Summer Plans

Hi, folks! Just a short post today, as I have to prepare loads and loads of animal-free bacon-y goodies for today’s (well, last Friday’s by the time you read this) Vegan Bacon Tasting, hosted by the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC). As such, I thought I’d let ya’ll know about my summer plans, since they involve lots of cool (well, I think, at least) animal justice-related endeavors, including a sanctuary internship and a field work project for my Geography major.

First, I’ll be spending five days a week working full-time at Heartland Farm Sanctuary, a five-year-old sanctuary just outside of my hometown’s city limits. In addition to feeding the residents, cleaning out their barns, accompanying them on medical visits (including to a licensed Reiki practitioner!), and giving them lots of love, I’ll also be helping out the leaders of Heartland’s summer camp for schoolchildren and assisting in some event-planning.

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As I’ve mentioned on the blog before, I’ve become increasingly committed to learning how to more adequately communicate with other animals, to really listen to the folks with whom I seek to work in solidarity. I’m eager to further pursue this practice at Heartland this summer, both by working there and through my aforementioned Geography field work project. Through this project, I intend to highlight the marginalized voices within animal justice work, including women of color, slaughterhouse workers, and the animals themselves. In doing so, I hope to challenge the animal justice movement’s privileging and exclusionary visibilizing of white, wealthy men in order to advance a more radical agenda of animal justice, as laid out by the movement’s oft silenced voices. I would greatly appreciate any reading/resource suggestions from ya’ll, as I’ve only just begun constructing the syllabus for this project.

Anywho, I’ve got to go get up to my elbows in vegan bacon grease, so I wish you a lovely week and look forward to hearing any resource recommendations you might have.

In solidarity, Ali.

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“You Already Know Enough.”

A quick apologetic note before today’s (half-)post: If ya’ll received an email from Chickpeas & Change with an unfinished blog post that linked to a “Page Not Found,” I’m very sorry! I accidentally pressed the “Publish” instead of “Save Draft” button…oops…

Welcome to the week, everyone! Unfortunately, I’m not able to provide you with a full post today, since I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend in Brooklyn with my best friend whom I haven’t seen in three years (such an adorable reunion, if I do say so myself). I do, however, want to share a quote that has recently been ringing in my head. Hopefully it resonates with you, and if so, I would love to hear your thoughts and discuss with you in the comments (maybe even in a future post!).

“You already know enough. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.”

~Sven Lindqvist in “Exterminate All the Brutes”: One Man’s Odyssey Into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide (The New Press, 2007)

In solidarity, Ali.

{A Belated Observation of} National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015

Hey, ya’ll. These past couple of days and the coming ones have provided me with ample amounts of schoolwork to manage, so I haven’t the energy to devote to a full post today. I do, however, want to share a number of resources in (belated) observation of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2015, which took place last week from  February 22 to 28. If you’re interested, you can check out this post about why this issue is near and dear to my heart.

Photo via NEDA.

Photo via NEDA.

First, two videos that I found to be inspiring and helpful in fostering a healthy, ongoing recovery process:

Years of Hating Her Body and Then One Simple Choice Changed Everything
Via Caroline Rothstein at Greatist

Photo via Caroline Rothstein.

Photo via Caroline Rothstein.

5 Common Questions About Eating Disorder Recovery Answered
Via Melissa A. Fabello at Everyday Feminism

Photo via Everyday Feminism.

Photo via Everyday Feminism.

And, because the face of eating disorder awareness is a white, upper-middle-class woman, I want to pass along a couple of resources that speak to the eating-related struggles that women of color face, as well.

Not All Black Girls Know How to Eat: A Story of Bulimia
By Stephanie Covington Armstrong

Photo via Stephanie Covington Armstrong.

Photo via Stephanie Covington Armstrong.

A Hunger So Wide And So Deep: A Multiracial View of Women’s Eating Problems
By Becky Thompson

Photo via Amazon.com.

Photo via Amazon.com.

The #MarginalizED Project
Via Melissa A. Fabello & NEDA

Photo via Melissa A. Fabello.

Photo via Melissa A. Fabello.

In solidarity, Ali.

“But I Could Never Go Vegan!” Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Sorry, this giveaway has closed.

