Categories
EATING OUT ANIMAL-FREE

Disclaimer For Eating Out Animal-Free

EATING OUT ANIMAL-FREE

Click here for: HAPPY COW RESTAURANT LOCATOR The Healthy Eating Guide.

Insert your location and Happy Cow will tell you where to eat out animal-free/vegetarian/vegan.


DISCLAIMER. Before going to a restaurant that doesn’t advertise vegan items on the menu or items that can be made vegan, call the restaurant. Talk to the manager or the chef and ask if they serve anything that does not contain animal products. Explain that that includes butter, chicken – beef –  fish stock, mayonnaise, cream, milk etc. – not just meat, eggs and cheese.

Whenever I eat out animal-free I am assured that every item I order contains no animal products whatsoever. In some cases I am assured by wait staff claiming to be vegan. That does not necessarily mean that the meal was vegan just because they were vegan and vouched for it, or that it will be vegan the next time you go to the same restaurant.

Many times wait staff will tell you what they think you want to hear, so you’ll stay and they get a tip. Other times, what used to be animal-free, becomes animal-based, when the person ordering for the kitchen goes for the cheaper animal-based margarine, rather than the animal-free margarine. One time the marinara will contain only tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, next time, the next cook puts beef broth in it.

Even in restaurants that serve vegan items on a regular basis, you can never be totally sure that the manager or chef didn’t try to help their bottom line by ordering the cheaper animal-based product, thinking you’ll never know.

You already know the foods to steer clear of – anything that looks creamy probably contains some milk component (soups, salad dressings, sauces, mashed anything, gravies, anything with a battered or breaded coating, just about all desserts, including fruit pies that have a crust usually made from part butter or even lard, etc.).

If a restaurant carries a vegan burger, make sure it’s vegan. Lots of places offer a vegetarian burger and call it vegan/vegetarian, rather than offer a vegan burger and call it vegan/vegetarian. It makes no logical sense, but it’s a common practice.

Not many wait staff would know if the oil in the deep fryer is animal-free, but the chef should. Again, the bartender or waiter doesn’t want to lose you as a potential customer who’s going to leave a tip, so they may claim to know when they don’t.

It’s a risk you take if you eat out. You just really never know for sure what you’ll be getting. Know in advance, that if you’ve done your homework and you’re assured by those who should know, that you will be indeed eating animal-free when you dine at their restaurant, don’t blame yourself when you get duped by someone with no integrity within that establishment. You can only do the best you can do. That’s on them not on you.

Happy Animal-Free Dining To You and Yours!






 

Categories
AFC GUIDES TOFU

Tofu Cloth Instructions

TOFU CLOTH INSTRUCTIONS

  • ClipBoard: After a few years, my tofu cloth made from a polyester curtain sprang some holes. Since I didn’t have any spare curtain fabric, I used instead one of Steve’s old white cotton T-shirts. It work just as fine.

For many recipes you’ll want to squeeze the liquid out of the block of tofu before using it in those recipes. For years I used paper towels. One day when out of paper towels, I cut a round out of a sheer white curtain that was quite a bit larger than the block of tofu. I placed the tofu in the middle, brought the fabric up around the tofu till it hung like a ball from a rope. Then I twisted it round and round as the twist in the fabric squeezed the tofu into a ball, then I twisted as hard as I could to extract all of the liquid. It worked perfectly, and I’ve been using my handy little tofu cloth ever since.

After using tofu cloth, soak in water immediately till you’re ready to clean it, so that the particles don’t stick to the fabric. Wash in hot soapy water, making sure to thoroughly clean then thoroughly rinse. It saves money on paper towels; you always have it handy and it does a superb job in squeezing the tofu.

If you’re using paper towels to squeeze the tofu, wrap in several layers of paper towels. Squeeze to extract the excess liquid, unwrap and use as directed in the recipe.

If you don’t want to squeeze the tofu, because you’ll be using it for slices or cubes, then wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel and gently press all sides, then let set for a few minutes to absorb excess fluid. If you want to dry the tofu further, then place a brick encased in a gallon size plastic storage bag, on top of the towel-wrapped tofu for an hour, then flip the tofu block over and do the same to the other side.

