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Category Archives: Rant

–verb (used without object)
to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way; rave
–verb (used with object)
to utter or declaim in a ranting manner.
ranting, extravagant, or violent declamation.
a ranting utterance.

Bacon is NOT Vegetarian

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I can’t make this stuff up.bacon


I’m Not Vegan (and Neither are You)

The one thing that running/jogging does for me is allow me time to think. It is time I can get away from the lure of the computer, cell phone, the responsibilities of keeping a house, maintaining a property or other life’s duties. Running is “me time” and the random things that come to my mind have frequently become posts on our running blog, See Jain Run.

As I ran on the shoulder of the road the one day I came upon a patch of motor oil that I hopped over to avoid. I avoided it mainly not knowing if I might slip in it and my quick reaction made me chuckle. I had acted as though I was avoiding stepping into dog waste or onto a dead animal or something dangerous. My free associating then took me to, “Well you wouldn’t want to step in oil, you are vegan and the dinosaurs died for that you know.”

That really got me thinking; no one in our modern day society is really vegan then. Anyone who uses fossil fuels, directly or indirectly can’t call themselves vegan. I mean I don’t drive, never have but I take the bus. So what if I choose only to ride my bike? What about my bike tires? Running shoes? Sure they might not have leather uppers but what about the plastics they are made out of?

Think about pre-packaged foods. Those seaweed snacks that come on those non-resealable plastic bags with a plastic tie so they don’t get crushed and a desiccant so they don’t dry out can not be good for the environment. I don’t live anywhere near seaweed so they had to be produced and shipped from quite a distance. Many vegans eat Sabra hummus as a staple, even packing the small prepackaged containers in their family’s lunch boxes. A lot of places aren’t set up for recycling those plastics and if they are how many people bring them home to recycle?

I think being a caring role model in life that is mindful and does a greater service to the earth and all living things than being a strict vegan who is obnoxious. Those who lead by sincere examples in their own lives have a stronger positive influence than those who stuff images of brutalized animals into peoples faces (at vegetarian festivals for Goddess-sake). Eat local and don’t shove it in other’s faces. I can think of some thoughtful life-long hunters who are more mindful and have a better impact on this planet than so many of the Johnny-come-lately-vegan-for-a-year individuals who set bad examples and waste so much of the planets resources in pre-packged nibbles.

I can tell you this through my own personal experiences, people have to be open to ideas to accept them so why not share what is important in a thoughtful way. Education is important but having a vegan potluck following movies that “educate” about animal brutality or ill health and gruesome imagery is so unthoughtful. My failures were on a much less graphic scale but they did touch people in negative ways. I sat with factory farming brochures and all I got were arguments. I asked family members not to give our young son hunting or fishing themed toys and clothes as gifts and alienated many of them. A gift is a gift, I didn’t have to be obnoxious.

Nothing about this has a positive impact.

Nothing about this has a positive impact.

Being mindful is key in my opinion. I have had more influence and the positive ripples have gone much farther just by leading a mindful vegan life. I have had people tell me that they had never met such a pleasant vegan before in their lives because I didn’t look down on them nor preach to them about my life choices. They ask me if it ok to order meat in front of me and who am I to tell them not? I was an ominvore – vegetarian once too. Having someone tell me that a head of lettuce might scream when it gets eaten is just as cruel as ranting about the plight of calves raised for veal and de-beaked chickens. All that ever got me was arguments and teasing and changed me from a confidant young woman into an introvert for living what I believed was an ethical way.

Being “tolerant” is also no way to be; live with genuine compassion and acceptance. If there are cruel, harsh or imposing individuals around you, excuse yourself. You don’t need to have your buttons pushed to make you feel like you have to hop on (or off) any bandwagon. You don’t have to defend what is or isn’t on your supper plate and you don’t have to go hug the living animals that were saved from being eaten. Talk about awkward. Just eat your yams and help muck out a stall later. Photos at animal sanctuaries are pure self promotion (why do you think they are called “selfies”).

It’s no wonder so many of the chefs on popular cooking shows “hate vegans.” I am tired of making trouble in other people’s homes or restaurants so I eat before I go usually. Yes, that means that there is dealing with not eating when others are but the only other option is the rude “bring your own” food. Like someone’s cooking won’t be good enough.

The next time you hear of someone leading a one wo/man mission trying to draw attention to raise awareness or money, ask yourself if it is really benefiting the larger cause. Attention seeking brings negative attention too. Live by example, give to your favorite charity, don’t wear animal products and don’t advertise it. Most of all, don’t go for a run.

So, yes, I am still vegan – or not, depending on if you ask the dinosaurs or the bug I swallowed while running.

Beer Battered Tempeh Sticks

It was a weekend I was focused on building back our probiotic gut flora after one of us was on an antibiotic because of a cracked tooth. Not the most pleasant of weeks, one of us needing to have a tooth pulled but we had a lot of great food to look forward to. I had grand plans of making a great beer battered tempeh sandwich with vegan tartar sauce. I found a great recipe and was excited to buy some kimchi as a side dish.

