Editor’s Corner Essay: Return to Eden, Part III: The
First and Final Day
Maggie Tobin, one of six children living with their parents in a tiny house in Hannibal, Missouri in the years after the Civil War, had a dream: when she grew up she would marry a rich man. Maggie was in fact a generous, compassionate girl; the riches she longed for were not primarily for herself but for her dear father, who worked long hours six days a week for a miniscule salary, and was almost always bone-tired. One can only imagine how John Tobin looked forward to Sunday, when he could actually rest, both at mass at the the local Catholic Church, and all afternoon. For his sake, Maggie must have also been glad to see Sunday come. In her late teens she and a sister moved to Colorado, and Maggie looked around for her rich man. Inconveniently, she fell in love with a poor man named Jim Brown; she labored with herself over her dream, but finally decided it was better to marry for love.
Maggie was unusual in that, although she gave up her dream, it came true after all. Jim Brown, who worked for a mining company, discovered a rich vein, and was rewarded with 12,500 shares in the company and a seat on the board. The Browns were millionaires, and Maggie’s beloved father could retire and rest at last.
She enjoyed being rich, but her chief interest lay in her work helping the poor of Denver, speaking up on behalf of women, and many other causes. She also hired tutors, educated herself, and became a highly cultured person. She was already something of a celebrity when she survived the Titanic disaster, and took control of Lifeboat Six from the sour, defeatist crewman in charge. But Maggie never rested on her laurels. As soon as all the survivors were taken aboard the Carpathia, she set about collecting a fund from her rich acquaintances on behalf of the poor immigrants from Third Class who had lost everything. (Most people think of her as the Unsinkable Molly Brown, but during her lifetime she was always Maggie or Margaret.) She continued her good works on behalf of the poor and underprivileged throughout her life, and I suspect that Maggie never forgot what Sunday means to an exhausted, exploited worker.
We can see why, in many families of yesteryear, especially the working poor, Sunday was special. It was prepared for by the weekly Saturday-evening bath; on Sunday morning, one donned one’s best clothes for church, to be followed by the week’s celebratory dinner centered in meat (for the poorer families, the week’s only such meal). Grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins might all gather to participate. Church attendance was usually taken for granted, both by the devout (like the Tobins) and the worldly, but either way, the typical feast was the done thing. Obviously, it was a welcome day, but the return to Eden and its nonviolent diet were never thought of.
In my family of origin, very involved in our Dutch Calvinist church as we were, we always knew that Sunday was a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, a splendid and exciting event, but we never thought about it as leading to the restoration of Eden or considered celebrating it with Garden-diet meals either. Both my parents, raised on farms themselves, would have thought of vegetarianism as undermining their whole way of life. Until I was six, we attended a church with a Sunday school, which included storytelling, the singing of wonderful songs (one was about precious jewels--unfortunately metaphorical--and once we sang about a light within each of us; some children, thrillingly, got to hold burning candles); there was always a child-sized picture card for each one to take home. It was all very magical. Unfortunately, during that year, when our family moved to a farm, we transferred our membership to a church that made no attempt to reach out to children, and Sundays became long and tedious.
Hymns and sermons in our church spoke of Sunday as a day of rest, but for our farm family, and no doubt others, the official release from work didn’t translate into much rest. My mother’s responsibility for cooking meals for six was the same as on the other days of the week. For my brother and father, there was the same daily work of feeding and otherwise caring for the cows and chickens (which of course is true for Sabbath-keeping farmers as well). My sister and I didn’t have to clean and case eggs on Sunday, but we couldn’t forget that there would be twice as many to do on Monday.
These few sketches of Sunday-observance of yesteryear tend to show that a celebrative spirit, occasionally absent and, when present, less conscious than in Judaism, was not necessarily lost with the holy day’s move to the first day of the week. The first question to investigate, then, is: What was this event behind the move? Can there be any meaning today to the concept of Resurrection? Is there any connection to work such as Margaret Brown’sh on behalf of the disadvantaged, or our work on behalf of animals?
