When people won’t eat your vegan food

This post discusses the unwillingness that some non-vegans to eat vegan food.  I have encountered this same reaction a few times. I love to cook, and I think it’s something I do well.  I like to experiment with new ingredients and create my own recipes.  I collect cookbooks, but I use them more for inspiration than as actual guides.  While most people I know have been happy to try my food and have enjoyed it, I have encountered a few others who won’t eat anything if it doesn’t , contain animal products. I get the backhanded compliments sometimes, in the line of  “Oh, this is good,” with the clear tone of surprise in their voice that food that doesn’t contain animal products can taste good and “normal,” but I choose to take it in a positive light.  I have a family member who will turn her nose up at a lot of foods I prepare because they are vegan: She won’t even try them. At one Christmas dinner, I served coconut ice cream with apple pie.  This family member ate the entire serving of ice cream and clearly enjoyed it.  When she saw the empty ice cream container, and realized that it was a non-dairy ice cream, she said, “Oh, I thought it didn’t taste right.”  I think my eye rolls could be heard from the other room.  My reaction to her when she won’t eat what I prepare is, “Oh good, more for me.”

10 things about Rod Taylor

This article presents 10 facts about the Australian actor Rod Taylor that many people might not know. I have always liked Rod Taylor:  He exuded a lot of warmth on screen, had a lovely smile, and a mellifluous voice. I knew that Taylor was a talented athlete, but had no idea that he was an equally gifted painter and potter.


Rod Taylor1

Proposed animal charter of rights

Animal Justice Canada Legislative Fund (AJCLF) has launched a new national campaign to have basic rights for animals enshrined into Canadian law through the Animal Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Animal Charter would ensure animals are treated as sentient beings instead of mere property, would guarantee the rights and freedoms that make life worth living, and give all animals a chance to have their interests represented in court.

The chart and petition may be found here.

Early Christmas presents: Some of my favourite films

I received these gems from my father this week; some have been out of print for a while:

stalag Triumph

Stalag 17 and Ace in the Hole were made by my favourite director, Billy Wilder.  The commentary track for Stalag 17 says that Charlton Heston was originally slated for the William Holden role; the writer (who was a POW in a German stalag) was very relieved when Heston was offered the role, as he thought he was not suitable (too big and over the top).  I can’t imagine anyone playing the cynical Sefton any better than William Holden.

Ace in the Hole is my favourite Kirk Douglas film:  Its biting criticism of the news media stands the test of time and would be very applicable to our news media today with its sensationalist 24-hour coverage of often very tragic events.

The Killers launched the career of Burt Lancaster (he and Holden are two of my favourite actors).  Lancaster does not play the major role in this film, but he makes his always magnetic presence felt.  The Miklos Rozca score, of course, is marvellous.

It Happened One Night is great fun.  I’m not generally a fan of Frank Capra, as I find some of his films be a little too light for my taste, but this one is a classic.  Clark Gable clearly had a great deal of fun making this film; Claudette Colbert, on the other hand, apparently complained a lot and thought the film was beneath her, even though she won an Oscar for her role.  Gable clearly had a very deft comedic touch; it’s shame that he was rarely given the opportunity to show it.

I first watched Triumph of the Will in one of my undergraduate history classes. I still remember the day I watched it and the impact it had on me.  It’s a fascinating and horrifying look at the carefully-crafted propaganda machine of the Third Reich. Leni Riefenstahl, who was a very talented film maker, never recovered from this film and her personal association with Adolf Hitler.

Dog fighting

In this article, The Humane Society of the United States discusses a long-running anti-cruelty case when a federal judge in Alabama handed down tough sentences for a number of active participants in a dogfighting network that spanned four states. One defendant, dubbed by U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins as “the godfather” of this ring, was sentenced to eight years in a federal penitentiary—the longest prison sentence ever handed down in a federal dogfighting case. Testimony indicated that Donnie Anderson hosted 80 fights in which nearly 500 pit bulls fought for hundreds of spectators who bet as much as $100,000 per fight.

I find it mind boggling that dog fighting continues to be so popular.  Recent articles, for example, discuss the breeding of “Frankenstein dogs” in Ireland for the purposes of dog fighting. In Akron. Ohio, police raided a dog fighting operation this month. Rewards are being offered in Syracuse to stop illegal dog fighting operations.  There is, of course, the very famous case of former NFL player Michael Hick and his dog fighting operations.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how some people can enjoy watching animals engage in blood sports.  These type of activities, unfortunately, have been a part of our history for centuries.  Blood sport was very popular in Ancient Rome, and involved many different types of animals, including wild cats, elephants, and dogs. Dog baiting become very popular in England in the 12th century:  Dogs were placed in rings with bulls and bears. In the mid 18th century, dog baiting became illegal in England, but the “sport” switched to having dogs fight each other in the ring. Dog fighting was exported to the United States, but was made illegal in most states by the 1860s, as it was considered inhumane.  Unfortunately, dog fighting has continued to be popular in the United States.  Dog fighting is illegal in most countries but, again, continues to operate illegally.  Dog fighting is certainly illegal in Canada, but our laws are on the soft side:  According to the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, the Canadian Criminal Code makes it an offence if someone “encourages, aids or assists at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds”. However, the person literally has to be caught in the act … in Canada it is not an offence to train animals to fight nor to accept money from animal fighting. Clearly Canadian legislation has some way to go.


Favre, D. (2011). Animal law, welfare, interests, and rights. New York: Walters Kluwer.

Villavivencio, M. (2007). A history of dogfighting.



Vegan risottos

This Huffingon Post article links to 13 recipes for vegan risotto.  I’ve made a few of my own variations over the years, a number of which are similar to the ones below: