Friday, October 29, 2010

Tastebuds Are Mysterious Things Indeed: Confessions of a Junk Food Junkie

In the past, I couldn't stay vegan and off of junk food for long enough to experience this new phenomenon that's taking me by surprise: my tastebuds are doing weird shit. Normally, I wouldn't even think twice about scarfing down some soy ice cream or an entire bag of Tings or potato chips with vegan ranch dip. I should have had stock in Uncle Eddie's and Liz Lovely's. And now, suddenly, everything tastes too greasy, too salty or too sweet. What the fuck? I don't even like adding salt to my food anymore. I used to have all of this different fancy salt I was hooked on and now I don't even like it! I bought some smoked salt last week and tasted it and immediately decided to take it to work and give it away. I'm enjoying simple, healthy, whole foods. It's scaring me! Now I dream of green smoothies and brussels sprouts and kale and sweet potatoes and quinoa and beans...when I first tried to go vegan in 1994, I would have thrown a full blown, beer fueled tantrum if anyone had tried to feed me kale. All I wanted was a very convincing version of vegan queso dip and I wanted it yesterday, goddamn it! I did eat salad, but mostly I lived on falafel, french fried and vegan junk food. And beer. Things are definitely different now. I am known as "the healthy eater" at work, which continues to shock the hell out of me. If I can change, then believe me, anyone can.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bespoke Butchery: When Locavores Go Wild

When I was in NYC this past May, my wonderful BFF told me about a very disturbing new trend in The City: bespoke butchery. The hottest, newest thing are restaurants who bring in cattle from more local spots and butcher them right in the basement. I recently saw a post by Erik Marcus on that mentioned something equally as nauseating: butchery parties. People pay money to learn how to butcher their own meat. The Back Forty restaurant in NYC (one of the ones mentioned as part of the "bespoke butchery" trend) offered a class where people learn the delicate art of Porchetta 101: deboning a pig, leaving its head on, tying it up and roasting it. The pictures look like a really bad Nine Inch Nails video. And I thought those godawful sex toy parties were scary? Man, I'll take suburban housewives waving dildoes in my face over dismembering a pig any day. But hey, it was "locally and responsibly raised on a small farm." I'm sure that made the pig feel a hell of a lot better in the end. I don't think painting slaughter with pretty faux spiritual colors and dressing it up in the golden glow of "local and sustainable" makes it any more palatable. The best way to honor an animal is not to eat it from ears to hooves; the best way to honor an animal is to not kill it in the first place! Maybe I am just missing a hunting/butchering/killing gene.