Can you feel it? The twinge in the air? The rumbling in the distance? It’s coming…it’s…another cookbook giveaway!!!

If ya’ll caught my late-December post about some changes I intend to make very soon on the blog, then you’ll remember the dilemma I’ve been grappling with concerning product reviews and giveaways. To sum up, I’m trying to navigate challenging the consumerism that has overshadowed the anti-speciesism at the heart of veganism, and worry that product reviews and giveaways re-center the materialistic focus of the capitalist system in which we as Westerners are so indoctrinated.

Two fabulous readers, however, offered up some super helpful advice in response to my concerns. Here’s what Elizabeth and Raechel have to say:

“I appreciate your dilemma – as Zizek is fond of saying, it’s easier for most people to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism, that’s the extent to which neoliberalism has captured our very capacity to think. So those of us engaged in imagining alternatives have our work cut out for us. The problem is, we anti-capitalists (or vegans, or Christians, or whatever epistemological designation we prefer) inhabit a capitalist world, in which we have to survive somehow. Etienne Balibar distinguishes between “communism” (which doesn’t exist, and has never existed) and “communists” (of which there are many) and the impossibility of extrapolating between the two, because every communist will make different compromises with capitalism. We can extricate ourselves only so much – the more conscious we are, the more we succeed, in avoiding the language of the marketplace in describing social relations, for example – but we won’t succeed completely, so it doesn’t diminish your message if you support your local farmers’ market or a [vegan] company.” ~ Elizabeth A.

“Although it is admirable to not participate in gross consumer habits and although it is super important to make clear that real ethical consumption doesn’t exist in global capitalism, the real struggle rests in the labor and production, not the consumption. Even outside of my politics, by both choice and necessity, I am not a very material person […] but I have come to realize that it doesn’t actually matter that much. […] [A]ssuming our individual consumption habits can do anything to challenge capitalism is a neoliberal idea. I don’t think it’s useless to buy fair trade products, nor do I think it’s meaningless that I don’t buy animal products, but as you know, what those buying habits do is invite more products, not less. What I’ve come to realize now, as a Marxist, [is that] it only really matters to not buy things if there is a call to not buy it/support it/shop at it/etc. *from the workers.* I support worker-led boycotts, and other than that, I buy things that are good on my conscience, while fully knowing it doesn’t make much difference outside of me feeling good. So […]*not* doing product reviews won’t challenge capitalism. And doing product reviews doesn’t make you a bad activist, at least not from a Marxist perspective.” ~ Raechel.

So there we are. We all get some fantastic food for thought, and ya’ll get your chance to win a cookbook. Win-win. Just don’t let it threaten your commitment to anti-capitalism, ya hear? 😉

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

I do also have an inkling that highlighting the work of those who envision a more just world for all beings has the potential to contribute to fostering the very community that capitalism’s individualistic rhetoric stifles. For example, I’m overjoyed to share with ya’ll the latest project of Kristy Turner, a committed animal activist and talented vegan blogger with whom I’ve had the privilege to connect during my time in the blogosphere. Her just-released book, But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes that Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over For Dinner, is an absolute masterpiece, and I’m thrilled that one of ya’ll will win a copy!

Author Kristy Turner / Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Author Kristy Turner / Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

With a bright and inviting layout, mouthwatering photographs by Kristy’s husband Chris Miller, and charming text from Kristy herself, But I Could Never Go Vegan! serves as one of the most innovative cookbooks I’ve come across in a long while. Organized into sections by the excuses one often hears for not adopting a vegan diet, But I Could Never Go Vegan! playfully and deliciously refutes such justifications as “I could never give up cheese!” (how about after a bite of Tempeh Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Pecan Parmesan?), “It’s all rabbit food” (I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over my enormous pile of Jackfruit Nachos Supreme), “Just thinking about salad makes me yawn” (even this BBQ Cauliflower Salad with Zesty Ranch Dressing?), “You can’t bake without butter or eggs!” (then what on earth is this Rosemary-Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze doing here?), and beyond.

