Tag: animals

12 (Vegan) Days of Christmas Recipes

Plant-based recipes inspired by the popular holiday song

Search for “12 Days of Christmas recipes” on the interwebs, and you’ll find countless blog posts featuring loads of animal products: actual cooked hens for Day 3, egg-based dishes for Day 6, milky desserts for Day 8, and so on.

There’s absolutely no evidence that the song pays homage to the consumption of different birds on different days during the 12 Days of Christmas; rather, it was most likely a memory game played on Twelfth Night, the 12th and final night of the 12 Days of Christmas, which begins on December 25th and ends on January 6th, otherwise known as Epiphany.

Still, you will find no animals harmed in the crafting of these dishes. It was so much fun crafting this menu — making literal interpretations as well as taking creative license. You’ll see all the whys and wherefores and details about why I chose the dishes I did once you purchase!

Obviously, you can cook from this menu anytime of the year, but I was very mindful about making sure you have what you need for a single holiday dinner (appetizers, starters, mains, and desserts) or for featuring one recipe per day during the 12 days of Christmas. Enjoy!

Our inspired musical menu!

Poached Pears — A Partridge in a Pear Tree (December 25)
Chocolate Pecan Turtles — Two Turtle Doves (December 26)
Fabulous French Toast — Three French Hens (December 27)
Better-than-Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie — Four Calling Birds (December 28)
Monkey Bread — Five Golden Rings (December 29)
Eggless Egg Salad Crostini — Six Geese a Laying (December 30)
Swan Cut-out Sugar Cookies — Seven Swans a Swimming (December 31)
Potato Leek Soup — Eight Maids a Milking (January 1)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pink Lady Apples and Onions — Nine Ladies Dancing (January 2)
Wassail — Ten Lords-a-Leaping (January 3)
Polenta Fries + Eggless Meringue Cookies — Eleven Pipers Piping (January 4)
Butternut Squash Timbales — Twelve Drummers Drumming (January 5)

(If you’d like to understand more about why — historically — The 12 Days of Christmas started on December 25th and ended on January 6th (otherwise known as the epiphany), check out the Food for Thought podcast episodes Forbidden Meat as well Food and Feasting.)

Forbidden Meat: Fasting and Abstinence During Advent

Abstaining from meat, dairy, and eggs during religious holidays has been a tradition for centuries in many religions. In Christianity, for example, during Lent (40 days prior to Easter) and Advent (40 days prior to Christmas), parishioners were forbidden to consume animal flesh as well as as dairy, cheese, and eggs. 

In today’s episode, we explore this history and demonstrate that not eating animal products was more common than not, especially during the period of contemplation and contrition leading up to the holy days of Easter and Christmas. I share my own experience growing up Catholic, my memories of Fish Fridays, and the meaning of a common English word whose origins are steeped in religious abstinence.

   

Food Waste and Animals

Thanks for listening to my NPR commentary about how the food waste we generate affects not just our wallets but the animals we attract to it. Listen below, on KQED’s website, read the transcript below, and please share with friends and family. It’s a perspective that can change the world for animals. 

You’ve heard it before: of the edible food Americans buy and bring home, about 40% gets thrown in the garbage. That translates to between $1,300 and $2,200 per household per year. When we stop treating food as garbage, the benefits are manifold — most obviously: saving money. But removing food scraps from our garbage cans is also a benefit to our relationship with the natural world — especially wildlife.

The more food we throw away, the more wild animals come to rely on that food in our trash cans, leading to human-wildlife encounters that can be inconvenient and costly for us and dangerous — often fatal — for them.

Perceiving opportunistic visitors — from the largest bears to the smallest rodents — as a nuisance often ends badly for them, but rather than changing our behavior and removing the tasty buffets that lure them in the first place, we demonize the raccoons, opossums, mice, and rats who rummage through our garbage cans and pay companies to gas, poison, or glue-trap them.

Sadly, this isn’t the only price animals pay for our wastefulness. High mortality rates by vehicle collisions and consumption of toxic non-digestibles are also linked with animals’ attraction to our garbage.
Reducing food waste is essential and do-able, especially since we know the main causes of it in our homes:

  • Buying more food than we need
  • Being unwilling to consume leftovers
  • Improperly storing food
  • And misunderstanding the meaning of “sell-by dates.”

By seeing the food in our refrigerators as valuable rather than disposable means taking responsibility and being resourceful. There’s a reason humans have been canning, pickling, and fermenting foods for hundreds of years. But if that feels too advanced…at least consider:

  • Making a cobbler out of tired-looking fruit
  • Making stock from veggie scraps
  • Freezing chopped herbs before they wilt
    and so much more…

By literally turning lemons into lemonade, we save money, we save resources, and we save animals.

With a Perspective, I’m Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Black Olive Bruschetta with Cashew Cream

Can you tell Italian cuisine is on my mind? Between our trips to Italy and my Italian cuisine podcast series, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes.

Traditionally, bruschetta features tomatoes and basil, but bruschetta itself just means “burnt / toasted bread,” so really, we can do whatever we want.

BUT, you can’t say broo-SHET-a. The “ch” sound in Italian is a hard “k” sound (like Chianti or Gnocchi), so it’s pronounced broo-SKET_a.

Ingredients

🌱2 tablespoons olive oil
🌱3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
🌱2 shallots, finely minced
🌱Salt and pepper, to taste
🌱1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
🌱1/2 cup pitted black (or kalamata) olives, finely minced
🌱1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
🌱1 whole grain baguette, sliced
🌱Olive oil for brushing
🌱Basil Cashew Cream (see below)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

2. Add the oil to a large sauté pan, along with the garlic, shallots, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Cook over medium heat until the shallots begin to glisten, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and olives, and sauté for 3 minutes more.

4. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and turn off heat.

5. Lightly brush both sides of the bread slices with oil.

6. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until about 5 to 7 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Spread a generous amount of cashew cream on each bread slice, and carefully spoon the olive mixture on top.

8. Sprinkle with some minced basil.

MANGIA!

BASIL CASHEW CREAM

Because the cashews have to soak for at least an hour, you will want to factor that in to your total prep time.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300 g) raw cashews soaked in 3 cups (720 ml) of water for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water

Directions

Once the cashews have soaked, drain and rinse them in a strainer.

Place them in a food processor, along with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil. Turn on the machine, and let it run for a few seconds to start combining the ingredients.

Add most of the water, and process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 to 4 minutes, turning the machine off periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Before adding all of the water, I like first seeing what the consistency is; it’s always easier to add more than it is to take any out!

Salt, to taste. The consistency should be thick but spreadable.

For Your Modification

*Instead of basil, add chives, dill, parsley, or any combination you desire.

*Add finely chopped sundried tomatoes and/or olives instead of or along with the fresh herbs.

For Your Information

It will keep well in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.

Animal Monuments Around the World

In a previous podcast episode, I talked about animal burials and pet cemeteries around the world — how long they’ve been around and what they say about our feelings about and relationships with animals, especially our companion animals.

In this episode, I talk about memorials and monuments that pay tribute to animals, celebrating who they are and what they have done and remembering and honoring what they have endured,  often at the hands of humans.

These memorials — often in the form of bronze statues, stone sculptures, and towering structures — are tangible expressions of our appreciation of animals and the value their lives have. They are physical manifestations of their bravery, loyalty, strength, love, selflessness, endurance, intelligence, and beauty. And that is worth remembering.  

It was such a pleasure to research and write this episode, and it’s not even an exhaustive list. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed researching.

Food for Thought Podcast is 100% listener-supported. Please join other supporters by going to Patreon.com/ColleenPatrickGoudreau and becoming a patron. BONUSES INCLUDE:

*podcast transcripts

*a photo album of all the monuments I talk about in the episode

My First Turkey Hug

Lydia was my first turkey hug — and she was proof that you don’t need arms to do so. 

She pressed her body so close against mine, I couldn’t tell where my heartbeat ended and hers began. I had been vegetarian for several years by then but vegan only a couple. I had had my share of kitty snuggles, cow kisses, and goat nuzzles, but I hadn’t been loved by a turkey.

22 years later, Lydia is no longer with us — she died naturally and peacefully, not from the blade of a cold knife — but to me, she will always be the ambassador for all her turkey brethren. 

It was Joseph Stalin who said that we treat one death as a tragedy but one million as a statistic, and of course he would know. And, that’s what we’re facing here.

Over 30 years an animal advocate, and I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that we bring into this world and kill almost 10 billion land animals every year in the U.S. for human consumption. We can’t fathom that number, but we CAN connect with one. One ambassador.

One individual whose life has been spared, one individual whose body has healed, one individual who represents not only the violence that countless animals endure every moment but also the hope and healing that’s possible when other individuals intervene: the human individuals. 

If you can connect people with the value of one individual animal, you can connect them with the value of an entire species. And so I give you Lydia: curious, affectionate, playful, vocal, brave, social, protective, and sassy. Like all her turkey friends. The only difference is…you can see her. ⠀

I hope. 

Inauguration

On Inauguration Day, not everyone is talking about the inauguration of the next U.S. president; some (like me) are talking about the animals hidden within the word itself. Listen to my radio commentary for NPR below (or on KQED’s website). Here is the transcript for your pleasure. 

—–

On January 20th, not everyone will be talking about the inauguration of the 46th president of the United States; some of us — well, probably only me — will be talking about the word INAUGURATION itself and the animals hidden within.

An INAUGURATION is the act of starting something new — like a business or a presidency — and its origins go all the way back to the religion of ancient Rome when priests called augurs interpreted the will of the gods by studying the omens aka the auguries to predict whether the undertaking in question was auspicious or inauspicious — a practice referred to as “taking the auspices”

They did this by reading the flight patterns, songs, and eating habits of birds, a practice called “inauguare.”

So, through the root avis meaning “bird,” our feathered friends reside in the words auspices, auspicious, inauspicious, inaugurate, inaugural, and inauguration.

And inauguration became the word we use to elect politicians into office with the hope that their inauguration foreshadows an auspicious tenure.

Today, we know we don’t have to interpret the will of the gods to predict the future; and we don’t need to read the behavior of birds to tell us whether or not an elected official will carry out their duties favorably and with success. (We never really did.)

All we need to do is look at the behavior of the candidate — their experience, reputation, and ability to lead; their honesty, empathy, and vision; their ability to communicate, their commitment to the public good, their allegiance to democracy.

That should tell us everything we need to know.

With a perspective. This is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

14-YEAR PODCAST ANNIVERSARY: A HUMBLE LOVE FEST

Every single person who has ever written me an email or a kind comment has shaped who I am, has provided me with hope, and has guided the work I do to help create a compassionate world. May the stories you hear in this FOURTEEN-YEAR PODCAST ANNIVERSARY do the same for you. So put your feet up (or get them moving), and take in the beautiful responses I’ve received from listeners, followers, and students this past year. I hope you are as moved by the letters as I am humbled by them.

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