Pizza, Cookies, Presentation

Well, summer school is only a few hours away from being over with. I have finished my History course and just have my ethics final tomorrow morning. But I feel like its been too long since I made these foods I have saved up (since they are long gone) so I want to update.

So last weekend I decided to make a pizza! I was really excited and inspired by Isa's amazing little pizza section of VwaV. Then I saw this amazing recipe in the Student's Go Vegan Cookbook of Caramelized Onions, Walnut, and Sage pizza. All those sweet and savory flavours on a pizza, hell yes? That morning my mom and I went shopping at the supermarket to get the sage and pizza dough. I was willing to make my own if I couldnt find a pre-made that was vegan. And of course, no luck. The pizza doughs that they had one of the following: dried honey, parmesan cheese, egg. So I was like wtf, who puts dried honey in a pizza dough. I was complaining a bit, telling my mom how I dont get why manufacturers decide to change a simple dough into some mishmosh of ingredients that do not belong. I kind of got angry, because she got snippy that it was only cause I didnt eat it. Well Im sorry, I dont get the point of dried honey on a pizza dough. But my opinion.

I have been having a really hard time finding good pre-made products in my supermarket that are vegan. Whole Foods is in the psycho busy/stuck up suburb near me, and I just hate shopping there and dealing with the traffic. But Im going to haul my butt over there sometime next week to get spices and popcorn in bulk. If I havent mentioned, Im psychotically obsessed with popcorn. I feel so lonely without it for a day. My roommate last year gave me an article talking about the additive in popcorn that caused lung cancer. But I only eat packaged popcorn when I was away at school without a kitchen. At home I make my own popcorn and dont think there is any other way to eat it aside from a little salt. Love my tangents? Im so easily distracted. There has been a few incidents that I realize something is not vegan after I buy it and have eaten part of it. Like my Kashi Go Lean (honey), Morningstar patty (egg whites), Boca Italian Sausage (egg). Im freaked out that I ate it and feel so guilty. I know if somebody told me something was vegetarian when I was younger, to find out that it was made with chicken stock or ham (brasilians don't really consider ham meat) I would feel nauseous by the thought or Id already know I was told wrong cause Id be needing to run the bathroom. In a non-vegan world, Im unsure how to handle this new issue of accidental eats. Especially while out to eat...we can be told something is entirely vegan, but then be served something with a mono, di-glyceride. If it is dairy or egg, I feel a bit calmer about it because it is a by product and was not linked directly to the slaughter of the animal. But I also do not want it to happen very often, if ever in the future.

How do you deal with accidentally eating a non-vegan item? What justification or argument is helpful to explain to others who are aware that you have had a non-vegan food?

My sister at a restaurant was like how do you know that isnt cooked in animal fat? I freaked out, she was right. I didnt know. I just assumed as I cook it in canola. But I don't know how to respond to that.

Back to the food, pizza. Yes, pizza. Saturday while researching for my presentation on factory farms I made my dough. It was super simple, I never really realized how easy it was. My dough turned out perfect! I loved Isa's directions, she really had thought of every question I would have had. Now my VwaV is covered in water spots and flour, but well worth it. I have half of the recipe in the freezer, oh yeah!

Making the pizza was simple as pie (oh my, such a comedian!) Just caramelized two large yellow onions, crumbled walnuts, and dried sage. The recipe was a sauce-less pie, but I thought it would add another element. Boy oh boy, cooking the onions was my favorite bit. I love caramelized onions to pieces, I had to stop myself from just eating them plain. The onions were truly the winning piece on the pizza. When I took it out of the oven, I realized my pizza looked like a sausage crumble pizza. The elements together just rocked, like I cant explain it. I never thought of putting a nut on my pizza, though the walnuts were soft enough to crumble and the flavor and crunch was a beautiful addition. Id definitely make this pizza again. Though with my extra dough, I hope I can get my hands on Teese to try and make just a plain 'ol cheese pizza.

Now the entire weekend I devoted to working on my presentation for my history class. I got to choose the topic. I wasn't originally thinking along the lines of animal welfare. But he told us to think of what topic we have the most books already on, most interest, and passion. Well that was obvious, I own like a billion books on factory farms and different exposes and opinions. So I switched from Holocaust Media to the Evolution of the Factory Farm. I had a hard time starting because the books I was using were very economically based, so to find research on just the plain history of agricultural was difficult. Though, after I got the ball rolling, it never stopped. I also got another book a day later that was titled
The History of Agriculture, turned out to be a great source to help tie in all the periods I focused on, mainly Middle Ages, Agricultural Revolution, Industrial, and World Wars. I had the hardest time to make my presentation only 10 mins, I had a good 5hours of information that I would gladly talk about. So I chose wisely, and tried to make the information on the impact on animals, health, and environment as in their face and disgusting and wow-factored as possible. It was also really liberating to do the research on legislation within the EU. I cannot even believe all the laws that have actually been passed within the EU. America is so fucking behind its not funny. I always say I should just move to Denmark, but I need to stay here and help change the way we think about animal welfare and our food sources.

