Chimp and Baby

Sudden in the shaft of sunlight, Even whilst the dust moves, There rises hidden laughter, Of children in the foliage  – T.S Eliot, Four Quartets

This is how the most disturbing book begins, with a quote by T.S Elliots Four Quartets and a statement that claims, “Apes are distinguished as being among the very few items on the menu capable (before preparation) of laughter as an expression of mirth.”

Oh yes, that is indeed quoted properly; I did mentioned “menu” and “preparation” in the same sentence as “ape”. This book, Eating Apes by Dale Peterson (2001) is appropriately named because it is exactly about that— Eating apes.

This book discusses the increasing consumption of apes and other primates and how this might affect biodiversity, public health and sustainable development in Central and Western Africa. Bushmeat, as it is referred to, is a product of Gorilla, Orangutan, Bonobo or Chimpanzee meat.

Hunting for these apes is illegal due to their status on the endangered species list, but the practice of killing them is becoming increasingly popular because of the high pay off. Mothers are often killed and their babies because they don’t have enough meat on them are sold as pets. This is an unfortunate idea, as you would know if you have been watching the news lately— Crazed chimp ripped off woman’s face.

Eating apes has serious repercussions other then their nearing extinction and the relocating of their babies. The transmission of infectious diseases is a huge argument. There is scientific evidence that suggests both AIDS and Ebola are zoonotic diseases, transmissible to us from animals. So why would we test this if it is a conceivable possibility?

Everyone reading this should know by now that I feel that no animal should be harmed or consumed by human motive, but this book really took it a step further. The last and most poignant of Peterson’s arguments is that these beings are a part of the Hominidae family, a group that humans belong to. We also share 96-99% of our DNA with these beings.

This is the most disturbing book for me because it sits just a little bit too close to cannibalism.

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True Veggie Dogs.

March 15, 2009

 Great and Small.

 “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged on how its animals are treated” — Ghandi

          

           Over the holiday break I went to see a movie with my cousins, Seven Pounds. If you haven’t seen this movie I highly recommend it. It is one of those films that force you to reevaluate your life. It involves a man (Will Smith) trying to find redemption in his life by helping 7 people he doesn’t know. During his pursuit he ends up falling in love with a woman. I don’t want to turn this into a blog entry about the film, nor do I accidentally want to ruin the movie for you so I will make my point, she is a vegetarian and her dog is too.

            Ya, that’s right, her 120 lbs, male, Great Dane is a vegetarian canine living off of a diet of tofu and broccoli. She made a comment in the film that suggests her reasoning is it will keep his heart healthy, a problem that Great Danes suffer with. 

            I was perplexed. Is it right to force your dog to be a vegetarian? They are omnivores like humans and humans can live long lives as vegetarians, if not longer. Should animals be allowed the choice of what they eat? Or do humans automatically get that choice because they are smarter and know what is best? I had many questions that I needed answering so I did what people in this predicament do, I researched. I ended up finding pages upon pages of information regarding “how to put your dog on a vegetarian diet,” “how to make your own vegetarian dog food,” “pet nutrition,” “animal rights” and so forth. According to these sites it is quite possible so long as it is balanced (similarly for the human vegetarian population).

 

The Vegetarian Society, based out of the UK, suggests that an adult dog eats a selection of the following:

Breakfast: (small)

  • Wholegrain cereal (ex. Muesli)
  • Shredded wheat
  • Porridge in milk

Dinner:

  • Grated cheese.
  • Cottage cheese.
  • Nuts, no shells.
  • Textured soya protein (tofu).
  • Cooked lentils or something likewise.
  • Baked beans.

Together with:

  • Raw (grated or chopped) and/or cooked vegetable (ex. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli etc.)

Other suitable foods

·        Raw chopped or grated fruit, dried fruit.

·        Wholegrain bread (fresh or toasted).

·        Brown rice, sprouting grains.

·        Something hard to chew for their gums like raw whole carrots, lightly roasted cabbage stumps, nylon bones, raw whole apples, hard wholemeal dog biscuits.

