Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Risotto hell.

Somebody please put an end to my misery. Why the fuck can't I make risotto?

3rd attempt last night to cook it and it still takes me twice the time (about an hour at least) for the rice to cook, and twice the stock as the recipe says.

After hours slaving over the stove last night I was THIS CLOSE to saying "FUCK IT THEN!!! I didn't want to eat you anyway!" and tipping it straight in the bin.

Instead I ate it crunchy and gluey and I can't bear to look at the leftovers in the fridge.

My stock is hot, ladleful at a time, stirring heaps, correct rice...

What am I doing wrong?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Atomica and vegan love

Did you see that post on Eat More Vegies about shoddy customer service?

It reminded me that I did have a lovely experience at Atomica that I better tell everyone because this particular nicety never happens!

Aside from the fact that their coffee rules, they had a few yummy veganiseable options on the menu for brekkie - and I opted for the mushrooms on sourdough toast, minus the feta and cooked without butter.

Brace yourself.

Upon serving me, the waitress told me she had taken the feta off the price of my meal. Voluntarily!

Amazing. After getting used to the fact that you always pay the same price no matter what you remove from the dish, and quite often then pay more on top to replace it with something veg I fell a little bit in love with her.

Yeah, they don't have a huge selection of vegan options, but if that extra bit of attention isn't good vegan-friendly service, I don't know what is!

268 Brunswick St
Fitzroy VIC

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Popped in for my first meal at Cavallero last night. Having checked the breakfast menu before and finding it free of vegan options I have never really made it into the place despite living in Collingwood for 18 months.

Anyway, I had an idea it was a bit too cool for school. But I had no idea it was so pricey. Yeah it's nice, but, well, isn't it really just another cafe/bar/restaurant on Smith St with nothing, personally, that elevates it much beyond that...? To the point of spending $108 on a small veggie dinner for two?

My date and I shared some olives to start, followed by her main of overly salty Zucchini fritters with cavolo nero and something cheesey (goats cheese?), and my main of mushroom, leek and watercress soup which was delicious and the only vegan main available. A side of roast potatoes, and 3 glasses of red (we couldn't afford the cheapest bottle at $42!) brought the bill to $80! Our two average cocktails brought the bill to $108.

Is it me or is that pretty bloody obscene? Shared olives, two pretty simple veggie dishes and a side of potatoes, no desserts - which part of those ingredients or techniques cost so much?

Can you tell the gratuitous pricing irked me?

That aside, the food was fine, the wine was fine, the lighting and ambience fine, service fine... but in Melbourne there is a glut of places to go that are more than reasonably priced and better than fine.

300 Smith St
Collingwood VIC 3066

Monday, July 12, 2010

Nutritional Yeast, you rule.

I love this stuff - this must be my one 'freaky vegan' staple that I always keep a few packets of in my pantry.

For those not in the know: Nutritional yeast (also called Savoury yeast flakes, or 'nooch') is deactivated yeast flakes - a great source of B complex vitamins and complete protein. Many are fortified with Vitamin B12 (produced by bacteria just as the B12 in meat and dairy is) and you only need around a tablespoon or two to get a full whack of vitamins.

I only discovered yeast flakes when trying out Vegan Dad's Mac N Cheese recipe. And since then I have found it is awesome in adding a little cheesy creamy flavour to so many things. And then there's the 'superfood' health benefits to boot!

Also, being low on sodium I find it a great way to add a little more flavour without using salt. And, in my opinion at least, I find the flavour pretty mild - I was hesitant at first thinking it would be as strong as salt, herbs or spices where you would never add half a cup of it to your cooking. Being so mild I find I don't have to measure it or worry about how much I'm adding - I have never eaten anything where I thought I have overdone it.

I'm pretty generous with adding it to my cooking, adding anywhere from a tablespoon to half a cup of it to things like cheesy or tomatoey pasta sauces, soups, mashed potatoes, gravy, pizza topping, tofu scramble, marinades, french toast.. basically my rule of thumb is if cheese or salt would taste good in it, so would this.

I'm always interested to see what other things nutritional yeast is great in!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dried bean curd knots

Do you think that sounds vile and vomitous to non-veg*ns?  I thought it sounded fascinating and delicious until I typed it.

Anyway, I'm getting my mitts on some from the Asian grocer on Brunswick St, Fitzroy. From what I hear, you soak them for 20mins in stock then cook 'em up as a meat substitute, maybe in a stirfry or curry. Ideas??

BUT that's not the exciting thing - apparently they have that yummy stringy faux chicken texture you get in restaurants and never at supermarkets as they are made of lots of thin layers of beancurd skin.

Healthy people: these are meant to be not nearly as processed as other faux meaty things made from soy, woo!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meat & Depression?

Interesting study linking vegetarian diets to better mood.

Quoted from PCRM:

Vegetarians have lower instances of depression, according to a new study in Nutrition Journal. Researchers looked at 60 vegetarians and 78 meat-eaters in the southwestern United States and found that vegetarians scored significantly better on standardized mood tests. The mood tests measured depression, anxiety, and stress and were compared to food frequency questionnaires. The vegetarians consumed less eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and arachidonic acid—all animal sources of omega-6 fatty acids—but reported higher mean intakes of plant sources of omega-6 and omega-3.

Who knows whether these claims are strictly accurate - I so often find there's some sort of bias involved or that it's not statistically viable so I'm a bit sceptical of these things now.

But if it is true WOOHOO! (that's my vegan good cheer speaking)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Food Inc. aka Doom & Gloom

I checked this out last night on my free tickets from Animals Australia (thanks!) and whilst there were lots of things I already knew I still found it fascinating viewing.

It was not all meat and slaughterhouses (which really would have been masochistic self flagellation for me to go watch for 1.5hrs) but had enough to make my non-veg brother realise it really isn't like the happy mini farm we grew up on anymore. And to make my already clued up vegetarian friend discover things like downer cows.

The stuff I didn't already know was equally heartbreaking:
  • the poor minorities who spend so much on drugs to manage their diabetes they can't actually afford food that doesn't cause diabetes,
  • Veggie Libel Laws mean that you can be sued by a multinational megacorporation for calling for an enquiry or criticising their food product, even if it kills a child, but the 'Cheeseburger' Bill means consumers cannot sue producers for health problems
  • that just a handful of megacorporations literally control all the food in America, and that in so many cases the industry IS the government
  • that the meat processors have buses set up specifically to bring illegal workers from Mexico to their processing plants,  
  • that Monsanto has patented GMO soybeans meaning farmers are no longer allowed to save seeds to plant again next year - they must continue to purchase from Monsanto or they get sued for infringing copyright
  • the poor farmers who get sued by Monsanto because some of Monsanto's GMO plants have contaminated their crops and they didn't pay Monsanto for them, 
  • the government subsidies that ensure fast food is cheaper than fresh food, 
  • that 70% of food in the US contains GMO ingredients and it does not have to be labelled, 
  • that cloned meat doesn't have to be labelled, 
  • that FDA and USDA aren't allowed to shut down any meat processors no matter how many times they produce contaminated meat that kill people, 
  • 5 billion other horrible things that display industries' contempt for consumers

When we walked home afterwards there were comments that thankfully it's not like that in Australia. No, I don't think it is. So should we continue mindlessly buying whatever is cheapest or yummiest on the shelf? Cos it's not our problem?

