Saturday, November 26, 2011

I wonder how many well-intentioned vegans have been driven to meat by the Tofurky...

In a follow up to my previous post, I'll report on how Thanksgiving went with my aversion to eating things that had parents or things that come from things that had parents.

It all started well enough. I decided that instead of just sitting at the table eating green beans and rolls while everyone else told me how wonderful the turkey tasted, I'd go ahead and make myself a mock turkey out of tofu. I found a recipe, made a grocery list, and almost bought all of it.

B2 and I went to the grocery store together and in the produce section next to the tofu was a Tofurky... already packaged and stuffed for $12.99. Since the kitchen was going to be a bit monopolized, we figured this was a great alternative and we added it to the cart.

I also purchased the ingredients for a vegan pumpkin pie and made it along with the regular pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and Jello Heath Bar Pudding Pie (which I hear was fantastic). I even attempted a coconut whipped cream topping for it, but that failed miserably. I'll have to try it again some other time.

The good news is the vegan pumpkin pie was fantastic. I even forgot to add the brown sugar and it was still delicious.

The bad news is that it would take a vat of cranberry sauce and four more glasses of wine to make that Tofurky edible. I sincerely apologize to Turtle Island Foods who makes the Tofurky Roast, because I know they have the best of intentions and I'm sure they did their very best to make it taste as good as possible.

But it is not tasty. The Tofurky Roast, in fact, was the one thing this Thanksgiving that truly made me want to eat meat. I don't know if it would have been better if I had made my own stuffed tofu roast... but I tell you this, I'm a lot more hesitant to try after taking a couple of bites of that Tofurky. I would venture to say that the Tofurky is the reason a lot of vegans don't stay that way.

It wasn't just the taste... but the smell... I can't even describe it. You'd have to go out and purchase one and smell it yourself. And I don't recommend doing so.

I wasn't a perfect vegan on Thanksgiving. I did not eat the turkey or the gravy (though I'm sure that gravy would have improved the taste of my Tofurky), but I did have some of B2's amazing stuffed mushrooms that contained sausage and I had a generous helping of the stuffing that my brother-in-law soaked in chicken broth. It was delicious like you can't imagine. I ate B1's mashed potatoes that probably have my arteries clogging as I type this and they tasted heavenly and I even put some cool whip on top of my vegan pumpkin pie since my coconut whipped topping was a failure.  Baby steps.

I have a month to figure out how I'm going to handle Christmas (the food of choice for Christmas in my family is a standing rib roast, potatoes cooked in heavy cream and garlic, and asparagus smothered in Bearnaise sauce... we keep paramedics standing by) and I'll spend some of this month researching recipes that I can bring along with me to share. Perhaps a creamy butternut squash soup? We shall see.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Spaz questions Thanksgiving, her morality, & cranberry sauce

Over the past several years I've been an on again, off again vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, etc. I go back and forth, struggling with my morality and my love of cheese and my hatred of my ever expanding ass. In the end I always come back to the fact that I don't like the meat industry. I don't like any industry that causes harm to any living creature. 

So where am I now?

I'm not going to try to classify myself. I guess I'll just say I'm doing the best I can. I'm trying to be mindful of what I buy, what I eat, and what my role in it all is. I'm trying to be honest with myself.

And honesty isn't always easy, especially when it's yourself you have to be honest with.

Every once in a while someone recommends a documentary or a website or something that reinforces my decision to try not to contribute to these industries. Someone posts a link or talks about it in passing conversation and I think to myself... oh no, I'm going to watch this or read this and I'm going to have more information and more moral dilemma.

Most recently it was Food, Inc. and Forks Not Knives. Both of these are incredible films that really have opened my eyes to what I'm really feeding my family and myself. They're also both available on Netflix and I can't recommend them enough.

In this time in history, we have so much education about food and the reality of what goes on in the meat industry. We have a wealth of information right at our fingertips about everything, really. It seems irresponsible to just shut my eyes and buy a package of ground beef at the grocery store when I know that I'm really buying a package of cruelty.

I hear people reason with me... or maybe with themselves... about how industry standards have improved or the cow doesn't think like you and I do or how all those films are sponsored by radical groups like PETA.

