Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
26 January 2000 Issue

Chicken Noodle Soup for the Vegan Soul
by [email protected]

During a bout with a winter cold or flu, soup is a comfort. It might be all you feel like taking in, and it helps replace fluids. Last week I had the flu and craved my grandmother's cream of potato soup and that old standard, chicken noodle soup, in vegan versions of course.

Some of us vegans like to imagine that we don't ever get sick, but the truth is that we do, only much less frequently. Flu shots are not a vegan product in that they use chickens in the process. So in this case, we must weigh the exploitation of chickens against the fact that getting a shot will slow the spread of a disease which causes human sickness and a few human deaths each year. A dilemma which is compounded by the irony that strains of flu viruses originally form in flocks of chickens and herds of pigs. If we didn't keep such unnaturally large numbers of these animals around for food perhaps we wouldn't have to face the consequences of flu.

For the "chicken" flavor for the soup you will need Carmel Kosher brand Soup Base Chicken Style, a vegan powder in a jar which can be found in the Jewish foods section of some supermarkets and health food stores. It can be ordered from Carmel Kosher Food Products, Elmwood Park, NJ, 07407. A similar product is Osem brand Instant Clear Consomme Soup Mix. There are also unchicken broths available at health food stores. And you can order fake beef, chicken and seafood broth from Harvest Direct (go to link below). A good vegetable broth can be used instead; add extra garlic, a dash of sage and a pinch of turmeric for color.

Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup
1/2 to a scant 2/3 cup Textured Vegetable Protein Chunks (available in most
health food stores or by mail order from Harvest Direct
Welcome to Harvest Direct! )
1 medium onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
three or four large cloves of garlic, minced
1 heaping cup pasta (make sure it was made without eggs). Ribbon noodles or
small shells or spirals or your preference
two teaspoons Carmel Kosher Soup Base Chicken Style
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced or one slight teaspoon dried parsley
six or so cups water
1 teaspoon oil olive (optional)

Simmer the 1/2 cup TVP in six cups of water in a large saucepan for about fifteen minutes until soft. You can add a few more chunks if you wish, but as they double in size you might wind up with more than you want. At this point you might like to strain out the chunks, let cool, then cut them up a bit as they can be somewhat large. Add all the other ingredients and boil on medium heat until the pasta is done, this might take a few minutes longer than the package directions for the pasta indicate. Add more water if needed. Add a bit more "Chicken" Soup Base powder if you wish. Don't add salt, the soup base is mostly salt. Serve with vegan crackers or a vegan bread, plain or toasted.

Now some of you may be saying, "I don't get it. Earlier he suggested that chickens may be the cause of the flu. Why is he now giving us a recipe for something which mimics the flavor of those birds, why eat something that tastes like dead birds for gosh sakes?" Well, I just enjoy dark ironies, I guess.

You might prefer a nice cream of potato soup, which is what I most associate with my own childhood illnesses and the attempts of my loved ones to help me recover. The basic ingredients are potatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, margarine, salt, pepper and milk. When replacing the milk in a vegan recipe such as a soup, I have found that soy and rice milks are too sweet. Oat milk is perfect for cream soups because of its bland flavor. To increase the creaminess I add a dollop of Tofutti Sour Supreme (sour cream substitute) and some grated Soymage, or VeganRella cheese. (You vegans know, don't you, that most of the soy, rice, almond, etc., based cheeses have caseinate, a milk derivative? You lacto-vegetarians know, don't you, that most dairy cheeses are made with rennet, which is made from calves stomachs?)

Vegan Cream of Potato Soup
No amounts are given for this recipe, you have to improvise.

Steam the potatoes, onion and garlic in just a little bit of water so that most of the water is gone when the potatoes are almost cooked. A microwave is good for this so nothing sticks to the pot. You don't want to have to pour off any nutrients or flavor and you want the potatoes to remain firm.

Now add the oat milk, parsley, grated soy cheese and margarine. You probably want to use a non-hyrogenated margarine like Spectrum Spread. (Note to new vegans...many margarines contain whey, a byproduct of milk) Bring to a boil again then remove from heat, stir in a bit of vegan sour cream and a dash of salt and pepper.

Not to mention fluid replacement, aroma-therapy and the psychological regressive technique of recalling a time when you were served such soups in bed by your loved ones, the onions and garlic in these two soups actually do make for a medicinal meal.

If you are not a vegan, you might be saying to yourself, "Sheesh, veganism must be hard, trying to find all those substitutes and learning how to best use them." Actually, it's an adventure. I have found or learned to make substitutes for almost all egg and dairy products from ice cream to egg nog, from Roquefort cheese dressing to omelets. I even have an idea of how to make vegan deviled eggs but I haven't tried it yet. When I do, I'll write it up.

Aren't you willing to make a few more sacrifices and substitutions to have an animal free diet?

The most important step any individual can take to help all animals is to go vegan.

For more information on veganism visit
Vegan Outreach

Or if we can help you, send your questions about veganism to [email protected]

Go on to Animals in Politics - Danielle Mulei
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