I just hope that the American scenario gives people the foresight to make sure Australia doesn't follow down the very same path - why wouldn't it when it's still the consumer dollar that votes?

Our food producers are huge and already have the power to lobby the government. We have Monsanto in Australia. Our highly processed products such as canola oil don't have to be labelled as GMO. And just like America, we want more for less. We want cheap food, fast. We want to have meat at every meal, and while we say we care, as a majority we don't want to pay even a dollar more for something that treats animals, people, or the environment better. Yep, I would go so far as to say that what happens in America IS our problem.

Edit: I hear you are supposed to finish up negative posts with something positive. So in good news, I had Lord of the Fries with cheese and gravy on the way to see that movie and it was divine.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

All the little things that were non-blogworthy in themselves

Uluru, Kings Canyon, Kata Tjuta
Spent 5 days with the family doing the Aussie tourism thing, walking through rocks and desert and filling my eyeballs with things that aren't grey and concrete. Ahhh so good. Wish I could say the same about the food. Goddamn, they serve up some nasty shit at extortionate prices. I think the vego meals were actually better than the shrivelled up inedible lumps they tried to pass off as calamari. Guess you can't expect too much when everything has to be transported a billion miles to get there and there's nowhere else to eat. In unexpected and amazing news, Alice Springs had a vegan breakfast with tofu scramble. Woo!

Yum! Took the parentals out for dinner to my fave vego restaurant in Melbourne. Food was divine as usual, although the balsamic bok choy with gnocchi was sadly no longer on the menu, replaced by a chestnut ravioli with mushroom reduction which I didn't find as amazing as it sounds. Tofu caramel was drool worthy as ever. Swoon Swoon.

See, this is definitely not blogworthy, but how disappointed were you that that vegetarian challenge was based around goat's cheese? Who can't make something delicious with cheese? (Obviously Skye and Calum). I was hanging out for them to have to cook with tofu to see what miraculous inventions I have never tried they could come up with. Luckily Kylie Kwong made an awesome eggplant dish I'm going to try making tomorrow night.

If you aren't making these things you are missing out
Vegan Dad's Mac N Cheese - this has been a staple in my diet for a year now and I get cravings for it all the time. Rich, creamy, fattening, this is the ultimate comfort food. I change the proportions a bit, add a little soy sauce, drop the cornflour and sub at least half the tofu for smoked tofu (or add a couple of drops of liquid smoke) for a smokey bacony flavour. So good you will eat until you want to puke. My non-veg workmate just asked if he could pay me to bring him a container of this sauce.

Raw Pad Thai - after getting fat on the mac n cheese this salad is the perfect less-guilty option. And it's even better the next day which is rare in the salad world. Zucchini noodles rule!

Yasai Itame Soup - this is one of the few things I feel brave enough to serve at dinner parties, knowing it will make me look like a masterchef. It's got all my favourite things - lemongrass, coriander, chili, ginger, lime juice, coconut milk. It's delicious, looks great, and you can't fuck it up. This recipe uses fish sauce but I have subbed with soy sauce and it's just as good.

BBQ Tofu - this is my favourite and easiest way to prepare tofu and is great in a burger. Just marinate a few slices of smoked tofu for 10 mins or so in a mix of equal parts soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and nutritional yeast, with a splash of maple syrup to taste. Shallow fry the tofu till browned, remove oil, then add the reserved marinade at the end to reduce into a sticky bbq sauce. 

Mighty Mite on toast - is there crack in this? I'm so hooked.

Chinese broccoli - my new fave Asian green. This pisses all over bok choy. What took me so long?

Friday, May 28, 2010

MFA - Dairy investigation

No doubt you have all seen, or at least heard of, the latest undercover video released by Mercy For Animals. I managed about 10 seconds of watching a guy jumping on a calf's head before having to push stop.

You want to go vegan but you could never give up cheese? Really? You still want to eat it after hearing about this??

If you missed this important undercover footage which has brought the cruelty of dairy into the public eye, here's the gist of it (quoted from MFA):

During a four-week investigation between April and May, MFA's investigator documented farm workers:
  • Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears
  • Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
  • Kicking "downed" cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck - abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm's owner
  • Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars - some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
  • Twisting cows' tails until the bones snapped
  • Punching cows' udders
  • Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death

After viewing the footage, Dr. Bernard Rollin, distinguished professor of animal science at Colorado State University, stated: "This is probably the most gratuitous, sustained, sadistic animal abuse I have ever seen. The video depicts calculated, deliberate cruelty, based not on momentary rage but on taking pleasure through causing pain to cows and calves who are defenseless."

Yep, nasty stuff.

In good news, there has been worldwide media coverage of this footage and one of the workers, Billy Joe Gregg, has already been arrested and charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty.

And you gotta hand it to MFA, what a horrific job having to go undercover and watch that shit in order to expose them to the world. I can't bear 10 seconds of it on a small grainy video on my computer, let alone in real life for a month. This video just makes me want to show everyone and yell out "This is why!! This is why I'm vegan! You see? You understand now?!"

If you want to keep posted, Erik Marcus of vegan.com is following the fallout of this investigation.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New political party - Animal Justice Party

Seeing as governmental policies regarding animal use and welfare are determined by private interests and Big Ag lobbyists, having a political party who puts animals over profits (there's a first) is exciting!

From Animals Australia:

Plans are underway to form the Animal Justice Party (AJP) — the first ever Australian political party dedicated wholly to the protection of the interests of animals. To learn more, you can see the AJP's charter and constitution at www.animaljusticeparty.org, and policy papers will be published soon.

As the AJP Steering Committee — a small dedicated group of animal advocates - states, 'much of the cruelty inflicted on animals in this country results from government policy decisions, ignorance, and inertia. The interests of animals have not been represented in the Australian electoral system and as a result governments have not given due regard to their plight'.

The AJP will first gather sufficient supporters to register as a federal political party, and in time stand candidates for election to parliament to give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. The AJP will also seek to work with other political parties to ensure the adoption and enforcement of laws and processes to protect the interests of all animals, be they domestic, farmed or wild. The new party's mission is not surprisingly to seek genuine justice for animals.

Cool huh?

In some sort of rabid delirium I hastily downloaded and completed the form to show my support, before realising I don't even think I'm eligible to vote as I'm not a citizen. Exciting nonetheless!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Broiler chickens - what I didn't know

I recently finished reading Planet Chicken - an interesting enough read, if not a bit tediously drawn out in the second half. The author is not vegetarian and is happy to eat chicken, but wants to do it the right way so investigates where it comes from.

I knew a lot of this stuff already:
  • broiler chickens are slaughtered at about 6-8 weeks old 
  • many of them are lame and have leg problems due to their rapid growth
  • they get ammonia burns from sitting in their excrement which is only cleaned up after they are removed for slaughter
  • you can sometimes see these ammonia burns on the breasts and legs of whole chickens, but those with really bad burns get cut into chicken pieces

What I didn't know:

The chickens are not sexually mature when they are slaughtered, they are still babies. But, due to their breeding to rapidly gain weight these chickens would not survive much longer anyway due to the strain on their heart and their weakened bones.

The hens who lay the eggs from which these broilers hatch obviously have to live a lot longer in order to reach sexual maturity (at 18-20 weeks). And to keep them alive longer they have to limit their food to near starvation levels. The chickens are so hungry they eat droppings and drink excessive amounts of water. So water is also restricted so that their droppings aren't too wet, as that causes problems when the chicken has to live in it.

