Book Review: Protest Kitchen by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina

While this book boasts over 50 Vegan recipes (even some for non-human animals!), it is not really a cookbook. I had slightly hoped it would inspire me to start cooking more (I’m vegan and I really don’t cook because I do not have the time — I find myself buying pre-made dinners or eating out a lot, actually), but it didn’t really end up doing that. I am not compelled to start experimenting in my tiny apartment kitchen. I’m unmotivated to break from my low-effort veganism in that way. I also do not think reading about cooking is helpful to me learning how to better cook and work it into my life. What I have picked up is usually from videos or infographics. This book contains no pictures of its suggested food, honestly. Like I said, it’s not a cookbook.

However, I think this  book has good cross-over appeal to non-vegans to help them understand and transition into a vegan lifestyle. It is a good introduction to veganism as a whole and it also reinforces some of the choices vegans are already making. It encourages people who care about social justice issues and feminism to put their actions where their mouths are. Activism is lived.

The book mentions many other books I’ve reviewed here on my blog (such as We Animals, Beasts of Burdenetc.) which almost made it feel like “the same old thing” for me. The book’s main thesis is that Veganism is more than just a healthy diet choice; that what we eat affects humans and has social justice implications, which is a fairly underrepresented argument in publishing. This argument is, I think, is very similar to the ones that the book Aphro-ism and others make, if not a little more focused on the environmentalism and praxis points. Something that bothered me about the book was that it did not seem to reference Aphro-ism or the authors Aph Ko or Syl Ko. I even double checked the index and they were not listed, while other referenced authors were. The fact that Carol J. Adams, who is the author of The Sexual Politics of Meat, and Virginia Messina, a dietitian who runs a vegan website, are both  white women did not really make it seem like the target audience for this book is very inclusive. I wish more voices had been represented for a book on this topic.

While I think white women need to hear some of the messages in the book, I think the cover and the title are a bit misleading — for example: the image of the fist seems to call forth the Black Panther fist. I’m not sure what to make of it. I think a lot of the book tour for the book involved non-white voices, but I haven’t been following it very closely.

The book is still very quotable and informative:

“Donald Trump actively exploited the fiction of self-sufficiency during the presidential campaign of 2016. Despite his birth into wealth, the assistance his father provided, the nameless staff that enabled his work, the tax benefits he leveraged, the ghostwriter of his book, Trump cultivated the idea that he succeeded on his own, as self-made man. He also benefited from generous subsidies from banks.

In Beasts of Burden, Sunaura Taylor points out that one result of this prizing of ‘independence’ is that disabled people’s lives are often seen as tragic. But, dependence is relative, according to British disability activist Michael Oliver. People with disabilities see independence as the ability to be in control of and make decisions about their own lives, rather than being able to dess, was, or cook without help.”

 

“When David Foster Wallace turns his attention from lobsters to farmed animals, he makes a noteworthy observation. ‘It is significant that “lobster,” “fish,” and “chicken” are our culture’s words for both the animal and the meat, whereas most mammals seem to require euphemisms like “beef” and “pork” that help us separate the meat we eat from the living creature the meat once was.’

There is evidence that people feel a small sense of unease –or no sense of unease at all — about eating birds and fishes. This might be one reason why meant-reducers often gravitate away from beef and pork. It feels like a logical place to start. Moving away from these foods is good for health and the environment. It’s good for cows and pigs, too. But if you are looking at the issue of how to reduce your meat intake from the perspective of compassion, it’s not the logical place to start at all. To make a change that has a significant impact on animal suffering, it makes far better sense to stop eating chickens and fishes.”

 

“Children have a natural affinity for animals. Instead of taking them to a petting zoo — an encounter that teaches that their experience is more important than the animals’ experience of captivity — give them an opportunity to see animals in settings that honor their inherent dignity. Farm animal sanctuaries are able to save only a small number of animals from today’s factor farms. But their essential work allows people to connect with individual cows, goats, pigs, turkeys, and chickens, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about why the work to liberate animals from factory farms is so important. You can find a list of these sanctuaries at http://www.vegan.com/farm-sanctuaries.