The first followers of Jesus, mostly impoverished peasants being pushed to the edge and beyond by exploitative Roman policies, were all faithful Jews, who had always observed the Sabbath, and remained faithful Jews throughout their lives. But the Sabbath on the day following Jesus’ horrible death was the worst day in their lives. Most of them (if any) would not have been present at the cross, but they knew about the torture the Roman occupiers visited on those they considered dangerous subversives: as state terrorism, crucifixions were always located in public places, such as along main roads. Not only were Jesus’ followers terribly traumatized by the event, their hopes for a renewal of Israel and especially for the poor, which he had taught and put into practice in shared meals, were utterly shattered. Sabbath would never be the same for them again. But then, the stories say, the day after Sabbath, the first day of the week, some of these broken people began to report unbelievably wonderful experiences: they had seen Jesus alive and spoken with him.
Anyone who tries to harmonize the Resurrection stories told in the four gospels will find that it cannot be done; there are conflicts about who saw Jesus when or where. This seems to be partly due to different claims by followers of of this or that major disciple that he or she was Jesus’ delegated leader of the new movement. The stories as told, implying that, e.g., Peter saw the risen Jesus before Mary Magdalene, supposedly bolstered the claim that Peter is the one we are to follow now. (In fact James, Jesus’ brother, became the first leader of the Jerusalem church.)
Paul of Tarsus is actually the strongest witness to the existence of reports that some of Jesus’ disciples saw him after his death. He visited Jerusalem several years after Easter and interviewed Peter and James on the subject, making him a second-hand witness to their experiences. In chapter 15 of his first letter to the Corinthians, he gives a bare summary of the appearances they recounted, which include an appearance to the twelve disciples (including Judas?) and one to several hundreds of followers at once. He mentioned James as having had a resurrection appearance, and, finally, himself also (making him also a first-hand witness as well.) Paul also presents his summary of the appearances of Jesus in this X-saw-him-first, Y saw him second, approach, which I confess strikes me as petty. Most of these appearances are not mentioned in the gospels; those that are mentioned there were retold for almost forty years before any of the narratives were committed to writing.
Thus we have an ambiguous situation: the Easter stories in the gospels, several to women (which may be significant, since women were not considered reliable witnesses in ancient times) in some cases conflict with one another, and because of the long delay in recording, are uncertain in detail. We simply know, primarily from Paul’s summary, that a number of appearances did take place. Furthermore, it seems evident that something extraordinary happened to galvanize the leaders among those first followers, changing them from people in hiding, fearful of being hounded down and crucified too, to people who spoke and acted with power. But Jesus was no longer physically present among them; whatever the resurrection means, it doesn’t mean a return from death to daily life like that of a Near-Death Experiencer. The idea of the revival of bodies of the deceased, derived from the books of Ezekiel and especially Daniel, was a live issue in Judaism at that time, and the visions of Jesus in the Gospels were interpreted as such, a source of confusion ever since. In the language of parapsyschology, what seems to have taken place on Easter and thereafter was the sighting of apparitions, an originally neutral term which literally means “that which appears.”
Far from being singular or rare events, throughout history there have been hundreds of accounts of apparitions of the dead (as well as some of the living), many occurring to responsible persons. The stories can be placed in two main categories: “haunting ghosts,” silent figures (sometimes apparently mere images) usually limited to particular locations, who often appear to be needy and tend to be surrounded by an atmosphere of chill; and “crisis apparitions.” Some of these are “death visitants,” ghost-like figures who come to convey the news that they have died, while others are a very different kind who have occasionally been called angels: these are radiant beings who come with a life-giving, healing message for a living person or persons in a difficult situation. Considering the acute crisis that Jesus’ death brought to his followers, and the transforming effect of the apparition’s words and actions in the stories, it is needless to say that the resurrection stories all fall into the last category.