Doesn't that sound crazy? That an animal is bred in such a way that, unless starved, they would die before sexual maturation?

I also didn't know that the broiler breeding hens are almost featherless due to continual mating. Or that many are blind due to the high ammonia levels in their sheds. They produce about 140 chicks each before they are no longer productive enough to keep. Worn out breeders (10 months old) are no good for meat so go into canned soup, pies and baby food. The excess male chicks produced, 'hatchery waste', are minced alive.

I didn't know that the eggs were taken to be hatched in an incubator and once hatched the chicks get sucked up by a big tube and put into boxes to ship to the broiler farms. They actually put these newly hatched chicks in a box and send them in the mail! A newly hatched chick doesn't require food or water for a day or so - mother nature's way of allowing mother hen to stay put until all her eggs have hatched - very handy for the industry.

And I didn't know that even the 'happy farms' where the chickens are raised in a better environment still receive their chicks in the post from the same broiler breeders.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New action widget for Change.org

Change.org have created a new action widget to mobilise bloggers who want to use their sites to advance social change.

"Over the past year, more than 2 million actions have been taken on Change.org, leading to dozens of social change victories.

Starting today, we're enabling any website to become a source of social action by featuring a feed of breaking advocacy campaigns from hundreds of leading nonprofits. Using our embeddable action widget, visitors to each partner website can browse top campaigns and immediately take action — without leaving the site."

You can add this widget here.

Fish was one of the last things I quit. If only I had know this:

For many people farming tends to bring to mind pictures of happy animals roaming green pastures, with a quaint, old farmhouse where the farmer and his wife enjoy a modest lifestyle.  Just as fishing tends to bring up the same relatively innocent images of a fleet of hardworking fisherman braving the weather to earn their living.

Most of us know now, whether or not we try to convince ourselves otherwise, that traditional farming is long gone with the vast majority of animal products at your supermarket and restaurant being factory farmed and being owned by a handful of massive corporations.

Sad to say but fishing looks to be headed the same way. In less than a century, commercial fishing has cleared out most of the ocean with trawling, endangered countless species and destroyed entire marine ecosystems that have shown no signs of recovery, even after 18 years of protection. For some species as much as 80 per cent of what is caught is thrown back, dead.

"As Professor Roberts says, over-fishing has destroyed not just individual species but entire marine eco-systems. The small species that fed the fish we traditionally buy are gone, as are the smaller ones they fed on.

That means the chances of stocks recovering are minimal, even if fishing is halted  -  the world they lived in has vanished."

How about fish farming then?

Over half the world's seafood is now farmed. Whilst on the surface this sounds responsible and sustainable, fish farming has the same dire implications for our environment as factory farming.

In all reality, they are the marine equivalent of a poultry factory farm. Farmed fish produce fattier flesh, contain less omega 3s and are fed more antibiotics than any other livestock. Besides mercury, they contain high levels of PCBs, borminated flame retardants and carcinogens. To maintain the right colour in their flesh they are fed synthetic pigments (think Tasmanian salmon which would otherwise be grey). They are fed soy, chicken manure, hydrolysed feathers and other scraps from poulty factory farms. And for every kilo of farmed salmon, you need to feed them between 2 and 8 kilos of wild caught fish. And daily doses of pesticides such as dioxin and DDT to control disease and sea lice, which still manage to infect and kill large numbers of wild salmon populations. Norway provides a devastating example, where almost 30 river systems have had to be deliberately poisoned in order to stop farm-bred disease. Environmental destruction aside, do you really want to eat all that?

The worst part is that this is the exact salmon that ends up in most restaurant and supermarkets. “You can only safely eat one of these salmon dinners every five months without increasing your risk of cancer,” says David Carpenter, MD, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the University of Albany.


And did you know?

Fish oil doesn't just contain omega 3, but unnecessary levels of omega 6, cholesterol and mercury. If omega 3s are good for your heart and cholesterol isn't, perhaps you should get your omegas from a source that is cholesterol free. And white fish contains very little omega 3, farmed fish even less. Plant based sources of omega 3 are plentiful without the side effects.

That fish is low in cholesterol is a myth.

Fish and mercury
For something sold to us as a super healthfood packed full of Omega 3s, why are we warned against more than 1 - 2 servings a week? And pregnant women advised to avoid entirely? As mercury levels continue to rise maybe we should be reconsidering eating fish for our health.

And just in case you thought fish had 3 second memories and were stupid.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Animals Australia dinner at Zen Zero Blu

Because I'm a moron I somehow confused ALV with Animals Australia as I am a member of both. So it turned out that I only realised I was at an Animals Australia dinner when I sat down and read the stuff on my table. Oops.

Anyway, the place was booked out with about 80 people. Turned out that everyone was an activist and everyone knew everyone except me who knew no one and I was thankful I brought two mates along for the ride.

Food was great, with a number of the 8 courses as shared plates. Starting with olives, bread and dips, and a divine potato and leek soup with truffle oil as the best finishing touch ever. Truffle oil = magic. I wasn't privy to this information before. Followed by potato wedges with fennel and rosemary, baked eggplant stuffed with rice - unfortunately the rice was about all you could taste - and some delicious mushroom risotto balls.  The only dish that I wasn't keen on was the apple, cabbage and walnut coleslaw. In fact, I don't think there is any vegan food I have tried and not liked and I found this coleslaw inedible along with my mates who also didn't eat theirs. Which was fine really considering we were already bloated from the other courses. And that Dave the Duck Rescue dude at our table was happy to eat our leftovers...

And finished off with a beautiful berry sorbet with fresh mint, the sorbet so creamy it was almost like icecream.

I had no idea what to expect from one of these dinner gathering thingamies, but I did have a moment of panic when Roy, an Animals Australia volunteer, got up to talk about activist stuff. I'm all fine with it, but neither of my mates are vegan or animal rights type people so I had that horrible feeling of "Oh god, they are going to think I am an extremist and I have lured them into a trap and am secretly trying to convert them." I worried unnecessarily, particularly as I appeared to be the only person there who didn't do anything except donate, so really I looked pretty tame. In fact, I am such a poor activist that I made the terrible faux pas of wearing leather boots to the dinner (purchased pre-vegan days!).

FYI - Zen Zero Blu do an 8 course vegetarian degustation for $32 which is standard on the menu. If you want the vegan degustation you need a minimum of 20 people plus letting them know well in advance.

Friday, May 7, 2010

World's biggest burger


Oh, and how can vegan food seem revolting to many omnis yet that charred black slab of god knows what animal scraps and trimmings is deemed appetising?

ALV 8 course vegan meal...

.. tonight at Zen Zero Blu in North Fitzroy.

Anyone going?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Minh Phat Asian Supermarket

Having read the review in The Age and hearing they stock things such as Vegetarian Mushroom Fluff, I had to head down to Minh Phat immediately to soak up some Asian supermarket glory. They have aisle after aisle of stuff I have never heard of before, hundreds of things I couldn't even figure out what on earth to do with but wanted to buy anyway. I could have spent hours in there if it wasn't for the fact my basket was already full and my shoulder felt like it was starting to dislocate.

$70 later I found myself with a pile of things I now have to work out how to cook.