A new way I’ve started to use to extract the water:

I rinse the tofu block when I get it home from grocery, then wrap it in a couple layers of paper towels, then wrap it in 2 square dish cloths – the ones you wash dishes with (clean and dry). Then I place it in the refrigerator till ready to use. I do this with both Silken style and water-packed. It works beautifully.

A tofu cloth also works well to extract excess liquid from cooked or canned vegetables when required for a recipe. Follow the same instructions. It works perfectly every time.






Categories
CHEF'S HELPER HERBS & SPICES

TASTE THE BLOOD

SMOKED PAPRIKA

SMOKED PAPRIKA is the key ingredient added to animal-free recipes tasting of blood. Other additives that enhance the smoked paprika thus the blood taste are garlic powder, dry mustard, turmeric and sea salt.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight


AFC BLOOD RED ITALIAN SAUSAGE BURGER©

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Categories
AFC GUIDES

Replicating Recipes

REPLICATING RECIPES

It seems that some recipes, no matter how you prepare them, turn out perfectly every time. Other recipes, no mater how precisely you follow the instructions, turn out differently every time. The reason for this is that some recipes are more susceptible to variations (no matter how slight) than others. If you experience difficulty in achieving consistency in making a particular recipe from one time to the next, check the list of variables below. One or more may be affecting the outcome.

BRAND NAME. Generally, you get what you pay for. Thus, cheaper brands usually indicate inferior quality. If you change brands in response to what’s on sale, the difference in quality between brands might alter the outcome of the recipe.

CHANGE IN QUALITY AT THE FACTORY LEVEL. Perhaps you don’t change brands, but you notice differences in flavor, texture, color and/or aroma of your present brand. A factory may change their product in response to: a particular harvest (good or bad), availability of certain ingredients, price increases, consumer demand or changes in production procedures. If your present brand no longer satisfies you, then experiment with new brands until you find one that you like.

UNIFORMLY CUT INGREDIENTS. If you make three identical stews, but in one you chop the vegetables finely, in the second you dice them, and in the third you chunk them, each will turn out markedly different in terms of texture, flavor and consistency. So, when replicating a recipe, determine the amount of surface of your ingredients you want exposed during cooking, then stick with it from one time to the next.

RIPENESS OF PRODUCE. Different stages of ripeness respond differently to different stages of the cooking process. For example, the end product of cooking a green banana compared with cooking a fully ripened banana varies significantly, even when allowances are made for cooking times. As a fruit or vegetable matures, the chemical composition changes, and those changes, if not consistent with the requirements of the recipe, will alter its outcome.

COOKING TEMPERATURES. Low, medium or high won’t make much difference in some recipes, but those containing fragile ingredients, which are sensitive to subtle fluctuations, will respond adversely to the change. Don’t hurry the cooking by raising the temperature, nor prolong it by lowering it. Use what’s recommended.

LENGTH OF COOKING TIME. Any food which is cooked requires a consistent temperature for a specified amount of time to turn out correctly. Although each food is different in its demands, some require a more rigid adherence to a time-table than others. Rice, for example, is more sensitive to cooking times than legumes. Be precise in your time-table and see if it makes a difference.

SPEED WITH WHICH YOU COOK. Often, when making a recipe for the first time we do it slowly and meticulously, making sure to do everything just right. The second or third time, however, we speed up the process because of our familiarity with it, and we don’t take the same meticulous care. Cook slowly, methodically and with purpose.

ORDER OF INGREDIENTS. You need only to make a gravy without first moistening the flour to appreciate the importance of order in cooking. Once again, some recipes may not be susceptible, but others definitely are. If you’re having problems with consistency in replicating a particular recipe from one time to the next, it could be that you’re taking short cuts by either eliminating crucial steps (note that crucial need not be obvious), or changing the order in which you add ingredients. Backtrack and begin as you did the first time, or the time that it turned out just right, and your problems may come to light.