Apparitions of Ramakrishna
This context of other stories throughout history is the reason I am inclined to take them seriously as a whole, despite their historical uncertainties. A comparison with a similar cluster of apparitions, namely ones that occurred to the followers of the Indian devotional saint Ramakrishna after his death in 1886, may be helpful. The two main sources of these accounts are highly detailed books by two of his disciples, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Mahendra Nath Gupta, and Sri Ramakrishna the Great Master by Swami Saradananda. Many of the happenings in the books were recorded shortly after they took place. Thus the details of these 1886 and 1887 apparition accounts are in fact better attested than those in the Easter stories.
Most of the apparitions of Ramakrishna were seen by his wife, Sarada Devi, and were instrumental in her transformation from a shy Indian woman to a strong figure of maternal leadership among the disciples. The first took place the evening of the day he died. Sarada was removing the gold bracelets that symbolized her status as a married woman, when Ramakrishna appeared to her. He took hold of her wrists to stop her, saying that he was still present, and she was to continue wearing them. Sarada also continued to wear a modified version of the red-bordered sari of a married woman rather than the all-white sari of a widow. At certain points the next year Sarada saw apparitions of her husband more than once, the first on a train, in which he told her she was to take responsibility for the initiation of another of his disciples, Jogindra. Sarada hesitated; the apparition appeared three more times, reiterating the message. When she learned that Jogindra had also seen a vision of Ramakrishna confirming her own, she finally complied.
One other of the disciples, Surindra Nath Mitra, saw his master’s apparition within three weeks of his death, after the group’s house had been given up; he was told to find another house where the scattered followers could live together (as monastics). Besides these clear encounters, about a week after Ramakrishna’s death, at eight in the evening, two of his followers, Naren (later Vivekananda) and Harish, simultaneously saw a luminous figure approaching them in the garden of the group’s currently rented house where various of the followers were staying. The two men interpreted the figure as Ramakrishna, but they did not see a face or hear a message.
I cite these apparitions of a spiritual leader not only because of their overall rough resemblance to the stories of Jesus’ appearances, but because they are relatively recent and were recorded in detail soon after they occurred. They provide an anchor of sorts, showing that the stories of Jesus’ appearance after his death are not unique, nor need they necessarily be dismissed as incredible. But, although recorded soon after the event, the Ramakrishna stories are less impressive than the bare summary of Jesus’ apparitions by Paul, because the latter included appearances to many followers at once. It should also be said that the Ramakrishna accounts are essentially private messages to an order of devotees, and do not, like those of Jesus, involve the enormous issue of the transformation of society (into the Kingdom of God, not of rapacious Caesar) by a divine power that transcends the violent power of state terrorism. Thus the Ramakrishna stories are much less significant--spiritually, socially, and politically.
Historically, of course, the Kingdom of God Jesus proclaimed and died for did not spread through the whole society, nor did it last long; within a few decades, and even more by the time of Constantine in the fourth century, the organized church was looking very much like the Roman empire around it. This is not surprising; few periods of (relatively) healthy, just society endure. But every flowering of the Dream, however brief, is valuable in itself, and deserves to be cherished and studied.
Apparitions and Life Beyond Death
What is a crisis apparition? Is seeing and speaking with one a genuine contact with the surviving consciousness of a deceased person? Answering this question is a complex matter, because the perceiver’s unconscious mind always contributes something, little or much, to the experience. It is likely to be very convincing to the person or persons who see and speak to the apparition, but the critical observer may be more likely to answer “Yes, probably” if there is more than one perceiver in a case, if there is an animal present who is obviously reacting to the apparition, if the perceiver is not a close friend or relative and was unaware of the person’s death, or if the perceiver learned something from the experience s/he couldn’t ordinarily have known. There are cases of all four kind of evidence An instance of the lastnamed is translator J.B. Phillips’ seeing an apparition of C.S. Lewis, looking ruddy and vital, a few days after Lewis’ death in November 1963, an experience which Phillips recorded in his 1967 book Ring of Truth. The apparition spoke a few words very helpful to Phillips, who was undergoing a difficult situation then. The figure of Lewis appeared to him again a few weeks later with the same message. Phillips had only seen Lewis on one occasion during his lifetime, and at that time Lewis was wearing an academic gown. But the apparition was dressed in comfortable, baggy tweeds, which Phillips later found Lewis liked to wear.
