Month: July 2007

Pet the dog, eat the cow: Our confused relationship with animals

The Salt Lake Tribune has reprinted a Philadelphia Inquirer opinion piece by Crispin Sartwell that joins a tiny choir of people leveraging all of this media attention over the Michael Vick dogfighting case to point out our moral schizophrenia when it comes to animals. While the philosophy professor somewhat misunderstands animal rights, Sartwell does ask readers to consider animals’ value beyond our own interests in them:

We need to decide: (a) Do animals count? and (b) How, exactly, not as dwarfish, or four-legged, or stupid people, but as real things whose existence is, though connected to ours, profoundly external and different?

Right now the article is averaging thumbs down, so scroll down and give it a thumbs-up. Comments are taken as well. This discussion must continue, and it must grow beyond its current incarnation as “what we owe what we eat.”

You might use this as an opportunity to suggest that Sartwell is right to question our completely confused attitude toward animals, and to clarify the meaning of animal rights as a philosophy that recognizes animals have intrinsic value and seeks to protect the interests we share with them (life, liberty…) from being violated by us.

Meat: It’s NOT what’s for dinner – Quick-Fix Vegetarian

Building a vegan cookbook library is slow-going if you’re not made out of money and don’t want to be hit with too many recipes to try at once. We have a dozen and a half vegan cookbooks in the AAFL kitchen as it is. [Sidebar: Isn’t this a great problem to have? It’s wonderful that there are so many excellent vegan cookbooks. No excuses! A vegan lifestyle is in easy reach!]

So sometimes I come to the review party a little late. For instance, I only recently discovered the joys of Robin Robertson’s Vegan Planet after buying it as a gift for my mom this past Mother’s Day, then caving in and buying one for my wife and myself. That book is huge, but we liked what we’ve tried so far, particularly the fact that so few recipes rely on anything other than whole foods, so it wasn’t long before we took advantage of a gift card balance to save money on Quick-Fix Vegetarian: Healthy Home-Cooked Meals in 30 Minutes or Less (don’t worry about the title — if there’s a non-vegan recipe in this book, I haven’t found it). We have a lot of trouble getting dinner started at a reasonable hour in this household, and prep usually takes longer than recipes specify, so there have been a number of 9 o’clock meals in past weeks. You can imagine how eager we were to get our hands on this book.

We’ve only tried one recipe so far, but it was delicious! Check out the mixed baby greens with pears, pecans and polenta strips on page 64 (but consider cubing the polenta instead). We’ll definitely be having this again, and hopefully this first practice round will make it easier to actually make the dish in 30 minutes or less next time. We’re not pros in the kitchen like my friends over at VeganYumYum and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, which explains yet again why I forgot to take a photo!