VARIATIONS IN TASTE PERCEPTIONS. Lastly, if you are reasonably certain that there is nothing different about the ingredients or the method used in preparing them, then it might just be that your taste perceptions are different from one time to the next. I have noticed that my own tastes vary according to the time of day, mood, degree of hunger, food or drink previously consumed, state of health, or speed with which I eat. Allergies, colds, smoking cigarettes, medications, alcohol, caffeine, excessive intake of salt, sugar or fats can also alter the perceptions of what we taste. So, to keep your taste buds in good tasting order: stay in good health; refrain from smoking cigarettes; drink alcohol that compliments your food; drink coffee after your meal. Keep your salt, sugar and fat intake within reason. And, of equal importance, keep those buds clean–brush tongue daily.

Further,  I’ve noticed that the older I get, the more flavoring I use.  I don’t know if that’s a function of age, or familiarity with the flavors over time. Over the counter medications and prescription drugs at any age can also affect your taste perceptions.






 

Categories
AFC GUIDES RICE

NEW RICE POLICY

NEW RICE POLICY

Since reading about high arsenic levels in rice, particularly brown rice, I now rinse all bagged rice till water runs clear before cooking it.

Place dried rice in wire mesh strainer. Run faucet water over rice, while holding the strainer over a saucepan, emptying pan as needed, till the water runs clear into the pan.






Categories
AFC GUIDES

Frustration-Free Cooking

FRUSTRATION-FREE COOKING

COOK TO PLEASE–either yourself and/or your guests. To approach cooking as a chore deprives you of the joys of discovery, accomplishment and satisfaction.

DON’T RUSH. Accelerating the cooking process to the point of exhausting the cook is unsettling to the cook as well as the people she/he is cooking for. Relax and enjoy the process. If you have limited time, then plan a limited menu. If working in a restaurant, organize, organize, organize. You can work efficiently and quickly without losing your concentration due to lack of organization.

MOTIVATION is the most important factor in the successful completion of any dish. If you lack motivation, then make a simple sandwich or eat out. Similarly, if your enthusiasm in the morning for making an elaborate meal in the evening turns to dread around 4 PM, then change plans. Success doesn’t always mean carrying through, but many times stopping midstream and altering course.

PROPER PLANNING. Plan within the limits of your present capabilities and requirements of the occasion. Be moderate in your estimations of what you can accomplish within a given time frame. I can assemble and cook a Thanksgiving dinner in my mind in seconds, but not so in practice.

MAINTAIN ORGANIZED CUPBOARDS AND DRAWERS. Nothing is as frustrating in the culinary experience than to need a utensil with urgency and not be able to locate it. Return utensils to their proper place when finished using them. Keep items that you use often within reach.

BEGIN WITH CLUTTER-FREE, CLEAN COUNTERS AND AN EMPTY SINK. Cluttered counters can be a prime source of frustration for even the most relaxed chefs. So, clear them off and keep them clean. And, never put clean food on a dirty counter or in a sink. An empty sink means there’s room to wash vegetables (in a colander, of course) and to rinse utensils. Never fill your sink with water and then put fresh vegetables in it. Fill a pot with water and wash that way, if submerging them is your preference.

PREREAD RECIPE. Read the entire recipe before you start to cook to familiarize yourself with the procedures, so that there won’t be any surprises at the last-minute.

INVENTORY INGREDIENTS. Many times I was sure that I had chili powder or paprika, when indeed I didn’t. Or, if I did, I didn’t have enough. If there’s any doubt, physically check to be sure. When you’re in the middle of cooking a recipe there’s no time to go to the store.

TURN ON COOKING DEVICES. If cooking pasta, put water on to boil. If steaming, put water in steamer and turn on low till ready to use. If baking, preheat oven.

WASH PRODUCE thoroughly checking for spoilage as you go along. Use only what is fresh and crisp.

PREPARE INGREDIENTS. Prepare as many ingredients as possible before you actually start to cook. Peel and dice vegetables; crush garlic and herbs; open cans, etc. When reading the ingredient sections please note the difference between, for example, 1 cup quartered mushrooms and 1 cup mushrooms, quartered. The first you quarter, and then measure. The second, you measure and then quarter.

