Friday, October 27, 2006

World Go Vegan Days

So my friend Roanna both decided to do IDA's World Go Vegan Days, today through Sunday. She was vegan for several years, including several during which she was a server at a nonvegetarian restaurant; I just went vegetarian at the beginning of this year. Update: Sunday evening, taking a break from the last of moving/cleaning. With the exception of Melissa's delicious chocolate cherry pecan cookies last night (I couldn't resist!), I've done well. It's been harder than normal because of the move, but I think that's why I chose to do it now. My little weekend experiment proved that a vegan diet is no harder to follow than Atkins, and thankfully a whole lot healthier. (Apparently you can do a vegan Atkins program, but I'm certainly not condoning it). So if I choose to go beyond ovo-lacto vegetarianism, I know that with a little vigilance I can succeed. However, veganism is more a lifestyle than a simple diet, but more on that later.

This week is a week of "lasts." Last time seeing people, last trip(s!) to Founder's, and - what good timing - our last CSA pickup. We let Ali take all the veggies, seeing as everything is packed away and the movers are hauling it out to the truck as I write this. Last Saturday Trillium Haven had its fall festival, an outdoor potluck with events like hayrides and pumpkin carving for the kids. I brought tofu larb from a recipe from Cooking Light magazine, replacing the fish sauce with Bragg's to make it vegetarian. I also brought fudge, which was the first thing to disappear from the potluck table. I hope that our CSA experience in Washington will be as enlightening (who knew how to cook kohlrabi?) and enjoyable as this summer's. My only regret was that I was always working on veggie pickup nights, and didn't get to meet the other shareholders and feel like part of a larger community as a whole.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Vegetarian Agenda

I'll admit it - I only picked up our library's copy of The Good Good Pig after I found our that its author is a vegetarian. I'm glad that I did, though, and am now recommending it people who've enjoyed or are waiting to read John Grogan's Marley & Me.

When Sy Montgomery decides to adopt the sickliest runt out of a friend's piggery, she's not sure if Christopher Hogwood (named after a well-known British conductor) will make it though the night. Not only does Chris survive, but he grows in both girth and celebrity, eventually reaching 750 pounds and being included as a write-in candidate for a local election. Chris is an intelligent, sensitive soul who loves his slops and a good belly rub, though he has a mischievous side, as evinced by the many times he escapes to go running through the neighborhood of Montgomery's small New Hampshire town. Throughout the course of the book, we see how Christopher Hogwood touches the lives of those who meet him, whether it's the chief of police who keeps apples in his squad car to lure Chris back after escapes, the many friends and neighbors who save their slops for him (sometimes burning cookies or not finishing meals on purpose), or the kids who come to pamper Chris during "pig spa."

Christopher Hogwood, who lived to the ripe old age of fourteen, had a much better life than his fellow pigs raised in factory farms. I stopped eating pork almost a decade ago at the start of my (admittedly very long) vegetarian journey. Come on, people, this is why they made Bac-Os! And if you want bacon with your breakfast, make it tempeh. That's what I'll be telling kids when the new Charlotte's Web movie comes out this winter (as Brandon said, "Bacon and Wilbur - same thing").

Friday, October 13, 2006


In the past few weeks, I've received not one, not two, but three excellent cookbooks (thanks Sarah, Ali, and the staff and the Wyoming library). It's always fun to pore over new recipes and see what's going to lure me into the kitchen.

Right now we're trying to use up most of the ingredients in our pantry so we'll have less to pack (though I've given some stuff to a local food pantry, and what's left will hopefully go to friends). Toward that end, I've been making lots of pancakes, including the yummy banana pecan pancakes in Sarah Kramer's La Dolce Vegan and the chocolate-chocolate chip pancakes from Vegan with a Vengeance. Brandon was especially pleased with the latter.

Pancakes on the Floor!

Here's an embarassing childhood mishap for your reading pleasure:

I spent the first few years of elementary school splitting my time between a normal classroom and a class for gifted and talented children. Our elementary school was relatively old, built in 1912, and some restrooms looked like they had near original fixtures. One afternoon I made a trip to the tiny bathroom located at the end of the coatroom outside of the gifted and talented class. The door had a sliding bolt for a lock, and as luck would have it, the bolt stuck and wouldn't release. Try as I might, I couldn't get the darn thing to budge. The noise attracted people, and a small crowd gathered on the other side of the door. My teacher managed to talk me out eventually. In my eight-year-old mind, however, the most frightening aspect of the entire experience was the prospect that I might have to live in that bathroom forever, while people slid flat foods like pancakes under the door. Um, no. They probably would have just taken the door off the hinges. Just goes to show that even supposedly precocious children occasionally have lapses in logic. To this day, I'm reminded of that incident whenever I can't get a door open.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Apple Gleaning and Not-So-Random Crap

I went out gleaning in an apple orchard in Ada today. We picked 1,860 pounds of Red Delicious and Gala apples. I wish I could have done more gleaning this summer, since it feels good to get outside and do something, but I was busy driving to Detroit and Lansing for classes.

This past Sunday I cleaned out my vermicomposting bin for the first time. I ended up with about 13 pounds of worm poop, which I divvied up among friends. I counted 160 worms, not including some recently hatched babies. I also found lots of cocoons, which look like tiny yellow bbs (I would venture to say that they were 2-3 millimeters in diameter). Exciting! I haven't decided whether we'll be taking the bin with us to Seattle or leaving it with someone who wants to vermicompost.

The picture above is of the 2006 Michigan Apple Queen. I wasn't aware there was such a thing. Honeycrisps, a relatively new variety of apple, are my favorites, though the apples we had off the tree at the bottom of our hill when I was growing up (Wolf River, I think?) are a close second.