·        Small amount of vegetable or sunflower seed oil for essential fatty acids (polyunsaturates) to condition the coat

You can even buy vegetarian dog food at your local pet store, who knew?!

           

            I haven’t decided yet if this is the route I want to go when I eventually get a dog. One of my beliefs as to why humans should be vegetarian is that we are physically incapable of taking down a running deer (and tools do not count because they were invented eons after we evolved). Wolves (as predecessors to dogs) are quite capable in doing this because they have the right tools: the speed, the stamina and most importently the chops to rip and tear hide, and to kill.

 

So I pose this question to you, is it right for a person to decide if their dog should live off of a vegetarian diet?

“You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car.” — Harvey Diamond

Chase-The-Bunny

Chase-The-Bunny

             “Rabbit food”. This is a term I encounter a lot, and being a vegetarian that owns a rabbit (two now, actually) I find it a very strange term.

           When I got my first bunny, I was 6 months in with being vegetarian. I lived with my one roommate who insisted we needed to buy something cute, fluffy and cuddly to make our apartment complete.  I need to let you know here that I love animals. I am a collector, and my habit is kept in line by my mom. Since I was living away from home at that time I called her up to test the waters on this idea. She made the mistake of trying reverse psychology on me, which had failed to work since I was 7 years old. She told me “well honey, so long as you ensure your apartment is bunny proofed: that the bunny doesn’t destroy wires, the bottoms of you curtains, and doesn’t [tinkle] on your carpets, well I guess that would be okay…” That was all I needed. We picked Chase up the next day.

Over the span of her life I made the best effort I could to be certain that she had an excellent diet. I spoke with veterinarians, qualified friends and family members, and people working at pet stores. I also did a vast amount of research through books and the Internet. I think you do these things when you love something… or maybe I’m just a little off my rocker. Anyway, I digress.

 Here is what I found:

 Daily recommended diet for an adult rabbit (over 6-8 months):

  1. Unlimited access to fresh water.
  2. Unlimited access to timothy or other grass hay.
  3. Approximately 2 cups of fresh veggies per 6 lbs. body weight per day.
  4. 1/8 cup of pellets (essentially ground up hay) per 2-4 lbs. of body weight (or less, which was recommended by my vet)

 Eating “rabbit food,” for a person around 125 lbs. (aka. me) would consist of:

  1. Unlimited access to fresh water.
  2. Unlimited access to timothy or other grass hay.
  3. 42 cups of fresh veggies per day.
  4. 35- 70 cups of pellets.

 Now that would be a full time job.

Labeled Obsession.

March 10, 2009

I am a self-proclaimed, obsessive label reader. Being a strict vegetarian leaves me little choice. I have to be super aware of what is going into my food because those sneaky manufacturing companies will find a way to taint it.

 I avoid foods with:

  •  Rennet, it is the enzymes from the stomach lining of a slaughtered calf (or any mammal) used to coagulate milk. Ultimately, ew. (It can be found in some cheeses.)
  • Gelatin, which is animal bones, skin, and connective tissue (which means no marshmallows, jell-o, gummy candies some yogurts, and desserts). This is probably a good thing because it keeps me away from sugar, however, as I have taken notice this week, all gel-cap medications are a gelatin capsule and that is not a good thing considering I am sick.
  • Forms of Cane Sugar, which can be whitened with bone char.
  • Bone Phosphate. An anti caking agent.
  • Cochineal. A colouring agent. Made from Dactylopius, a female bug, that is boiled alive and then her scales are crushed into a red powder.
  • Disodium 5 and Disodium inosinate. A flavour enhancer made from animals and fish.
  • Lard. Solid animal fat. Again with the ew.
  • Soup base/stock/bouillon. Any that is made from an animal (I even have to check vegetable soup because traditionally this is made with a beef broth.)
  • “Natural Colour/Flavour”. Possibly an animal product, but because it states this it doesn’t have to specify if it is or is not. That one takes a little research.
  • And plenty more.

 I find that the habit of label reading has made me super aware of what I am eating, which all-in-all is not a bad thing. Personally, if you can’t pronounce it, chances are you should not be eating it.

