Proof of ‘The Sexual Politics Of Meat’

Whats Your Cut?
Last month’s Details magazine had a an article called “The Greatest Virginity Story Ever Told.” The story is about a 21-year-old guy with down syndrome who is a virgin and goes to Las Vegas to get laid.

What struck me, of course, was this guy’s tendancy to objectfy women by comparing them to food. Some choice quotes:

“I like their boobs,” he continues. “Yeah. Lovely nipples. Perfect breasts. They’re like chicken breasts.”

“You’ve got a tendency to compare things to food, haven’t you, Otto?” Bill says.

“Yeah,” Otto says. “Burgers with boobs. Stick in an oliveā€”it’s like a nipple. And they have legs like bacon. And their bottom is like a steak. And they also have eyes like round biscuits. Actually, their whole body’s like a biscuit. I’m hungry for a stripper.”

I think next to the image to the right, this is the second best piece of proof to support the theory outlined in the book The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory — one of my favorite feminist and veg*n-related books.

Blast FLU The Past

With all of the recent media hype about the swine flu, I’m reminded of a post I did wayyyy back in 2005: “How To Stop The Avian Flu.”

Basically, my argument is:

So if leaders around the world were truly concerned about a global outbreak and honestly wanted to do everything in their power to prevent it, perhaps they would suggest that we instate a moratorium on eating poultry until scientists have a chance to get a better understanding of the virus and/or the avian flu epidemic among the birds subsides.

People always like to blame sex for mass diseases and epidemics (e.g. syphilis and AIDS), but in the past 4 years we’ve been warned of flu pandemics and both have been related to the meat industry. AIDS rates have, for the most part, declined since the 1980s due to people altering their sexual activities.

But, again, I haven’t heard anyone talk about giving up meat or changing their behaviors. The blame here is on the meat industry that people so happily support during non-flu times.

And, again, I predict that as there are more people on this planet and more people eating more meat (especially in cultures which previously didn’t eat as much meat but have been influenced by American/European eating habits), these meat industry-caused various strain of flu “epidemics” are only going to be more common and probably more serious.

Let’s stop eating meat, people!

Pineapple-Cashew-Quiona Stir-Fry

Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry
I first had quinoa (seriously if you don’t know much about quinoa checkout the Wiki article — the background info on it is very interesting) a couple years ago when my friend Justin (who has, unfortunately, since developed an allergy to it and cannot eat it anymore!!) introduced it back when we used to cook dinner then watch Desperate Housewives every Sunday. Since then, I haven’t been able to find it at QFC and every time I go to Whole Foods I forget to pick some up.

Then last week while looking for nutritional yeast (which I couldn’t find, unfortunately) I stumbled across Bob’s Red Mill quinoa. Despite costing $11, I picked up the bag and haven’t regretted it since.

Tonight I tried the Pineapple-Cashew-Quinoa Stir-Fry recipe from the Veganomicon.

The recipe is fairly simple — like any stir-fry, it just takes a while to prepare all of the ingredients. Under the ill-advisement of the cookbook, I didn’t prepare the quinoa a day early nor did I use fresh pineapple. Also, I opted for Thai basil and didn’t include mint leaves. In the end, this is basically a sweet-and-sour dish. And I’m not a huge fan of sweet-and-sour, but this was yummy enough. Next time I’m itching to use quinoa, however, I’ll probably do something else.

One thing I wanted to call-out for people who might have Veganomicon and want to make this: In the instructions, it starts off telling how to cook the cashews, but then it doesn’t tell you when to add them back. I totally forgot about them until the last six minutes or so of cooking, so that was unfortunate.

We had the dish with some store-bought pot-stickers.

So overall, if you are in the mood for quinoa and in the mood for stir-fry and in the mood for sweet-and-sour, this would be a great dish. Or, if you haven’t ever had quinoa and really like sweet-and-sour, this would be a great introduction.

Lentil Soup + Beet Salad

Roasted Beet and Green Bean Salad and Lentil Soup
Tonight for dinner I made a beet salad and French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme. It was all yummy so I took a picture since I want to try posting more about recipes I’ve tried, etc. on here.

The idea for the salad came after I ate at Andaluca for my birthday on Saturday. The “Green Bean” salad there had roasted carrots, beets, goat cheese, marcona almonds, and a sherry shallot vinaigrette. I had been wanting to “get into” beets for a while now, and the salad convinced me that I should give them a try.

To make my beet salad (I didn’t use a recipe for it), I first roasted two beets. I hadn’t done this before and roasting things is pretty new to me. Per the advice of my chef friend Troy, I wrapped the beets in foil and drizzled some olive oil and salt and pepper on them. I also roasted some green beans.

For the dressing I just mixed together a little olive oil, black pepper, red wine vinegar, and balsamic vinegar. I also chopped up some shallots and threw those in.

