A Sandwich for Saint Francis . . .

Here’s some news about CreatureKind’s St. Francis Day service, and a great chickpea sandwich recipe.

Bless the Animals with CreatureKind

Our partner community, CreatureKind, sends this invitation to Seekers: We warmly invite you to join us in celebration of St. Francis Day, patron saint of animals and the environment, in a CreatureKind Blessing of the Animals service on Wednesday, October 4th, 2023 at 1:00PM EDT/ 5:00 PM GMT.

This will be a 30-minute service where we will lift up prayers for all animals farmed for food – from the land, sea, and sky – and for companion animals who are a deep part of our families. The biblical narrative reminds us that we can learn from animals, and be spiritually guided by them. Their lives are not defined by the industrial world that causes them intense pain and loneliness. Let us celebrate their existence, acknowledge their suffering on Earth, and bless them in our pursuit to peacefully exist with each other without destruction.

You can register here to join us, or for a link to the service afterwards if you can’t make it. The service will also be streamed on FacebookLive.

We are so grateful you are part of our CreatureKind community. Hope to see you there.

Read more: A Sandwich for Saint Francis . . .

A Chickpea Salad Sandwich

This recipe from beloved vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz appeared in today’s Washington Post.

Kala namak is also known as black salt and adds the “eggy” flavor to this dish. (To those of us who haven’t eaten eggs in a long time, it tastes a whole lot better than the eggs we remember.) For more on kala namak, see the full article in the Post.

If you decide to treat yourself to these sandwiches and lack vegan mayo, note that it’s quick and easy to make your own using the liquid from the can of chickpeas the recipe calls for. Here’s a link to one recipe for that, and the internet holds many more.

Thanks to Sandra Miller for sending this in!

EggyChickpea Salad Sandwiches

Adapted from I Can Cook Veganby Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Abrams, 2019).

  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kala namak, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium carrot, scrubbed and very finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 8 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
  • Lettuce leaves, preferably romaine, for serving
  • Tomato slice, for serving

In a medium bowl, use a potato masher or fork to mash the beans until the mixture is chunky but with a few beans left whole.

Add the mayonnaise, kala namak, turmeric and pepper and stir until well combined. Fold in the carrot, celery and onion, and taste, adding more mayonnaise, kala namak and/or pepper if needed.

To build the sandwiches, spread mayonnaise on all the bread slices, if desired. Spread about 1/2 cup of the chickpea mixture on the bottom slice, top with lettuce, tomato and the remaining bread slices.

Keep the Recipes (and Restaurant Reviews) Coming!

We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe, restaurant review, or shopping tip each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good!

Looking Behind the Curtain of Agribusiness

It’s not easy to make sense of current food practices in the U.S. How do we — and our government — support the status quo? How could we change?

More About Dairy Subsidies

A little while back, we asked a seemingly simple question: Why does your vegan yogurt cost so much more than dairy yogurt? The answer is not simple at all, but probably the most important contributing reason is that the U.S. government provides billions of dollars in subsidies to dairy farmers to help keep prices low.

Read more: Looking Behind the Curtain of Agribusiness

It’s important to remember that the fantasy picture of “Old MacDonald’s Farm” no longer applies in the U.S. Most of us now know that 99 percent of U.S. farms are factory farms, where animals are raised in debilitating and cruel conditions. So, much as we might like to feel good about the struggling small farmer getting some help from the government, that’s not how it works. As Christoper Carter writes in The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith and Food Justice , “The corporate farming industry projects the idea that farm subsidies are necessary in order to prevent small family farms from going out of business or from going into poverty in their desire to put food on America’s tables. However, small farms often receive little or no help from the programs approved and run by Congress.” Fifteen percent of farm operations received 85 percent of federal funding in 2016.

Subsidies to dairy (and other) farmers through USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) have been in place since 1933. They began as a necessary and largely successful effort to support farmers devastated by the Great Depression. Factory farming, of course, was in its infancy back then, and most of the farmers who received subsidies were not large corporations. In the 1950s, USDA began using subsidies as an incentive to mechanize farm production to produce surpluses that could be sold to foreign markets. As small farms went under, USDA did not promulgate any policies to reverse the trend. Ironically, it was believed that this process would eventually make agribusiness so profitable that it would no longer need subsidies.

But federal subsidies to farmers are now so entrenched that it’s difficult to imagine how they could be eliminated. And lest we oversimplify, here’s this from Christopher Carter: “It is also worth noting that while Congress phased some social welfare programs out of the [Agricultural Adjustment Act], the National School Lunch Program, which was also designed to combat nationwide hunger, was made permanent within the bill in 1946.”

