Interesting stuff from some fellow queegans

Sarah Brown and Courtney Pool have written a thought-provoking piece called “Exploring the Link Between Sexuality, Diet and Self-Esteem” at choosingraw.com.  “Throughout our lives, we have both felt stressed by pressures to be thin, look sexy by mainstream (read: white patriarchical) beauty standards,” they write, “There is unending pressure to align with advertisements, models, actresses and stereotypical images of femininity that can negatively impact self-esteem of women regardless of sexual orientation.” I have definitely found this to be true, especially as my initiation into queer culture was through pop culture like The L Word that blatantly promotes mainstream beauty standards. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but like most women (and many men) I grew up with disordered thinking about food. Since making the very conscious decision to become a vegan, I have a much more healthy relationship to food and eating.  I have also unintentionally lost a fair amount of weight. I have been frustrated by the amount of praise I receive for conforming to white patriarchal beauty standards. Let me know if you have thoughts on how to respond politely to people who praise you for being thin when you don’t think that thinness is something that should necessarily be praised!

Zombies for Food Justice!

This summer the Rethinkers have been studying health epidemics such as childhood obesity and type II diabetes. On Thursday they are going to speak out about these issues at our annual news conference, but they have also created a spectacular zombie music video that expresses their point of view. This is truly a youth-centered creation. They wrote the script, drew storyboards, helmed the camera, made their own choreography and designed zombie costumes!

Here’s the 4-minute trailer:

And here’s the full short film:


Here is the full short film and here is the 4 minute trailer version.

On a completely different note…

I’ve always had a soft spot for gay marriage. Despite my qualms with the Institution of Marriage, when the Courage Campaign came out with a video a few years ago of little kids holding up signs saying “don’t divorce my parents” with Regina Spektor crooning in the background, I couldn’t help bursting into tears. As much as I know that Marriage is a tool of patriarchy, that’s it’s fundamentally misogynist and heterosexist, there’s something about children growing up with loving, intentional parents who are recognized as valid caregivers that really gets my tear ducts going. When I proposed to my girlfriend on a trip to New York for our fifth anniversary, patriarchy was the last thing on my mind.

The big news in New York isn’t sitting quite right with me, though. Reading the Sunday Times this morning over a VGF breakfast of tofu scramble with radish greens and toast, I could feel the tears welling up as I started to scan an article on the political machinations behind the passage of NY’s marriage bill. However, as a I read on I felt a tickle of frustration as well. This bill seems to have been as much the product of community organizers as Wall Street honchos who happened to have gay kids. The take home message seemed to be that change comes when the powerful start to take it personally. Maybe this is just the cold hard truth, but it doesn’t feel so good when I think about all the queer people who are farthest from the halls of power: undocumented immigrants, homeless youth, sex workers, and trans folks who have almost NO legal protections. Their issues have not been at the center of the “Gay Agenda” and it’s pretty clear why. Their dads don’t usually work on Wall Street. Their moms don’t usually date State Senators.

This is all by way of saying that my tears today aren’t just tears of joy. There was some bitterness mixed into my breakfast as well.

Red, White and Blini

This might be my favorite vlogisode yet for a few reasons: 1) I used up the last of my hand-picked blueberries from the beautiful Pearl River Blues farm in Poplarville, MS; 2) I haven’t posted in such a darn long time; 3) I made up the recipe myself!

These fruit and cream stuff blintzes are a Rachel original! I brought them by my friend Ann’s house and they were gobbled up, along with the yummy vegan chai, cupcakes and hummus that she was serving up.

Here’s approximately how I made them:

1. To make the blueberry sauce, heat about a cup of fresh blueberries in a small saucepan over medium heat. Squish them with the side of a spoon so they release all their juices. Cook them for awhile so that the juice boils down into more of a sauce. I ended up adding a little bit of cornstarch, but you don’t really have to do this. Set aside in the fridge.