Of course, I would like to note that there are many legitimate reasons for not being able to adopt a vegan lifestyle that are not listed in this book, such as lack of access to plant foods because of geographic location (think “food deserts”) and/or socioeconomic status, desire to distance oneself from a movement made up primarily of people with whom you don’t identify (i.e., people of color looking at a movement where upper-middle-class white people dominate), and desire to preserve one’s heritage — threatened by Western forces of assimilation — through one’s diet. But that’s another post.

I had the pleasure of preparing four recipes from Kristy’s new book, but choosing among them proved a phenomenally difficult task – I don’t encounter recipes this well thought-out, creative, or clearly written very often (and I must have email subscriptions to over 30 different food blogs at this point…). Rest assured, I labored through this heroic effort to bring you a glimpse into But I Could Never Go Vegan! with the following four recipes.

My first foray into Kristy’s realm of culinary genius involved her Thai Seitan Satay with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce, housed in the book’s “Where’s the Beef?: ‘Meaty’ Food, Minus the Meat” section. Subbing tempeh for the seitan to test if the recipe would hold up to experimentation, I was verily impressed by the intense flavor lent to the tempeh by a bright marinade of lemongrass and curry powder. And who can argue with a creamy, spicy-sweet sauce chock full of the master of all nut butters?

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Next up on my recipe testing list: the Chickpea Scramble Breakfast Tacos, which emphatically answer the skeptical question, “What about brunch?” Showcasing a method for plant-based breakfast scrambling that fascinated me upon first read, Kristy first stirs up a polenta-like batter of chickpea flour and savory spices (including the infamous black salt that imparts a sulfurous, “eggy” flavor to foods) that she then chills until firm, cuts into cubes, and browns in a skillet to create a creamy-chewy-umami-super flavorful scramble. Honestly, what could you do with it except stuff it into crispy corn tortillas along with roasted sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and avocado? And then finish it off with cilantro and hot sauce, of course.

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From the “Fake ‘Foods’ Freak Me Out: Solid Vegan Recipes That Aren’t Imitating Meat, Dairy, or Anything Else” section, the Potato & Pea Samosa Cakes with Tamarind Sauce immediately caught my eye. My unquenchable enthusiasm for potatoes and green peas made it very difficult not to rave about these tenderly textured and generously spiced patties, and my tamarind fangirl-ing drew me even closer to the recipe. While I do wish that the colorful cakes cooked up a bit crispier and were perhaps a bit more delicately spiced, dipping them into that sweet-and-sour sauce made it difficult to focus on the ever-so-slightly negative.

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Finally, I tackled the “I’d Miss Pizza” excuse section with Kristy’s Seitan Reuben Pizza with Caraway Seed Crust. I’m sorry, allow me to repeat: SEITAN REUBEN PIZZA WITH CARAWAY SEED CRUST. A winning sandwich transformed into a defining food of my Italian heritage? Be still my beating heart. First, whip up a batch of Kristy’s simple yet juicy and oh-so flavorful homemade seitan, then “corn” it in a bright marinade of beet juice and characteristic spices. Next, get a ball of super easy pizza dough rising, rife with the fragrant savoriness of caraway seeds. An almond-based swiss cheese sauce and mayo-ketchup Russian dressing later, and you’ve got a flavor-drenched pie packed with that classic Reuben sandwich charm, ready for a generous forkful of sauerkraut. Yes.

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I’d feel cruel for tantalizing you with all this deliciousness without offering you the chance to taste it for yourself, so I’m excited that the folks over at The Experiment Publishing have graciously offered to let me share with you the full recipe for Kristy’s Caramel Apple-Stuffed French Toast! Enjoy, and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a copy of But I Could Never Go Vegan! by following the links at the top and bottom of this post.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Photo via The Experiment Publishing.

Caramel Apple-Stuffed French Toast

Serves 4 t0 6.

Nut-Free.

From Kristy:
French toast on its own is a normal weekend breakfast, and chickpea flour and non-dairy milk make for a simple vegan version. When you stuff a delicious filling inside, you’ve got more of a special-occasion meal on your hands (or plate)—especially when that filling is warm, caramelized apples tossed in a rich, date-based caramel sauce, and even more especially when the French toast is dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with extra sauce. One of my recipe testers made it for her husband on Valentine’s Day, and they thought it was the perfect celebration meal. Breakfast in bed, anyone?

