Two food-related things that I love today.

December 9, 2008 at 3:25 pm (funny things, neat things) (, )

The first is Food Party with Thu Tran. Possibly the greatest cooking show ever (not that I’ve seen many actual cooking shows to compare it to). Here’s the beginning of Episode 1, to get you started.

The second is Anna the Red’s Bento Factory, a blog featuring pictures of lunches that are too cute to eat! Via Make.

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Five Links That Are Actually Important, 11/17/08

November 17, 2008 at 1:34 am (frightening things, injustice, politics, racism, sexism) (, , , , )

1. Great Expectations — Melissa McEwan on the importance of expecting great things of the Obama administration.

2. Taslim Solangi–links at Off Our Pedestals.

3. One person’s experience in a participatory economic work model, via Enough.

4. Serve Your Country Food–a project around mapping, organizing, and encouraging young farmers, via WorldChanging.

5. American Family Association recommends burning cross as yard decoration this Christmas.

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Carl Warner’s Foodscapes

November 10, 2008 at 4:13 pm (art, neat things) (, , )

Via the Dark Roasted Blend, check out Carl Warner’s foodscapes (they’re in the “fotographics” section of his website).

I don’t think food has ever looked so…magical.

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Body Bread

August 15, 2008 at 9:21 am (art, frightening things, movies/video/clips) (, )

Via Boing Boing, here’s a short video of Thai artist Kittiwat Unarrom molding and baking bread into disturbingly realistic looking human body parts. I’m warning you, it’s gruesome. Like watching a serious slasher flick, minus the screaming.


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Mesmerizing “Morning Mummies”

August 9, 2008 at 9:58 am (amazing things, neat things) ()

These are fucking great. (Via CRAFT.)


I couldn’t take my eyes off of them; I literally kept that window open for going on an hour, just staring, glancing away, staring again. Those little faces, little eyes — so expressive. Such swaddled, edible emotion, captured there in Nutella and bread.

Very strange.

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On Being Constitutionally Incapable Of Dialogue

February 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm (injustice, stupidity) ()

Okay, everyone. This isn’t totally charitable and almost certainly isn’t What Jesus Would Do, but I feel a pressing emotional need to do it, and why else does the blogger blog?

Feel like reading this thread?

First of all, Elaine thinks that, while children intuitively don’t want to kill animals (true enough), it takes “more convincing” to get them disagree with the exploitation, abuse, rape, and borderline-enslavement of human workers.

Wow! Kids these days, right? With their inexplicable, almost sociopathic apathy about everything that affects people. You know kids! Not an empathetic one in the bunch. Except when it comes to fowl, of course.

But that’s not what I want to talk about here. After spending several posts and threads telling me that the fact that veganism takes effort is something we should completely disregard, she says:

And please don’t ignore the involved efforts to act morally. I completely agree with you that we have a moral imperative not to exploit other people. But a) I don’t think it’s OK to kill animals in order to not exploit people, and b) it’s so very difficult to not consume anything that hasn’t exploited someone but it’s very easy to not consume anything that hasn’t come from an animal. For instance, packaged foods must label ingredients, not human exploitation. It’s easy to read a label and tell if it’s part cow. It’s not so easy to read a label and tell if some people’s rights were violated, their land was taken, they were exposed to pesticides or they were otherwise exploited.

And then:

But your earlier point, that it takes extraordinary effort to eat ethically, is far more relevant to claims about humans than to claims about animals. That is, going vegan is a simpler ethical action and is much easier to promote widely than going local/ organic/ sustainable…

To which I said:

That’s true, but (any you will disagree with me here), I think going local/organic/sustainable is actually more important, from my admittedly anthropocentric perspective. That is, if all food production were local, organic, and sustainable, we would actually eliminate worker exploitation as well as all environmental consequences associated with food production, and toxins from pesticides and preservatives, and nutrient loss during shipping and freezing. If everyone were vegan, but it was still an industrialized, capitalist, unsustainable system, we would still have worker exploitation, still be messing up the environment in myriad ways (thereby harming wild animals), still be contributing to global warming, still be taking in toxins from pesticides and preservatives, still be losing nutrients in transport. Furthermore, while animals would still be slaughtered in the first scenario, they would all be healthy, kept in good conditions, etc., and, because our current levels of animal use are seriously wasteful and unsustainable, there would also be far fewer animals suffering. So the first situation seems clearly preferable to me.

It’s not a zero-sum game, though, fortunately. We can and should advocate both. But that is why I choose sustainability over veganism when I need to.

Which I maintain is reasonable, logical, and accurate. Her response, however, was:

“I think going local/organic/sustainable is actually more important”

Which is exactly why you think it’s too much of a burden to go vegan, because you don’t see it as all that important.
I think our conversation is over.

WOW. Wow. Just, wow.

Anyway, don’t worry, friends. That is the last conversation I will ever get into with her.

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No one in college is poor or oppressed, ever.

