Category: Vegan

A film every “environmentalist” should see

By Midge Raymond,

If you’re wondering why the word “environmentalist” is in quotes, then you should definitely see this film.

Cowspiracy (which is currently still available for its special Earth Day price of $1) covers the impact of animal agriculture on the planet — it’s the number-one contributor to human-induced climate change and affects everything from the rainforests to the oceans — and why some of the biggest environmental organizations never talk about it.


Filmmaker Kip Andersen interviews representatives of governmental and “environmental” organizations, including the Sierra Club, Oceana, Surfrider (he tried to talk to Greenpeace, which wouldn’t agree to speak with him), and it’s fascinating to watch them stumble over their words when asked about animal agriculture’s impact on the planet.

And yet the facts speak for themselves. To produce just one quarter-pound burger takes 660 gallons of water (in other words, two months’ worth of showers). One gallon of dairy milk uses 1,000 gallons of water to produce, and for every one pound of fish caught, there are five pounds of bycatch (including dolphins, sharks, turtles, and penguins). To protect cattle-grazing lands in the United States West, ranchers kill coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, cougars — and wild horses and burrows are being rounded up and held so that cattle ranchers can use public lands for grazing.

Why won’t so many environmental groups talk about this? It’s not an easy topic, with agribusiness being so powerful. In Brazil, 1,100 activists have been killed for speaking out against animal agriculture. And of course, as Michael Pollan says in the film, asking people not to eat meat and dairy is a “political loser” for member-based organizations.

Yet there are both individuals and organizations who will speak the truth, and this is where the heart of the film is. A spokesperson for the Sea Shepherd Conservation society says there is “no such thing as sustainable fishing,” and quotes what founder Paul Watson often says: If the oceans die, we die. “That’s not a tagline,” she adds. “That’s the truth.”

Cowspiracy contains some difficult truths for omnivores, but it’s important viewing for anyone who’s concerned about the environment — and the last half hour is truly inspiring for those who are open to making a difference. (And in the last twenty minutes is one of the sweetest moments I’ve seen in a film…don’t miss it.)

“You can’t be an environmentalist and eat animal products. Period,” says Howard Lyman, former cattle rancher and author of Mad Cowboy. “Kid yourself if you want…but don’t call yourself an environmentalist.”

Visit Cowspiracy to learn more. And even if you don’t watch the entire film, do check out the film trailer, read some of the facts, and find out how to take action.


“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fiction for Vegans

By John Yunker,


If you’re a vegan (like us) you might find yourself frustrated at times with the current crop of “must read” novels.

Most contemporary novels make certain assumptions about contemporary life, such as what a “normal” family meal looks like, or how a “typical” vegan character should act.

For example, vegan characters are more often than not portrayed as combative, defensive, preachy or downright dangerous.

And I get it.

I’m well aware of this period of time I live in. If you want to write for the masses you’re correct in thinking that the masses are not vegetarians, let along vegans. And that normal for the masses is not normal for me.

I do get it.

But what books are vegans supposed to curl up with at night?

That’s where Ashland Creek Press fits in.

To be honest, we want books that appeal not just to vegans but to everyone. Books that are compelling, complex, and, at times, challenging.

Here’s what we offer so far, with more to come…

Among Animals: Among Animals is a collection of short stories by 15 different authors, each of which explores the human/animal relationship. This is an amazing and challenging collection.

The Green and the Red: This is quite simply a great romantic comedy. It’s a quick read that covers an expansive terrain of issues. And because it’s set in France, it’s a fascinating view of a culture that I know very little of.

The Dragon Keeper: This novel concerns a vegetarian zookeeper and the Komodo dragon in her charge. It’s both a romance and an insightful analysis of zoos and their roles as both exploiters and protectors of endangered species.

Out of BreathThe Ghost Runner, The Last Mile: Books 1, 2, and 3 of The Lithia Trilogy, this young adult series features a vegan protagonist who in search of a place to call home. And it features no other than “vegan” vampires. Yes, even vampires have the power to evolve.

Falling into Green: An eco-thriller featuring a vegan protagonist who just happens to have a crush on a carnivore TV news reporter.

The Tourist Trail: I’m plugging my own novel here, which features vegan characters who are both mainstream and heroic (and inspired by real-world animal rights activists).

I now know many people and families who live perfectly normal — and vegan — lives. What we need now are more writers to help redefine normal, or at the very least portray contemporary life as it really is.


Vegan dining in Portland, Oregon

By Midge Raymond,

Portland is one of our very favorite places to eat…you’ve got The Sweet Hereafter, a fantastic bar with a delicious, all-vegan pub menu and incredible custom cocktails (also check out the Bye and Bye). Blossoming Lotus is another favorite, with its amazing menu and happy hour.

Recently, we visited Portobello Vegan Trattoria, which we’ve wanted to try for ages.


This all-vegan, Italian-inspired restaurant is so popular that when it opened at 5:30, there was already a line of diners hoping to get in without reservations (reservations are highly recommended!).

We began with the the special recommended by our server: fried asparagus (it sounded weird to us, too, at first). Yet the asparagus was fresh, fried to perfection, and came with a lovely tarter sauce.


We also sampled one of the pizzas, the Arugula Walnut Pesto Pie, which had a light, crisp crust and a savory sauce.


And we had the ravioli, made with cashew cheese and smothered in a spicy tomato sauce — this one was our favorite.


Portobello has a nice wine list and a full bar, including specialty cocktails and non-alcoholic mocktails (one of which supports the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society).

This gem is a must for vegans in Portland! Portobello’s dinner menu has so many more options; we look forward to returning. And since we didn’t save room for dessert, we’ll have to start there next time.