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:

10 Medjool dates, pitted
2⁄3 cup (160 ml) non-dairy milk
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) water
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Salt to taste

Apple Ingredients:

1 tablespoon vegan butter
2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons coconut sugar or vegan brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

French Toast Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) non-dairy milk
1⁄2 cup (125 ml) canned coconut milk or vegan creamer
1⁄2 cup (55 g) chickpea flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1⁄2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of salt
1 large loaf of French bread, about 4 to 5 inches wide (not a baguette)
Vegan cream cheese
Cooking spray
Maple syrup, for drizzling
Vegan powdered sugar or powdered xylitol, for dusting, optional

In a food processor, combine the caramel sauce ingredients. Process until completely smooth, scraping the sides as necessary.

Melt the vegan butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices and coconut sugar; stir to combine. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is gone and the apples are softened and golden. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from the heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce.

In a large shallow bowl or baking dish, mix the non-dairy milk, coconut milk, chickpea flour, maple syrup, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Slice the bread into four to six 2-inch (5 cm) slices. Use a bread knife to make a slit in the top of each slice, keeping the sides and bottom intact, creating a pocket.

Carefully spread the cream cheese inside one side of each pocket, then stuff it with about 1⁄3 cup (80 ml) of apples.

Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.

Heat a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Spray generously with cooking spray. Take one “sandwich” and soak in the milk mixture, 15 to 20 seconds on each side. Place the soaked sandwich on the heated pan and cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches, spraying the pan again before each. Serve warm, topped with maple syrup, the remaining caramel sauce, or both. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Variations

Simplify the recipe by leaving out the caramel sauce and replacing the apples with uncooked strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or even mango!

Make plain French toast by slicing regular-size slices of bread and leaving out the fruit and caramel altogether.

Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. www.theexperimentpublishing.com

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm on Thursday, January 29, and I will announce the winner on the following day on #NewsandChews.

Sorry, this giveaway has closed.

I was not paid to run this giveaway, though I was provided with a free copy of the cookbook. All opinions are completely my own.

Radical Humility

Hello, all! I realize that over the past couple of months I’ve been throwing around the term “radical humility” (even including it in my Twitter profilewithout explaining where that term comes from or the thought behind it. First used on the blog in my post on “blanket terms like ‘cruelty-free that imply the moral superiority of certain entities over others,” radical humility has served as a guiding force for me ever since I encountered the idea (at least, explicitly) in two books that I was fortunate enough to be introduced to this past semester: Transforming Feminist Practice by Leela Fernandes and Transformation Now! by AnaLouise Keating (each explained a bit more fully in these two #NewsandChews posts).

In order to provide a fuller context for what has become for me a praxis of radical humility, I want to share with you an updated version of a short essay I penned this past November, that explains what I saw as extraordinarily important connections between Fernandes’ and Keating’s works. Though written a bit abstractly, perhaps the piece will begin to more comprehensively explain where I’m at with my embodied politics right now, and why I seek to keep radical humility at the forefront of my daily life, writing, activist work, etc. I’d also love hear what concepts, theories, ethics, etc. ya’ll are guided by when navigating through this messed up world we’ve all internalized.


Transcending Oppositional Consciousness Through Intellectual Humility

            With each of their conceptions of “threshold theories” and “disidentification,” both AnaLouise Keating and Leela Fernandes, respectively, introduce modes of thinking/being[1] that transcend a deeply ingrained epistemology and praxis that Keating designates as “oppositional consciousness.” With their cultivation of “intellectual” or “radical” humility, both threshold theories and the process of disidentification provide new models of consciousness necessary in enacting truly transformative social movements.

            Keating’s threshold theories and Fernandes’ process of disidentification encourage a flexible mode of consciousness that sheds the fixed identities to which our egos cling, thus allowing for a humble understanding of the self as interconnected with all other beings, both human and non. An alternative to the oppositional consciousness pervasive in dominant frameworks and internalized within ourselves, this new mode of consciousness serves a necessary role in fostering the long-term, radical transformation of society that we cannot achieve when locked into the “binary either/or epistemology and praxis that structures our perceptions, politics, and actions through a resistant energy” (Keating 138).