The industry is one that kills animals. Let's be honest with ourselves. They're not bringing Bessie into a nice, calm barn after she's lived a happy life grazing in the field and giving her a sedative so she falls into a happy, dreamy sleep before she's painlessly euthanized far away from any other cows that might witness the deed.

It's slaughter. There's a reason why they call it a slaughterhouse. It's scary, it's painful, and it's ugly.

And I really don't want to be a part of that.

I type this in the wee hours of the morning on the day before Thanksgiving. A day when I'll attend family functions where more than one turkey will be served, perhaps a pig, an overload of dairy products and probably a few chicken or cow parts thrown around, too. There was even talk this year about getting a Turducken. That's right. Why just kill one animal for our glutenous celebration when we can kill three and tie them all together!

And I'll be a part of it this year. I can't save the turkey that's being served at my in-law's or the one that's being served at my mom and dad's house. They're both already purchased and defrosting in a sink somewhere as I type.

This year I'll make pies. Pumpkin, Pecan, and Chocolate. And they'll contain evaporated milk and eggs and whatever they put in those Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts.*  We'll top them with whipped cream and everyone will be joyous and merry.

What will I eat? I don't know. Perhaps I'll try to pick around and do the best I can with my options. Maybe I'll try to make a vegan pumpkin pie and top it with some coconut whipped cream. Perhaps I can find a couple of side dishes that aren't accented with bacon or heavy cream or cheese or italian sausage. There's a slim chance. I can have cranberry sauce, right? Or I might just have a couple of glasses of wine and dig in.

Maybe I'll try to bring a couple of vegan things along with me and hope that my family will give them a try and maybe, just maybe, not ridicule me too much for being "such a hippie" or just plain difficult.

It's not just outside of the home that I feel like I'm fighting the battle. It's within my own home, too. The Man is opposed to eating anything that doesn't involve things that had parents. Sure, he'll choke down a salad before his steak as long as it's got some creamy dressing, parmesan cheese, and bacon bits. He'll eat broccoli covered in melted cheddar. Asparagus? Bring on the Bearnaise sauce!

And the kids think they're being punished if they don't have cheese pizza, macaroni & cheese, grilled cheese, or cheeseburgers on a regular basis.

It's a constant battle. With the people I love and with myself.  The last time I really went for a long stretch without meat, I cried because I wanted a hot dog so badly it hurt. Of all the things in the world, it was a hot dog that broke me.

So I'll try again. I'll do my best and if I fail I'll just pick myself up and try again.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. I truly hope you have a wonderful day filled with family and friends and laughter and love and all that makes a holiday wonderful. I know I will.

*Partially Hydrogenated Lard - mmmmm... pig fat pie. I can't wait!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Mom and Dad wanted to say something

A bit of dialog from the first evening with my mom and dad after they've returned from their North Carolina home:

Mom: Beth? You know how you write about things you don't like? Well I want you to write about something. I want you to write about shampoo bottles. Why don't they write it really big on the bottle? I want it to say SHAMPOO in really BIG letters!

Me: So you don't wash your hair with conditioner?

Mom: YES!

Dad: No, you know what you should write about? How hard it is to find cranberry juice. Just plain cranberry juice. I ended up getting some blend of three different juices. At least it was all juice.

I'm so glad my mom and dad are home again. I missed them so much. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

So much more than just praying hands

When I was a little girl I spent a relatively decent amount of time at my Grandma and Granddaddy's house. My Granddaddy was one of my favorite people in the whole world. He was always happy to see me and always had time for me. Even though he had 10 other grandchildren to love, whenever I was with him I felt like I was his whole world.

Granddaddy, much like my own dad, was a big story-teller. Being Catholic, my grandparents had a little statue of praying hands sitting on a side table in their living room.

I didn't know they were praying hands. I didn't know much about them at all, actually, so one day while Granddaddy sat peeling potatoes at the dining room table I asked him what that statue was.

Granddaddy smiled and told me a story of two brothers. The two brothers came to this country, poor as could be. They came here on a boat from a country far away and their dream was to make it in America.

