My icing job isn’t nearly as fancy as the original recipe, but I like the way this recipe turned out all the same. (Fancy tricks with icing – a project for the new year?)
I went with Linda and Laurie to Brooklyn’s for dinner tonight and I did remember my Vegan MoFo project #2, to try other things on the menu besides my all-time favourite Spicy ‘Chick’n’ Sandwich. It was tough to resist the call of the best darn sandwich in the world, but I did it. I ordered a small “Better Than Caesar” Salad and an order of vegan perogies with tofutti “sour cream” (which just happened to be on special tonight). Both were absolutely delicious! There was a lot of food and I ended up getting half the perogies packaged up for tomorrow’s lunch.
Can I just say how freakin’ wonderful it is to be able to go to a pub and have a choice of vegan food to pick from!?? Three cheers for Brooklyn’s!
My friend and colleague Gregory Betts just stopped by my office to see if I wanted to go across to “Noodles,” the new noodle bar in the International Building. The chef over there is great and promises at least one vegetarian dish each day. Today we got a basic tofu stir-fry on rice, yummy comfort food on a rainy day! I also noticed a few other vegan options like packages of hummus and pita and a plate of veggie sushi.
So this is my second day of Vegan MoFoing on campus and so far I’m 2 for 2 in terms of finding vegan lunch. This is a good thing.
Today marked day #1 of my Vegan MoFo search for vegan food at Brock. Today was a teaching day so I didn’t get down to the Guernsey Market until after 3. (Thank goodness I had a pumpkin muffin in my bag for a quick pre-class snack! Thanks Laurie!)
I wasn’t sure what I’d find for lunch at 3pm, but I was able to cobble together quite a delicious meal consisting of vegetable soup, fruit, some cherry tomatoes and pita chips.
As an aside, I am delighted to see that the soups at the Guernsey Market are now labelled with big green “V” stickers to indicate the absence of meat and/or beef/chicken stock. A few of us have been asking for this for a while, so this is a wonderful development.
How on earth did it get to be November 1st already?! Instead of fretting about how much work I have left to do this term or how I’m dreading the cold weather I will focus on Vegan MoFo. Yeah!!
Vegan MoFo stands for “Vegan Month of Food” — bloggers around the world are taking up the project of writing about veganism (food, recipes, restaurants, ethics, challenges, celebrations) throughout November.
I’ve been writing about some of the recipes I’ve tried out since adopting a vegan lifestyle earlier this year. It is funny though, I didn’t set out to become a “food blogger” but I’m enjoying it all the same. So I will keep blogging about new recipes I’ve tried, etc. I also have 2 distinct topics I’d like to write about during Vegan MoFo:
1) Being a vegan at Brock University. Recently People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced that Brock University is in the running for the title of “most vegan friendly campus.” This does not at all match up with my experiences at Brock, so I decided that my Vegan MoFo project #1 will be an extra vigilant effort to try and track down these vegan options on campus. I’m not on campus every single day, but when I’m there I’ll be on the lookout. [note: for you Brock folks out there, feel free to send me submissions or omissions on this front!]
2) Brooklyn’s in Thorold is my new favourite place to eat. It is a pub with a vegan menu and fantastic staff. The problem is that every time I go there I always eat the Smokin’ Soy ‘Chicken’ Sandwich because it is so darn delicious and I just can’t help myself! (we’re talking serious cravings!!) The vegan pub menu at Brooklyn’s has 12 items on it (including my favourite sandwich) and my Vegan MoFo project #2 is to make my way through the menu this month, blogging about each item in delicious and graphic detail!
Last evening the good folks over at OPIRG-Brock screened the film, Addicted to Plastic. First of all, let me just say that I love this idea of showing documentary films in this centrally-located downtown space. I hope this initiative grows and continues and I certainly plan to get out to as many of the films as my schedule will allow.
Ok, the film. Well, many of the scenes were eye-opening. I knew about the problem of plastic products and packaging ending up in the ocean and on beaches around the world, but the graphic images in this film really drove that point home. Piles and piles of bottles, bags and other “throw-away” items are killing animals and polluting the water, a pretty horrific legacy for products that are so ubiquitous that they barely get noticed in our day-to-day lives.
After reading books like Slow Death by Rubber Duck, I have made a deliberate and conscious effort to minimize the amount of plastic in my life. Glass jars and containers have replaced the plastic ones I used to use, my morning cuppa is brewed in a stainless steel kettle instead of a plastic one and I shun plastic grocery bags. Fair enough. But this exercise has also demonstrated to me just how difficult (impossible?) it is to go through the day without encountering plastics. Right now, as I sit in the kitchen, I am taking stock of all the plastic around me: the bird feeder on the porch, the bottle my cat’s medicine comes in, the bottle holding the dish soap, the packaging my tea comes in, the computer I am typing this blog entry on, the light switch, the handle on the fridge, the beaver balls made by my students that have inexplicably turned up on the kitchen table yet again (these things are everywhere, I tell you!). When I turn on my tap, does the water come to me through plastic-lined pipes? Probably. When I leave the house later I’ll get on a bus that is full of plastic parts and head to the grocery store where I’ll have to decide things like “should I buy the chickpeas in a can (lined with plastic) or the dried ones in the plastic bags?” It kind of makes my head spin.
The film I saw last night spent quite a bit of time talking about bioplastics as an alternative. This worries me a little. On the surface, it does seem like a good idea. Plastics that are toxic-free and biodegradable seem like they would be a good solution, however, there are a whole host of other ethical and environmental questions that arise. For starters, are the crops that are used to sustain the bioplastic industry GMO crops? Is this the best use of farmland? Are these crops sprayed with pesticides? It seems to me that the bioplastic industry may be pointing the way forward in terms of some of the changes that need to be made, however, simply replacing one kind of plastic for another doesn’t really address the problem of over-consumption. How much of this stuff do we really need?