Ode to the Chicken

March 3, 2009

Why did the rooster cross the road? To prove he wasn't chicken.

Why did the rooster cross the road? To prove he wasn't chicken.

I am a vegetarian because I realize that even little chickens suffer pain and fear [and] experience a range of feelings and emotions.

— Sir Paul McCartney

 

Again, I have another incident at work to share with you. A couple that is probably considered a regular at the store came in last night to stock up for the week. They’re fairly nice but a little odd. They argued with me over the number of chicken pizzas we carried in the store. I said two, and they said three, believing that I was hiding a third from them. I tried to convince them that it was the Chicken Club that they had last time, to which they replied “if it had bacon on it, we would have known.” Obviously you did not. They ended up buying the Chicken Club to “try.”

We got on the topic of vegetarianism as it always happens with customers. After making a few negative and slightly crude comments about my choices, the husband exclaimed to me that his wife is a vegetarian but still eats poultry and fish. This belief that chicken and fish are a type of vegetable is one that I find pretty common. People who live mainly off of a vegetarian diet but still eat poultry and fish are actually called Semi or Demi-vegetarian, people who live mainly off of a vegetarian diet but still eat fish are actually called Pescatarian. I don’t mind when people get these terms confused with a vegetarian diet, they are well meaning. Plus, who am I to judge? I work at a meat shop.

I didn’t ask her to, but the wife felt the need to justify her choices to me. She went on to explain that the reason she doesn’t consume most animals is because she feels guilty about it, “but not chickens because well, chickens are different, you know?” Are they really? Last time I checked chickens live and breathe, feel fear and pain and are just as intelligent, if not more intelligent, than animals we see worthy of not eating. As you can guess, I smiled politely, wished them a nice evening and let them go on their way. But I was seriously irked. So, to make it up to the chickens I could not defend, I have decided to share some fun and interesting facts that I have learned and experienced about the chicken.

 

  • Chickens have cognitive capacities equivalent to those of mammals, even primates (Dr. Lesley Rogers).
  • Chickens, in terms of the pecking order, can recognize more than a hundred other chickens and remember their distinct facial features (Dr. Joy Mench).
  • Chickens have more than thirty types of vocalizations, included in this a separate alarm call depending on whether a predator is traveling by land or sea (Dr. Chris Evans).
  • Chickens have the ability to understand that an object, even when it is taken away and hidden, continues to exist. This ability is beyond the capacity of small children (Dr. Chris Evans).
  • According to Jennifer Viegas chickens “can anticipate the future and demonstrate self-control, something previously attributed only to humans and other primates.’ Scientists made this discovery after they observed that when given the option between pecking a button and receiving a small food reward instantly or holding out for 22 seconds in order to receive a larger food reward, chickens in the study demonstrated self-control by holding out for the larger reward over 90 percent of the time” (GoVeg.com).
  • Chickens have a cultural knowledge that they pass down from generation to generation. A study was performed where the chickens were given a mixture of blue and yellow corn. The blue kernels were tainted with a chemical that made the birds feel sick and they quickly learned to avoid it. Later, when the chickens had had their young they were given a mixture of blue and yellow corn again (this time both were untainted) and the mother hens remembered what the blue kernels did and steered their young away from it. This shows the chickens understood cause and effect, as well as a sophisticated culture where knowledge is passed generation to generation (John Webster, GoVeg.com).

Dear Mr. Rib’o’Pork,

February 18, 2009

For the context of this story, I work at M&M Meat Shops. Apparently this is ironic because one of the jokes I hear the most is: “A vegetarian working at a meat shop, now that’s ironic.” I get that at least once every shift and as funny as it is, it is getting really hard to laugh at (side note: if I make it a point not to laugh, it makes for a really great awkward moment that I can laugh at by myself later.)

 

As for my story, earlier this week when I was at work a man came in and asked me what our Rib’o’Pork tasted like. I informed him that I was a vegetarian and I wasn’t too sure. He informed me that I was going to die. He actually said to me “being a vegetarian will kill you,” and because I was at work, I smiled politely as I bagged his Rib’o’Pork.