To move us beyond this binary mode of thinking and being, Keating introduces threshold theories—frameworks that enable us to exist within and “establish connections among distinct (and sometimes contradictory) perspectives, realities, peoples, theories, texts, and/or worldviews” (302). Within these nonoppositional frameworks, we can free ourselves from clinging to one form of external identification by realizing that an innumerable amount of intersecting factors constitute our ever-changing selves, and consequently that we exist as beings deeply interconnected with all others who give rise to those very intersecting factors. Fernandes’ process of disidentification echoes Keating’s acknowledgment of the multiplicity of modes of consciousness available for us to inhabit, calling for “a letting go of all attachments to externalized forms of identity, as well as to deeper ego-based attachments to power, privilege and control” (27).

Such externalized, fixed identities, to use my own experiences as an example, can include those of consumers, perfectionists, “healthy” eaters, obedient women, proponents of the state, people who must get out of bed at 5:45 every morning, etc. Of course, as Fernandes notes, this shedding of externally imposed identity “necessitates confronting the very real effects of such identities, including the personal privileges one may gain from them” (33). Fernandes offers the following example to illustrate what a simultaneous shedding of external identities and confronting of their material effects might look like:

“For instance a strategy for white students dealing with racial privilege would be to recognize and address the social and economic forms of power and privilege associated with whiteness in contemporary society in the United States while realizing that their own conceptions of their self do not need to rest on such hegemonic conceptions of whiteness” (33).

As explicitly suggested by Fernandes’ dismissal of “ego-based attachments,” the new mode of consciousness that she introduces depends upon an internalization of “radical humility,” which parallels the “intellectual humility” that Keating describes as an integral aspect of threshold theories (Fernandes 44).

Keating describes two facets of the intellectual humility—“an open-minded, flexible way of thinking that entails the acknowledgment of our inevitable epistemological limitations […] and intense self-reflection”—that threshold theories require, and that echo features of the disidentified self that Fernandes lays out: complex personhood and vulnerability (Keating 424).

With intellectual humility, we cease to assume that we can completely know the complex constitution of every person whom we encounter based on our rigid definitions of pre-existing identities, and instead begin to recognize each individual’s “complex personhood” (Keating 1191). This recognition subsequently allows us “to make connections among differently-situated people,” since we are now willing to find commonalities between ourselves and those whose identities we previously (and hubristically) thought to be radically different from (and less legitimate than) ours (Keating 892). Also advocating an understanding of the self and others beyond the externally imposed identities that we have internalized, Fernandes seeks to “detach one’s own self-definition from such externally- and self-imposed identities” while still “being fully engaged in confronting the very real inequalities and exclusions which existing constructions of identity do produce” (33, 31). Through this process, we can begin to truly unite under the banner of transformative social change.

In addition to recognizing each individual’s complex personhood, intellectual humility requires a willingness to become vulnerable, as showcased through Keating’s referencing of Gloria Anzaldúa’s conception of nepantla, as well as through Fernandes’ emphasis on the “often painful process of self-transformation” (19). In order for us to “loosen[…] [the] previously restrictive labels” that oppositional consciousness has caused us to internalize, Keating suggests that we emulate Anzaldúa’s nepantla: “someone who enters into and interacts with multiple, often conflicting worlds” (367). Anzaldúa defines the nepantla as having a “frictional existence” and living with “discomfort,” suggesting that we must come to terms with the fact that we cannot—and should not seek to—live “perfect” lives free of strife, since those who occupy this place of vulnerability also have the most potential to “create alternative perspectives” to the oppositional consciousness that keeps us from enacting truly transformative movements (Keating 367). Similarly, Fernandes encourages us to live in the discomfort of weaving in and out of varying social positionings through “a brutally honest, inward process of self-examination” that will allow us to enact the utopias that we cannot even imagine in a mode of oppositional consciousness (44, 19). It is only in this perpetually vulnerable space that we can hope to recognize the connections we share with all other beings, thereby cultivating transformative social change.

            By crafting our individual and collective consciousnesses through Keating’s conception of threshold theories and Fernandes’ process of disidentification, we can foster within ourselves the intellectual humility necessary in recognizing ourselves in nonoppositional terms, and thereby forming the integral base for transformative social movements.

