The Catholic Concern for Animals (CCA) blog has alerted me to the fact that it is World Vegan Day and the start of World Vegan Month. This has prompted me to do a job that I have been putting off for a while. I have added a new category called “Vegetarian and Vegan” to my blog, and I have gone through my old posts and put the relevant ones into this new category. There aren’t that many but now it’s easier to find them. Just look to the right, under the pictures of the “community posts I like”, and click on the folder icon to see all my categories. You should see “Vegetarian and Vegan” at the bottom of the list.
If you can’t be bothered to do that (and I wouldn’t blame you), I recommend the short stories Alien Report and Alien Harvest. I was working on part 3 but my graphics machine is still causing me problems so I haven’t been able to finish the illustration that goes with the story. There’s also this story that has vegan leanings.
…until they messed everything up and got kicked out of the Garden. We were meant to be gardeners not farmers. The Garden of Eden is the model of what God originally intended for mankind. He wanted to walk with us in the Garden. People often quote the parts of Genesis where God gives us dominion over the natural world but they ignore the part where we are told:
Here are all the herbs, God told them, that seed on earth, and all the trees, that carry in them the seeds of their own life, to be your food; food for all the beasts of the earth, all that flies in the air, all that creeps along the ground; here all that lives shall find its nourishment.
When God gave us dominion over the natural world He wanted us to be responsible custodians not exploitative tyrants. He gave us everything we needed – water and plants and fruit of the trees – to sustain ourselves and the creatures under our care. There was just one fruit that was off limits. God gave mankind free will and relied on us to make the right decision. However, we failed, and the fallen world can no longer sustain us with ease. God tells Adam:
Thou hast listened to thy wife’s counsel, and hast eaten the fruit I forbade thee to eat; and now, through thy act, the ground is under a curse. All the days of thy life thou shalt win food from it with toil; thorns and thistles it shall yield thee, this ground from which thou dost win thy food. Still thou shalt earn thy bread with the sweat of thy brow; until thou goest back into the ground from which thou wast taken; dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Notice that God still doesn’t say that we will need to eat animals to survive. He doesn’t give permission for us to do that until after the great flood of Noah’s time. I’m not a saint, a theologian or a Bible scholar so I don’t know why He did that. Maybe the earth was just no longer able to support man on a vegan diet at that stage.
Now for those of you who are thinking that surely God didn’t mind people killing animals because He expected sacrifices, in fact, He didn’t actually like them or want them. God tolerates our weaknesses out of love but when He deems that we can do better He asks more from us. For example, in Matthew 19:8 we hear Jesus explaining why divorce was permitted in the past but not under the New Covenant:
It was to suit your hard hearts that Moses allowed you to put your wives away; it was not so at the beginning of things.
It is not a sin to eat meat and animal products; even Christ had to eat the same diet as His contemporaries. But now that we have progressed, the Western world could probably support a vegan lifestyle for us all. God does not require us to be vegan, but given that many of us are now able to do so, I think we should. Vegans have much less of an environmental impact than meat-eaters. For the sake of the animals and the environment that God put into our care, and for the poor who are often exploited for the sake of meat production, we should at least work towards it. I’m not trying to be holier than thou; I know it’s hard. I’ve been vegetarian for over twenty years but, even though I decided it was the right way to live a few years ago, I still struggle with veganism.
This blog has been very quiet lately. I guess I got out of the blogging habit while I was sick. Also, I don’t have much to share. I’ve been catching up on chores, plus we’re trying to decorate the house. Not very exciting, but it has to be done.
I thought I would fill the space with a couple of my recent cooking experiments. This is for your amusement/enlightenment as much as anything else. I’m much more comfortable spending my time in the kitchen making cabinets or painting than I am cooking. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking. In fact, I love to bake. The thing is I’m just not a very good cook. I don’t know why but I’m really scatterbrained about it. I always forget to buy a vital ingredient, or I buy the wrong thing, or I forget to put something into the mix, etc.
