. Its not bad, and we’re not sure if its good either, since we’ve never done this before. I am mostly caught up in being mad they want to take the washer and dryer, even though the cost of a new energy and water efficient set would be the tiniest fraction of what we’re talking about spending overall.

Chocolate cake smells fill the house. We rent a movie from the video store on the corner, and curl into each other to eat cupcakes and go gently braindead. Crawl into bed to fall asleep spooning each other spooning the dog, who is using a pillow. The smell of lavender suffuses the sheets. Years ago, when Ryan lived in Bellingham and I lived in Utah, I sewed him a lavender pillow to put over his eyes to help him sleep at night… now he uses a few drops of essential oil before he turns out the light, and his breathing settles out before I’ve even finished tossing and turning. His hand is tucked gently, but firmly, over my pregnant belly, and the newest Au Revoir Simone album is playing softly on the speakers. The dog falls asleep too, and I lay in the middle, hands tangled in both of their limbs, watching shadows from outside flicker on the closet doors. Thinking:

I will remember this moment when I am old.

RECIPES for those who want them:

lovely easy vegan pizza crust (from the Vegan Family Cookbook)

1 packet active dry yeast (one 1/4 oz package)
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs. sugar
whisk together and let sit for five minutes.

Add 1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup light olive oil
and another 1 1/2 cups flour.
knead for five minutes
let rest five minutes.

roll out on oiled baking surface, let rise for as long as you like (i usually get impatient after 5 minutes, but 30 is good).
sauce and top, bake at 450 for 12-15 minutes.

Dark chocolate vegan cupcakes

sift together dry ingredients:
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cup sugar

blend in:
3 Tbs. butter
2 egg substitutes (i use 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed whisked together with 6 tablespoons water)
dash vanilla
1 cup soymilk (or other milk substitute)

chop up a few squares of good dark chocolate and sprinkle the pieces over the cupcakes before putting them in the oven.

bake 15-17 minutes at 350.

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Filed under Assata, Food, Ordinary, Pregnancy, Vegan Recipes

Layoff notice Vegan Pecan Almond Pie

Last week, we found out that Ryan and six or so of our dear friends were likely going to be laid off from their teaching jobs.

I didn’t know what to do.

So I baked a pie.

pie1

pie2

pie-3

pie-4

pie-5

pie-6

This is an easy recipe.  Preheat the oven to 425.

Pie crust:

1 1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 tsp salt

3 Tablespoons ice water

(just put the water in the freezer for 10 minutes prior…

makes a huge difference in the success of the crust. Learned that from my mama)

Blend the flour, salt, and margarine with a pastry blender or fork, then cut in the water a little bit at a time.  It won’t seem like enough, but keep working at it. Don’t use your hands… the heat will melt the margarine and result in a heavy crust.  Once it can be formed into a ball of dough that sticks together, flour a surface (like a countertop) and roll it out with a floured rolling pin.

Filling:

2 cups toasted pecans and almonds, chopped

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

2 tsp. vanilla

pinch of salt

blend filling ingredients with a fork, then pour into pie crust

bake 20-24 minutes or until crust is lightly browned and filling is bubbling.

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Filed under Food, layoffs, Uncategorized, Vegan Recipes

ReThinking Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a constructed holiday.

Just like the rest of them… Christmas, Easter, Patriot Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Like the sediment that piles up underwater against a dam that is holding back a river, holidays are accretions of stories and rituals that pile up over the years. We celebrate holidays in particular ways because we have learned these stories and rituals, and we find comfort in their repetition. We look forward to them, we plan and prepare for them, we enact them and recall them with nostalgia. If we’re willing to consider these stories thoughtfully, they can tell us a lot about who we are as Americans, and what it is we are truly celebrating.

Problem is, America’s never been big on questioning her own stories.

When I was ten years old, I portrayed Queen Isabella in a 5th grade play that endeavored to offer some Thanksgiving backstory. Wearing one of my mother’s fancy dresses, I tossed a handful of costume jewelry at another fifth grader dressed as Christoper Columbus. “Take my jewels, Christopher Columbus,” I haughtily declared, “and find a New World.” Not surprisingly, the play failed to illuminate how he did so, by accident, and heartily set out enslaving, killing off, and infecting with STDS and other infectious diseases all the kindly natives he found there.

Fast-forward a few years. Good, honest Puritan folk travel to Columbus’s New World, seeking to start anew in the Americas, a blank slate for enacting values of freedom, liberty, and private ownership, and fleeing the occasional criminal record back home. They did so emboldened by the imperial doctrine of terra nullius, a 16th century philosophy that dictated that any land occupied only by savages (ie, those who failed to cultivate it) was the property of the European nation who claimed it (or, the European nation that won control of it by force). The Puritan Pilgrims weren’t much prepared, tho, and some kindly Indian folk, headed by the genteel Squanto, came to the rescue with platters of corn on the cob and a giant roasted turkey.

Its a nice story. I especially like the part about savages bringing cultivated crops like corn. Wonder where they got that.

While some indigenous peoples certainly extended their goodwill and local knowledge to the struggling settlers, they and their descendants would soon find that any generosity to the European arrivals was sorely misplaced, as it was rewarded almost universally by violence, new diseases, displacement, and the rapid destruction of the natural resources indigenous communities relied upon for their survival.

In later years, once native populations had been sufficiently decimated to offer no threat to the new United States, we demonstrated that our goodwill could often be as destructive as our outright hostility. In an effort to “teach the savages” about that most hallowed of American traditions, Private Property, we carved up the reservations we’d just confined them to in treaties, gave them tiny parcels, and sold off the remaining land to railroad companies and white settlers. We kidnapped generations of indigenous children from their parents and forced them to abandon their languages, traditions, and cultural identities in pursuit of assimilation. We caricatured indigenous women as squaws or sex objects, and indigenous men as noble savages, alcoholic bums, or cartoon sports mascots.