Some of the more exciting goodies included:

  • Shredded tofu noodles (has anyone used these?)
  • Little frozen rice cakes (dduk) that go in Ddukboki which I remember fondly from my time in Korea and just found a recipe for
  • Shiitake dashi
  • Tasty vegetarian Chicken (gluten)
  • A few select items from their huge selection of all the Vincent Vegetarian fake meats which I have never tried
  • Black sesame pudding
  • Tapioca and red bean pudding

Sadly, I didn't find any vegetarian fish sauce. Sigh. The sweet old dude who works there laughed at me and said "Vegetarian fish sauce. Hahah it's the same. It's just lies!". (And right here in my moment of truth I will admit I still have a bottle of fish sauce from the old days when I had looser morals, and am still using it proving I, indeed, still am morally loose).

If you haven't been, you are missing out! Unless everyone already has been and I have been missing out this whole time.

Minh Phat Asian Supermarket
2 - 8 Nicholson St
Abbotsford VIC

Do you know what animal factories do to the environment?

This is a great interview between Time magazine and author of Animal Factory, David Kirby.

If you ever needed a concise version of how factory farming works and why it sucks for the environment this is it

How anyone can care about the environment and continue to give money to the people who do this is beyond me.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

KFC fights breast cancer

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has partnered with KFC who will be selling pink buckets of fried, factory farmed chickens to raise money to fight breast cancer. What? Say again?!

What a sick, convoluted joke. Whatever next? The Pope promoting paedophilia? Oh.. wait..

"When a company purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribboned product, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease, we call that pinkwashing."

Having taken action on Breast Cancer Action I received a really nice, personal auto-reply below:

"Thank you for your e-mail to us - we do appreciate you taking the time to tell us how you feel about this partnership. You should know that our partnership with KFC is designed to help reach millions of women we might not otherwise reach with breast health education and awareness messages which we consider critical to our mission. This additional outreach is made possible through KFC's 5,300 restaurants (about 900 of them in communities not yet served by a Komen Affiliate). This partnership also helps us to generate funding toward the $1.5 billion in research and community programs that Komen has funded over 30 years - programs that are literally saving women's lives through better treatments and early detection.

Our partnership focuses on healthy options at KFC - grilled chicken and vegetables, for example. Ultimately, we believe that the decision to maintain a well-balanced diet lies in the hands of the consumer. KFC provides tools to make those choices, by providing a healthy choice menu and advice on its website on how consumers can limit fat and calorie consumption in its products.

We appreciate your concern and thank you for sharing it with us.

Very truly yours,

Margo K. Lucero
Director, Global Corporate Relations
Susan G. Komen for the Cure(r)

Is that the world's biggest cop-out? I almost replied with "What a load of bollocks."

But instead responded a little more politely (ok, not THAT polite, it was hard).

"Thank you Margo for your auto-reply.

Doesn't your partnership include pink buckets of deep fried, factory farmed, antibiotic laden chickens - which is incredibly unhealthy? Consumer choice? Why don't you just stop promoting junk food? How about NOT marketing and raising the profile of a despicable company who is all about profit, for whom clearly the health of their consumers is the last of their concerns.

The 'health education' you are putting out there, (particularly among lower-socioeconomic groups who already have a higher occurrence of health problems), is, and you know this, that it's ok to eat KFC cos, "Look! They support breast cancer research and any credible and responsible breast cancer cure group couldn't possibly jump into bed with someone who is causing the very problem so this fried chicken must be ok, right?" I'm guessing you aren't adding a health warning on the KFC products educating them and raising awareness, critical to your mission, that eating these items will increase your risk of numerous diseases, never mind breast cancer?

You're obviously not stupid so please don't humour me and pretend you don't know that this is a disgusting and hypocritical partnership. Whatever next? Tobacco companies jumping into bed with lung cancer cure groups? Buy this cheap bottle of plonk and we will donate 5c to Alcoholics Anonymous? Weightwatchers at McDonalds? Oh.. wait....

Perhaps, you will raise a nice sum from this campaign, but at whose expense? All the people who have now 'learnt' that eating KFC is a 'responsible and healthy' choice. If you cared about the Cure, you would not be partnering with someone who is contributing to the cause.

How about a little integrity?


Niki Haines

Every pink bucket purchase will do more to benefit KFC's bottom line than it will to cure breast cancer. Head over to Breast Cancer Action and get them to rethink this partnership.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Toxin in your TVP? And what's really in your beef?

Had nothing new to say lately hence the long time no write.

But this is worth sharing.

Sad to say, but your TVP, fake meats and soy protein isolates, whilst never considered health foods as such, might actually be processed with a neurotoxic petroleum byproduct. Can you not trust anything these days??? Another reason to stick with real, unprocessed, organic soy.

And in other news, if you haven't seen the latest government reports on what's in your beef you should check this out from Vegan.com. Beef that is rejected by Mexico as too dangerous to eat is A-OK to feed to American consumers instead. And did you know that it's not about grain-fed vs grass-fed beef anymore, it's about chicken-manure-fed vs cow-blood-fed. Wonder why they don't put that on the menu. Good ol' Big Ag putting profits over people as per usual.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Bright Young Things - Full Moon Dinner

The thought of reviewing this was somewhat daunting. Bright Young Things are Culinary Event Makers and once a month they host a Full Moon Dinner. For $75 a head you get three courses, canapes, and a whole lot of wine.

My friend Marney and I went in Jan, very excited. Warned we were vegetarian and vegan, they promised us it wouldn't be a problem. Well, it didn't really work out that way on the night, and for $75 I felt sorely ripped off and tried to drink my way through the $75 instead. Anyway, I emailed the director the next day as I wasn't brave enough to complain on the night and she was more than understanding and offered to make amends inviting us to the Feb dinner, complimentary of course.

We went on Wednesday and, having been given an opportunity to impress, this is the evening I will review.

It all started out beautifully, with delicious lychee martinis and bubbles, and our very own vegan canapes. Having 4 canapes specially made for us impressed me - they other canapes around the room were different to ours. Having been left out of the canapes last time, I appreciated she took this on board. And they looked and tasted beautiful.

Seating was vastly improved this time, right in the midst of it near the singer (Gosling?), and service was impeccable. Little speeches were made by one of the Bright Young Things to let us know tonight we were celebrating garlic. I don't know, but is this normal? Celebrating a humble vegetable when usually it's meat? Either way, I liked it.

Our table had a beautiful handwritten menu of our vegan fare for the evening, which also made me smile - we received the meat menu last time as there was no menu for us. It sounded perfect.

To start we got a shared plate of pimentos fried with salt and sherry vinegar. These were great! And with one in ten being hot, hot, hot it made for a fun Russian Roulette start to the night. Things were going swimmingly. Our next course was shared tastes - heirloom tomato salad which was, you know, nice enough but I felt I could have made it. For a beautiful heirloom tomato salad which beats all other entrees check out Delizia Cucina in Seddon. The cauliflower, pea, broadbean salad was ok, but was really just what I described it as, some vegetables with no special treatment to make them shine. The chickpea and silverbeet dish was beautiful and rich, reminiscent of an India saag and won the shared plates selection hands down.