In addition to farm sanctuaries, there are safe havens for wild animals. If you can’t get to one of these places in person, there are ways to bring the experience right to your home. Visit the lions and bears of the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado through their video series at http://www.wildanimalsanctuary.org or help schoolchildren take a virtual field trip to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee through their distance learning program on http://www.elephantsanctuary.org.

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Book Review: We Animals by Jo-Anne McArthur

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Revisiting a book by that helped shape my veganism. When I first read WE ANIMALS by Jo-Anne McArthur, I was vegetarian and still shaping my views. This book makes you see animals and how we take away their agency. Her beautiful photos help them reclaim some of what we deny them. Yes, there are photos of slaughter, but there are also gentle photos like the cover image of Ron. Of Ron and others like him: "At the very least, we owe Ron and all the others the respect of meeting their eyes and not turning away." We look away from our horrors a lot. Read to know what horrors we put Ron through. // This book also made me see that exploitation is ingrained at an early age, especially when children are taken to zoos. It made me question zoos and their usefulness and what they are doing to us mentally. McArthur also has a documentary called THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINES that I recommend (it's probably free online) and her latest book called CAPTIVITY focuses on the animals inside our zoos. I still need to read it. #photography #photographybooks #theghostsinourmachine #theghostsinourmachines #veganism

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TBR: Veganism in an Oppressive World: A Vegans-of-Color Community Project by Julia Feliz Brueck

Through the voices of vegans of color, Veganism in an Oppressive World will revolutionize the way you see our movement. A must read for new vegans and seasoned nonhuman animal activists alike, this community-led effort provides in-depth, first-hand accounts and analyses of what is needed to broaden the scope of veganism beyond its current status as a fringe or “single-issue” movement while ensuring that justice for nonhumans remains its central focus.

This collection of academic essays, personal reflections and poetry critically examines the state of the mainstream nonhuman animal rights movement while imparting crucial perspectives on how to build a movement that is inclusive, consistent, and effective.

Endorsements:

“Countless folks aren’t critical enough about the interconnectedness of oppression and how it impacts marginalized communities as well as other animals (i.e. sexism, racism, classism, etc., which are greatly amplified under capitalism). “Veganism in an Oppressive World” is a must read for anyone committed to doing serious work around the dismantling of speciesism and all other systems of oppression that are inherently at odds with life.”– Kevin Tillman, Vegan Hip Hop Movement

“The essays in Veganism in an Oppressive World highlight the challenges faced by vegans of color seeking justice for humans alongside our fellow animals. As a queer black trans vegan activist, I have witnessed racism, sexism, and other oppression in the animal rights movement, which is not only unacceptable in its own right, but also drives away potential allies for the animals. The voices in this book reflect wisdom and insights that…vegans simply do not possess. I recommend this book to all who wish to create a truly inclusive vegan world.” -Pax Ahimsa Gethen, photographer, writer, & activist

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TBR: Even Vegans Die: A Practical Guide to Caregiving, Acceptance, and Protecting Your Legacy of Compassion by Carol J. Adams, Patti Breitman, Virginia Messina, Michael Greger

Even Vegans Die empowers vegans and their loved ones to make the best decisions regarding their own health, their advocacy for animals, and their legacy. By addressing issues of disease shaming and body shaming, the authors present a manifesto for building a more compassionate, diverse, and effective vegan community. Even Vegans Die celebrates the benefits of a plant-based diet while acknowledging that even vegans can get sick. You will learn how to make the health care decisions that are right for you, how to ensure your efforts to help animals will not end after you die, and how to provide compassionate care for yourself and for others in the face of serious illness. The book offers practical, thoughtful, and sensitive advice on creating a will, mourning, and caregiving. Without shying away from the reality of death, Even Vegans Die offers a message that remains uplifting and hopeful for all animal advocates, and all those who care about them.

Even people who eat a healthy, plant-based diet, can get seriously ill. That s why this book is needed. Carol, Patti, and Ginny teach us to live wisely while we are still here, not only by eating well, but also by caring for ourselves and each other. I want to live well and, if necessary, I want to die well, too. If you do also, then start reading. From the foreword by Michael Greger, MD.

