What is with you vegans?No, not you vegans -- the ones who have made a conscientious choice whether it be for ethical or health-based reasons to structure your diet in a certain way that your protein, mineral, and sugar intake comes from non-animal sources. The people who choose and maintain a specific style of living that requires a zen-like focus but provides in return many benefits (both physical and mental) that make that challenge worth it.
Ain't no animals in beer, people. No fuzzy cute creatures had to die in order for my double vodka to be poured. But that doesn't mean that there aren't people out there who want to be sure about it. Or more specifically, people who like to ask the question out loud when they order their drink so you suddenly know what they're all about.I'm talking about you vegans.The ones who want vegan hot dogs. Vegan ice cream. Vegan beer.
By the way -- My absolut (see what I did there?) favorite entry on the Barnivore website is the page that gives Jägermeister it's seal of approval for being a product that is made without the use of animals or animal by-products.
Um.. hello? -- Jägermeister literally translates to "Hunt Master" in German. It was a term first introduced in a set of hunting laws that the Nazi's introduced in the 30's. Sure there's no animals in it -- but the guy who invented it was an avid hunter who dedicated his herbal liquor to "hunters and their honorable tradition" and intended for it to be drunk both before and after each new hunt took place.
Hell, for years people thought the stuff was made out of Elk Blood (it's not).Maybe it's just me, but I've always found this whole idea of faux foods to be a bit of a stumbling block when it comes to understanding the lifestyle. I can see the logic behind being against the idea of killing animals for food, but then there's this whole vegan hot dog thing.But it's cool, vegans. Drink up.
So sure, you're anti-animal killing -- which would be fine and dandy, except for the fact that you're clearly pro hot dog.
To me those things sorta cancel each other out.The thing is, I kinda get the idea of vegetarianism. I understand and accept that there's an ethical argument to be made over the intolerable ways many livestock are raised, farmed, and processed (especially in this country). I understand that as omnivores, human beings do not specifically require nutrients or enzymes found in animal-based foods, and that when you get right down to it -- having animal-based foods in your diet is not truly necessary. It can even be argued that a vegetarian-based diet is actually better for overall health and body wellness and if managed correctly can not only avoid some of the pitfalls that even free-range animal-foods can present, but possibly extend the health and vitality of the body that adheres to this lifestyle.
The choice to adopt a vegetarian-based, vegan, or raw diet is exactly that. A choice. Something I believe people should have an absolute right to have. Just because it's not my personal preference doesn't mean it's wrong, or that I don't believe there are actual benefits or positive points to be found in that choice.But that's not what I'm talking about here.
Hell, I could probably benefit in a lot of ways by adopting more of that discipline into my diet, if not my life as a whole.
I like the way it tastes. I like the way it cooks. I like the flavors and textures of eggs, milk, and fish. Call me a digital man, but I don't farm animals, butcher, or process them. Never have. Yes, I've seen the footage. My dad grew up a farm boy who would raise and care for animals that he would then help send to the slaughterhouse. Some of the things he's described when it came to harvesting animals for food are nothing short of harrowing when viewed on their own. I understand it can be a brutal thing, especially when it gets to a corporate level.Alas, I like meat.
It's called the "Handwich" -- a little taste treat dreamt up by the folks over at Foodswings, a vegan restaurant in Brooklyn, New York specifically as the vegan answer to KFC's Double Down sandwich.This isn't the argument I'm trying to get into here.What I'm cheesed off about ..is this.
The Double Down, if you've not heard of it yet -- is KFC's newest promotion -- a sandwich (if you can even really call it that) that features two boneless chicken fillets as the buns filled with two pieces of bacon, two slices of cheese, and some sort of sauce in-between. It's a 540 calorie, 1340 milligrams of sodium per serving death ride that I'm pretty sure even Luther Vandross would bristle at the thought of.
Put it this way -- I love junk food, but I ain't going anywhere near that thing.Even if the Handwich is supposed to be some sort of joke at the expense of the mindless masses who are being hammered with commercials and marketing campaigns for KFC's latest version of the failure pile in a sadness bowl, it still begs the question:So why do the vegans need to have one of these for themselves?