The main event was interesting. I LOVE that they got so creative and served us something I have never had or encountered before - a mushroom and vine leaves pie. Ok, so the menu description is significantly classier than that sounds, but that is essentially what it was, sans pastry. A selection of different mushrooms with crispy vine leaves in a rich sauce in a little pot. Really tasty, but sadly just a bit too strong to be able to eat a lot of. Apparently there was cavalo nero, pine nuts and pearl barley in there too, I couldn't tell and the lighting was certainly too ambient to be able to see much. I only got about a third of the way through.

This came with a side of quinoa, farro and burghal wheat salad. I eat a fair bit of quinoa and I really couldn't find any in this dish. I decided it was couscous. I might be wrong. It was tasty enough. The fennel and orange salad with tatsoi, hazelnuts and radicchio sounds more amazing than it tasted. I don't know why. Somehow the flavours fell flat.

Dessert was where things got strange. Marney got the standard dessert of Gorgonzola Cheesecake with figs and candied walnuts. She thought that sounded great, I thought it sounded like dirty socks and it turns out it tasted the same. A quick glance around the room proved case in point. No one came close to finishing their dessert. Who cares, mine was great! After my previous experience of a bowl of tomatoes and strawberries, this dessert was a beautiful blood orange and campari sorbet with berries. Marney ditched hers and helped me tuck in. As did the table of boys next to us.

I don't understand it but at the end I felt strangely underwhelmed. The service was warm and attentive, there was way more food than we could even attempt to eat, the menu read beautifully, they were enthusiastically creative and surprised me with the impressive mushroom vine leaf 'pie'. And most of all they did everything they could to make sure we were happy. But overall I just don't know that their flavours worked all that well. I like to go out and eat meals where I just can't work out how they get it so great. In this case, the average cook that I am, I actually think I could replicate some of these.

Don't get me wrong. It wasn't bad. And it was WAY better than the first time. But for $75 I guess I hope to be a little more wowed. I'm not ruling them out though, they have already improved since last time and they have only just started really paying attention to vegan meals so there is potential there.

Bright Young Things
29 Niagara Lane, Melbourne CBD

Friday, February 26, 2010

Eating and not much else.

I have barely had time to keep up with the blogosphere lately, let alone write anything. But I have done a few things that deserve a mention.

Yong Green Foods
My mate brought me takeaways from Yong Green on Monday night and damn it was good! If I was a decent blogger I would tell you exactly what he ordered but instead you will just have to get the gist of it cos I don't even know what it was. My favourite was the chickpea curry, but then I am quite partial to chickpeas so probably biased. The lentil dish was also divine and coming in third was a Japanese faux beef curry. Three of us at $11 a head, I'm happy. World's most basic review I know. PS They are also great for serving brown rice with their meals. White rice, I'm so over you.
Yong Green Foods, 
Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Bowl of Soul
Do they even serve anything with a soul? Or anything in a bowl? Pedantics on the most oxymoronic name aside, you are guaranteed a great burger here. I was strong and managed to order something new, fearful I might regret it and wish it was the Stake Out Deluxe. Stake Out still wins but I had nothing to fear, the Creole Chickn Roll was delish and runs a close second. I'm starting to trust Carla's opinion that all their meals rule.

Bowl of Soul
Bridge St, Port Melbourne

Random things I love at the moment:

The Old Paper Shop Deli on Clarendon St - I have been addicted to their takeaway salads for months now. Their salads change daily, there are always at least 3 vegan options, and $8.90 for 3 is not so nasty on the wallet unlike so many other joints around my office ($12 for veg sushi???).  They also have a heap of cakes which look great (but probably not vegan) and plenty of non-veg options so easy for everyone.

Coconut Oil - I don't cook with this much but it makes great body moisturiser. And if you have long, thick locks like mine, rubbing a bit of this into it a couple of hours before washing is GREAT.

Loving Earth - I'm currently hooked on these guys. They are a bit pricey but they are luxurious. A spoon of their Raw Cacao powder stirred into my muesli before adding milk makes for a healthy cocopops. Or add it to a banana and spinach smoothie, along with their Purple Corn Extract for extra antioxidants. I have also bought their Coconut Cashew Butter (swoon) and their Coconut Chocolate Butter which are great but I'm a bit lost for what to do with them. Not really into chocolatey spreads on bread.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A bunch of unrelated things.

I haven't written in a while - been busy and stressed. My brother's latest cancer treatment is absolutely horrific, worse than all the chemos, surgerys, radiations, and drugs he has tried in the last 2.5 years to beat it. If you thought you had a bad Valentine's day - try his on for size.

In other news I have spent the rest of my spare time moving to Easey St and living on pizza and wine. Nothing worth blogging about but fingers crossed life can get back to mostly normal next week and I can go back to bitching and moaning about Big Ag.

Tonight, I break the monotony and will be attending that fine piece of indie-delight that is The Cribs. Hooray!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When bad chat-ups go badder

Saturday night I allowed myself a break from the boredom of moving and went to The Labor in Vain for a few. It was amazingly busy for the Labor, despite the fucking attrocious country music the Jessica Simpson wannabe lookalike DJ forced us to endure for the night. Still, was better than gangster rap and bling and bitches shakin their booties.

I was chatted up on the way back from the loo, which is always very romantic. Within minutes he told me he was vegetarian but was only doing it for a month because he was dared to do it. When questioned he said "Well, vegetarian is pretty wimpy, not very manly. And it's unhealthy." Swoon. I heart ignorant neanderthals.

I told him I was veg and "do I look unhealthy?" Christ, I looked a hell of a lot better than him AND he was stupid to boot. I excused myself from his failed chat-up and on the way back to my gang his mates grabbed me and intro'd me to some birthday boy whose hand I shook. Apparently, this isn't how you meet people these days. Someone grabbed my bum and someone else said "He doesn't want a handshake, he wants a handjob."

So anyone looking for a nice bloke, head to The Labor, there's plenty.

Yong Green Food and bugger all else

Last week was extremely non-eventful. In fact, I didn't go out at all from Monday to Friday and just packed my stuff (I'm moving to Easey St this weekend, woo!)

But I did make it to Yong Green Food on Saturday for lunch after moving a few boxes. I lived in Sth Korea for a while so I was hanging out for some Korean food that I can actually eat. Seeing as a lot of it isn't vegan, it's hard to reminisce. I love kimchi, but, it's true, it's offensive on the nostrils so I only eat it when no one else is home. So offensive in fact, that when I would get to school in Korea I couldn't tell if the smell was lunch or someone had just let one drop.

And with that you will be pleased to know my mate and I shared the kimchi pancake, which was huge and great.  And filled me up completely so that I barely had room for my Korean BBQ (faux beef) main which I ended up having to takeaway. The girls who run it are cute, atmos is relaxed and it's easy to sit and chat for much longer than necessary.

And apparently it was open til 11pm on Friday night cos people just wouldn't clear out. This wouldn't sound quite so impressive, if it wasn't for the fact it's also a non-boozer amidst the plethora of Brunswick St Friday night watering holes. Hooray for new vegan and raw joints.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Another 'if you can't do everything, you should do nothing' argument.

Aside from the same old rehashing of incomplete arguments, and the generally irritating decision that eating meat is ok because you can't fix the whole world so don't even try doing anything good, here's a great comment on this article from someone whose intelligence and prejudiced stereotyping is something we should all aspire to. Don't think about why people go veg, just give them shit, it's easier.

