Barf

This dispatch from the California Dietetic Association conference may boil your blood.

Also: Cutting meat and dairy consumption in half could slash agricultural greenhouse gas emissions anywhere from 25 to 40 percent in Europe, a report says.

Mark Bittman: The battle against GMOs and the pro-organic crusade overshadow our simple need to forsake fake food for real food.

What does it matter?

I kept my vegan-ness unknown around my workplace until I ordered the “vegan wrap” for a work lunch and my cover was blown.

I was still pretty new. I wanted to be known for my work and my personality, not as “the vegan one.”

But my boss has been super-de-duper nice about it since she learned about my leanings. Whereas pizza is the go-to working meal for journalists normally, last election night she opted to order us Thai food, which made it possible for me to order something without imposing on anyone else. She thinks of me any time there’s a meal on the company dime.

Same for when this representative for a web video distributor came to Seattle last week and brought us lunch. My boss told him ahead of time there’s a vegan in the newsroom and though he planned on getting pizza, he’d bring me a salad.

I don’t expect people to go out of their way to accommodate me. But I’m grateful for every thoughtful gesture.

The guy came with boxes of pizza and a bag containing my salad. My boss peeked inside, came to my desk and whispered, fretfully, “I think there was a mistake. The salad is covered in cheese.”

“No big deal,” I assured her, “I’ll pick it off.”

Didn’t want to bite the hand that fed me. I hate waste as much as I love free food.

But as I furtively flicked blue cheese bits from my salad into a trash can with a fork, I wondered why I was taking such pains. I used to love blue cheese. And it’s not like I’m saving a cow by throwing out the cheese, already made, distributed and sold. Can’t unring that bell, as one might say.

And in order to remove most of the cheese presence, I had to sacrifice the tomatoes and cucumbers with them, leaving mostly just greens. And there were still itty bits of cheese here and there that I was not anal enough to pick through. So basically I chucked nearly half my salad just for my choice – not an allergy or life-threatening condition, but a choice and a stance.

As I picked through greens and walnuts while the rest of my colleagues piled up on cheese, pepperoni, Canadian bacon and sausage pizza – and oh, it smelled so good – I felt a mix of pride and a strange guilt. Why can’t I just eat the cheese if it’s served to me? I just wasted perfectly good food, didn’t I?

More

Easter candy

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I can’t believe weeks have passed by since Easter already.

Easter used to be my favorite holiday. I loved dyeing eggs, hunting for them the next morning and gobbling up Cadbury creme eggs and jelly beans.

Pretty much all of that is out for me now. (RIP my longtime love affair with Cadbury creme eggs.)

I didn’t want to go completely candy-less when I went to my parents’ house for Easter, so I whipped up vegan versions of two of my favorites: peanut butter cups and peppermint patties.

(True story: My Christmas list every year used to be headlined with “a peppermint patty.”)

They’re a smidge labor-intensive (but I’m also Miss Can’t I Just Put Everything In A Pot and Let It Go?) and it’s hard for me to make them pretty (follow the links to the recipes for pretty), but what do you know – they worked beautifully! And tasted every bit as good as their commercial counterparts, but with little to no added sweetener. They did have to be kept frozen or refrigerated, but don’t most good things?

My whole family loved them. My boyfriend, well, he preferred the big, fat Reese’s peanut butter egg in my parents’ candy dish because it’s sweeter, he said. I mean, who DOESN’T like the big peanut butter egg, but I was glad to have my yummy peanut butter cups. And they were made out of pantry items!

I think I have to make these for Christmas, too.

Now if only I can find an easy Cadbury creme egg alternative.

How do you substitute traditional holiday sweets?

Thoughts for today

Could veganism save the world?

I don’t watch Anthony Bourdain’s show, but I liked his thoughts on Mexican culture today

Sorry, I love Linda Richman.

Sorry, I love Linda Richman.