Let me speak for the other side here a moment: I like Fried Chicken. When done right, it's friggin amazing. But contrary to what you might suspect, the Double Down isn't really the gold medal of chicken dishes. If anything, the Double Down is KFC sticking a middle finger in the face of everyone who enjoys eating fried chicken that says, "Oh, so you like chicken, eh? Well here then -- have more of it! Knock yourself out, fatty. Hell, lets put some bacon in this thing. Isn't that what you like, lardo?"Since when does something like this even need a parody?
It's almost as if KFC is a pretty girl you've been talking to for weeks, wooing with every last drop of charm and wit you can muster who finally agrees go to on a date with you -- and then when you show up to pick her up she's at the door in a bathrobe and a pissed off look as she drags you towards the bedroom hissing, "Lets just hurry up and get this over with."
I don't know -- Maybe it's just because I live in the south, where family Fried Chicken recipes are like precious gems. No lie, there are sweet little grandmothers down here who will knife you for even suggesting writing them down.
And why not? Good fried chicken is an art. Much like fresh grilled fish, or a perfectly seared steak.
By that same token, if you think all there is to quality vegan cooking/food preparation is tossing some leaves and sticks in a bowl and then chewing on it like a rabbit then you're truly missing out as well.
So it stands to wonder -- were there vegans out there who recoiled in horror at the thought of a sandwich made from faux chicken patties breaded with cornflakes and special seasoning fried with daiya and tofutti cheese used as buns crammed to overflowing with faux bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a sweet mustard dijonaise?
If you're a vegan reading this, are you like "Jesus, what are you trying to do -- kill me?"My whole thing with this is simple -- Look, if you're a vegan who's craving faux bacon or faux chicken sandwiches, then maybe you're not a really a fucking vegan.Because even though you might not realize it, that's what half of America's
non-vegans did when KFC put that Double Down monstrosity out on the table.
And that's ok, Starflower.
Look honey, I'm over here on the dark side -- and I gotta tell you, real bacon is awesome. I couldn't give that up even if I wanted to. Sure it's bad for my arteries and it sorta sucks for the pigs when you get right down to it -- but if your whole point with all of this is to make some sort of ethical point by not eating meat, then don't you sort of go right back and cancel it out by endorsing the idea of faux meat products?
The way I understand it -- vegetarianism is a discipline. Choosing against part of your available nature, especially in a culture like ours where you're continually battling against mass media marketing, the relative cost of eating healthy versus buying processed foods, and even the ever-changing ingredient processing/cost-cutting practices of food manufacturers out there (just because something says it's "green" or "organic" doesn't necessarily make it so) is not an easy thing.It's as if your entire message is, "Meat is murder. Delicious, delicious murder."
But it's OK if you can't fully take the plunge. There are plenty of hardcore folks out there who are fully willing to hold the line for you. Honestly, for every one of you who can't stand to see animals treated with cruelty but would still really like chow down on a BLT every now and then, there's plenty of Gwenneth Paltrows, Natalie Portmans, Mobys, and Tobey Maguires who will never, ever touch the stuff.
You can still lead a healthy and balanced lifestyle. You can still oppose animal cruelty. If subscribing to this lifestyle truly is a choice, then logic dictates that there are other options available, right? Other ways to be conscientious without betraying your own desires and wants. Simple ways to be true to your personal morals without leaving yourself in a position where you are a walking contradiction.
Or to put it another way -- I'm no fan of animal cruelty, but PETA can suck it.Simply put, there's taking a stand and then there's just being an asshole about it. And I can say that with confidence because I'm over here on the (sigh) ..KFC double down side -- shaking my head in disbelief at some of the choices out there that are somehow associated with me just because I identify as a meat-eater.
Seriously, I'm over here championing Kobe Beef, Grilled Swordfish and General Tso's Chicken -- and my teammates are standing in line behind me waving their McRib sandwiches in defiance.
See what I mean? That's not a good look.But the good news is that I don't have to go everywhere they go. Sure I once fell for the tempting wiles of a hamburger with a Philly cheese steak on top of it -- I'm not perfect. But I don't have to Double Down if I don't want to.
So I guess what I'm really saying here is -- come join our team, faux-bacon eating vegans. I know we maybe we don't seem like the best possible team to be on at first glance. I mean, lets face it -- Ted Nugent is here. Bobby Flay is our placekicker. We're sort of the Detroit Lions of good eating.
We're certainly not the the healthiest or skinniest lifestyle choice that you could make...But we do have the bacon.
[Listening to: Yarbrough & Peoples - "Don't Stop the Music" ]