Today’s a twofer!

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Hi and welcome once again to Taste This, which I’m told is read weekly (inside joke, hey Michelle!) This week we’ve got two half-newsletters that no smooth segue can merge together, but it’s all useful stuff and them’s the breaks sometimes. Enjoy!

Kitchen magic: the art of the workflow

I wanted to share a personal story about a post we ran a little while ago, both because you might have missed it the first time around, and also because it helps to see ideas getting applied.

In our time saving tips for parents article, we covered a number of ideas that would help parents spend less time in the kitchen, but as I said in the post, many of them are useful for non-parents as well.

To be fair, while Angela and I aren’t parents (at least as I write this on Sunday night!), we’ve been preparing, so our mindset is geared towards what life will be like very soon. Even so, here are a few principles we’re working on right now that have already paid off.

It all comes down to workflow.

Basically, we’re trying to have several meal components on the go at all times, and it’s almost a checklist:

  • Are beans soaking?
  • Is something in the dehydrator?
  • Are there cooked grains in the fridge (we prefer a quinoa/amaranth mix, but rice is good too.)
  • Do we have ripe – as well as rock hard – avocados on the counter?

That’s all we’ve got so far, because this is fairly new and we don’t want to make the system too huge at the start or we’ll abandon it, but as you can see, none of these items are hard to implement, and as long as we’re able to answer “yes” to each one we’ve got a ton of meal options at our fingertips that would otherwise take an extra chunk of time to prepare (and in some cases, like not having ripe avocados, be impossible!)

The grains one might be questionable if you’re worried about losing nutrition or dryness etc, but I can vouch for it – the other night we were both tired and didn’t know what to make, and Angela said she’s make a tofu/quinoa thing. I was like, crap, it’s going to be an hour before we can eat, but hey, at least I don’t have to cook, so I went to work in another room. Dinner was ready in 10 minutes, and even without the surprise, it was darned tasty!

Are you using everything in your kitchen to its full potential? Are there gadgets (like in our case, the dehydrator) that are being wasted by not being used all the time? For another example, later we’re going to get the slow cooker on the list, and probably add a “is the freezer at least 3/4 full of meals” item so we can defrost easily, either at mealtime or by putting a potential dinner into the fridge that morning.

As I said in the original post, these aren’t parenting tricks; they’re things anyone can do and can really make the difference if you’re someone who wishes they could cook more meals at home but can’t seem to find the time – give the list another look and see what ideas you come up with!

Another view of don’t ask don’t tell

If you’ve been around a while, you’ll be familiar with my claim that just about everything I watch, hear, or read ends up tying back to veganism. Sometimes I’m bragging, and sometimes I’m complaining, but that’s how it happens.

And I didn’t expect reading a news article about a possible repeal of the US “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy (the one that lets gays and lesbians serve in the military as long as nobody talks about it) to trigger vegan outreach thoughts, but that’s pretty much what happened.

It helped a bit that I was in the middle of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows (review here, thanks to Tom for the heads up!), especially this passage:

“Inherent in violent ideologies is an implicit contract between producer and consumer to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Sure, animal agribusinesses go to great lengths to protect their secrets. But we make their jobs easy for them. They tell us not to look, and we turn away. They tell us the billions of animals that we never see live outdoors on peaceful farms, and as illogical as this is, we don’t question it. We make their job easy because on some level most of us don’t want to know the way things really are.”

That sounds a little like “don’t ask, don’t tell” to me, and it rings true: a lot of you have probably spoken to someone; not in an outreach scenario, but at a casual dinner, where they’ve said something like “oh no, don’t tell me about how animals are killed to make this food, I don’t want to hear about it,” and when they say it, they’re not being angry, they’re not being defensive, but they are being honest.

Most people really don’t want to know about how their animal-based foods are made.

Anyway, I talk more about some of the thoughts in the book in my review, but I wanted to bring that part up in the context of the current news about that don’t ask don’t tell thing. I’m not sure if there’s a direct outreach angle that’d fit for all of you, but it’d be a handy thing to think about the connection ahead of time in case the topic comes up, since I’m a big fan of taking current news and providing an opportunity to talk about veganism.

As an aside: my server logs tell me that there are a lot of people who were looking for information about Iron Man 2 and chlorophyll who got exposed to some vegan ideas recently, which wasn’t an accident, but it was an experiment. On the internet, I’ve got to fight the back button, but in your lunchtime conversations, you’ve got a little more leverage, so keep an eye on the news to see what small talk you can subvert each week!


Thanks again for being in the habit of learning with me, and for telling your friends about Staying Vegan. I really appreciate your feedback!

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This newsletter goes out (almost) every Monday afternoon, see you next week!


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

tomb7890 June 1, 2010 at 9:55 am

For really fast food, don’t forget Tom’s mighty bean bowl! 🙂 I think google will find it for you under Ideal Meals.

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