When the semester gets busy the regular blogging comes screeching to a halt. When I first started blogging RBOCs were all the rage — a quick and dirty way to post about unrelated topics. I’m sure there are new terms for this practice now, but I’m too tired to think of them.
In no particular order:
-I also took in a live NHL game last week. My favourite team (the Edmonton Oilers) were playing against the Buffalo Sabres, so Colleen and I got tickets, donned our Oilers gear and headed “over the river” to check it out. Ultimately the “good guys” lost, but we still had a most excellent time. The game was very good (the shots were nearly even), and the Buffalo fans were a lot of fun. I grew up in Edmonton during the “dynasty years” and was lucky enough to have gone to a number of games back in the day, but it has been ages since I’ve taken in a live NHL game. I must do it again soon!
-And on the subject of Buffalo, we discovered a very good brew pub. If you are into good beer, check out the Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. You won’t be disappointed!
-Rumblings of an expanded GO service in Niagara have me feeling hopeful. This doesn’t counter my disappointment over the decision to remove the recently-created bike lanes in downtown St. Catharines though.
-I’m thinking a lot about climate change these days. I’m also thinking a lot about how amazing David Suzuki and the folks at his foundation are. I wish our elected leaders would get with the program. Dr. Suzuki is urging all Canadians who care about climate change to give the PM’s office a call about this — there are even prizes to be won for doing so.
-Why is Battle of the Blades still on my TV? Why???
-On the other end of the CBC Television programming spectrum, I really, really enjoyed the 3 part series, Darwin’s Brave New World. If you missed it you can catch the episodes online.
Ok, so I’m a little behind schedule, but the sentiment is still there — happy 2009 and happy new academic term to all!
I celebrated the wrap of one year and the start of the next by finishing up two large projects (one which I have been working on by myself and one in which I have had a co-conspirator) that have been hanging over my head for ages. Well, I saw them through to the stage at which they are no longer in my hands and are being read/reviewed by others which, for the time being, is almost like being finished. For this moment they are out of sight and out of mind and I feel like I can turn my mind to new projects.
The projects which I shipped off have been many years in the making and I am finding a mix of both excitement and upheaval in having the mental space (to say nothing of the space on my desk!) to start working on new things. The problem that I am struggling with right now is one I’m sure many folks can relate to — I’ve got so many interests and so many topics I want to read, research and write about. How do I narrow it down to a manageable list? I’ve decided to focus on my upcoming conference papers with the view of turning them into publishable articles and then going from there. There’s also a topic/idea that just keeps rolling around and around in my brain, and it feels a little bit like having the lyrics to a song stuck in my head. I fear if I don’t jot down some ideas and spend some time working on this (even though it is not one of the upcoming conference presentations I’ll be giving) I might just go a little batty!
And speaking of conferences, I’m looking forward to what 2009 brings on this front. In addition to planning and preparing for the next instalment of Greenscapes in the fall, I’ll be presenting at 3 conferences in the coming months. First of all I’m indulging the “wannabe librarian” in me and heading off to the Ontario Library Association’s 2009 Super conference in Toronto where I will be co-presenting a paper (with a “real librarian”) on helping first year students develop research skills. Apparently the format of this conference is quite different than what I’m used to at Humanities conferences, so it should be interesting. Then I’m off to Boston for the ACLA conference. At that event I’m part of a panel that my colleague, Linda, organized on the theme of “Dead Things.” I’m going to speak on the anti-vivisection movement in Victorian Britain at that event. Then in June it is off to Victoria for my favourite conference in the whole world, ASLE. This year at ASLE I’m participating in a roundtable discussion on blogging. Neat-mosquito. (Thanks to jo(e) for setting that panel up.) So, I’m an art historian attending 2 literature conferences and a library conference — hooray for interdisciplinarity!
This has been a bit of a crazy summer — lots of goings on and life changes (nothing I feel like blogging about, but I am ok). In the midst of all of this I’ve been on a bit of an unintentional blog hiatus. I’ve missed blogging and catching up with friends via their blogs, so I’m looking forward to getting back into the blogosphere.
In addition to dealing with the above-mentioned “life stuff” this summer, I did manage to present a conference paper at the Science and the Public conference in Manchester. The conference was held at the Victoria Baths at the end of June. It was a really neat conference — very interesting venue and many wonderful papers over the two days. Below is one of the photos I took inside the building — there was so much character and history, a very interesting space to be in!
While in the UK I travelled down to London to do some research at the British Library (one of my favourite places on earth). I also popped into Kew Gardens a couple of times (another one of my favourite places on earth). I was especially excited to visit Kew this year as the new Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art is now open. The first exhibition held in this space (an exhibition calledTreasures of Botanical Art) is an exquisite show and well worth the wait. My only disappointment was that the Marianne North Gallery, which is physically linked to the new gallery, was closed for renovations. I absolutely understand the need for the renovations, but I think that being able to see both galleries at the same time would have been breath-taking. I guess I’ll just have to go back when the renovations are complete!
So, now we are nearing the halfway point of August and it is time, once again, to turn my thoughts to the new academic year. I feel I didn’t get nearly enough done this summer. I know that is the familiar refrain that all academics sing this time of year, but I felt that this was, quite possibly, the most unproductive summer I’ve had in my academic life. I’m not going to dwell on it and I know I can’t go back in time and change things, but the next few weeks are going to necessarily be super-duper busy as I attempt to get organized and get back on track. In some funny way I feel like returning to blogging is part of that process.
What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t post this?
Hope ya’ll have had a good start to the gardening season so far!