COOK-ASSEMBLE. With your kitchen organized, ingredients prepared, and everything under control, cook slowly and deliberately, ever conscious of the flavor, etc. achievements you’re trying to create.

CLEAN-UP. Where feasible, rinse utensils as you go along. Then, when finished cooking and/or serving wash in hot soapy water. Leave kitchen clean for your next session.

ATTITUDE. The outcome or result of each cooking experience can affect your attitude toward future cooking encounters by either encouraging or discouraging you to cook again. If your dish turns out perfectly, you’ll no doubt be excited to cook again. If it doesn’t, you’ll  be discouraged; and this is perfectly normal. However, it is important that you not stay discouraged. Even the most capable cooks create disasters from time to time. But they consider them part of the creating and learning process, and if you do the same, you will soon be surmounting them and climbing to greater heights.

FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS. This is something we’ve all been taught since the first day we attended school–to follow directions. So, if a recipe says 1/4 inch, that’s what it means. If it says stir gently, don’t stir hard and fast. Since the first day of school we were also rewarded for finishing first. So, who can blame us for making mistakes given these mixed messages. But, in the privacy of your own kitchen, you are the teacher, and you’re not competing with anyone. So take the time to follow directions precisely. You will be rewarded by a great tasting dish and the satisfaction of accomplishing your goal.






 

Categories
AFC GUIDES

DUMBING DOWN RECIPES

DUMBING DOWN RECIPES

I don’t dumb down recipes. Everybody does it in order to make the recipe sound as simple as possible. If I did it, I’d be defeating the purpose of teaching you the correct way, or at least the way I did it.

Dumbing down a recipe leaves too much open for interpretation – too many questions you may have that go unanswered.

Take one recipe and have five different people make it, and they’ll all turn out differently. I know that in advance, so I try to take the guess work out of replicating a recipe.

Even though I give detailed instruction, some will not follow the instruction as presented, resulting in a different end product. That’s not on me.

As you become more proficient in replicating recipes, you can dumb them down yourself. When you do, you’ll discover what steps can be eliminated or not.

If a kitchen manager tries a recipe, likes it, and wants to give it to his/her cooks/chefs, then that manager can write it in a simpler way for them to follow.






 

Categories
WALK THE TALK

Where Have You Been?

When you go animal-free you find yourself attracted to more variety in your condiments, spices and herbs.

In fact, in every category of animal-free, you begin noticing that which was previously blurred by the meat being the center of attention – differences in pastas, rices, veggies, beans, nuts and all the different, delectable ways they can be prepared, even something as common as ketchup and mustard become an adventure in trying new flavors, textures and uses. Italian seasoning no longer satisfies you as the only herb in your herb closet.

It’s all about nuances now.

Orange juice is no longer just orange juice. Where have I been, you find yourself asking yourself? There are so many different types of orange juice and every other juice, juices you never even heard of, that a whole lot of people are drinking these days.

One salad dressing for your salad will no longer do you, when there’s a whole world of salad dressings out there waiting for you to try. Every single animal-free/meatless category encompasses a whole wide world of its own, once you open your minds eye to see.

Going animal-free, even for one day a week, opens your brain, thus your mind, thus your spirit, thus your body, thus your taste buds to what you’ve been missing all this time and didn’t know it. Yes, the meat was definitely the center of everybody’s attention. The meat stole the whole show so to speak. Kept you from enjoying anything but eating the animal is how it worked out.

But now you know it isn’t all about the meat. It’s about you and your taste buds and your health, and your well-being. And why would I want to kill somebody for myplate? For mybrain? mymind? myspirit? mybody? mytastebuds?

It sounds more like it was because of somebody else’s plate, brain, mind, spirit, body, taste buds, that I was making the meat (the animal) the center of my attention. Food brain-washing begins in infancy.

What are these new nuances of flavors and textures all about? Before I only wanted one flavor, one texture: MEAT. Now I see what I’ve been missing.