‘The Mystery of the Eighth Day”
I said above that applying the idea of the revival of bodies of the deceased to interpret the Easter appearances of Jesus has long been a source of confusion, which is true, but there is another sense in which, taken in its biblical context, it is deeply meaningful. Both Ezekiel and Daniel present the resurrection idea as part of the righting of terrible wrongs of the past that will take place in the messianic age. In Judaism the human (or animal) self is not an essentially spiritual being tied to a physical body, but a spiritual-physical whole; thus n order for violence and other unredressed wrongs against her or him to be righted the person must be physically revived. The idea was an effort of faith to make sense of the conflict between God’s love and goodness, and the wrongs and violence of the world against the defenseless. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work, as anyone with imagination can soon figure out. But the conviction that God is generous and compassionate, and loves the righteous (i.e., those who are fair and compassionate toward others) and desires the repentance of the guilty as well, is a conviction of all faithful members of the Abrahamic religions. How the horrors of the past can ever be resolved and forgiven, by the victims as well as by God, must remain a profound mystery; we know only that we are charged to do what we can to make the world a more fair and compassionate place now.
For traditional Christians, Jesus’ Easter triumph over violence, evil, and death is the beginning of this process, the first, so to speak, of the Last Things, to climax with the new Eden on earth. The Eastern Orthodox churches are particularly clear that Jesus’ incarnation and especially his resurrection eventually lead to the transfiguration of the whole cosmos, which is already invisibly filled with the Divine Light, but which at the Last Day will shine out to be seen by all. (There is obviously an overlap between Orthodox and Quaker convictions of the Light in all persons and throughout the cosmos.)
There are many fast days in the Eastern churches’ calendars on which the faithful are encouraged to abstain from meat, but they are of a penitential nature rather than a celebrative one. Unfortunately, in the Orthodox churches a prophetic voice calling Christians to work toward increasingly realizing the cosmic transfiguration by action in the world is rather hard to find, although there have been mavericks like the excommunicated Leo Tolstoy. The accepted avenue to bringing the new earth nearer is through becoming a saint such as Seraphim (see PT 30 ), whose spiritual power can affect both humans and animals and create a small Eden around him. But one seldom hears of activism among the Orthodox to influence the population to change their violent and /or exploitative habits, or pass laws improving the status of oppressed animals or women or the poor here and now. (There have been exceptions to the general pattern: Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople is known for promoting human rights and green consciousness; and it must be acknowledged that the Orthodox Patriarch of Bulgaria, together with the king, led the Bulgarian people in resisting Nazi demands to round up Jews during the Nazi era.)
But in regard to the freeing and transformation of our animal cousins here and now, within the church it is mostly up to those of us who are Western Christians, (including Quakers who identify as followers of Jesus) who continue to observe the Resurrection each week, to make the connection between the holy day and the Eden feast We can begin by celebrating it ourselves with a beautifully clad table spread with a splendid Garden-diet feast. We must also introduce this happy connection to other Christians and Friends of good will who have not yet seen it or rejoiced in putting into action the fact that God’s dream of Eden is still here, unseen, behind the horrors and bloodshed of earth; by committing ourselves to nonviolence in this as well as other areas of our lives, we can help to bring it into slightly fuller realization. The author of II Peter charges his readers that they are to “look for and hasten the coming of the day of God.” His imagery is apocalyptic and violent, but the charge can be translated into peaceful action to bring the promised return of Eden to earth closer for humans and animals alike.
--Gracia Fay Ellwood
The lead illustration, Christ on the Road to Emmaus, is by Dutch painter Roelant Roghman, 1627-1691.
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”--L. R. Knost
Contributed by Lorena Mucke
“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.”-- Leo Buscaglia
--Contributed by Lorena Mucke
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison doors to those who are in darkness. . . .” Isaiah 61.1, quoted in Luke 4:18-19
Dear Vegetarian Friends,
I was trying to reach the “Take it on Down to Veganville” skit mentioned in the May-June 2013 issue, but did not find it.