The presentation went well, I for some reason, was extremely nervous. My voice shook the entire time, but I was completely confident with my words and what I was saying. The same think happened last year while doing a presentation on the Lack of Women in Major Art Galleries. But after I started, I got more fluid and bam. I made vegan chocolate chip cookies for the class to prove that veganism is delicious. I also handed out that large fact sheet that Robbin's put together. And of course there was a video, short, but to the point. I got an A on the presentation, I was happy. But I dont care about the grade, I just want to make sure that I got my points across clear and that I maybe cause one of the students or teacher to think twice about their food source. Or someone to remember even just one thing and tell it to another.

Aside from study study study, this weekend I found my lost wallet. I had lost it a month before. It had all of my credit cards, license, school IDs, paper work from Brasil, copy of my passport and my Brasilian visa, and FUCK my Social Security card (I had put it in my wallet while I was moving back home). I had gotten not an hour of sleep the day I moved home, so I couldnt remember for the life of me if I brought it into the restaurant on the way home. I canceled all of my cards, got a new license, was in the process of calling all the credit bureau and applying for a new SScard. I was stressed because of the process, I was so scared that somebody was going to steal my identity. But while cleaning up my garbage can that had spilled over, I saw a lone sock and a 'shirt'. I grab the sock and shirt. But I realize the 'shirt' is my Damien Rice tote bag and my WALLET. I was like freaking mad, slap happy. I couldnt do anymore research, so I decided to make those Chewy Chocolate-Raspberry Cookies from Veganomicon. Super simple recipe, but rich flavor. Everybody enjoyed them, I found them extremely sugary, but I think its because we used jam and not spreadable fruit. They are gone and my family is sad. They sure do love that I love to bake. I made a second batch of chocolate chip cookies for them this week.

This week I really didnt do any cooking. I mostly had rice and beans, random garbage pail salad concoctions, or hummus and veggies/pita. Tomorrow due to the last day of class, my mom wants to go and celebrate at my favorite thai restaurant. But I wish I could find a menu online first, so I could make sure that I could veganize their pad thai. We shall see, and of course I will talk about it. My family thinks Im crazy for taking so many photos of my food, their loss. :)


Catherine said...

Sarah, your cookies look fantastic!

I read below that you go to Marquette -- I grew up in the Milwaukee area! Have you been to the co-op in Wauwatosa yet? It's great -- I bet you're home for the summer by now, but when you move back next fall, I'd definitely check it out!

Kati said...

Ooh I love homemade pizza - it can't be beat! Walnuts sound like an interesting topping - I will have to try it out. Way to go on your presentation, too! Vegan baked goods are the best form of activism. ;-)

As far as your question goes, I think the key thing to realize is that anyone who criticizes or even simply points out that something you're eating may not be vegan, is probably only feeling self-conscious about their own decisions and wants to turn the attention toward you. My 2 cents. Just do the best you can with each situation - that's all any of us can do.

Catherine said...

Sarah, the co-op in Wauwatosa is called "Outpost" -- www.outpostnaturalfoods.coop -- and it's on State Street, which I believe is a busline. Might even be bikeable in good weather? (Wauwatosa's pretty close to Marquette U.)

Catherine said...

I'm a born and bread Wauwatosan! And the Outpost is the only cool veg idea I have for you -- Milwaukee doesn't feel like the most veg-friendly place to me . . . !!

P.S. If you're ever in the Wisconsin Dells area, you should try the "Cheese Factory Restaurant." They have tons of fresh veggie and vegan food -- it's AMAZING! (And it's called the Cheese Factory because it's located in an old cheese factory -- they are totally vegan-friendly!)

Vegan On Stage said...

those cookies look amazing!!!

seriously nothing is better than home made pizza... ah i could eat it every day!

LK said...

I wanted to comment on this post, even though it is a little late. I borrowed the Students Go Vegan cookbook a long time ago and really loved it - that pizza looks fabulous!

On a non-food note, I really am glad your presentation went well. We can only do so much to make other people aware of the horrors of factory farming. I give you kudos for being so dedicated to researching that topic - what a great meaningful presentation! I wish I was there to learn more. And don't worry about being nervous - I am definetely the worry-wart and I think everyone gets nervous during a presentation!

Out of the photo of all of the books you have - which one do you recommend reading? I have always wanted to get "Becoming Vegan" book, and plan to eventually. What about other vegan/animal welfare books? I would love your opinion.

Thanks so much for a great post!