In future posts, we’ll talk more about the difficulties that non-dairy and non-meat products face in the marketplace. And we’ll also ask: Who exactly does manufacture non-dairy yogurt (and other vegan products)? Does it really have to cost so much?

They Don’t Wait for the Cow to Die . . .

Sandra Miller sent us this reminder from a recent Washington Post article by Annie Midori Atherton called “How to Buy a Well-Made Shoe: “For those with ethical qualms about animal products, there are synthetic alternatives such as polyurethane . . . [and] if you’re not married to the aesthetic of leather, you can look to fiber materials.” Brands such as Vivaia sell for under $100 and are made from various synthetic materials, including hemp and recycled plastic bottles. Atherton goes on, “For a sustainable, high-quality leather alternative, Nicoline van Enter, the chief executive and a founder at Footwearlogy LAB, recommends shoes made with MIRUM — a plant-based, plastic-free material.”

Similar cruelty-free products are available to replace leather belts and wallets. Most leather is made from the hides of cows killed for food. If you don’t want to support factory farming, don’t give your dollars to leather products.

Keep the Recipes (and Restaurant Reviews) Coming!

We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe, restaurant review, or shopping tip each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good!

Soy and Soul . . . the World of Veganism

This week, Katie introduces a new discovery, soy curls, and offers a delicious Mongolian “beef” recipe. John is reading The Spirit of Soul Food, a powerful case for “black veganism.”

Can Old Vegans Learn New Soys?

by Katie Fisher

It has become fashionable to shun soy. I think that’s misguided. Soy is a rich source of protein and other nutrients, and in my 35 years of being vegan I’ve fried, boiled, broiled, braised, crumbled, pressed, baked, and sauteed tofu, turning it into stuffed “turkey,” pot pie, cheese, soup, and countless other meals. Tempeh, edamame, and miso are in regular rotation in our house, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein) and Tofurky Italian sausages make occasional appearances.

But I’d never heard of soy curls until I read Protest Kitchen by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina. Made from whole soybeans, these little beauties are meaty and chewy and absorb flavor like tofu does. Now I try to keep some on hand for quick, delicious meals full of protein. Find them in the bulk bins at Mom’s, or buy them online from Butler Foods or Amazon.

Try the recipe below from The Viet Vegan with rice and broccoli for a full meal.

Read more: Soy and Soul . . . the World of Veganism

Vegan Mongolian Beef with Soy Curls

This vegan mongolian beef is a texture bonanza: crispy fried soy curls coated in a sticky sauce that yields such a tasty texture that you will not be able to stop eating this!


  • Oil for frying (2 inches in a large pot)
  • 227 g soy curls (a full bag)
  • 4 cups boiling water (or just to cover the soy curls)
  • 2 tbsp (15 mL) mushroom broth powder
  • ~3/4 cup to 1 cup (approx 200-256 g) corn starch or tapioca starch

For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
  • 2 tbsp (30 g) brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (60 mL) water
  • 2 tbsp (16 g) cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) chili flakes (go to 1-2 tbsp if you like it really spicy)
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1-2 inches of ginger (30 g) finely minced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 3 sprigs green onions, greens cut into 1-inch segments (whites not used for this recipe, but you can put them in water to grow them)

For instructions, tips, and photos visit The Viet Vegan.

‛The Spirit of Soul Food’: A New Recipe for ‛Soulfull Eating’

by John Morris

I’m reading a new book by Christopher Carter called The Spirit of Soul Food: Race, Faith and Food Justice (University of Illinois Press, 2021), and I’m learning a lot.

Dr. Christopher Carter

Carter is a professor of theology and religious studies, and he’s also a Methodist pastor. His book makes a compelling case for black veganism, which he describes as “compassionate action that helps us relink to the anti-oppressive and liberative religion of Jesus.” Carter calls for a specifically Black response to food justice, while at the same time pointing out that “one does not have to be Black to practice black veganism.” For Carter, “the ‛blackness’ of black veganism signifies a commitment to an anti-oppressive way of being in the world that grounds our notions of humanity and animality in ways that influence what we consume.”

The Spirit of Soul Food covers a lot of fascinating ground. The section called “Transatlantic Soul” describes how African methods of agriculture and food preparation had a huge, and unacknowledged, influence on Southern American culture. Another section, “Food Pyramid Scheme” is the best concise account I’ve ever read of how federal dairy and meat policies have subsidized the current animal-agriculture industry and created food injustice – and massive cruelty to animals – on a truly monumental scale.

