Lumpily is now a word.

So how long have I been absent? A freaking long time, that's how long. But of course, don't expect me to start spouting about how I super duper promise - pinky swear! - never to vanish ever again, partially because I doubt there exists a world in which such a declaration isn't massive jinx-bait, and partially because I sincerely doubt anyone really wants to hear it.

But I had a pretty photo of food, and thus, I return to post it.

This, my friends, is the 'Dawn's Vegan' salad from Specialty's in Seattle. Mixed baby greens, peas, sweetcorn, black beans, carrots, baby tomatoes, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, fresh mushrooms, avocado, and marinated artichoke hearts. It comes with a balsamic dressing, but I ordered it without, being a dressing-hating freak. It was as good as it looks.

I also found a contender for the World's Weirdest-Looking Orange competition, if such a thing exists. Yes, I like posting photos of oranges a little too much. Don't judge.
He was delicious. Lumpily awesome. I plucked him from my step-aunt's tree after she told me those oranges weren't very good. She was very, very wrong.


Citrus and shine like the sun

I am sorry. I am not as dutiful and attentive a blogger as I think I should strive to be. But let me just say one thing: school got its serious-business face out, and it wasn't kidding around! Well, I suppose in the strictest sense I could have made the time to scratch out a few words in April (oops) but this month... yeah. Hello, exams. You're a lot bigger up close.


Earn your happy ending, boy.

Today, I am king of the castle. I, the Almighty Greenling, stand triumphant, surveying the magnificence of my deeds. Not only have I crammed a kitchen floorful of groceries (the dairy and wheat items being, of course, property of my aunt) into a single fridge, not only have I made my inaugural pot of compost broth, I have, for the first time, succeeded at that strange arcane alchemic art that is gluten-free baking.


More like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff.

I'd had some iPhoto troubles recently, hence the picture of pigs in the snow posted in late March. That's been resolved by it being spring break and thus my transferring to a different network that doesn't have a tangled mess of firewalls and proxies. I guess that means I'll be back to trying to patch things together with spit and tinfoil when term starts up again... but let's not dwell on that.


You got your ethics on my Sunday afternoon

I know a good number of people who don't believe in factory farms. I don't mean that in the sense that they disapprove, I mean it in the sense that they regard the concept as they do the monster under the bed and spider eggs in bubble gum. I never used to understand how anyone could simply not think that factory farms and feedlots and battery cages exist. Until I hopped the pond to Scotland, and remembered the days when I didn't believe in factory farms, either.


I'm a student, I eat food.

My RA is a lovely and wonderful person, with endearingly hippie-organic-all-natural leanings. Having heard me rampaging the halls bitching and moaning about my inability to be a perfect decent marginally acceptable student, she took a moment while she was in town and got me a chocolate bar, just to cheer me up. And because she is a lovely and wonderful person, I received a gluten-free, Nakd Cocoa Orange bar. Love!
Don't let its unprepossessing appearance fool you - this little thing has a heady chocolate-orange aroma that's almost floral. As I boiled the kettle to make myself a cup of tea, I took a tentative bite, wondering how the taste would compare.

O. M. G.
My tongue savoured, my mind whirled back - years back - to a half-remembered sweet, chewy and dense and fudgy and sweet just like this. Through the haze of memory, it took me a moment to realise... This bar tastes just how I remember a Tootsie Roll.

(It totally made up for the 'Oh wait, did we write 'pimento'? It's meant to be 'pepperoni.' Who marked this as vegan?' thing at lunch.)

And now... to try and make good on this gift of a snack and go attempt at least to be a better student. -_-;


Oh, to heck with it

I should be writing Englist lit coursework comparing the aspects of tragedy and comedy as they relate to themes of love within Old English poetry, Elizabethan theatre, and the modern novel, and doing various editor-monkey tasks, and looking up exactly what it is that copper (II) sulphate does when it gets happy with ammonia, but seriously? I'd rather be lazy and procrastinate. And, you know, let my mind drift back to... oh, Christmas or so. Not that the day itself is really significant or anything. What's important is that some time between Christmas and New Years', I made the most decadent trufflepiething concoction I have ever eaten.

It was sort of based off a smlove, but because I have only so much of a deathwish, I left off the crust, caramel, and pecans, and instead just made it in a springform pan. Oh, and I kind of kludged all the rest of the ingredients and substituted this and that and... well, anyway, it was a smlove at heart.


I need a real hobby.

