image courtesy: http://outside.away.com/outside/culture/200711/anthony-bourdain-1.html
Happy leap day, everybody! I'm so glad I have this extra day in February to quickly get in one more blog post. You see, the month of February represents my 4th veganniversary- woo! (You can read my long-winded vegan story in this post from last year)
Perhaps because of this occasion, I've been thinking a lot about veganism lately. I think that as a community, we've come a long way, and that both we and the culture at large are seeing our movement in new light. Just think back to all the spectacular publicity, both good and bad, that veganism has received in the past year alone- clearly, we are pushing some buttons. But I think it's important for us to think carefully about how we push those buttons- above all, I want veganism to be about inclusion and compassion. I think that even though change is slow, more people eventually come to share a view if it is presented to them intelligently- with wit, talent, and of course, deliciousness.
This is where Hezbollah Tofu comes in. Ok, I bet that's not what anyone thought I was going to say next, right? Let me explain a little bit! You might remember the big New York Times article 2 weeks ago (featuring Urban Vegan and her husband!) that discussed vegans and their relationships with non-vegans. Then you might also remember this choice quote from prick chef extraordinnaire Anthony Bourdain (pictured above), who wrote in his book Kitchen Confidential: "vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter factions, the vegans... are the enemy of everything that is good and decent in the human spirit." That quote might leave you scratching your heads a little- in addition to comparing us with a paramilitary group, Bourdain says that we are the enemy of goodness and decency! Seriously- the desire not to kill or participate in suffering makes us... indecent.
Well, as you might expect, this quote, and Bourdain's general vegan-bashing (surely he's seeking confrontation, right? Nobody really thinks that way...right?) has created a bit of a buzz in the vegan community. Over at the PPK, Equus a.k.a. Sara of the wonderful and ironically-titled Vegangelical blog had the genius idea of veganizing Bourdain's recipes. You see, he stereotypes vegans as wan, picky eaters, teetering in constant hunger, who wouldn't know how to cook or eat good food to save their lives. Well, I think most of you would agree that we are far from that caricature- I know so many talented vegans, who create, cook, and share food of the highest quality. So, why not put all this boundless talent to use to beat Bourdain at his own game and help out a good cause in the process?
Enter: Hezbollah Tofu. With zen-like serenity, we are going to turn Bourdain's epithet on its head. You want guerilla tactics? We'll give you guerilla tactics- everyone is hereby invited to help veganize Anthony Bourdain's recipes. We will collect the best ideas in a zine, which we can sell with the aim of donating all profits to an animal-rights charity... in Bourdain's name.
I love this idea, because it shows vegan activism in a very mature and confident light. We don't have to get hostile, we don't have to panic, all we have to do is what we do best- cook for people and spread the good word. Visit the blog. Read Sara's words. Brush up on your Escoffier and classic French techniques. Come up with ideas. Let's make this happen, people! Let's show vegan cuisine, once and for all, as the robust, expansive force that it can be!
I'm watching you, Bourdain. Do you see a pale, skinny, picky eater who survives on dandelion greens and dew drops here? Me neither. I'm off to see about veganizing demi-glace. Who's with me?