One thing that the Andaluca salad had that I felt mine was lacking was something like the goat cheese. Since I wanted to make this all vegan, I intentionally didn’t buy goat cheese. And then I realized that I had some vegan cream cheese. I heated that up and added it to the salad — and it was very goat cheese like!

The lentil soup recipe came from my favorite cookbook: Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. I would have never thought to make this soup (I don’t really like tarragon) but my friend Shannon highly recommended it. And to my surprise — it was great.

Overall, I think I can definitely improve on the salad. I forgot that the Andaluca one had nuts in it so I should’ve included candied walnuts or something. I also want to work on refining the dressing to be perfect. And next time I doubt i’ll include the cream cheese — if anything I might add some pieces of tofu.

So there you have it — another yummy vegan dinner!

Vegan Baileys Irish Cream

Baileys Irish Cream
This one’s for you, Molly.

Last night I was enjoying a glass of Bailey’s on the rocks and thought to myself, “It’s too bad that this isn’t vegan. I wonder if there are any recipes online to make a vegan equivalent…”

And, of course, thanks to the magic of the internets, I found a way to make it!

At SuperVegan I found a discussion about “Vegan substitute for Bailey’s Irish Creme.”

Here it is, copy-and-pasted (in case SuperVegan ever disappears):

Ingredients:
——————————————————

1 can coconut milk
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs chocolate syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup whisky (or to taste!) I suggest Jameson’s.

Instructions:
——————————————————

Combine all ingredients thoroughly using a whisk, but do not froth. Keep
refrigerated, preferably in a dark bottle. Old ‘Bailey’s’ bottles are ideal!

Note:
If your coconut has separated into solid and liquid, be sure to mix or blend thoroughly first into a completely smooth liquid with no lumps.

I haven’t tried it yet, but when I do, I’ll report back!

Reasons I Became Vegetarian

A few weeks ago I sent my sister an email asking her why she became vegetarian (we both are and have been for roughly six years). In her response, she asked me why I am a vegetarian. I ended up writing more than I expected, so I figured I’d go ahead and post it for all to see!

The book I mentioned that I was reading at the time was The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory.

Perhaps some day I’ll formalize it and turn it into a better post, but for now it’s better than nothing…

the first thing that caused me to become vege was the fact that i realized i just didn’t like meat all that much. the flavor/texture/etc. i specifically remember being at school and i got a chicken salad sandwich pita and there was some grissle in it and i was like, that’s so disgusting. never again.

now that i’ve been vege longer and given it more though, i have a whole list of reasons:

  1. meat takes way more energy/resources to produce food/nourishment than vegetable-based foods. the common statistic is that 10 lbs of grain produces 1 lb of beef. imagine how many more people on this planet could be fed with that extra grain.
  2. on a similar note, the way we “farm”/”raise” animals now is extremely bad for the environment. try taking an old cattle field and plant some trees — they won’t grow since the ground is so polluted with animal waste and stripped of minerals and stuff.
  3. like you said, i like and appreciate and respect animals. i don’t think humans have any moral superiority that gives us the right to decide to kill other animals. when anti-vegetarians respond to this by saying “but animals kill other animals” and “cavemen at animals” i say:
    1. animals never kill other animals to the point of extinction
    2. animals don’t use factory farms and mass production
    3. animals have to look their prey in the eye when they kill it, thus creating an emotional response to the slaughter that humans have removed themself from
    4. cavemen didn’t use computers, either… i would like to think we’ve improved since those times, and meat eating should be one of those things we’ve improved upon
  4. the way that we eat meat and determine what meats are “ok” and which are “gross” just proves to me that humans aren’t innately wired to eat meat. for example, lots of people think it’s “horrible” and “inhumane” etc. to eat dogs and horses and whatnot. to me, it’s all the same. i hate people who are quick to defend dogs but then turn around and eat a burger.

one thing that i don’t like, though, are people who are vegetarian for religious and/or health reasons. i mean, in the end it’s good because less animals are killed, but i guess for me being vegetarian is something at the core of who i am since it was an ethical decision i made. i’m not forcing myself to do it because of religion or desire for better health.

i know you aren’t vegan (and neither am i, but i try to be vegan whenever possible), but one very interesting point made in the book was that both eggs and dairy products come from only female animals. it’s just another example of men (and humans) exploiting the female body… even in animals!!!

Any other veg*ns want to share their thoughts on why they became veg*n? I think it’d make an interesting sort of anthology. Or not really…

How To Stop The Avian Flu

Chicken being de-beaked
There has been a lot of news lately about the avian flu — scientists have recreated the strain of virus that caused the 1918 “Spanish” flu, Bush has called for production of new vaccine, experts are saying that nobody anywhere in the world is prepared for the flu, a man in Indonesia died from a strain, etc. etc.

I’m very skeptical of the whole thing. Every winter now for the past few years there has been some medical crisis that failed to materialize in any serious way: SARS, “bird flu,” contaminated flu vaccines, etc. None of them turned out to be as serious as “experts” told us.