2. To make the sweet ricotta filling, blend the following ingredients in a food processor: about a cup and a half of soaked cashews, about half a can of coconut milk, about a teaspoon of vanilla, agave to taste, a pinch of salt, half a pack of firm tofu crumbled in your hand. Blend to the consistency of ricotta cheese. (I pretty much made this up as I went along, so you should totally experiment! It turned out freakin’ delicious!)

3. Now for the magic! Soak a rice paper wrapper in hot water so that it becomes wrappable. Fill it with a stripe of ricotta and a stripe of either blueberry sauce or strawberry jam. Wrap up like a burrito and then place in your serving dish. Continue until you have filled up your serving dishes with blintzes. Cover with a healthy coating of both fillings and a few strawberries (fresh would be nice, but I used frozen). Put in the fridge until ready to serve.

VGF Lasagna: The Actual Recipe

Ok big shout out to Elena Pinsky for requesting the actual recipe for VGF Lasagna, as seen in this post. I hope you will try this one at home. It’s super easy to make and is the best VGF comfort food I have made. Also, I think I invented this particular version! The cashew ricotta is from the Veganomicon, but the combination of scrumptious ingredients is my own.

First, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Now start by making the…

Red Sauce

Ingredients: olive oil, a few cloves of garlic, one medium onion, 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes, 1 4-oz can of tomato paste, salt (to taste), Italian herbs, dash of red wine and/or balsamic vinegar

1. Chop the onion and saute over medium heat in olive oil until it gets very soft. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so. Mmmm…smells good.

2. Add the can of diced tomatoes and stir. Then add the tomato paste and stir. Add a dash of red wine and/or balsamic vinegar for some kick. Add a few shakes of salt and some Italian herbs for yummy flavor. Continue to cook over medium heat for five minutes or so. Then turn off the heat and let sit while you make the…

Cashew Ricotta

Ingredients: 1/2 cup raw cashew pieces, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 cloves garlic, 1 pound firm tofu (drained and crumbled), 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

1. Blend everything except the tofu, basil and salt in a food processor (a blender would probably work). Then add the tofu and blend some more. Then add the salt and basil and blend one more time. Easy-peasy!

2. Transfer from the food processor to a bowl and set the bowl in your workspace for the fun part….

Making the lasagna rolls

Ingredients: Red sauce, cashew ricotta, rice paper wrappers

1. Soak a rice paper wrapper in hot water. I use a pie dish to hold the water because it’s the perfect size. The rice paper will get all soft and sticky. Place it on a plate.

2. Now we’re gonna work kind of like we’re making a burrito. Make a big stripe of red sauce in the middle of the wrapper. Then make another stripe with ricotta. “Roll” up your wrapper by flipping one edge over, then flipping the other edge over, kind of like folding a letter before you but it in an envelope, but with two kids of delicious sauce inside. Pick up the lasagna roll and place it in a big baking dish.

3. Keep rolling until you fill the baking dish. These are so yummy that you are going to want to really squeeze them in. When the dish is full, add a layer of both sauces on top.

4. Stick the whole mess in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until you can’t resist. Then remove from the oven and serve by scooping out individual rolls.

Baby Bieber

This is just for fun. There is no cooking involved, just the most adorable karaoke of all time:

Meatout

This post is my contribution to Meatout, a grassroots food education campaign. Here’s a description from their website:

On (or around) March 20, thousands of caring people in all 50 U.S. states and two dozen other countries get active to host educational events for Meatout- the world’s largest grassroots diet education campaign. Activists distribute free food, educate their communities, and ask their friends, families, and neighbors to “kick the meat habit” and explore a wholesome, compassionate diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

I’m not a proselytizing vegan most of the time, but I do think this is an important effort. According to Wikipedia, “the production of protein from grain-fed animals requires eight times as much fossil-fuel energy as the production of plant protein.” Vegan food is delicious AND saves tons of energy.

On another note, this video has a very special guest star…my sister! We came up with a whole back story when we were filming so that we could get into character. See if you can figure out what it is…