Life's like that, isn't it? All unpredictable and pebbly sometimes?
But you keep on. At least, you try.
So yesterday marked day one of moving on. And today? Well, it's day one again, like tomorrow will be. Fresh and unbroken—a field of unmarked snow. Perfect for making new prints, unlike any I've made before.
Anyway, on to Vegie Wednesday! Here goes nothing, as they say…!
So I read this book the other day.
Now, there are books you read and think, "That was awesome! I couldn't put it down!" Then there are ones you think, "Yeah, it was okay, but I didn't like the part where the guy did that thing and it didn't seem that believable and I thought the language was kind of trite so anyway, meh."
And some books? Well, they change your life.
They are written in a way that completely resonates with you, all the way through. It's like the author is sitting there and simply talking. Quietly, he or she reaches in and rearranges you—the way you see things, the way you live your life, the way you want to live your life from this point on.
This book was like that.
This is the first, and probably only non-fiction book for author Jonathan Safran Foer (who wrote a book I loved, called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close). He wrote it because, as a dabbler in vegetarianism and as a new father, he wanted to know about the food he gave his son. He wanted to know, specifically, about his meat.
He researched this book painstakingly for three years. He interviewed cattle ranchers, turkey and pig farmers, activists, members of PETA and even a vegetarian who is building a turkey slaughterhouse. He read exhaustively on the subject of animal farming—hundreds of articles, reports and books. He visited industrial farms, family operated farms, and animal sanctuaries. He went deep inside the subject and came out altered.
His book is not, in fact, one huge argument against eating animals. He actually becomes friends with a number of ranchers and farmers. He never says, "Meat is murder!" but he does say this:
The way most animals are farmed today is cruel and destructive. To the environment, to communities, to people and, especially, to the animals themselves.
Foer writes that industrial farming, the farming that represents over 90% of our pork and chickens, and over 75% of our beef, didn't exist 100 years ago. Farms have become corporatised, animals have become mere products, and many independent family farms have disappeared.
Foer presents clear evidence that this type of farming harms the environment in countless ways. He shows clear connections between factory farming and public health issues—such as our growing resistance to antibiotics, the spread of food poisoning and outbreaks of disease.
As for the way the animals are treated—at best, they are treated as commodities. At worst, the treatment is inhumane. Most of these animals lack anything resembling a normal life. Their suffering is often extreme. And this, quite simply, is how most factory farmed animals live and die.
Some of Foer's book is incredibly hard reading. It should be. I mean, we all know, in some part of ourselves, that if we had to face the reality of the modern meat industry, we'd find it a terrible thing to watch.
It's hard learning, but Foer never stands up on a soap box and shouts at us to change. He doesn't say, It's all or nothing! Do this! Do that! This way is right! This way is wrong, wrong, wrong!
He just states what he learned. Bluntly sometimes. Conversationally most of the time. Then he states what he and his family chose to do as a result of his learning, what path they chose for themselves personally.
Foer chose to become a vegetarian. My family and I, who were already vegetarian, have chosen to become (for the most part) vegan. But Foer says you can make a difference with other choices—like, by simply eating less meat. You can also make a difference buying your meat from ethical farms, family farms, local farms. You can read the food labels, do research, be informed.
Foer says, "Our day to day choices shape the world." They do, even though we sometimes feel so small and insignificant. I really believe they do.
He also writes this:
"Compassion is a muscle that gets stronger with use
and the regular exercise of choosing kindness over cruelty would change us."
When I read those words I thought, That, there, is the muscle I choose. The one I most want to strengthen.
Compassion. First, and most.
This book made such a difference to me. And I've read so much about the subject since. I'm still learning, investigating, making up my own mind. Our family is traveling the path that fits us,
there is no single path to walk.
I love that a book changed me. I love that a writer changed my life. That's how it should be. Books should do that to you, don't you think? Otherwise, they are just marks on a page. Otherwise, we are just people holding paper.
Now. Who wants some lentil burgers?
We made them this week. Oh, they were deliciously divine. They were lip-smackingly scrumptious!
They kind of surprised me with their yumminess, as the last two attempts at vegie burgers haven't been so great. The previous ones needed a LOT of sauce :) But these… well, they were moist, didn't fall apart when you looked at them, and were totally tasty. A very welcome addition to our new menu (which we keep adding to, so watch out!).
Here's a link to the recipe and a fancier picture than mine, so you can salivate some more:
I should mention that for our vegie burgers, I forgot to add the bread crumbs (or rice crumbs in our case). I think you don't need them and it might have made them a bit crumbly. Our burgers were really moist and moldable (just how you want your food to be, right? Moldable. Yes.)
Okay. That's it for this week's episode of Vegie Wednesday. I truly hope you enjoyed it. :)
If you want to share any tasty vegie things you've had recently, please do. I would love to think of us cooking together, leaning over the stove, sniffing, tasting, testing. Then sitting down, together, to eat.
Isn't that a beautiful thought?