HEAR HEAR,at last,a voice of reason, there is nothing more annoying than some inner city never employed ustart in fashionably torn desiner second hand jeans sporting a hemp over the shoulder bag full of socialist propaganda who during lunch accosts every productive and working member of society demonising everything from shampoo to non hemp over shoulder bags and torn desiner second hand jeans, i know a person who is a professional protester, they also moonlight as a nurse,believe me, if we were to follow their mantra, we would all be living in mud huts,smoking dope and eating lentils whilst watching the younglings roll around in mud amidst dope smoke waiting to eat their lentils
robert | sydney - February 04, 2010, 8:19AM

Slice of Life

Today's is a non foody post. But it's about a vegan person who is very important to me - my brother, Paul.  I have written about him before, how he is fighting cancer with a vegan diet (amongst a million other conventional treatments) and has recently tried going raw also.

He has documented his journey with cancer for over 2 years on his blog. But where the posts aren't uncomfortably confronting (and sometimes funny) stories about what happens when you have cancer, or how his beautiful wife and 3 yr old daughter keep him going, the posts are about NASTY SHIT. To clarify, Paul Haines is also an award winning, speculative fiction writer.

If you like nasty, dark, disturbing, shocking, with a dash of twisted humour he's your man. Think American Psycho with more grit and no chapters on Genesis. I'm not a reviewer so I won't attempt to review his latest book, but I will let you know what others have said:

"Slice of Life contains seventeen original stories by Paul Haines that travel the dark back roads of horror. We're not talking mainstream horror here, we're talking confrontational in your face stories from the perspective of every day people. If you don't trust that weird old dude over your back fence then Paul Haines' collection could just give you the reason why.
Paul Haines has compiled a collection that is a highlight on the 2009 short story calendar. It's not for the faint of heart, there's some deeply disturbing visions going down, but is well worth reading if you appreciated decent horror of the short story form. I was pleased I finally got around to reading Mr Haines excellent collection and am left wanting more."
Scary Minds

Slice of Life is not for those who like pretty stories of love and derring-do. Look elsewhere for that. What it does contain is original storytelling with a strong and compelling voice that you sometimes may not want to listen to and yet you’re powerless to resist. You have been warned. - Aurealis

Slice of Life is brilliantly nasty and engrossing. Haines may very well be the best writer of dark fiction in Australia today, and genre readers cannot afford not to pick up a copy of this collection. - HorrorScope

You can check out more reviews here, and if you care to pick up a copy, you can get your mitts on it there too.

PS. Yes this is a shameless plug, but from the looks of what some of you read, I thought it would be a welcome one worth sneaking in.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Eats and beats

Last week's ins and outs.

My mate Una's birthday dinner. Despite us being overwhelmingly famished I sensibly insisted we only get 4 entrees between us and then there will be room for dessert. I was wrong. We couldn't even finish the entrees. What a pair of soft bastards. We got the avocado tempura, lentil dumplings, balsamic gnocchi and the green papaya salad (I just made all these names up but you get the gist). Strangely, it wasn't as great as last time but I have no idea why. The champagne was great though. As was meeting Kristy and Toby sitting across from us; me umming and ahhing over whether it was more polite to yell across the restaurant or walk up and ask if she was Kristy then slink away embarrassed if it wasn't. But then Toby got out the camera and took a bunch of foody shots so it became pretty obvious it was them and I opted for the yelling. On a small negative note, this was the second time I have been there for a 6pm booking and they haven't been open 'til about 15 past. In this case, they still hadn't put the sign to open by then, but we got cold and bored and sober so charged on in anyway.

Camera Obscura
From Shakahari to gorgeous, gorgeous music at The Corner in Richmond. Very fucking packed though and could barely see anything except shoulders. But I was also a bit extremely tipsy by then so maybe I wouldn't have been able to see anything regardless. Luckily my ears loved it. Second small world moment of the evening: Carla and Toby were there, driven home by Kristy afterwards. Didn't know this 'til I read all your posts!

Passion Foods
Random stop in the other day in the hunt for Purely Decadent soy icecream, or their freshly made coconut black sticky rice pudding. They had neither which would have made it a completely soul-destroying mission if it hadn't been for the magical discovery that is their fresh Coconut and Lime Sago Pudding with berries. I didn't know I liked sago, but this shit was divine! Get it!

Bright Young Things - Full Moon Dinner
Review to come, dependent on their response to the email I sent them.

Bowl of Soul
Yumbo! Just had lunch there today with two of my workmates as it's become one of Jane's faves since our first visit. Stake-Out Sandwiches all round and it was great. My boss, who thinks I'm a bit weird being vegan but is cool with it, commented to the waitress "That was delicious. And um, if that sounded like I was surprised, well, I was!"  And then the ignoramus I unfortunately work with asked what we had for lunch and I told him burgers, to which he asked "With what? Meat?" (he knows I'm vegan). I said it was vego to which he responded in his caveman fashion "Ugh".

Actually, I was gonna end that review there. But I can't. Ignoramus Caveman then asked if I get a lot of wind from eating vegetables. If I wasn't such a sweet soul I would have asked him if he got a lot of fat from eating shit.

The near future
I'm off on a miniscule roadtrip down Great Ocean Road for the weekend. WOoooo!

The dark side of dairy

I promised myself that my next post would be something happy and positive so I'm sorry to say that this one isn't!

If my previous post on quitting cheese didn't highlight the really horrific side of dairy, Mercy For Animals (MFA) have released an undercover investigation of standard practices on a dairy farm.

I couldn't watch the video for long, maybe 10 seconds, up to the part where the worker puts his fingers in the calves eye sockets to hold his thrashing head still while he burns his horns off. I doubt you want to watch it either but just in case, here it is.

For the less confronting version (quoted from MFA):

Evidence gathered at the dairy facility reveals:

Cows with bloody open wounds, prolapsed uteruses, pus-filled infections and swollen joints, apparently left to suffer without veterinary care

"Downed" cows - those too sick or injured to even stand - left to suffer for weeks before dying or being killed

Workers hitting, kicking, punching, and electric-shocking cows and calves

Calves having their horns burned off without painkillers, as a worker shoved his fingers into the calves' eyes to restrain them

Calves having their tails cut off - a painful practice opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association

Newborn calves forcibly dragged away from their mothers by their legs, causing emotional distress to both mother and calf

Cows living in overcrowded sheds on manure-coated concrete flooring

Workers injecting cows with a controversial bovine growth hormone, used to increase milk production

MFA do great stuff educating the public on what horrors Big Ag tries to ensure consumers never know about. Of course they don't want us to know - if their bottles of milk and clingwrapped packets of meat had photos of where they really came from no-one would buy them. Most people don't even know that a cow has to have a baby, like any other mammal, to produce milk. Let alone what happens to that baby.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bacon and chemical castration.

You know, in the short time I have been veg*n I thought I had learnt a lot about health, farming, environment, and animals. This one was a complete surprise though.

Pfizer, a huge pharmaceutical company, are now selling drugs (Improvac) to farmers in the UK so that they can castrate their pigs by injection rather than manually doing it. And this information is not required on the label of pork products. Consumers don't need to know this shit, obviously. It's more important for farmers to get that extra £1 a pig. And amidst this swine flu induced recession desperation, for many pig farmers it couldn't come at a better time.