It was just before this I ran into a bunch of vegans we used to hang with and was pretty much snubbed like we had turned into owners of a puppy-mill. Hey, we are still vegan, we just don’t have 24/7 to sit around and talk or blog about it. We have paying jobs, a family, are avid runners, artists, like to hike, have other hobbies and really, really love to eat our vegan food. We tend to dig in before writing down the recipes we created or taking photos. So, here is a photo and the recipe I tweaked that was really awesome.BeerBatteredTempehStx

So thanks to Vital Vegan for their Beer Battered Tempeh “Fish” Sandwiches with Vegan Tartar Sauce!! Make it, tweak it if you want – it is forgiving (I used capers instead of all olives and some coconut milk yogurt instead of veganaise for more probiotics).

Still Peachy?

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Seven months after my posts of Say it Ain’t so Joe and Holding Out for a Gyro, much has toppled here in un-Happy Valley. Last week, the halo was removed from Joe Paterno’s image on the same local mural that Sandusky was also painted out of. The statue that was a place to pause for vigil the night before Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s passing, ( Goodbye Ol’ Joe), was removed yesterday. The reasons are all intermixed with the same terrible events that have come to light on our local University Park Campus of Penn State.

Today, Penn State not only has a gaping void on the east side of the stadium (I now dub it the No-Pa Memorial) but also in its pocket book. The NCAA has fined Penn State $60,000,000.00 (roughly a year of football revenue), dismissed the team from participating in bowl games for the next 4 years and wiped away all of the teams wins from the year 1988 to present. This changes the history so that Joe Paterno will no longer be crowned major college football’s winningest coach, dropping him to 12th.

Pennsyltucky does and will feel the impact of these decisions. I am personally glad to have heard the $60 million will be paid into an endowment for external programs preventing child sexual abuse or assisting victims and may not be used to fund such programs at the university. These funds are not to come from non-revenue grossing PSU sports nor academics but it is difficult to see how they (and the local economy) will go uneffected.

As for food (vegetarian and otherwise) in this area, I notice the Fraser Street Deli changed its menu in February and dropped the Tim Curley – Corned Beef. It still retains the Graham Spanier – Roast Beef sandwich that was listed above the Tim Curley sandwich in the photo I took at this link. Notice also in my new menu photo on this posting, that the Mike McQueary sandwich is still present. Does this mean they are there to stay? I have my doubts.

I made a prediction in November that the Peachy Paterno flavor of ice cream at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery would be removed. According to an article in USA Today, as of last week they had no plans of removing it. That, of course, was last week; before statue was removed and hefty fines, sanctions and penalties had been levied against PSU. I am sticking to my prediction, it won’t be too long until the name of the ice cream won’t sound so sweet to official ears and it will go the way of the Sandusky Blitz.

Activist Patter vs Living by Example

With the many social medias now available, it’s easy to blog, post to Facebook walls, tweet and email alerts to like-minded people. It’s a great way to stay connected and keep informed. It is a much easier way to spread a message, and a lot less expense and waste, than the days of sending snail mail. Activists and many nonprofit groups benefit from these new and fast ways of getting their message out but one thing has not changed, they waste a lot of time preaching to the choir.

I recently was forwarded an email that started:

Farm animals are treated in egregiously cruel ways, and the only way to end this abuse is by getting actively involved in advocating on their behalf.

Google that sentence and you will come up with dozens over different animal rights oriented groups. It makes me question who they are hoping to reach and what are they hoping this information will do. Activists in the thick of spreading the word might readily and immediately respond, “We want to reach everybody and we want them to act upon the injustices.”

I am I feeling messages like this are not reaching their intended audience nor having the desired effect. In fact I think the messages are reaching the same groups of people who are already informed of the atrocities of the world and rather than inform, readers become, numb, overburdened or jaded.

When I state a problem, I like to also propose a solution. I propose living a life that you hope would set an example for the world. Like begets like, to a point. Take for instance the Prologue of This American Life episode 453. It focuses on how the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution facilitated long talks with opposing sides of about the abortion debate, this was in the 1990s, in Boston where there were murders occurring over the issue. Long story short, (but do read or listen to it) as Ira Glass concludes,

Empathy has its limits. People are not going to agree. And the best that we can hope for is, we’ll just try to see each other as well-meaning people that we respect, and keep things from getting to the point where we are trying to out and out destroy each other.

There isn’t one “only way to end” any abusive situation, and such a statement is not better than the ads that promise weight loss or teeth whitening with “one simple trick.” The point is, not everyone is going to agree with you but living by example will have much more of an impact on getting change in the world than hammering people with atrocious information that comes across as a pat speech, not tailored for the person who is receiving it.

Be someone who seeks information, communicates clearly, isn’t wasteful, is thoughtful, willing to share, communicates as clearly as possible, and can peacefully express limits when others overstep personal boundaries.