[1] I do not intend for the slash used here to denote a mind-body dualism that would, indeed, reinforce the very binary epistemology and praxis that Keating and Fernandes seek to transform. Rather, by including both of these terms (thinking and being) I seek to acknowledge both the epistemological and praxis-based aspects of threshold theories and disidentification.

Works Cited

Fernandes, Leela. Transforming Feminist Practice: Non-Violence, Social Justice and the Possibilities of a Spiritualized Feminism. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2003. Print.

Keating, AnaLouise. Transformation Now! Toward a Post-Oppositional Politics of Change. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2013. Kindle file.


In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {12-12-14}

***Trigger warning for rape and sexual assault in the body of this post.***

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

On this edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews), your blogger is supremely distracted by the fact that she will return to her hometown in less than a week due to the end of the college semester! WHOO HOO! And you, dear readers, should be equally as excitedly distracted by the fact that three of you will win two boxes of one of the most fragrant, full-bodied teas I’ve ever encountered – Cinnamon Plum from Rishi – if you enter my latest giveaway (which also features an intensely flavorful granola recipe).

But before all that happens, we simply must pay attention to a creamy risotto chock full of squash and mushrooms, a crumbly scone that features my favorite fruit of the moment, a crowd-pleasing and veggie-packed soup, a story that has released a torrent of rape apologist rhetoric surrounding the U.S.’s pervasive college campus rape culture, some A+ journalism on the recently released Senate Torture Report, and a Unicat. You read right.

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Savory

5-Spice Kabocha Squash Risotto with Oyster Mushrooms
via The Sexy Vegan

Photo via Brian L. Patton.

Photo via Brian L. Patton.

I haven’t enjoyed the sophisticated porridge of risotto and its supreme creaminess in far too long, and vegan cookbook author Brian Patton’s iteration featuring the king of all squashes (kabocha) and the meatiest of all mushrooms (oyster) seems like a prime recipe to remedy this risotto hiatus.

Sweet

Roasted Persimmon Scones
via Will Frolic for Food

Photo via Renee Byrd.

Photo via Renee Byrd.

If you couldn’t discern by my recent winter produce review on the Our Hen House podcast or my latest green smoothie recipe, allow me to inform you now that I am 100% smitten with persimmons. Sliced, pureed into smoothies, bruléed, or now baked into scones – it doesn’t matter as long as I can stuff as many as possible into my mouth.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Luxurious 7-Vegetable & “Cheese” Soup
via Oh She Glows

Photo via Angela Liddon.

Photo via Angela Liddon.

Playing on Angela’s veggie-packed and ever-so-noochy soup with a mixture of carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and celeriac, I served up an enormous pot of this golden puree for my 21-person living cooperative to resounding “Mmm’s” and “Yum’s!” I guarantee that smaller crowds will respond similarly. Don’t omit the smoked paprika – it provides an inexplicable undertone of flavor to the soup.

Must-Read News Story

This past week and that before featured a ridiculous onslaught of commentary by rape apologists and deniers of rape culture on Sabrina Erdely’s recent story “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA” at Rolling Stone. Most of this commentary has revolved around exposing discrepancies in the story of the victim featured in Erdely’s story and accusing Erdely of faulty journalism in her refusal to seek testimony from the accused rapists, and has thereby obscured the very real, very urgent problem of a pervasive college rape epidemic (just look at the recently published testimony from a survivor at my own college).

Thankfully, a couple non-victim-blaming writers have offered more responsible, progressive reporting on the controversy surrounding the Rolling Stone story, including Julia Horowitz at Politico and Salamishah Tillet at The Nation. It is these stories toward which I’d like to direct you today.

Photo via Boilerplate Magazine.

Photo via Boilerplate Magazine.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Marcy Wheeler on the Senate’s Scathing Torture Report
via Radio Dispatch

Photo via WarIsACrime.org.

Photo via WarIsACrime.org.

Garnering ample amounts of media attention, earlier this week the Senate Intelligence Committee finally released the executive summary – which we expected way back during the summer – of its 6,000-page classified report on the CIA’s post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation” program, otherwise known as its torture techniques. On this episode of the Radio Dispatch podcast, Marcy Wheeler, a mind-bogglingly intelligent and talented independent journalist who writes about national security (aka, the “deep state”) and civil liberties, discusses the report’s findings and implications. You won’t get a better summary of the Torture Report than this one from Marcy, folks.