Carter also deals with many common concerns about going vegan, especially as they may relate to progressive, anti-colonialist goals. His argument is very much in accord with that offered by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina in Protest Kitchen: It’s impossible to put animal rights and food justice in one “silo,” cordoned off from other progressive concerns such as racism, economic justice, and incarceration. Like Adams and Messina, Carter makes a powerful case that these systems of oppression are intimately entwined.

Oh yes – and each section ends with a vegan soul food recipe!

Keep the Recipes (and Restaurant Reviews) Coming!

We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe, restaurant review, or shopping tip each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good!

Charm City Vegan

Here’s a review of Baltimore’s Liquid Earth Restaurant from Katie, followed by some words of wisdom from the poet Percy Shelley, courtesy of the poet Sandra Miller!

The Holy Grail: A Great Vegan Reuben

by Katie Fisher

The food item I remember most vividly from my (benighted, pre-vegan) college years in Baltimore is the Reuben sandwich, that rich, grilled edifice of meat, cheese, Russian dressing, and the sauerkraut that brings it all together. Back then, in that seafood- and meat-happy city, about the only un-animal thing you might find at one of the famous markets was fresh vegetables, and you’d be lucky to get a green salad at a restaurant.

Has that ever changed! Happy Cow now lists 116 restaurants in Baltimore where you can find vegan options (or check out the more manageable vegan/vegetarian top 10 list). If I lived in my old south B’more apartment today I could walk over to the Cross Street Market and enjoy a veggie burger at Gangster Vegan Organics, or pop up to Little Italy for a vegan pizza at Angeli’s Pizzeria. If I found myself at the Baltimore Museum of Art I could choose from five vegan options at its upscale cafe. On the campus of my alma mater, UMBC, I could now find numerous vegan options, such as veggie taco salad and Szechuan tofu.

Read more: Charm City Vegan

Recently John and I spent the day in Charm City and had lunch at the mysteriously named Liquid Earth in Fell’s Point. Housed in a c. 200-year-old dairy building, with ungentrified tin ceilings, exquisitely patinated wood floors, and the most welcoming proprietors, this tiny restaurant sort of felt like home. We opted for sandwiches, and the vegan Reuben was every bit as good as the old version—better, actually, because of the addition of roasted red onions recommended by the amiable young waiter. The marinated portobello sandwich with lentil tapenade was pretty stupendous too. Our vegan lunch was a kind of prayer for the cows who once suffered on the premises.

The diorama in the bar at Liquid Earth

Liquid Earth also offers burritos, raw veg wraps, vegan sushi, fresh juices (the ginger shot was eye-popping), frozen drinks, and much more. Our only disappointment was that we were too full to eat more. Next time maybe I’ll try raw tacos (romaine and collard leaves filled with nut meat, avocado, tomato, onion, and cashew sour cream) and The Kitchen Zink (hemp milk, honey, banana, multivitamin, liquid antioxidant, soy protein, ginseng, gingko, lecithin, and ice). But hold the honey.

An Early Voice Against Meat: Percy Shelley

Sandra Miller draws our attention to an article on The Marginalian‘s website about the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley’s vigorous advocacy for animals. Author Maria Popova says, “Writing during the final chapters of the First Industrial Revolution, [Shelley] notes that meat-eating is part of the power structure — only the wealthy of his era could afford feasts of flesh. But while the Second Industrial Revolution and the rise of capitalism have seemingly equalized and even inverted this symptom of the system, the foundational malady remains just as true, perhaps even more grimly so: In most industrialized countries today, commercial agriculture subsidies have made cheap meat more accessible to the poor than healthy produce — animal flesh is now baked into the most elemental political and governmental structure of our society.” Shelley urges us to stop eating animals, and points to what we in 2023 would call the intersectionality of animal exploitation and other societal cruelties:

“The advantage of a reform in diet, is obviously greater than that of any other. It strikes at the root of the evil. To remedy the abuses of legislation, before we annihilate the propensities by which they are produced, is to suppose, that by taking away the effect, the cause will cease to operate.”

Shelley urged, “By all that is sacred in our hopes for the human race, I conjure those who love happiness and truth, to give a fair trial to the vegetable system.”

Read the entire article here.

Keep the Recipes (and Restaurant Reviews) Coming!

We’d love to keep featuring a vegan recipe, restaurant review, or shopping tip each week. If you have an old favorite, or have tried something new recently, please write it up and send it to John or Katie. Desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees . . . anything that tastes good!