Thank you also for the good news, the nurturing words and ideas, the thoughts. the prayers, and the blessings.
--Michele L. Mitchell
Several sites that had shown the skit have removed it due to a copyright claim. At present it can still be seen at Timberlake .--Editor
Thirty Countries Ban Animal-Tested Cosmetics
The twenty-eight countries in the European Union have extended the ban on animal-tested cosmetics to include ingredients that have been so tested. To this number add Israel and India, who made their bans separately. Banned cosmetics that are already on the shelves can still be sold, but not new ones. See Ban --Contributed by Benjamin Urrutia
Many Lab-Imprisoned Chimpanzees to Be Retired
Thanks to the combined efforts of several groups, together with the influential head of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, 300 of the 360 chimpanzees in publicly-funded laboratories are to be released to sanctuaries. There are others still held in private labs. But chimps have been declared endangered, which greatly improves the status of all chimps. See Chimpanzees
--Contributed by Karen Borch and Robert Ellwood
Harvard to Close Primate Lab
After two years of pressure from PCRM and other groups, Harvard is closing its primate research facility. 170 monkeys will soon be freed from the terrible abuses that have been going on, and many others within the next two years. See Harvard
--Contributed by John Pippen, PCRM
Anti-Trust Action Against Cal-Maine
Cal-Maine, the largest egg producer in the U.S., is once again in trouble. They will pay $28 million to settle federal antitrust claims that they conspired to increase egg prices by killing off young chicks and egg-laying hens in order to artificially reduce the egg supply. See Cal-Maine
--Contributed by Lorena Mucke
Costa Rica to Close Zoos
One zoo will be transformed into a botanical garden and the other into a park. The zoo animals will either be returned to their homes in the wild or taken to sanctuaries. This is the country that banned circuses with animal acts several years ago and has also banned "sport" hunting.
--Judy Carman and Will Tuttle
Vegan Ice Cream
2 cans Thai Kitchen 13.66 fl. oz full-fat coconut milk
¾ cup date sugar or raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Berries, carob chips, fair-trade chocolate chips, or nuts
When you make ice cream, start with cold ingredients; it makes the freezing process that much easier. So refrigerate the cans of coconut milk for at least 4 hours before starting.
Put in blender with 3/4 cup of organic unrefined raw sugar, date sugar, or a combination of sugars
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend for 30 seconds
Freeze until half- or 3/4 frozen.
Meanwhile, chop the carob or chocolate chips or nuts, or cut up the berries.
When mixture is partly frozen, take out of freezer and stir to make it creamy; add cut-up raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, chopped carob chips, chocolate chips or nuts as desired.
For those who want a step by step visual of this tasty vegan ice cream, See Ice Cream
--We thank Benjamin Urrutia for finding and suggesting modifications to this tasty recipe.
My Pilgrimage: Michael Klaper
Michael Klaper is a practitioner of preventative and nutritional medicine. In 1972 he graduated from the University of Illinois College Of Medicine in Chicago. He served his medical internship at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada and undertook additional training in surgery, anesthesiology, orthopedics, and obstetrics at the University of California Hospitals in San Francisco.
After dealing with so much violence in the emergency rooms of Chicago hospitals, the Viet Nam war, and observing the effects of violence in people's daily lives in my medical practice, and after reading and hearing so many teachings of spiritual leaders about the power and truth of non-violence, I had reached a point in my life where I knew I had to make a serious effort to rid my own being of violence--my thoughts, words, and, above all, my actions. I knew I wanted to become not only a peaceful man, but a Man of Peace.
One evening in late 1980, while at a restaurant consuming a steak dinner, I was expounding on my desire to rid my life of violence when my dinner companion pointed out that my peaceful goals were all well and good, but if I was truly concerned about reducing the level of violence in my life that I both experienced and caused, I should begin with that piece of meat on my plate. He clearly stated that it was my desire for the taste of flesh in my mouth that directly caused the death of an innocent animal-- and, indeed, my money actually paid the slaughterer for his killing. As much as I did not want to face that fact, I heard a small voice within me saying, "You know, he's right." And that started my serious journey toward becoming a vegan, beginning with the cessation of my consumption of flesh foods, and soon extending to dairy products and then to my leather wallet and belt.