  Category: Vegan
  Comments: 1

Vegan dining in Eugene, Oregon

By Midge Raymond,

Eugene is the new Portland when it comes to amazing vegan dining in Oregon. And we very happily ate our way through town during our last visit.

First, we went to Cornbread Cafe, an all-vegan diner serving such comfort food as mac-and-cheese, southern-fried tofu, and grilled cheese sandwiches. And yes, they have amazing cornbread, served warm and dripping with vegan butter.


We visited the cafe couple of times to try as many foods as possible, though the Eugenewich was so delicious that we kept returning to this one.

On the Eugenewich is southern-fried Surata tofu, melted Daiya cheddar, deep-fried carrot slices (very thin, light, and crisp), onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and a smoky sauce on a fresh grilled bun. (Gluten-free buns are available for all sandwiches). It goes best with the crinkle fries and is unbelievably good.


We also tried the “phish sammy,” a sandwich of deep-fried breaded Surata tofu with lettuce and tomato and served with a lovely, tangy vegan tartar sauce.

Among the fun menu items is the “build your own meal” option, in which you choose an entree and two sides, with your choice of a cornbread muffin or a biscuit. We went for the southern-fried tofu with a cornbread muffin and sides of coleslaw and mac-and-cheese (made with cashew cheese). All were scrumptious. The southern-fried tofu was thickly breaded and fried to perfection, and the mac-and-cheese was rich and creamy. I loved the plate’s authentic diner feel, with its scoop of mac-and-cheese and its tiny tin cup of coleslaw — and it was a treat to have vegan ranch dipping sauce.


And, if you’ve saved any room, Cornbread’s desserts are amazing, including giant cookies, moon pies, cupcakes, cakes, pies, chocolate mousse, and much more — all made fresh daily.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from Cornbread Cafe long enough to try something new, but we’re glad we had breakfast at Eugene’s oldest vegetarian/vegan cafe, Morning Glory. The cafe is open every day from 7 a.m. to 3:30, with breakfast served all day.


It was a chilly day with rain in the forecast, so while the restaurant looked desolate on the outside, there was a wait gathering at the door, and inside was completely full and very busy.

We sampled The Fusion, a delicious scramble of tofu and veggies, topped with herbed tofu sour cream and served with a dill roll (all the breads are homemade and vegan) and herbed potatoes. UPDATE: The Fusion has been updated and is now folded into a “shredded potato shell” (aka, hash browns) and is perhaps even more delicious than the last time we enjoyed it.

We also tried the Happy Morning Sandwich, a biscuit with herbed tofu sour cream, a soy sausage patty, tofu patty, and tomato — and served with herbed potatoes with mushroom gravy green onions.

Mama’s Tofu Scramble is mexi-cali tofu scrambled with broccoli, zucchini & fresh cilantro, served with herbed glory potatoes and a choice of bread slathered with vegan butter (we highly recommend the dill roll).

For sweets, you need not look any further than Morning Glory, whose all-vegan pastry selection includes scones, muffins, breads, cakes (such as espresso chocolate cookie cake), cupcakes (such as chai spice), and cookies. You might also check out Sweet Life, which has a decent vegan selection (including, on the day we visited, chocolate mint cupcakes, peanut-chocolate bars, and peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies). You can also call ahead to order (in quantity) any vegan items you’d like. (One can never have too many vegan red velvet cupcakes, right?)

  Category: Vegan
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Another vegan cheese tasting…

By Midge Raymond,

Our samplings of vegan cheeses continues! The good news is that is a wonderful journey, and I’ve loved almost every cheese I’ve tried so far. (Check out our last vegan cheese tasting if you missed it.)

Alas, not one of the cheeses from our previous tasting is yet available here in Ashland (we’re working on this). Fortunately, the amazing Miyoko’s Kitchen delivers. In the online store, you can order a “collection” of plant-based cheeses or mix and match. We ordered one of the collections, which included Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, Aged English Sharp Farmhouse, and High Sierra Rustic Alpine.


The cheeses arrived within two days via FedEx, in a large box packed with ice packs. (Note: Because Miyoko’s is based in the Bay Area, shipping is considerably cheaper if you live on the West Coast than across the country. Wherever you live, though, it’s worth it.)

Each cheese is beautifully packaged, and they traveled very well.


We first sampled the High Sierra Rustic Alpine, described as a “semi-hard, nutty round with sweet overtones and a creamy buttery finish.” It’s all of these things, and delicious. It is supposed to melt well, too, as this cheese “can also be used for fondue or mixed in a risotto.” But it is also terrific on crackers or a nice baguette.

Next we sampled the Aged English Smoked Farmhouse, which closely resembles smoked gouda — not quite as firm, but every bit as yummy. And, finally, the Aged English Sharp Farmhouse, pictured below, is a bit firmer and sharper, and while it’s great spread on crackers and bread, this one would be wonderful sliced thin for sandwiches.

cheeseThe cheeses from Miyoko’s range in price from $10 to $12 for each 6-oz box, plus shipping, and they have a 60-day shelf life. (And some of the cheeses, like the sharp farmhouse, will continue to age and ripen in the fridge, deepening in flavor and texture.)

Check out Miyoko’s Kitchen for more info on these cheeses, and many more (next on our list: all of the double-cream cheeses, and the Country Style Herbes de Provence). Of course, all of these plant-based cheeses are vegan, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO. If you see something you want to try, order it fast, before it sells out; featured cheeses will change periodically.

Also: check out the Miyoko’s Kitchen blog for recipes and news, and for the adventurous: make them yourself with Miyoko Schinner’s book, Artisan Vegan Cheese.




  Category: Vegan
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