Toast it – NoStik

I was eager to try a gift my parents had given me, a Toast it by NoStik made of Icflon®. It came in 2 sandwich sized bags into which you could put most anything like a slice of pizza or sandwich and pop them into your toaster to be heated. When I read that they are “perfect for gluten free breads” I thought it would be a good product to review on my blog.

The bags could be used up to 50 times each. That meant 100 toasted Daiya sandwiches without the added oils on the outside to fry them up! Do note that you need a newer toaster, like one that can accommodate thick bagel halves for toasting. It does warn not to let the bag come into direct contact with any heating element but it could be put onto a griddle.

I put together a sandwich with Daiya Cheddar style shreds, ketchup, mustard and a couple of thin pickles. This was on bread that was just a little more thin than usual. Even with that, I didn’t want to force it into the toaster and kind of pressed it together after sliding the sandwich into the bag. It went into the toaster just fine.

I wondered how long it would take after snapping a couple of photos noticed maybe some steam rising from the bag. Of course that would mean it was getting hot. After another moment, I decided it might not just be steam and thought it was smoke from the exterior of the bread getting toasted. I pushed the lever to make the sandwich come up and it had burnt some holes right through the bag.

My supposition is that my sandwich must have expanded after I pressed the lever down to start the cooking. This is unfortunate because it wasn’t really a thick sandwich at all nor was my toaster the old style with only thin slots for single slices of bread. Even the directions on the bag of the packaging suggested sandwiches with the addition of tomato slices or pineapple. I doubt any of those would be as thin as the pickles I used.

Not knowing what noxious fumes and chemicals were released into the part of the bread it became fused to, I cut that section away and bit into the remainder of the sandwich. The outside was hot and very crispy but the inside was cold and the Daiya hadn’t melted at all.

I resorted to cooking it 30 seconds in the microwave which melted the Daiya but sadly got rid of the crispy toast texture too. I only have one bag left since the first was ruined, maybe I will try it on the grill sometime, or with a single slice of bread. Oh wait, my toaster will do that without the bag.

I put another sandwich in the remaining bag and put it in our skillet. It toasted up pretty nicely but with the cleanup involved, I think maybe just grilling them is the way to go. I may still try it with something else another time. I have 49 tries to go.

Holding Out for a Gyro (local lament and luncheon lexicon)

For the second post in a row, I start with my Cryin’ Lion icon. Since I last wrote about the prospective changes in Penn State’s food names, head coach Joe Paterno announced his retirement and was fired (in that order) and University President Graham Spanier was also fired. Both terminations are related to being associated with the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal.

When the terrible allegations of Sandusky’s misdoings and molestations came into the news less than a week ago, it started a chain of events. Sandusky was arrested, Penn State’s Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley both stepped down from their posts late Sunday, one day after the charges were announced. Sandusky Blitz ice cream flavor was wiped clean from Berkey Creamery’s menu as well as his face from a local mural. I made a final prediction that Peachy Paterno flavor as well as the Joegie’s restaurant might be a limited edition too.

It is all a little closer to reality now and I watchfully wait to see the fate of JoePa’s foodie namesakes. His isn’t the only named items I am watching. Jim pointed out that the Fraser Street Deli, that used to name its sandwiches after movie stars, has quite a few menu items named after Penn State icons that prominently figure in the Sandusky case. Highlighted to the right, you will see sandwiches that today are still named after Spanier, Curley and Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary who, as a 28-year old Graduate Assistant, witnessed Jerry Sandusky raping a ten-year old boy in a shower then chose to leave the scene.

What’s in a name? Why change the names of the sandwiches at all? They are made with the same ingredients (none that are in focus are vegetarian you notice) so what does it matter that today’s turkey breast sandwich is called an Evan Pugh when used to be called a Walt Disney? Today Fraser Street Deli’s Bobbie Jo Solomon sandwich is what used to be called a Fred Astaire. If the idea is to keep it fresh and interesting to the customers, there is also the risk of people judging the sandwich by the actions (or inactions) of whom it has been named for.

There will always be intriguing regional differences in names for almost identical food creations. Taking the example of a specific sandwich, depending on where you are from you might know it as a sub, poor boy, torpedo, Italian sandwich, rocket, zeppelin, blimpie, garibaldi, bomber, wedge, muffuletta, Cuban sandwich, spuckie, gyro, hoagie or… HERO. They are all the same sandwich with different names. The sad difference with choosing to a hero after a celebrated living person (a hero) is that they are still creating their legacies.

It will be a long time until we will be able to tell if justice has been done to Sandusky’s alleged victims. The above mentioned ice creams and sandwiches were named for local sports heros and university demigods. What we are seeing now is what happens when those we have built up and allowed to fly high above us fall, Icarian-like, from grace. Our heros become zeros and their glorified gyros are wiped off of the cute chalkboard menus throughout Penn State campus and downtown State College. It may be superficial and instantaneous but it’s a step in the right direction to see them as sapiens and not superstars.

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