Animal Writes
9 May 2001 Issue
Another Short Piece About Veganism With a Recipe at the End

by Park [email protected] 

Our newsletter editor remarked to me the other day that our mailings might be a little heavy on the aspect of vegetarianism to the exclusion of other issues about animals. That might be true, but since 95% of all animal suffering in our country happens because of our country's meat based diet, it seems important to keep mentioning these facts. Nine billion animals were killed for food last year in the US. That's over 24 and a half million animals every day.

Ok, now that you're a vegetarian, let's just mention one reason dairy is bad before we move on. In order to produce milk, a cow is kept pregnant. She usually has one calf a year for the 5 or 6 years of her short life before she is turned into hamburger. One of those calves replace her on the dairy line and most of the others become veal. Veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry.

Eight of the nine billion animals that were killed last year were chickens. In my mind, the most abused of the factory farmed animals are these birds. Most males aren't needed and so at birth they are thrown into a garbage bag to suffocate. The females are debeaked and placed into small cages with one or two others in such overcrowded conditions that they can't spread their wings. Their ability to move is so restricted that their feet often grow into the bars of the cage. Chickens are not even covered by the US
Humane Slaughter Act and so suffer more in the slaughterhouses.

Ok, now that you're a vegan, what do you substitute for eggs and dairy? Tofu is not only a good source of complete protein and calcium, it is also incredibly versatile. It can be made into facsimiles of everything from egg salad to pudding. A handful of berries, a dash of lemon juice and a food processor can transform tofu into cruelty-free yogurt. It can be made into cheesecakes, puddings, salad dressings, it can substitute for eggs in cake recipes.

Here is a good way to turn tofu into a ricotta cheese substitute for stuffed pasta and lasagna.

Tocotta Cheese

1 box Mori-Nu brand firm tofu
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes (or try thyme or oregano)

Place the garlic cloves in the microwave on high for about 15 seconds or heat for just a minute in a conventional oven. This makes peeling easier and makes the garlic a bit milder. Put half the tofu in a food processor with all the other ingredients. (A blender can be used in a pinch, but you have to frequently scrape down the sides with a spatula.) Blend to a paste. Add the other half of the tofu and pulse slightly so that mixture has small chunks. Or you can mash the remaining tofu by hand. Use to stuff large pasta shells, manicotti or in your favorite lasagna recipe.

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