Book Recommendation

In the midst of college finals, my head has found itself swirling in a wormhole of books for the past week and that to come…so I’d rather skip obsessing even more over books on the ol’ blog and instead bring you this winning photos of a Unicat (a unicorn + a cat…duh):

Photo via SuperPunch.

Photo via SuperPunch.

In solidarity, Ali.

Vegan Chews & Progressive News {12-5-14}

Farmers Market Vegan’s “Vegan Chews & Progressive News” series strives to promote artful vegan food and progressive discussion of social issues—both of which prove necessary in fostering a society that prioritizes the well-being of all creatures (not just the rich, white, or human) over the continuous striving for profit/resource accumulation.

Whoof, it has been a week, ya’ll. Lack of indictments in the cases of both Mike Brown and Eric Garner, as well as a bunch of racism coming to the fore at my own college, has taken a toll on many folks’ physical and mental wellbeing. Before getting to all of that in today’s edition of Vegan Chews & Progressive News (# NewsandChews), however, why not open on a light note with some mouthwatering vegan recipes? Because challenging rampant white supremacy gets easier with mango-glazed tofu and the thickest of milkshakes…right?

Favorite Newly Published Recipe

Mango-Lemongrass Glazed Tofu
via Maikin Mokomin

Photo via Maikin Mokomin.

Photo via Maikin Mokomin.

A brightly flavored and vibrantly hued dish ideal for adding some much-needed color to the gray days of early winter.

Best Recipe I Made This Week

Banana Cream Pie Blizzard
via Minimalist Baker

Photo via Dana Shultz.

Photo via Dana Shultz.

A milkshake to challenge all milkshakes, this thick glass of banana-ey goodness takes me back to the Dairy Queen Blizzards I often enjoyed in my non-vegan childhood days. Check out this past post for info on buying bananas.

Must-Read News Story

Though my liberal arts college in Poughkeepsie, NY has long served as a microcosm of larger state issues, this past week has proved particularly intense in terms of the campus reflecting the white supremacy so obvious in the Grand Jury’s failure to indict both Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting unarmed Black teenager Mike Brown, and NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo for choking Eric Garner to death. Below are articles by two English professors that powerfully speak to their experiences as people of color on a college campus so imbued with the systemic white supremacy of U.S. society.

Who Really Burns: Quitting a Dean’s Job in the Age of Mike Brown
by Eve Dunbar at Jezebel

Photo via Shutterstock.

Photo via Shutterstock.

My Vassar College Faculty ID Makes Everything OK
via Kiese Laymon at Gawker

Photo via Kiese Laymon.

Photo via Kiese Laymon.

Favorite Podcast Episode or Video

Seeing Red on Black Friday
via Belabored Podcast at Dissent Magazine

Photo via Belabored Podcast.

Photo via Belabored Podcast.

Race in the U.S. cannot be discussed, of course, without considering class (and vice versa), and this episode of the Belabored podcast does so well. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the amazing organizing of the #BlackOutBlackFriday protests, which simultaneously railed against racial oppression and consumerism –  a connection expanded upon by Color of Change representative Rashad Robinson:

“While it’s unacceptable that we live in a world where co-workers must band together to start charity food drives to feed themselves and where Black children can be left dead in the streets at the hands of the police… In this new age of participation, the movements for economic justice and police accountability are indivisible because they both exist in the lived experiences of Black people who are confronting the systems of power which have brutalized our communities.”

Read more in this article by Belabored co-host Michelle Chen.

Book Recommendation

Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture
by Ytasha L. Womack

Photo via Chicago Review Press.

Photo via Chicago Review Press.

In light of…everything…I know I’ve found myself running from fleeting moments of despair (and I’m a white girl). However, this book by Afrofuturist Ytasha L. Womack outlines a framework for envisioning a future society of racial justice – a framework enacted through the world of Black sci-fi and geek culture. Fascinating and inspiring stuff, ya’ll.

In solidarity, Ali.