 

Being a vegetarian really isn’t all that out of the ordinary these days, and that is probably why I wasn’t impressed by Rib’o’Pork’s comment. Many people are turning to this lifestyle for its health benefits, for the environment (land, air and water), for their own ethical beliefs, for religious beliefs, and possibly with the economy today, for their personal finances.

It’s hard to get specific statistics on how many people are actually vegetarian in North America because the personal definition and personal beliefs change all the time. But, according to Wikipedia, it is estimated that between 2 to 4% of North Americans are vegetarian with about half of that being vegan. Thinking in numbers that is quite a chunk of the population, about 10 574 412 to 21 148 824 people.

Looking at history, there are records of vegetarianism dating back to 6 century BCE but it never became as widespread as it is now, and that started in the 19th and 20th century. With such a long history, and such recent popularity, why are people still so unaware? And in Rib’o’Pork’s case, why do they have to be so rude about it?

Recipes

February 11, 2009

I really want to share some of my favourite recipes with you, fitting because this blog is titled Dana’s Dish. I take no credit for any of these as they were stolen off of www.allrecipes.com, but I have tweaked them a little bit.

 

Tofu Parmigiana SUBMITTED BY: Jill B. Mittelstadt 

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) package firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Slice tofu into 1/4 inch thick slices, and place in bowl of cold water. One at a time, press tofu slices into crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides
  3. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook tofu slices until crisp on one side. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, turn, and brown on the other side.
  4. Combine tomato sauce, basil, garlic, and remaining oregano. Place a thin layer of sauce in an 8 inch square baking pan. Arrange tofu slices in the pan. Spoon remaining sauce over tofu. Top with shredded mozzarella and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 20 minutes.

 

After reading the reviews of the recipe on the website, I cut the tofu into ¼ inch slabs, and patted them dry. I wrapped them in saran and threw them in the freezer over night. When I was ready to use them I placed the slabs of frozen tofu in a deep bowl and poured boiling water over them. From here I continued with the regular recipe. It was also suggest you could bake the tofu in the oven if you don’t like the idea of frying it in oil, this I haven’t tried, but I can’t see how it would make it any worse.

 

Trust me when I say this recipe is really good. I serve it to my parents who both eat meat and they love it. I know tofu can be scary but be brave and try it.

 

Another of my favourites is Meatless-Meatballs. Hilarious, I know.

 

Ingredients:

“Meat”balls

  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sage
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs

 

Sweet and Sour Sauce

 

  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce

 

Directions:

  1. To make Sweet and Sour Sauce: In a medium bowl combine the oil, vinegar, jam, ketchup, grated onion, salt, oregano and hot peppr sauce. Stir until well combined.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. In a large bowl combine the eggs, Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, chopped onion, pecans, basil, salt, sage and bread crumbs. Mix well and form into 2 inch balls or patties. Place them in a 9×13 inch baking dish and cover them with sweet and sour sauce. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 40 minutes.

 

I am personally not a fan of the Sweet and Sour sauce they provide in the recipe, it’s really sweet, as most sweet and sour sauces should be. I like to use my grandma’s recipe, which is made up of:

 

1 ½ cups of Chili sauce

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 cup of grape jelly

 

 

Intro to Dana’s Dish

February 4, 2009

As I was debating what I wanted to Blog about I discussed the idea with some of my family and friends. I wanted to write about a topic that I not only found interesting, but a topic that would be interesting for people to read. My issue was finding where I had passion, and passion that didn’t make me look like a crazy person.

I had thought of a few options and I had many suggested to me but all of them involved my cause and feelings towards animals— so much for not looking crazy.

 

So, here I am, feeling a little exposed and writing about what it is to be a Vegetarian and the varying and different reasons as to why people choose this lifestyle.

Seriously, who saw that coming?

 

I am still trying to figure out a way to do this even as I write so that you as readers don’t feel attacked. In no way do I feel you need to change your diet, or that your choice of eating is any lesser than those that are Vegan or Vegetarian. This is my lifestyle choice, my cause so to speak. It is something that I feel I can endure writing about over the next while, and it really does lie on what I am passionate about.

 

That all being said, welcome to Dana’s Dish.