We gave one generation livestock to teach them about the agrarian lifestyle, then returned a few generations later to slaughter that livestock, chastising its owners for decimating the rangeland. We used alcohol as a weapon against them, then criticized them for not controlling their consumption. Liberals excoriate Native communities that permit logging or mining on their lands, accusing them of being “bad Indians”— but fail to consider the crushing effects of generational poverty. Colonialism is alive and well in the U. S. of A., and brutal as ever: a mindset as much as a policy.

For many native peoples, “Thanksgiving” is observed as a National Day of Mourning, a tradition begun in 1970 when the Commonwealth of Massachusetts invited a Wampanoag leader, Frank James, to speak at a Thanksgiving event at Plymouth Rock—then uninvited him, when they learned he planned to address the oppression of American Indians.


(Indigenous activist Russell Means)

It makes sense that in the 21st century, we’d all prefer to gloss over that reality and celebrate a feel-good holiday where Indians and Pilgrims sit side by side and share things like turkey and cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

Except there wasn’t actually pie—
the Pilgrims didn’t have enough butter or flour to make the crusts.

The “First Thanksgiving” wasn’t conceived of as a new American holiday at the time—it was a celebration of a good harvest, heading into the winter— a ritual that’s been practiced by cultures that procure their own food for millenium, in every part of the world. Oddly enough, the average American family sitting down to re-enact that harvest feast has no concept of gratitude for good harvests going into winter because we are completely divorced from the production of our food. We can buy what we want to eat year-round, without having to consider the fossil fuels, suffering, genetic engineering, soil depletion, and sketchy food preservation processes that made that January tomato or cheap turkey breast possible.

Thanksgiving offers us a rich opportunity to practice gratitude in the tradition of the harvest feast. Sitting down with family and friends and sharing a meal, lovingly and intentionally prepared, is an exquisite ritual with which to express that gratitude.

First, we have to divest the ritual of the weighted Thanksgiving mythology.

Second: lets reevaluate the traditional fare. Those meat-eaters who’ve tasted wild or heirloom breeds of turkey express astonishment at how bland the average thanksgiving turkey tastes. I’ll admit it— I’m one of those half-assed vegetarians who’s happily made exception for thanksgiving turkey in the past. Don’t plan to this year, but I won’t judge anyone who does choose to partake. If you are going to serve up the bird, though, please consider a few facts about the industrialized production of turkey meat in this country. In the interest of true Thanksgiving.

Farm Sanctuary reports:

Modern turkeys have been genetically manipulated to grow twice as fast, and twice as large, as their ancestors. Comparing a turkey poult’s growth rate with that of a human baby, Lancaster Farming, an agriculture newspaper, reported: “If a seven pound [human] baby grew at the same rate that today’s turkey grows, when the baby reaches 18 weeks of age, it would weigh 1,500 pounds.” The strain of growing so quickly makes young turkeys susceptible to cardiovascular disease and can lead to fatal heart attacks. Although this rapid growth poses a serious threat to the animals’ health and welfare, the turkey industry continues to push birds beyond their biological limits.. This continual increase in growth causes commercially-bred turkeys to suffer from crippling foot and leg problems too. According the agribusiness newspaper Feedstuffs , “…turkeys have been bred to grow faster and heavier but their skeletons haven’t kept pace…” Catering to consumer tastes at the expense of animals, producers also raise turkeys with abnormally large breasts which prevent them from mounting and reproducing naturally…. Completely unlike their wild ancestors not only in terms of physique but also in hue, commercial turkeys are white, the natural bronze color bred out of them so their bodies are pigment-free and more palatable to consumers….At the slaughterhouse, fully conscious turkeys are hung by their feet from metal shackles on a moving rail. The first station on most poultry slaughterhouse assembly lines is the stunning tank, where the turkeys’ heads are submerged in an electrified bath of water. Stunning procedures are not monitored, and are often inadequate, leaving the fully conscious birds to continue along the slaughterhouse assembly line. Some slaughterhouses do not even attempt to render these birds unconscious, as turkeys and other poultry are specifically excluded from the Humane Slaughter Act, which requires that animals be stunned prior to slaughter. After passing through the stunning tank, the turkeys’ throats are slashed, usually by a mechanical blade, and blood begins rushing out of their bodies. Inevitably, the blade misses some turkeys, who then proceed to the next station on the assembly line:, the scalding tank. Here, they are submerged in boiling hot water, and turkeys missed by the killing blade are boiled alive – a brutal end to an equally miserable existence on factory farms.

If the traditional Thanksgiving story is the gravy covering up the violence of American colonialism, then the turkey is… the turkey.

Its easy to create a decadent, cruelty-free, delicious meal to share with your loved ones. In doing so, you’ll be investing the celebration with potent and sustainable values. Lip-smackin’ good food, rich with conscience, humanity, and ecological integrity, does everyone good, and much less harm than the traditional spread.

Even if you only replace one traditional component of your Thanksgiving feast with a sustainable, vegetarian or vegan alternative, you’re taking a big step.

There’s lots of ways to do this.  Check out Post Punk Kitchen for about a gazillion recipes and great ideas. Its easier than you think.

And, instead of risking trampling, being maced, or having a heart attack from the pure chaos of Black Friday shopping,

stay home with your loved ones and eat leftovers. Then shop local on Saturday.

xo lovelies.

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Filed under Americana, Colonialism, Farm Sanctuary, Food, Thanksgiving, Vegan Recipes