Soon, the vegan principle of "ahimsa"-- especially the adage I had received in my medical training to truly "do no harm”--became the guidepost for all my subsequent decisions, words and actions. There is an old saying that "you can't keep a hat pin in a cloth bag for very long. The point will come out." I have been impressed and encouraged that the truth of the vegan ideal has increasingly found its way into modern culture, especially in the media and among the youth of our society. The media references to being vegan, once rare and usually tinged with derision, are becoming more frequent, and now more often presented with seriousness and respect.
The vegan ideal is becoming especially popular among this internet-connected generation of young people who seem to have a greater concern for the animals and the Earth than did their parents' generation. They see the societal violence and environmental degradation all around them and many know that the chance for a more peaceful and sustainable future begins with their own being and efforts, and especially with their own food choices. The vegan word is out - and spreading virally.
Since becoming a vegan, my body has assumed a leaner configuration, which makes it easier to exercise and maintain a high level of fitness and to keep me out of the clutches of doctors--like ME! Anyone with a conscience who is tempted to eat the flesh of an animal should conjure up the image I saw on a poster from the Farm Animals Rights Movement. It was the image of a beautiful, but pathetic, baby calf, chained by the neck in a veal crate, lying in [his] own manure, unable to clean him or her self, and looking back at the viewer with sad, baleful eyes. The caption under this soul-searing image read, "Are you really THAT hungry?" That image snuffs out any temptation in me to pay for the death of any animal. Every decision you make matters--including what you have for dinner--because each decision will make your world either more violent or less violent. A vegan world is a healthier, more peaceful world, and you can begin to create that world for yourself, today, by making vegan choices in your diet and your lifestyle.
--Reprinted from Butterflies Katz' website Veganism: A Truth Whose Time has Come, with the permission of Michael Klaper.
Children’s Book Review: Mossy
Mossy. Written and illustrated by Jan Brett. N.Y., N.Y.: G.P. Putnam’s Sons. Hardcover. $17.99 in the USA, $19.00 in Canada. Unpaginated (32 pages). 2012.
Mossy is an eastern box turtle whose shell is covered with moss, ferns and a variety of wildflowers. Unfortunately, she looks so beautiful that she is collected by Dr. Carolina, a scientist, for her nature museum. This is done with the best of intentions, but poor Mossy is homesick for her home, and for her special friend Scoot. Fortunately, Tory, the scientist's niece, is a very sensitive and perceptive soul who soon realizes Mossy's homesickness and persuades her aunt--who is not at all a bad person--to set the turtle free.
The author based the story on a real encounter with a snapping turtle whose shell was covered with a profuse garden of water weeds. She has created a great many books about animals, but this is her first one to address the problems of humans interfering with the lives of animals. This is a major development, and we may hope she will produce more along this line.
Jan Brett, a superbly talented artist, is the creator of many beautiful illustrated books. The splendid pictures in Mossy, in watercolor and gouashe, are quite up to her standards. As is usual in her books, most pages contain one large illustration, plus several smaller ones in the corners and sides. As far as I know, she is the only book illustrator who uses this format. One thing is certain: one need only look at her art to realize she is someone who deeply loves animals. The people in her illustrations for this book are wearing clothing of one hundred years ago, the so-called Edwardian period, but the story takes place in the USA, not the UK.
The book is enthusiastically recommended for people of all ages who love turtles, beautiful animal art, or both.
Cookbook Review: Bake and Destroy
Bake and Destroy - Good Food for Bad Vegans by Natalie Slater; Foreword by pro-wrestling champion C.M. Punk. Salem, Massachusetts: Page Street Publishing. Trade Paperback. 192 pages. Profusely illustrated with color photographs. $19.99 in the US, $21.99 in Canada. 2013.