Well, it might at least be good to hold off on obsessively reading Choosing Raw. Every second entry seems to set me off into a maelstrom of introspection and philosophical ramblings, and that kind of existentialist nonsense seriously can't be good for my health. In all fairness, though, it was not Gena's entry that got me thinking, this time. No, it was a comment on an entry.

"The cookbook author Deborah Madison writes the more intact a culture is, the fewer cookbooks it produce." (sic)

I can't verify that Madison wrote any such thing, because Google is being coy and I'm feeling lazy, but whether or not the statement is correctly attributed is less important than the assertion of its claim - I have no idea who Deborah Madison is, and I don't really care either way what she herself may or may not have specifically said. It's the idea that matters.

Is it true? Well, I don't know. I'm not going to lie or posture about it; I'm not sure. Maybe. We'll go with maybe.

See, in one sense of the word 'intact,' the statement is correct. A small, tight-knit community, one which operates like a close family, hardly has any need of a written record of instructions for domestic tasks. There's really not much need for a written record of anything, for that matter. Anything that is known by one individual can be as easily and quickly conveyed by demonstration and word of mouth. Knowledge is passed through the generations directly. What need is there for a written recipe for stew when you've grown up watching your mother make it the way she grew up watching her mother make it? Why would you need to read a novel when the myths of your culture are practically alive?

In this sense, the cultures of the present day are certainly 'broken.' We don't live in small, tight groups. We may meet dozens of new people every single day of our natural lives. We may live in cities where we don't even know everyone on our block, let alone everyone who falls under the same strata council, or the same waste collection. We don't live with our parents and grandparents, our children and grandchildren. As I write this, I'm in the northeast of Scotland, my father is on the west coast of Canada, my siblings are in California, and the closest relative I have (geographically speaking) lives somewhere near Manchester.

The people to whom we're genetically a close match and the people who live within walking distance of our front doors are no longer our neighbours. Our culture is not determined by biology or proximity. Culture is global. Connections span the entire face of the planet. But a worldwide culture is not just a scaled-up version of the smaller models that preceded it; nor is it merely the result of the bleeding together of all the previous collectives. With postal services and telephones and mass media and the internet, society become a fine mesh of overlapping threads, connecting individuals indiscriminately of distance or background; rather linking people by ideas and ideals.

In a society without cookbooks, where does that leave vegans? Nobody is going to argue that vegans are a minority group. There are places we seem to crop up like weeds, but no matter how many dandelions you see crowded beneath the hose spigot, there will always be one or two in the middle of the lawn or out by the rhododendrons. Somewhere out there, someone newly resolved to abstain from any and all animal products is wondering how to make cupcakes without eggs, what the hell they're supposed to do with this 'tofu' stuff anyway, and, the ever-pressing question, what to serve their Aunt Maisie to prove that they really are eating food. Fair enough, this vegan likely would never have existed without the widespread communications and information and media and this that and the other thing, but even if they otherwise lived in an 'intact' community, someone who is different from the norm isn't going to last long trying to make their way on their own. With Veganomicon? Things are looking a lot brighter.

I mean, that wasn't the point of the comment, I know. The point the author of that comment intended was something more along the lines of: 'We're all disconnected from our own basic needs and from each other, so we try and engineer a better version, but only come up short of the real thing.' That's totally valid. I agree. I think the surge in popularity of cookbooks and food blogs and Food Network reality television is very strongly linked to the tendency to disengage from ourselves and from each other. Quite frankly, I find the fascination for what someone else has eaten in a day a little - well, extremely - weird. At the same time, here I am reading Choosing Raw. I certainly live in a glass house.

I think it's sad that in a time when we have more and more ways to connect with one another, when we know more and more about how to nourish our minds and our bodies, when we can be anywhere in the world in mere moments, we seal ourselves away in a bubble of artificial life. I think there's a place for cookbooks. That place is not at the head of the dinner table, while we lie prone on the plate.


And so it begins...

Because I cannot bear to face the shame of having my personal life and my vegan food ramblings overlap, and also probably because those involved in the one are not so interested in the other, I have at long last caved and started a vegan blog.

Hopefully, the address reads as the German for 'green tooth.' Look, don't ask me, I just work here. And live in a dorm full of Germans but rather than get up and ask one of them, decided it was easier just to Babelfish it. You know.

So here is my log of vegan things. Expect pretension, rambling, whining, ranting, and possibly some recipes which may or may not suck. Don't say I didn't warn you.