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TBR: Through a Vegan Studies Lens: Textual Ethics and Lived Activism edited by Laura Wright

Interest in the vegan studies field continues to grow as veganism has become increasingly visible via celebrity endorsements and universally acknowledged health benefits, and veganism and vegan characters are increasingly present in works of art and literature. Through a Vegan Studies Lens broadens the scope of vegan studies by engaging in the mainstream discourse found in a wide variety of contemporary works of literature, popular cultural representations, advertising, and news media.

Veganism is a practice that allows for environmentally responsible consumer choices that are viewed, particularly in the West, as oppositional to an economy that is largely dependent upon big agriculture. This groundbreaking collection exposes this disruption, critiques it, and offers a new roadmap for navigating and reimaging popular culture representations on veganism. These essays engage a wide variety of political, historical, and cultural issues, including contemporary political and social circumstances, emergent veganism in Eastern Europe, climate change, and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other topics.

Through a Vegan Studies Lens significantly furthers the conversation of what a vegan studies perspective can be and illustrates why it should be an integral part of cultural studies and critical theory. Vegan studies is inclusive, refusing to ignore the displacement, abuse, and mistreatment of nonhuman animals. It also looks to ignite conversations about cultural oppression.

 

 

Add it on goodreads.

TBR: Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time by Carol J. Adams, Virginia Messina

Protest Kitchen is an empowering guide to the food and lifestyle choices anyone can make for positive change in the face of the profound challenges of our time.

Our food choices have much more of an impact than most people imagine. They not only affect our personal health and the environment, but are also tied to issues of justice, misogyny, national security, and human rights. Protest

Protest Kitchen is the first book to explore the ways in which a more plant-based diet challenges regressive politics and fuels the resistance.

A provocative and practical resource for hope and healing, Protest Kitchen, features over 50 vegan recipes (with alternatives for “aspiring vegans”) along with practical daily actions such as:

Substitute cow’s milk in your coffee and cereal for any of a variety of delicious non-dairy milks. This will help lower the release of methane gas that contributes to global warming

Use a smartphone app when buying chocolate to avoid supporting African farmers who use child-labor, even child slavery, to supply cacao beans to the food industry

Make your own cleanings supplies and wood polish; it’s frugal and avoids reliance on products that may be tested on animals

Full disclosure, I’m reading this book right now!

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TBR: Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman

“The dystopian novel is alive and well in the blisteringly effective Game of the Gods. Jay Schiffman breathes life into a moribund genre and ends up crafting a sly, shrewd and stunning take on a darkly depraved future that is every bit the equal of The Hunger GamesThe Maze Runner, and the Divergentseries. Schiffman’s striking vision serves up a cloud-riddled tomorrow featuring just enough silver linings to provide hope to an otherwise bleak landscape. A must read for fans of classics like Judge Dredd and Doc Savage.” –Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author of the Caitlin Strong series

Jay Schiffman’s Game of the Gods is a debut sci-fi/fantasy thriller of political intrigue and Speilberg-worthy action sequences in the vein of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising.

Max Cone wants to be an ordinary citizen of the Federacy and leave war and politics behind. He wants the leaders of the world to leave him alone. But he’s too good a military commander, and too powerful a judge, to be left alone. War breaks out, and Max becomes the ultimate prize for the nation that can convince him to fight again.

When one leader gives the Judge a powerful device that predicts the future, the Judge doesn’t want to believe its chilling prophecy: The world will soon end, and he’s to blame. But bad things start to happen. His wife and children are taken. His friends are falsely imprisoned. His closest allies are killed. Worst of all, the world descends into a cataclysmic global war.

In order to find his family, free his friends, and save the world, the Judge must become a lethal killer willing to destroy anyone who stands in his way. He leads a ragtag band of warriors—a 13-year old girl with special powers, a mathematical genius, a religious zealot blinded by faith, and a former revolutionary turned drug addict. Together, they are the only hope of saving the world.