(That is not to say that nobody has died or that I don’t think these are legitimate medical concerns. What really bothers me is the way the media and American public, in general, gets all worked up about these things. SARS and avian flu are a legitimate concern for Asia, yes, but in the U.S. I really think people need to stop freaking out.)

And now, again, as winter approaches the avian flu (the “politically correct,” it seems, name for the “bird flu”) is starting to freak people out again.

I’m not a biologist or anything, but first I just want to set one thing straight: The flu virus that everyone is afraid of doesn’t even exist yet. Right now, the avian flu that has killed people is just that — an avian flu. That is, a flu virus that affects birds. It has “jumped” to some humans, but even after jumping, the flu that has killed is still the avian flu. It has not mutated into a form that is transmissible from human to human.

Yes, if that happens it will be very bad because humans do not have the antibodies to fight a virus that originated in humans. The avian flu is unlike the common flu viruses that affect humans so we have no immunity against it.

So basically, while the media is hyping up the avian flu, keep in mind that what everyone is worrying about is something that doesn’t even exist yet. And it may never exist. I mean, lots of animals have different flu strains and I am sure there are random cases where those strains are passed onto humans but for the most part, those viruses haven’t mutated so that they can pass from human-to-human. From what I understand, we’re worried about the avian flu because it is especially deadly, not because it is especially prone to mutation (like the HIV virus).

That said, if people around the world are really as serious as they seem to be about stopping the avian flu before it becomes a major concern, it seems to me that the best thing to do would be to stop eating poultry.

And yes, I know that people don’t catch the avian flu from eating meat from birds with the flu.

These chickens are getting sick because they are kept in extremely close quarters with other chickens, which means it is much easier for the avian flu to spread. Plus, the conditions that these chickens live in are extremely unsanitary. Plus the chickens are constantly pecking at each other causing lots of wounds and bleeding (that is, if they haven’t been de-beaked). I’m more familiar with the situation of factory farm chickens in the United States, but I can only assume that situations are the same, if not worse, in Southeast Asia where the avian flu has broken out.

Remember that the influenza pandemic of 1918 was very likely made worse due to close quarters during World War I and the general malnourishment of people around the world due to various side effects of the war. Chickens are in a similar position now.

So if leaders around the world were truly concerned about a global outbreak and honestly wanted to do everything in their power to prevent it, perhaps they would suggest that we instate a moratorium on eating poultry until scientists have a chance to get a better understanding of the virus and/or the avian flu epidemic among the birds subsides.

It’s the same thing with Mad Cow disease. If people really wanted to stop it, they would stop eating meat.

Now I know that this comes down to personal choices and freedom and all of that, which I totally understand. What I dislike is that people say they want something to stop and they say they are afraid of it, but then they do nothing to stop it.

When HIV/AIDS became a very serious threat to the (especially) gay community in the late-1980s/early-1990s, for the most part, gay men took the threat seriously and made sacrifices of please (arguably) to practice safer sex. They may have enjoyed not using condoms, but make a conscious decision that the sacrifice was worth it. And for a while HIV infections plummeted. (The recent rise may debunk this argument, but that’s another topic…)

But I’m guessing that when it comes to stopping to eat meat, people aren’t that serious about stopping diseases directly related to those choices and that all this talk of “nipping it in the bud” is just empty rhetoric to make people feel better while at the same time keeping them at bay in fear.

Really, and this gets into a larger, broader discussion that perhaps I will open up later, this current “culture of fear” in which we are inundated with threat (terrorism, spyware, avian flu, gas prices, etc.) has no purpose other than to scare people. Rarely is insightful, helpful information provided by the government and/or media, and even less so are people actually called to action to change their lives in order to truly prevent the threat that we are so afraid of. I’m not sure (or, maybe I am?) what’s going on here, but it seems very disingenuine and manipulative.

Word of the Day: Veg*n

Vegetables
At work we have quite a lot of random list-serv type “groups” that we can join. My coworker, who is a vegetarian like myself, has been a part of the vegetarians group for quite a while. On a whim, my another coworker and I joined the group yesterday as well.

Let me say, it isn’t at all what I expected. I figured there might be two or three e-mails a week with tips on eating in the cafeteria, places in Seattle to eat, etc. Instead, I got something like 20 e-mails in the first day alone, with topics ranging from PETA’s recent crusade against Tyson to raising kids vegetarian to trying to convert others to the blood type diet.

These topics are all nice and fine to read about, but everything becomes a total flame war. People write huge multi-paragraph responses/rebuttles to every e-mail. It is quite intense!

Nonetheless, I did manage to pick up something useful: the term veg*n. The * (asterisk) in the middle is a wildcard symbol meaning “anything can go here,” so veg*n can refer to vegetarian or vegan. I love the term and intend to use it as often as possible.