Those brothers struggled at first. They were poor, hungry, and looking for work. They had no place to live and were dirty and slept out in the cold. In time, they both found jobs and worked hard to make something of themselves. They helped each other and before long, they both had successful businesses and homes that were warm and clean. They each got married to beautiful girls and had children who became great people.

In the end of the story those two brothers were so proud of themselves that they gave each other a high five. And that's what that statue was, their high five.

When Granddaddy died I was barely 9 years old and he was the first person I had ever known to die. It was unbelievable to me that he was gone forever. No more trips to Cumberland Farms to pick out ice cream from the cold case, no more being thrown on the bed over and over again until poor Granddaddy was exhausted but still did it "one more time" just to make me laugh, no more sitting in his lap as he watched one football game on the television and had another on the radio, no more of his stories, smiles, or laughter.

I remember so clearly my dad telling me that Granddaddy had died. We were sitting in my mom and dad's bedroom and I stared at him blankly and said "Okay" and left the room.

I went into my sister's old bedroom, which had been turned into a guest bedroom at the time and I sat on the bed with my back to the door and stared out the window. My mom came in and said "Honey, it's okay to cry."

But I couldn't cry. I couldn't even fathom it being a reality that he was gone.

Days later, after the funeral, my Grandma sat me down and gave me those hands. "Granddaddy wanted you to have these."

It was then that I cried.

I still have those hands, over 28 years later. They went with me to multiple apartments in college, home again, to my first home, and now to our home here. And every time I look at them I smile and remember his story.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Spaz checks the calendar a few times and freaks the hell out

Last night as I was letting the dog out for his before bed pee, I looked upon our 4 bedroom, 2 bath ranch house with the minivan parked in the driveway and thought to myself "Holy crap, I'm a grown-up."

It's true. I really can't deny the fact that by my age I should be a grown-up. The odd thing is that I don't really feel any older than I did 10 years ago. I honestly just feel dumber and more frazzled.

Because it's true what they say about the older you get, the more you realize you don't know. 10 years ago I thought I had it all figured out. But the last decade has gone by so fast I feel like I should be nauseous from the ride.

I don't have a damn thing figured out.

In just a few months I'll be turning 35. I had to count back to make sure that was right, because it doesn't seem like it should be. 35 sounds like someone who should be accomplished, know where she's going, have a plan, a retirement fund, and an expensive watch.

Not I, my friend. Not I.

I'm nervous that the last 10 years have gone by so quickly, that the next 10 years might sneak by even faster and I could quite possibly still be sitting here with no accomplishments (besides the fact that I will then have raised three children to adulthood, hopefully with at least some mild success), have no idea where I'm going, no plan, no retirement fund, and most importantly, no expensive watch.

35 years old, y'all. What the hell?

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Spaz speaks out for moms EVERYWHERE!

From: Domestic Spaz (
Subject: Windex Commercials - here's a FREE advertising pitch from a real mom


To Whomever Decided It Was A Good Idea To Show A Mom Cleaning Up After Her Entire Family:

I'm a real mom of three kids in a messy house. I buy Windex. Never once has picking up a spray bottle of Windex Multi Surface ever caused time to stop so that I could merrily go around cleaning up all of the messes my family makes before they even hit the ground. In fact, the idea that it's the mom's job to clean up all the messes in the house is so overdone and irritating that it has caused mothers from around the country to convene on facebook and discuss how irritated we are with your ridiculous commercial.

And really? A commercial where a lazy ass man sleeps in a lounge chair while his wife washes the windows? Who runs this ad agency? Mr. Cleaver?

When y'all decide to run a commercial where those irritating birds look through the window to see a 15 year old kid saying "I use Windex Multi Surface cleaner to clean up all the sticky and nasty messes my self-entitled and irresponsible ass makes in the house that my mom and dad work their tails off to pay for. I love using it so much I think I'll clean up the rest of the house and still have time to do my homework and empty the dishwasher!"... well THAT'S when I and mothers across America just like me will be flocking to the stores to buy your products.

Beth Hubbard
aka Domestic Spaz

PS: Upon further research, I discovered that DraftFCB no longer holds the SCJohnson (the makers of Windex) account. Ogilvy & Mather currently holds the Windex account. Perhaps their ads will be less misogynistic. :)