Pigs are castrated so that the pork tastes better. The physical castration of slicing out a piglet's balls with a razor without anaesthetic sounds horrific so who knows which would appear to be less cruel, I'm not even going to go into that.

But the chemical castration is temporary, and 'shrinks their balls' so that the effect on meat flavour is the same. The only thing is, it's temporary so the pigs are slaughtered BEFORE it wears off. That is fucked. People are eating that shit.

I'm quite used to this sort of stuff now, so the biggest shock was actually that these drugs have been injected into pigs in Australia for a decade! Who knew? Would you feel safe feeding these drugs to your kids?

Oh, and just in case you prefer animal welfare approved products - they seem safe and imply some sort of natural and/or organic life - RSPCA Freedom Foods are likely to endorse using these drugs on their 'freedom' farms. Don't they paint such a beautiful picture of freedom?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

HSUS invests in fast food chains.

Money wins, right? Well, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have purchased shares in various cruel fast food companies in an effort to change procedures or purchasing decisions related to animal welfare.

I can't quite decide exactly how good this is. I mean, it's surely better than letting these mobs continue with their horrendous practices of purchasing factory farmed crate pigs, or chickens that are cut and boiled while conscious. Surely this is a step in the right direction?

But, how much money have they spent to get enough shares to have sufficient influence in these 38 food-related companies? Money spent on how to kill animals as opposed to not killing animals? Are they really going to fix anything here? Is McDonalds going to become cruelty free? Or just end up polishing up their tarnished name to look like a much shinier, "humane" version of cruelty?

I can almost picture it now - McDonalds ads showing happy animals running free through the fields, and declaring all their products as certified humane. Allowing those who were previously unsure about eating from McDonalds to now feel good about their decision.

Never mind that slaughterhouse practices, and this means in practice, not in theory, have not improved despite decades of animal welfare campaigning.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

L'Oreal funds the beginning of the end of animal testing.

Wow, this is great news. I never thought of L'Oreal as particularly animal friendly so it's great to see them funding research for creating an animal-free testing procedure.

And really, is a mouse going to wear lippie? Human skin cells are much more appropriate.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Melbourne chefs' vegan Australia Day menu. Take that MLA.

And my second super-mini-post-that-relates-to-a-previous-post for the day is this.

Sure, we all have a billion recipes copied and bookmarked, and I, myself, probably won't make any of these on Australia Day due to sheer laziness with following recipes. But just knowing that Melbourne based professional chefs and food authors, Allan Campion and Michele Curtis, have prepared a delicious, cruelty-free menu is enough to make me 'woohoo!' and give the finger to MLA and their bollocksy Sam Crapovich lamb ad.

Would you like pink slime with that?

If my previous post on pink slime wasn't enough to make you choke on your burger, here's a bit more to the story highlighting just how corrupt and unsafe the whole meat industry is.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Raw food and kicking cancer in the a-hole.

I've mentioned a bunch of times about my family going vegan for health.

Well, my brother Paul still has cancer and despite over 2 years of surgery, chemo, radiation, experimental drugs, meditation, vegan diets and Dr Gawler retreats he is still fighting the battle we thought he had won at the start.

After watching Simply Raw they have decided to fight even harder and try a 30 day raw vegan diet to beat this bastard.

They went 90% vegan last year so that part is pretty much sussed. But raw is a whole new thing for them.

Jules, my beautiful sis-in-law, has been cooking healthy vegan meals for her, Paul and their 3 year old daughter day in and day out. No cooking with oil, no added salt, no refined white stuff, no junk, no fried stuff, and with his fussiness, no mushrooms, no stirfries (unless they are amazing), no eggplants, no pineapple...

I do already follow a few great raw blogs but as always, there is often an overwhelming amount of info out there that it's hard to know where to start. If anyone has any top tips for making this adjustment easy hand them my way! Fave quick recipes that don't require dehydrators and crazy kitchen appliances and 38 hours of presoaking are preferable!

Or let Jules know, she's started a blog about her raw masterplan.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lamb on Australia Day. MLA vs Frys

What a load of marketing bollocks.

If you haven't heard or seen this campaign by agribusiness to promote it's product by claiming it makes you a real "Australian" on Australia Day you're not missing anything except an opportunity to be sucked in by marketers telling you what to eat in order to be patriotic.

The reason I hate these campaigns is that many people don't feel they are being marketed to or advertised to unless it's a brand and it's obvious. Think of all the suckers who took Sam Neill's word as gospel/science when he claimed we need meat to make our brains bigger. And to evolve past the chimps. And that meat is an essential part of your diet. People took that as science and fact and not as a marketing push from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA).

Now, I don't expect people to take this Lamb on Australia Day as science, but I also don't expect them to see it for what it is - and that is another marketing push from MLA.  Let's hope this doesn't get adopted as another blind tradition simply to make money for agribusiness out of animal suffering.

Roll in the hero, Fry's Vegetarian for their spoofed version. Thanks Fry's! Take that, MLA!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Spammers suck.

Sorry guys, due to someone thinking this a relevant spot to sell sex (or at least that's what I think it is, it's all in Asian characters except for the word SEX), I have had to turn on comment moderation.


Friday, January 8, 2010

My dreamboat and my flaw

Oh yeah, by the way, in case anyone cares to hear, remember that guy I was sort of seeing who made the jokes about a housepig you could peel crackling from on demand?

I decided early on that I wasn't really keen on pursuing anything - he just didn't do it for me. But, you know, I didn't tell him he was a knob, I was nice about it. But he said lets go on some more dates. I said lets just hang out and you might not even fancy me or want to take me on dates after all.

And in his limitless empathy and understanding he told me that he can't imagine I could have many more flaws. "I've already accepted your biggest flaw of being a vegan, so I think I could probably deal with anything else."

He wasn't even joking, he was trying to win his way back into my heart. Oh, the romance!

What a keeper.

Well, anyway, enough messing about. I better get to work on improving myself and fixing this major flaw of mine, I've spent long enough denying I have a problem.

Licking the pink slime from the slaughterhouse floor.

Oh God, I knew slaughterhouses were bad, and burger meat was bad. But I didn't know about "pink slime" or ammoniated beef. This is the slime and muck and shit scraped off the floors of the slaughterhouse. It used to be made into pet food but now it is pushed through tubes that 'clean' the meat with ammonia to attempt to kill all the E. coli, salmonella, etc. However, ammonia levels high enough to kill the pathogens render the meat inedible so the ammonia level is reduced, and the pathogens survive.

Even worse than eating pink slime with cowshit and ammonia mixed in is that ammoniated beef is exempt from routine testing and recalls. And it doesn't need labelling as it has been reclassified as a processing agent.

This is the stuff that goes into the American federal school lunch program, 5.5 million pounds of the stuff last year alone got fed to kids every day at school.

It's also the very same stuff that goes into your hamburgers from McDonalds and Burger King.

And those at your supermarket.

This is absolutely fucking disgusting. Regardless of whether you love your meat, who the fuck would want to lick the floor of a slaughterhouse?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Human Rights and Veganism.

'Why are you vegan? We should focus on human rights before animals'.

If you care about human rights, you should care about veganism.

If you care about human rights you probably don't want people to be exposed to the dangers, humiliation and disgusting treatment they face working in slaughterhouses whilst earning a pittance.

Did you know slaughterhouses actively employ illegal immigrants so that they cannot be protected by the Employee Rights Act?