First up is a recipe for Boursin-style cheese from the Bunny Kitchen blog that I mentioned in a previous post. I’ve been having trouble getting some of the ingredients for my vegan experiments. Poppy, who runs the aforementioned blog, suggested that I might be able to get the unsweetened soya yoghurt for this recipe from Tesco’s. Having been previously disappointed by their poor selection of soya yoghurts, I was surprised to find that this time they had quite a good range. I was so excited by this that I forgot to check that the plain yoghurt was unsweetened. When I got it home and realised my mistake I decided to give the recipe a go anyway (sorry Poppy!). I added extra salt to compensate for the sugar in the yoghurt. I also left out the garlic, even though that’s my favourite flavour in Boursin, because I didn’t want to smell of it. Anyway, given all that, it turned out to be quite edible. I was impressed by the texture – authentic and creamy.
The second recipe turned out to be very tasty, just not as vegan as it was intended to be. It’s a recipe that I adapted from one that we got years ago off the back of a tofu packet. It wasn’t until I was congratulating myself on making a successful vegan meal that I realised that I had used egg noodles. Doh! Anyway, here’s the recipe (it serves 3-4 depending on how many noodles you add):
- packet of firm tofu, pressed* and cubed
- tamari sauce (optional)
- salt and pepper
- half an onion, chopped
- ginger root, peeled and grated (about an inch cube is more than enough)
- pinch of herbs
- sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
- red pepper, chopped
- half a green pepper, chopped
- tomato puree
- cream from tin of coconut milk stored in fridge overnight
- pasta or noodles
- Let tin of coconut milk settle in fridge overnight.
- Marinate tofu in oil from jar of tomatoes for at least 30 minutes but preferably overnight. You can also add a dash of tamari sauce at this stage for a bit of extra flavour.
- Cook pasta or noodles according to the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan/wok, fry the onion in the oil that was used to marinate the tofu.
- Season tofu with salt and pepper, and fry with the onions.
- Add peppers, then mushrooms, then tomatoes.
- Stir in coconut cream, tomato puree and noodles.
- Enjoy! 😀
I’ve been quite vague about the quantities and timings because I think you should decide how much suits your taste buds. If you have any questions please leave me a comment below.
* There are usually instructions on the packet about how best to do this.
I haven’t been looking forward to posting this. However, I said that I was going to do a serious post about eggs, and here it is. I have a confession that must be made before I show you my Easter crafting photos.
Why do I have egg on my face? It concerns my egg consumption habit. One doesn’t have to look far for evidence that egg production is cruel at any scale. Leaving aside the horrific videos one can find on the Internet, all one has to do is ask oneself what happens to all the unwanted male chicks? The answer is obvious; they must be disposed of somehow. Even if they are not tossed alive into meat grinders or plastic bags, they still have to be killed. All those sweet little fluffy yellow lives snuffed out before they’ve hardly begun for the sake of my omelettes and French toast (and so on). And that is only the tip of the iceberg. What about the cruelty of keeping birds (you know, those creatures with wings that fly wherever they want) captive and stealing their eggs? Knowing all this you’d think I’d be able to stop eating eggs, wouldn’t you? But no, I just keep on doing it. It’s a bad habit that I can’t seem to break, I have many excuses, but mostly it’s an unthinking habit. It was only after I’d had a marvelous day decorating over a dozen eggs for Easter that I realised how badly my actions are divorced from my beliefs.
So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I think a good start is to find lots of new egg-free dishes. I’ve been thinking about this for a while so when I saw a competition on Bunny Kitchen blog for a vegan cookbook I decided to enter it. The recipes sounded so delicious I was eager to win. And I did: when I was making the transition from flu to chest infection, I was delighted to receive an email telling me the good news. My sincerest thanks go to Poppy of Bunny Kitchen for that. The book arrived a few days later. My mouth has been watering as I’ve been reading it. However, being ill, I haven’t had the energy to try any of the recipes yet but I will let you know how I get on as soon as I do.