Northwest Veg
March 2010
Vol. 43
"I am a vegetarian for health reasons - the health of the chicken." -Isaac Bashevis Singer
Latest News...
» 'Eating Animals' by Jonathan Safran Foer
» It takes a village, a veg village, that is
» Dine-out - Queen of Sheba
» 'Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals' Book Review
» Food, feed, and fiber... and now fuel
» NW VEG Volunteer Spotlight: Hank Itkin
» NW VEG Book Club Returns
» Not Quite Paradise: Treatment of Animals in 'Avatar'
» Business partner spotlight: Dave's Killer Bread
» Recipe of the month: Orange chocolate bean cake
» Upcoming Events
» Business Partners
» Member Discounts
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'Eating Animals' by Jonathan Safran Foer

Lately, I've been wishing for a longer commute to work. I've been listening to the audio version of Jonathan Safran Foer's book Eating Animals. The first few chapters surprised me because they weren't about meat; they were about his grandmother, about his dog George, and about becoming a father for the first time. Early in the book, he writes, "Stories about food are stories about us, our history and values." This made me ask myself what stories I tell about what I eat.

To my surprise, even though I no longer eat animals, Foer's writing uncovered tales I'd told myself, tales I'd chosen to believe, about eating animals. In addition to revealing the stories we tell ourselves about our food, Foer weaves narratives throughout the book.


It takes a village, a veg village, that is

Come join Northwest VEG and Blue Ocean Events at this year's Veg Village at the Better Living Show, March 26-28 at the Portland Expo Center. Visit some of the best vegan vendors this side of the Mississippi at this hugely popular, free event dedicated to introducing folks to how to live green and sustainably. Chef Al Chase and I have the honor of putting together this area of the event which showcases the connection between green living, vegan food, and lifestyle choices. The vendor roster includes Book Publishing Co., Northwest VEG, Cafe Yumm!, Masterpeace Hemp, Wild Alice Bars, Buchic Clothing, VitaCrisp, Adventist Hospital, and more.


Dine-out - Queen of Sheba

This month's dine-out will be hosted at the North African restaurant Queen of Sheba, one of Portland's best Ethiopian digs for exotic eats. As in Ethiopia, you'll sample vegan foods atop injera, Ethiopian flat bread, no utensils necessary. So come on out for lunch on Saturday, March 13th, at 1 pm. Queen of Sheba is located at 2413 NE MLK Blvd. We're limiting our space to 25 veggie peeps, so email Cat at or call me at 503-778-0223 for a spot in Ethiopian delight! Cool deal!

'Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals' Book Review

Can animals reason? Do they act only on instinct? Do they have emotions? Can we ever know what they are thinking?

For most of the twentieth century, scientists avoided questions about how animals might feel and what they might think. They wanted to be viewed as objective in their study of animals and not use terms laden with human meaning. Unfortunately, this led many to a view of non-human animals as being without emotions or thinking, and guided solely by reflex, instinct, and trial-and-error learning. But beginning with the work of pioneers such as Jane Goodall and Donald Griffin, scientists have discovered great surprises about how animals socialize, communicate, and think.


Food, feed, and fiber... and now fuel

Food, feed, fiber, and fuel is a bumper sticker description of one of the larger and more complex acts of legislation emerging from the U.S. Congress. Why is the farm bill important to vegetarians? Among many concerns, food costs more for those who choose not to consume animal products because agribusinesses producing animal products with chemically intensive and resource intensive practices are generously subsidized. Those who produce edible plants using sustainable practices are modestly subsidized, if at all. To be fair, there is a pittance for organic agriculture, farmers' markets, and community-supported agriculture. Vegetarians tend to care for the welfare of animals and future generations. The farm bill addresses animal welfare only in the context of a profitable commodity.


NW VEG Volunteer Spotlight: Hank Itkin

How long have you been veg and why?
I went veg 20 years ago immediately after reading Diet for a New America by my cousin John Robbins. I found just about everything in his book persuasive. The health advantages of a veg diet were already fairly well known at the time, but John's discussion of the dimensions of animal cruelty and the environmental effects of raising livestock was eye-opening to me. There was no tapering off for me: I went cold Tofurkey.

What's on your dinner plate?
I like variety, but egg-free pasta with some kind of red sauce hits my plate often. Lately, I've done various incarnations of veggie chili. I usually have chard, spinach, or beets on hand and some Honeycrisp apples.


NW VEG Book Club Returns

The NW VEG Book Club is back! We will be meeting in April to discuss Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals, a "memoir in which [Foer] investigates everything from the intelligence level of our most popular meat providers-cattle, pigs, and poultry-to the specious self-justifications for eating some meat products and not others. Foer combines an array of facts, astutely-written anecdotes, and his furious energy to make a personal, highly entertaining take on an increasingly visible moral question" (Publisher's Weekly).

The NW VEG Book Club meets every other month to discuss books relevant to veganism. Past books have included The Face on Your Plate, Mad Cowboy, and The Good Good Pig. We'd love to have you join us! If you are interested in learning more or receiving book club updates, send an email to Ann at We'll be choosing the location and date of the April meeting based on attendee preferences.

Not Quite Paradise: Treatment of Animals in 'Avatar'

In his spectacular new 3-D film "Avatar," writer/director James Cameron gives the science fiction genre a lush and beautiful world called Pandora. Bioluminescent plants illuminate the nighttime forest, and fog-shrouded mountains float inexplicably in the air. Pandora is inhabited by the Na'vi, whose nature-loving society coheres around an omnipresent goddess figure called Eywa.

The Na'vi seem to have a deep reverence for all life on their planet, but this respect ultimately does not extend to all of their fellow creatures.


Business partner spotlight: Dave's Killer Bread

Dave Dahl, founder of Dave's Killer Bread, is the epitome of a holistic person. In fact, he should consider going into motivational speaking on the self-help circuit; he'd probably make some killer dough. While many of us less gutsy types would sweep our jaded pasts under the carpet, Dave embraces his whole past and present self--the good, the bad and the downright thug-like. Those of us who have tried some Dave's Killer Bread have probably read the story on the back of the loaf.

It's the condensed version of an inspirational tale about an ex-con and drug addict who turns his life around and becomes the creator of some really awesome bread.


Recipe of the month: Orange chocolate bean cake

Who said you couldn't have your cake and eat your beans, too? My new favorite flour to work with is garbanzo bean flour. It adds a nice rich and hearty texture to baked goods. The chocolate and orange flavors really shine through in this recipe, and I swear no one will know they are eating beans and brown rice flour, too! The beauty is you can enjoy these beans and grains for dessert or as a meal... or both!

  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup Sucanat (or unrefined cane sugar)
  • 1/2 cup each: cocoa powder and chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal
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