At the Publisher’s request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Read about this in Library Journal and am just cataloging it here.

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TBR: #RVLife: Seeking Happiness Through A Nomadic Life

What do you get when you cram a disabled vet, a burned-out wife, two dogs and a cat into a 350 square foot house on wheels? A last-ditch attempt to save our dying marriage. PTSD from my three years in combat was destroying our marriage, we couldn’t work hard enough to break free from living paycheck-to-paycheck and banks wouldn’t even consider granting us a home loan. We were working opposite shifts, so we never saw each other, and we just fought when we did. We may as well have been roommates with rings as we were ships passing in the night. That wasn’t the life we dreamed of having together. So, rather than becoming another divorce statistic, we decided on a plan that was quite-possibly the most INSANE thing we could have come up with. Sell everything, buy an RV, quit our jobs and try a nomadic life on the road. What’s the worst that could happen? People told us we were crazy to throw away our careers. They said we’d divorce for sure living in such a small space together. Instead, we became a team who learned to communicate again while growing closer together and defying the odds. We placed all of our eggs in an RV basket to save our marriage and we’re now living a story we’ll never forget. As we continue to share our journey through YouTube and social media, we wanted to give people an inside look at how we got here through my first passion, writing. Little did we know when we started down this path, but the adventures, craziness and occasional insanity we continue to endure would unite us on this incredible quest and inspire many others to start their own #RVLife. #RVLife details our journey. From deciding we wanted to radically alter our lives, to finding an RV we could buy, to the hard lessons we learned and the amazing experiences we had along the way. #RVLife will teach you about life on the road in an RV, it will teach you about making hard decisions to choose marriage over a career, it will teach you that taking a leap of faith can pay off and it will show you what you can accomplish when you refuse to give up. Enjoy! Hebard’s Travels Free. Your. Life.

I’ve wanted a silver bullet trailer ever since that Regina Spektor song…

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Book Review: Speaking of the Dead by Chelsea L. Tolman

This was an interesting and easy read. The book is an inside look into what happens with our bodies after we die from an industry professional. She recounts from memory various scenarios she has experienced in her work and how she processed those at the time. It certainly doesn’t sound like an easy job, but these matters take a level of poise not many are born with (and I’m sure can wear you down without self-care). But her insight into the work is fascinating.

I think the most I’d ever learned or thought about morticians was while watching the movie Bernie and  the Netflix shows The Haunting of Hill House and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (where dead bodies in cold storage abound!). Those are not necessarily great teachers, but they are great hooks to get into a book like this.

A favorite quote from the book is: “I get an intimate look at a person I will never meet.”

While there are many honest and sad moments, there is also a funny story about needing a funeral for an amputated toe and a few memories of potential hauntings/unexplained situations. Many of her stories about a single preparation/funeral could be turned into whole movies because of the family dramas or backstory content involved. You couldn’t make this stuff up!

I liked how she noted different cultures might ask for the body to be prepared/presented in specific ways. There’s also a difference in how one handles the death preparation of a child versus an adult. She addresses things a lay person wouldn’t even think to think about in the process. I think this would be a good book for anyone studying the subject of death and funerals, thinking about a career as a mortician, or needing to cope with the fact we are all going to, eventually, die.

I am going to donate my copy to the library where I work. You can get a copy on Amazon. 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. See my review policy tab for more info.

Book Recommendation: The Sexual Politics of Meat

Make Your Nest

Sometimes it’s good when you’re unwell, because it gives you the excuse to stay in bed and read. I’ve recently finished a book that I had to read in small doses, and definitely not before bed, because its topic was too stimulating! But I finished it and I’m really thankful for all it’s taught me. The book is called The Sexual Politics of Meat by Carol J. Adams, and it’s all about the correlation between feminism and vegetarianism/veganism. Now I know this topic might be a little *heavy* for some, and my book reviews are usually rather concise, but I think this book is so important and has inspired me so much that it deserves a longer post. If you identify as a feminist and/or love animals, you might want to read this book! 🙂

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The Sexual Politics of Meat is a pretty old book – it was written…

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