Did you know they can be immediately dismissed from their jobs if they question routine inhumane treatment of the animals?

Did you know they often wet themselves on the killing floor because they are permitted minimal toilet breaks?

Did you know it is the most dangerous job in the world? Never mind that they get paid minimum wages, with little to no insurance or employee protection.

Did you know the violence they face everyday gets taken home to their families?

Did you know just living near a slaughterhouse greatly increases your risk of disease, rape and violent crime?

I haven't linked all these claims as there are far too many out there. If you care to read more about any of them, just google or check out some of the links below.

Or get your hands on a copy of Slaughterhouse.

Working Conditions in American Slaughterhouses
Killing for a living. Low wages and long hours
Child labour charges
Crimes Unseen
Medical Mystery Solved in Slaughterhouse

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Year in Meat

The Year In Meat.

Check it out. Erik Marcus has compiled all you need to know about everything veg*n related that happened in 2009.  Did you miss anything last year?  Who did Big Ag bully?  How many tens of millions Americans got sick from Big Ag's contempt for consumers?  Which underdogs said screw you Big Ag? Who banned eating babies?

All this and more!!

Do you need to be smart to have a right to life?

Non-human personhood for dolphins. I can't decide if this is cool or not. Cool that some people are recognising that other animals are worthy of having rights of their own. Yay, a step in the right direction.

But less cool that this is based on how intelligent (by our standards) they are compared to humans. What does it matter that they are intelligent? That certainly doesn't mean less intelligent species deserve to suffer at our expense. Few would ethically argue against human rights for people who are a bit fucking stupid. And who would suggest severely mentally disabled people be kept in a cage for us to experiment on?

All animals naturally want to live their own lives and avoid death, and unless it's necessary for our survival, why is granting that so complicated?

Don't forget to read the article's comments if you're in the mood for frustration.

Edit:  Oh, it appears there are some even better comments on this dolphin link.

Posted by This is retarded, Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 1:23 pm  
When a dolphin goes to the moon, builds a pyramid, or paints the Sistene Chapel, then they should have rights. I'll settle for building anything, creating anything, or improving their condition beyond what it was a hundred thousand years ago. Oh wait, that won't happen. Tony Norman's comments are typical of extreme environmentalist morons. So dolphins didn't commit 'genocide?' Woof'inghoo. That's good enough to let them vote for president and have free health care I suppose, right? Human accomplishment and happiness is what matters. 

I'm not even going to talk about "Human accomplishment and happiness is what matters."  But I do wonder how many Sistine Chapels he painted to get his rights. Or how he enjoyed his trip to the moon.

Posted by Katrina, Tuesday, January 5, 2010, 6:01 pm
You know, my kitty cat is a person. She is my family, so I think she should get a free education, unemployment, health care, food stamps, and a drivers license. Idiots. 

Yep, your kitty cat deserves to have a nice life right? You don't want people testing chemicals in her eyes or injecting her organs with diseases. Where did this bullshit about food stamps, free education and driving licences come in?

This whole intelligence thing makes you wonder - how are these people confusing animals having rights with them also voting for president?

After reading those comments I doubt a dolphin cares to get his free education from these bright sparks....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Wiki Veganica, My Little Pony gets led to his death, and Chicken Salt

No time for real posting.

Instead - links of interest today:

1.  Wiki Veganica is born! (um, as in Wikipedia Vegan Style, not as in an unfortunately named child)

2.  Only this year I discovered the horror that is horseracing. If you didn't know, here's your chance. Shame this wasn't at a more pertinent time such as the Melbourne Cup but hooray for mainstream press publishing this. Thanks to Elly for this link.

3.  Good ol' big ag fucking with consumers for the sake of profit. Saline injected chickens? Vom x 100000.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009: The good, the bad, and the wildly optimistic.

2009 sucked because
- my brother Paul hasn't kicked cancer's arse
- my Dad had a stroke
- I moved flat 3 fucking times! (and I'm moving AGAIN soon)
- time was wasted on a bunch of men not worth naming who turned out to be giant twats

2009 ruled because
- 3 of my friends went veggie
- 4 people in my family went 90% vegan for health reasons
- Dad's diabetes looks like it's on it's way to sodding off
- I started this blog and found lots of great Melbourne Veg*n bloggers
- I've got to see my family more now that I'm no longer in London
- I have moved to the coolville that is Collingwood

2010 will rule because
- ......  (hmmm this is a lot harder) ....
- my Dad will reduce his diabetes meds and get healthier
- Paul will beat cancer
- my office will move to Collingwood
- I will meet a great fucking guy with good musical taste who doesn't tell me that my being vegan is a flaw he's 'learned to cope with' (for real).
- ......(maybe I will just go for wildly optimistic pipedream dreams while I am at it)
- I will win lotto without buying a ticket
- I will win the pub quiz at Grumpys
- I will get fit and actually enjoy running

Xmas BBQ Brunswick Stylee

I'm starting to realise I'm not a big fan of Xmas. Hooray for holidays and endless slothing about. But boo for that part of Xmas where you get sucked into bullshitty depressing sentimentality. I much prefer my hard, cold lump of coal that fills that space in my ribcage.

That aside, Xmas day was pretty cool this year. I did have my brother Scott with me so wasn't completely without family at a time when not being with family makes you feel like a giant lonely loser.

Scott and I went to a mate's Xmas BBQ lunch-boozeup-evening in East Brunswick and I know Xmas is meant to be exciting cos of family and friends and booze and presents and overeating and pinata-beating-xmas-violence, but I was excited cos there were about 7 or so veg*ns and I wasn't the party-pooping-vegan-at-a-BBQ I was expecting to be. AND even better, an entire half of the brand new BBQ was fenced off from the meat so I didn't have to sneak my food in the gaps between the snags and lament the gross animal fat all over my food.

But the best thing about Xmas was my phone call to my parents in NZ and Mum telling me the great news about Dad's blood sugar that day - down to an all time low of 5.6. WOOOOOOO!!! And I think even Dad was a little bit secretly excited. Really, how could you not be? Maybe I will get what I asked Santa for for Xmas.

Bowl of Soul, Port Melbourne

There are 3 great things about this place:
1. Yum.
2. Yum.
3. Yum.

Omni friend: Wow this is delicious, so tasty!
Me: Nom nom nom
Omni: Yum, so good.
Me: Mmmm, this is great!
Omni: Drool drool
Me: Gobble gobble

Unabridged Version:

To beat our back to work blues my mate Jane and I checked out this place I had read reviews from before, particularly Carla who, it appears, has shares in this joint.

Going for the most unvegan sounding meal I got the 'Steak Out' sandwich with fakin bacon and cheezly, which was a somewhat guilty pleasure reminiscent of olden day greasy beef burger indulgence. Hit the spot perfectly and at $12.80 has kicked The Maori Chief's Veggie Burger square in the nuts. (Sorry Billy).

Jane went for the Satay Chicken burger which looked great, super juicy and, in a strange complimentary way, had perfectly stringy 'chicken'. Luckily Jane is one of those veggie friendly omnis who enjoy faux meat without having to compare it to the 'real thing' and also goes to Enlightened Cuisine of her own free will. (no way!)

As we left Bowl of Soul she declared "That's how a burger should be".

And at that, we found our new Monday lunching spot.

Bowl of Soul
118 Bridge Street
Port Melbourne