Friday, February 29, 2008

of veganniversaries and revolutions



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?


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28 comments:

Unilove said...

Brilliant idea!!!

pavotrouge said...

count me in :) now do I have to buy a book to get Bourdain's recipes or can they be found somewhere online?

madness rivera said...

A most excellent idea. (And a most excellent photo of you I might add.)

I'll look for his books in the library so I don't have to line his pocket in the process.

Emmie said...

Great idea! Bourdain can kiss my 'skinny', 'pale', vegan butt!

anna/village vegan said...

Amen, sister!

Ricki said...

Absolutely hilarious--and a wonderful idea! Sounds like fun, too, as I already love adapting recipes. I don't have any of Bourdain's books and have no desire to buy one--is there somewhere else to find the recipes (or should I just slink into a Chapters and start madly copying?).

bazu said...
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bazu said...

Hi guys!
If you look in the Hezbollah Tofu thread on the PPK (http://www.postpunkkitchen.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=51254)
you'll see that some of his recipes are available online, and that some of us already have Bourdain's books. There is no reason to buy his books and give him any financial support whatsoever.
I think the general tactics should be:
1. Libraries
2. Going to bookstores and furtively browsing the books without buying them
3. Sharing recipes with each other (through email, maybe not online because of copyright issues) and seeing what's already online
4. Hitting up used book sales

I'm glad you're as excited by this idea as I am!

Vegan_Noodle said...

This idea rocks!! I will go check out the discussion on the boards. What a great response to his ignorant comment....

Jillian of Bitchin' Vegan Kitchen said...

Oh...yeah! I am SO in!

Bazu you are awesome!

Sara said...

Yay! Thanks for helping to spread the word. I'm going to start off with dark veggie stock with the hope of moving towards Les Halles' French onion soup (only better) and vegan demi-glace, so we should be off to a good strong boiling start.

Melody Polakow said...

I'm in!! Woohoo!!

Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Happy veganniversary! That's a lovely photo of you!
I think this is a great idea & hopefully I'll be able to participate in some way!

selina said...

rock on!!

Mihl said...

Your fourth veganniversary? Congratulations! Thank you for this brilliant post. Now I am happy that I never heard of this Bourdain guy before. Though I might make myself a shirt with the words Hezbollah Tofu printed on...ans some pictures of his veganized recipes.

shellyfish said...

This is such a great idea- bravo! Such an excellent way to help him see just how confused he is about, er, the truth.
Let's use our powers for good & not evil!
May the force be with us all!

Theresa said...

Happy 4th veganniversary! And I'm off to the library to search for this a-hole's books... ;)

pleasantly plump vegan said...

LOVE IT! and happy anniversary!

T said...

Hahaha, thats awesome. Bourdain IS such a prick. Although I would kill to do what he does - traveling the world to report on exotic food and places. I guess that just doesn't include vegetables. (That seems far more limiting and extreme to me.) He would probably get sick a lot less often too...

Urban Vegan said...

I'm so IN! Fab idea!

Nicole said...

i love you and Hezbollah Tofu

Liz² said...

this is so exciting! I'll leave the french cooking to the more skilled among us, but wow this is such a good idea/master stroke retaliation!

textual bulldog said...

Sing it, sister! This is the best idea ever. I was really annoyed/puzzled by that quote, and this is the most fantastic response imaginable. I'm gonna check out the blog ASAP. Oh, and happy veganversary!

Roxy said...

This is amazing! I love this idea.

SaraJane said...

I'm a little late in reading this, but ooh - that sounds fun! Count me in. :D

Also - I tagged you. ;) http://veganchicksrock.blogspot.com/2008/03/ive-been-tagged.html

DJ said...

I love it!!!
Veganising Bourdian - now that's what I call poetic justice!

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