February 24, 2008 at 10:59 am (stupidity) (, , )

By way of introduction: Elaine Vigneault wrote a post claiming that since some people of color are vegans/vegetarians, there is no element of privilege whatsoever to veg*nism, and it’s offensive to claim there is. I responded by saying that, since it is a lot easier for some people to afford fresh, healthy produce than others, there is an element of privilege. She responded that there are cheap veg*an options — PB&J, lentils — therefore there is nothing privileged whatsoever about it. I responded to that with a story about our friend Brenden:

My best friend is at school at the big public university in our state. Even though he’s got an excellent deal on his tuition, he’s busting his ass to pay room and board. Since he has absolutely no extra money and lives on campus, eating in the cafeteria is his only option. And, having eaten there myself while visiting him, I can tell you that being a vegetarian there would be incredibly difficult (it was difficult for me to pull off for a weekend), and being a vegan definitely impossible (unless we expect him to only eat the very limited selection of fruit they provide, which would not be healthy). So, no one’s got any business tell him his situation isn’t an excuse to eat meat; he would love to have other options, but for the moments, he doesn’t. He’s white, but his family is poor. My other best friend and I are both students too, but because our families have more money, neither of us has any kind of problem being vegetarians.

. . . I think the only thing I’m trying to say is: it is one thing to ask someone who can easily access a healthy veg*n diet to do so. Asking someone for whom that would be incredibly difficult or impossible is a different kind of question. Not that we shouldn’t ask and encourage those people, but it’s not the same thing.

To which she responded:

I disagree that your friend’s lack of funds trumps his moral duty to avoid meat. Even in a cafeteria like that, there are options.

There are always some vegans at any college. I was vegetarian throughout college without trouble. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are damn cheap. Baked potatoes = cheap. Spaghetti with tomato sauce = cheap. Bean burrito = cheap. Vegetable soup = cheap. Oatmeal = cheap…

Before college, I was in the Conservation Corps. It was a similar situation to your friend’s. I lived on campus and had to eat at the cafeteria and had no extra money for anything. So I told the head chef I was vegetarian. It took a few weeks but finally they made me special meals.(in he meantime I ate PB&J sandwiches). I ate a lot of the same things over and over because the chef wouldn’t get creative, but I survived. And other people often chose the veg option, too, all because I asked for it.

To which I responded that he has literally no extra money (no PB&J for him), and that, while it’s possible the university would listen and change their menu, there is no guarantee, and anyway, asking him to do that is asking a lot more of him than asking be to just not buy meat.

Okay, here’s where I decided I want to post that. She than said, verbatim, emphasis hers:

Really, he’s in college. College. He can’t use excuses like ‘I’m not privileged enough’. He’s in college.

He’s not a good example of the poor people you’re talking about. And those poor people? To go veg, they need education more than money. (They need money for other things, but not veganism). Veganism is NOT a money thing. It’s an education thing.

Mother. Of. God.

I can’t wait till Brenden finds out he’s actually not poor. He will be so excited.

And, an update, in which she said:

He obviously simply places a low priority on ethical eating and a higher priority on convenience.

Like I said before, there are always some veg students at any college. If he just asked the cafeteria, they will likely provide him with a veg option. His excuse is just that, an excuse. He’s just not ready to do what it takes to live a more ethical lifestyle. There are certainly social barriers, but the choice is ultimately his to make.

I’m just reprinting this here so I can figure out whether she’s insane or I am, by the way. I’m pretty sure it’s not me, but it’s good to get a second opinion.

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Eating Tofu In The End Times

January 8, 2008 at 12:46 pm (neat things) (, )

From Boing Boing, check out these tips for making your very own vegetarian survival kit

3. My basics for the car and work are canned beans and bean-based soups, tetrapak soup (Imagine), individual packs of soymilk, vegan (Clif) energy bars and crackers. SELECT LOW-SODIUM ITEMS, AS YOUR DIET MAY CONSIST ENTIRELY OF THESE FOODS. Since you may not have access to fresh fruit or vegetables for a while, also keep some vitamins or (my choice) Emergen-C packets on hand. I also keep a small bottle of spirits (vodka, brandy, etc.). Sometimes it’s just what you (or others) need to relax–and it can be used as an antiseptic.
4. Plenty of water.

Most of the information is just general disaster stuff, for hurricanes specifically, that apply to people across the food spectrum. Definitely worth a read.

The first list of suggestions (they’re sent in by readers) is called “Be ready for the Apocalypse.” As much as I never want to eat meat again, I’ve gotta say, if it’s really the end of the world, I don’t think I’ll be so picky.

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Public Health Alert

January 1, 2008 at 4:15 pm (frightening things) (, )

A trailer hauling 14, 800 pounds of beef, thought to be infested with E. coli, has been stolen in Texas. Consumers are warned to avoid beef packaged with the label “EST. 13116.”

Watch out!

Via The Ethicurean.

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The inhalation of pigs’ brains may cause illness. Who knew?

December 8, 2007 at 7:44 am (frightening things) (, , , , )


On the slaughterhouse floor at Quality Pork Processors Inc. is an area known as the “head table,” but not because it is the place of honor. It is where workers cut up pigs’ heads and then shoot compressed air into the skulls until the brains come spilling out. But now the grisly practice has come under suspicion from health authorities.

Over eight months from last December through July, 11 workers at the plant in Austin, Minn. — all of them employed at the head table — developed numbness, tingling or other neurological symptoms, and some scientists suspect inhaled airborne brain matter may have somehow triggered the illnesses.

Via Boing Boing.

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