Readers should not be alarmed or be put off by the mischievous tone of the title and subtitle (the “bad vegans” refers to the author’s fondness for heavy metal, pro wrestling, and punk rock). In fact, the recipes are all strictly vegan, and those who follow Ms. Slater’'s instructions will become good vegans if they were not so before. C.M. Punk, the pro wrestler, says in his foreword: "Alas, most of the world still adheres to the fallacy that athletes cannot survive on a plant-based diet. I, along with the contents of these pages, am here to convince you otherwise." (p. 9). This is a point that needs to be made and reiterated. Many examples can be found; I read decades ago about a baseball team in Japan that switched, en masse, to a strictly vegetarian diet, and they went from the bottom of their league to the top. I hope other teams and individual athletes have followed their example.
The first chapter (pp. 12-53), is entitled "Sweets and Treats," and consists of Ms. Slater’s specialty: cupcakes and other baked desserts. On page 45, Slater provides an intriguing recipe for the winkie or vinkie, a vegan version of that time-honored chemical cocktail, the Twinkie. It amazed me to learn that a vegan Twinkie could even exist, but here it is. The winkies are red instead of yellow. Almost all of the recipes in the first chapter include sugar, brown sugar, or confectioner's sugar. Most vegan cooks know that among commercial sugars, only beet sugar is vegan. In any case, since sugar is not exactly a healthy whole plant food, some will want to substitute agave nectar, stevia. or other more acceptable sweetener.
On page 54, we move on to the second chapter, on breakfast, "Morning Munchies.” On page 77 is a lovely “Breakfast Pizza.” Some may find that the idea of pizza for breakfast takes some getting used to, but it works; in fact it’s my favorite breakfast. Depending on the pizza toppings,, it also makes good sense, because protein-rich foods have a wake-up effect (whereas carbohydrate foods do the opposite).
Chapter Three, "Party Hard Entrees," begins on page 90. The name suggests, I suppose, that these can be dinner entrees or party treats, depending on the situation. On pages 106-07, there is a recipe for "Green Bean Casserole Pizza," which won this accolade from Natalie's brother: "I didn't like green beans until I had this pizza." To this she comments: "I think the garlicky sauce and French-fried onions had a little something to do with it!" I confess that for years I thought the only people who ate green beans were children compelled to so by their loving parents. It amazed me to learn some people like green beans. No doubt more people will do so now, thanks to this amazing recipe. And Moms, now you have a way to get your finicky children to eat green beans gladly, even for breakfast.
Another dish I really look forward to trying is "Samosa Pot Pie," (120-21). "I tested this recipe, says Ms. Slater, "on my co-worker whose only request for her birthday lunch. was 'meat.' She spent the whole day raving about it to the rest of the office." Next is a Spaghetti Cake (122-23). Spaghetti Cake? Don’t dismiss it out of hand; it actually looks good.
Chapter Four is "Snack Time,” p. 124 ff. The first recipe is titled "Pizza Cupcakes," although "technically these are muffins, or possibly even biscuits." Also, they do not have to be snacks, but can be eaten at any meal. The same goes for the recipes in Chapter Five, "On the Side." On page 159 Slater provides a recipe for peanut sauce. I personally recommend this sauce on potato pancakes--delectable! On the same page there is a recipe for a mustard that uses agave nectar in place of honey.
Slater is mistress of the mean recipe title; consider "Crouching Cornbread, Hidden Broccoli" (p. 173). (This is of course a takeoff on the title of the 2000 film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Chapter Six, "Tips, Tools and Magic Tricks," includes two pages of Resources, which cite eleven web site links for the vegan chef (185-86).
This book is recommended for all vegans who love to cook, and for non-vegan cooks who might be converted to the cause. --Benjamin Urrutia
Poetry: Ogden Nash, 1902 - 1971
The turtle lives ‘twixt plated decks
Which practically conceal its sex.
I think it clever of the turtle
In such a fix to be so fertile.
The truth I do not stretch or shove
When I state that the dog is full of love.
I've also found, by actual test,
A wet dog is the lovingest.
The ant has made [herself] illustrious
Through constant industry industrious.
Would you be calm and placid,
If you were full of formic acid?
The Lord in His wisdom made the fly,
And then forgot to tell us why.