Friday, August 22, 2008

When you're only three months on the V-scene....

Get It Ripe would be three months old today. If we were counting... which I'll pretend, for modesty's sake, that I'm not.

So in the grand scheme of things, or more specifically the world of vegan culture (or even more specifically vegan cookbooks), I'm/the book is just a wee infant, which makes it perfectly understandable that my name did not make in onto the list of Vegan Cookbook Authors to vote for in the VegNews 2008 Veggie Awards.

That being said, I would sure appreciate it if you'd hop on over there to vote, inserting my name (jae steele) in the appropriate slot on page 4 (People & Media) of the survey under Favourite Cookbook Author.
You know, if you feel so inclined.
Heck, while you're at it (and on page 4), maybe you'd feel like naming as your Favourite Veg Blog, too?

You've got till August 31, but go do it now, while you're thinking of it.

Thank you muchly!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bitchy Double Bill

Here's a first here on Domestic Affair: I've got someone else writing a post. How fun - Thanks Roxanna!
If you think you'd like to contribute at any point, either a review or a recipe, don't hesitate to get in touch and we'll sort out the details.

The books: Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch
Review by Roxanna Bennett

Preamble/Overall feeling: Reading New York Times best-sellers Skinny Bitch and Skinny Bitch in the Kitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin made me feel like I was getting beat up in my high school bathroom by a couple of popular cheerleaders. While the aim of the books is to convert as many people as possible to a vegan lifestyle (and the fact that a celebrity like Victoria Beckham has been seen in public with a copy of Skinny Bitch no doubt adds to the hype around both books), the overall tone is completely abusive and deliberately provocative. I ordered the books from the internet during a bout of low self-esteem, thinking it might help me shed some weight, and promptly forgot I'd placed the order. When they arrived in my mailbox, I was surprised and ashamed that I’d even considered reading something with such an abrasive title. The shame was underscored by the very first page of Skinny Bitch wherein I was informed that healthy = skinny and unhealthy = fat. (Tell that to the millions of people trying to overcome anorexia, or suffering from malnutrition and starvation.) The notion that fat is unhealthy is so grossly simplistic as to be totally insulting.

Best bits: Although Freedman, a former agent for Ford Models, and Barnouin, a former model, gleefully denigrate the reader with insults and cheap blows, they don't pull any punches when they describe the meat processing industry and agribusiness in general. With reference to a great many well-researched books that detail the American government's coziness with the meat industry, the Skinny Bitch authors paint a convincing argument for opting to put your ethics where your mouth is by mistrusting media and ending a diet of crap. Skinny Bitch in the Kitch is full of faux meat recipes intended to ease the reader into a vegan diet like the recipes for a "Tuna" Salad Sandwich and Onion Rings. It is also stuffed with veganized familiar comfort food recipes like Macaroni and Four Cheeses, Shepard's Pie and Potatoes Au Gratin. A glossary at the end of the book is helpful for new converts.

Less-wonderful bits: Throughout the first chapter alone of Skinny Bitch, the reader is referred to variously as a "fat pig", a "pussy", a "drama queen" and a "lazy shit" - just what I needed to bolster the flagging self-confidence that led me to purchase the books in the first place. The no holds-barred language of the books seems to be part the appeal. The shock of being called out for being fat and lazy must be a selling point for the majority of readers. It seems to be a tough love tactic that people think will help them in their quest to lose weight, however the authors themselves have added a P.S. at the end of the book to let the reader know that their first intention is not that the reader becomes skinny, but that the reader adopts a healthier lifestyle. This last page from the authors feels like a total cop-out, or something their publishers made them add in, as it is hidden at the back of the book behind the footnotes.
Skinny Bitch in the Kitch feels like a tacked-on afterthought, a way to ride the coattails of Skinny Bitch's popularity. The recipes seem slap dash and not very well thought out. From their write-ups, recipes like Greek Salad or Sloppy Joes sound less than inspired. Most of the recipes call for processed foods like fake meat and dairy replacements. The lack of photos reinforces the haphazard nature of the book. The emphasis is definitely not on fresh or organic produce and I would be surprised if anyone switching to the diet proposed in the cookbook would lose weight as promised.

Whole foods focus?: No way.
Vegan-friendly?: Yes.
Eco-conscious?: Not so much.
Web presence?: Yes.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Eye-eye Captain!

Look who's featured in Eye Weekly's brand new Wellness column!
Thanks Damian!

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Keeping ice cream company

It's ice cream season, no doubt about it.

There are so many non-dairy varieties to choose from. Some are not so inspiring, others are knock-out tasty. Do you have a particular fave?
I'm pretty stoked to try the Purely Decadent flavours made with coconut milk, I'll tell ya that. The new Natura Glace, while more local and relatively inexpensive, I thought was okay, but it didn't blow my mind.

If you're going for a dairy variety, skip the unreasonably pricey and non-organic Haagen Dazs and especially the crappy grocery store brands and go for the ones sans yucky hormones and scary antibiotics. Local to me there's Kensington Market Organic Ice Cream and Mapleton's Organic.

One thing we're fond of at my house is sandwiching some cold creemy sweetness between a coupl'a Double Trouble Chocolate Cookies (see Get It Ripe for the recipe, of course). Another option though is to serve it up in a bowl with a special crunchy/sticky topping.

Candied Pecans

This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, just be sure to use a larger skillet*.

1/2 cup pecan halves
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. non-hydrogenated coconut oil, sunflower oil or olive oil

Toss pecans in a small skillet and toast over medium heat for up to 5 minutes, stirring once or twice to toast evenly. Shake them out of the pan and set aside.
Combine the syrup, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl, stir and set aside.
Heat the oil in the same skillet, still over medium heat. Add the pecans back in, along with the syrup mixture, and stir constantly until the pecans are all coated and the syrup thickens a bit (about 4 minutes). Scrape onto a plate lined with a piece of parchment and allow to cool (and harden) before chopping into smaller pieces, if desired, and using to garnish ice cream (or mousse, or pudding or pie, or whatever your little heart desires).

* I like cast iron skillets myself. Please protect your health and the environment by steering clear of Teflon-coated pans. Read a great article about it here.

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"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

Get It Ripe cover Have you seen my award-winning whole foods cookbook Get It Ripe: a fresh take on vegan living (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2008)? Keep your eyes peeled for it!
To join the Facebook group for the book, go here.


about the blog:

about the cookbooks:

While I love hearing from you, and read each and every one of your e-mails, please understand that I just cannot respond to all of them due to the rate at which they're coming in these days!

If you have a question, I might have already answered it here.

in the press

live in person!

come see me:
* Vida Vegan Con in Portland, OR, August 26-28, 2011.

...but better yet, check the calendar for details!



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