At times, it can be hard dwelling amongst the meateaters.
At times it can be a challenge. I think we all dream of living in a more
vegan friendly city, a veggie paradise, a compassionate commune.
We wish for a place where we don't have to ask 'what's for
dinner' with suspicion in our voices. We dream of a land where the lion
can lay down with the lamb, after dinner drink in paw, and no worry about
workplace conversation at the waterhole the next day.
For a west Texas vegan such as myself, that dream is
Austin, Texas. Austin is on PeTA's list as one of the top ten vegetarian
friendly cities. I recently did a google search of Texas vegan restaurants
and the results I found for Austin caused tears to flow. But you know, I
prefer to keep Austin as a dream, we all need a higher goal.
One week before the Great American MeatOut, a few members
of the Vegetarian Society of El Paso did a literature and food giveaway
table in a park on the University of Texas El Paso campus. I spent the
morning cooking several gallons of vegan barbecue with shredded TVP "beef"
Steve Best brought a table from the philosophy department
office and we began setting up the stacks of literature. We taped our
MeatOut posters to the table and began heating the barbecue in an electric
skillet. I laid out the paper towels and tortillas. We had a good
assortment of Vegetarian Starter Kits, Veg Society of El Paso newsletters
and Farm Animal Reform Movement flyers on MeatOut. (www.farmusa.org)
Steve said he had to have the first BBQ wrap to make sure
it passed his taste test, since my cooking would be an important factor in
the conversion process we all hoped to inspire. He wound up eating three
wraps that day.
Also helping to give out literature and information were
Yvone, Maria and Denise. We began calling out "Free Barbecue Wraps" and
"It's All Free." A few people stopped by and took some literature and a
wrap. Most were amazed that it tasted so much like the rotting animal
flesh BBQ they were used to eating. I take pride in making TVP taste
"It's Vegan and it's Free," I yelled. We were in operation
through two class breaks and many people passed; only about one in five
stopped to sample our wares. Steve commented how strange it was that
college students would pass up a free lunch. "Low Fat," "No Cholesterol,"
Yvone yelled. "No Intestines," from Steve.
Soon we were joined by Nick, a local TV news anchor and
member of our veg society. Nick had a wrap and hung out with us,
occasionally yelling with us. "No Bovine Spongiform Encepholopathy," "No
"Free Vegetarian Barbecue," I yelled as I stirred the TVP
BBQ. People came up one by one, several times we had a line of students.
Denise talked with them and suggested literature, Maria got them to sign
the MeatOut pledge forms
and wrapped the BBQ into tortillas.
One guy was approaching the table as we were calling out
"Free Food," "Free Barbecue." When I called out "It's Vegan," the guy
stopped and backed away. He circled our table at a distance, staring, and
finally moved away. Steve said, "Greg !! Don't say it's vegetarian or
vegan until after they take a bite."
This isn't working, Steve said, and tried "Free Beer."
"Free Sex," I added. "Free UTEP Miners Game Tickets," from Steve. During
our slow periods, we chatted among ourselves and it was odd how one city
kept creeping into the conversation. Maria asked Denise if she was a
student here and she replied yes, but that next year she was moving to
Austin to do grad work. "Oh, you will like it there," said Steve, "I did
my Ph.D. at Austin."
Nick said that he was soon taking a vacation at a yoga
retreat in Austin. Maria said that her daughter was considering the
University of Texas at Austin. "I have been looking at a vegan culinary
arts school in Austin, thinking about my next career as a vegan chef," I
remarked. "Damn, I wish we were in Austin," I said. "No," Maria said,
"Then we wouldn't be making a difference here."
I like to think that what Maria said is true, that we made
an investment in the future, that of the fifty people who tried our wraps
and took our literature, a few were moved further down the path to a
compassionate lifestyle. I still dream of living in some vegetarian
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Authentic Texas Vegan Barbecue
Some beef-like tvp chunks, I like catalog number BFC-10
from the Mail Order Catalog,
These are large chunks that can be shredded for this recipe or added to
stews or other compassionated recipes.
Onion, Red and/or Green Bell Pepper, Tomato, Garlic
Hot Pepper flakes (or minced jalapeno), pinch of thyme, oregano, other
herbs of choice
Bottled Barbecue Sauce, Olive Oil, White Wine
Boil tvp chunks until tender in a saucepan. Add olive oil
to a large skillet. Saute minced garlic, diced onion, peppers and tomato.
Mince or shred tvp chunks and add to skillet with as much barbecue sauce
as you think it needs.
Add herbs and a generous splash of white wine. Serve on some healthier
whole grain bread than the white flour tortillas I bought to give the
Go on to ACT Radio
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