My whole world is changing…and I’m liking where it’s taking me. There are so many worlds to explore within the animal-free category that I never knew existed – because the meat, the animal, stole my world view. The meat took all of my effort, my energy, my thoughts, away from everything else, so I could see only the meat and the meat could only see me. It’s like an addiction; it consumes you. Here I thought I was consuming It, and all the while It was consuming me.

First you free the animal. Then the animal frees you.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, the animal-free chef






 

Categories
WALK THE TALK

What Veggie Means Here

When I use the word “veggie” in my recipes or writing I’m referring to animal-free/plant-based. Veggie means vegetable. I am not referring to vegetarian, which usually means containing eggs and/or dairy. Eggs and/or dairy are not plants, so go figure on how the world now accepts eggs and dairy as plants.






 

Categories
WALK THE TALK

THAT’S YOU NOW

You want to explore. I know you do.  It’s like being a kid again isn’t it?

That feeling of going outside into your environment on any given day as a kid, to explore the world beyond your house or apartment to see what lies beyond the boundaries your parents set for you?

What a wonderful, beautiful feeling – freedom to see and experience the world, on your own or with your friends. Wow.

How many of us forget that feeling of liberation, as we walked with wonder and a special knowing – a confidence – smelling the air as if we owned it, into a world we didn’t fear. That’s you then.

That’s you now.






 

Categories
WALK THE TALK

Respect Is A Side Effect Of Going Animal-Free

Begin by going one day a week, any day or any meal, without meat. Then advance to more days on more occasions.

Or start with eliminating dairy and eggs. About 65% of the human population  has lactose intolerance*. Eating/drinking dairy, besides being unnatural after being weaned from mother, besides causing digestive disturbances via lactose intolerance, coats your tongue white and causes halitosis (bad breath). Try foregoing the cheese on the burger, the cream in your coffee. Try some veggie cheese, then try the veggie burgers. There are many great tasting dairy-free coffee creamers on the market.

Eventually you’ll no longer enjoy the taste of blood from the meat, dairy from the cow, egg from the chicken, or the fishy taste of sea animals, and you’ll wonder why you ever did. The reason you did is because you were raised on those products.

I often wondered why I continued to eat eggs (not that I ate that many, since I didn’t like the odor of them cooking) when it was common knowledge that they contained salmonella – the most common form of food poisoning. We were told via the government and egg producing industries that all we had to do was cook the eggs well to deactivate the poison. What? Who would want to eat something that had a known and well-documented poison in it, deactivated or not?

We did it because everybody else was doing it and the authorities kept telling us it was safe to do so – given that we prepared them right. Well, salmonella is still the most common food-borne illness despite their claims of safety.

As we grow up and leave the nest, it seems that we long for earlier days in a nostalgic kind of way, we become homesick, remembering family and family occasions that always centered around food. That’s why you so often hear people on television who opened restaurants talk about making a dish just like mama did, or just like in the old country.

Cooking like mama did makes us go back in time, giving us comfort. That’s why they call comfort food comfort food. It’s what mama used to make. It takes you back to a different place, a different time, a simpler time. Longing for home is what it’s all about, and food takes us back home, when that home no longer exists, or mama or anyone else you love is no longer here. It’s like seeing them again.

It’s time to grow beyond the food. It’s not the food you long for.

It’s time to choose new food that tastes familiar –  absent the cruelty, absent the ill-health caused by eating the flesh and blood.

People respect those who care about their health and the well-being of other creatures.

You respect how you look, how you feel, and that your actions not only help you, but help preserve life on the planet. Mama would be proud – even though she would resist you in the beginning. Remember, Mama is just like you. She longed for home too.

You’re the example that others pay attention to. Mama would like that. People notice the confidence you display in controlling what you eat and how you act. They notice the aura of power that surrounds everything you do, that makes you the most important and influential person at the center of your universe.

People respect that power in you – because you respect yourself. Mama likes that too!

That power is free. Seize it. Remember mama for the great person she is and that she nourished you in many ways. Food was only one of them. I’ll bet you would love your mama as much, no matter what she fed you.

Respect Mama by being your own person, while bringing her along in your heart and soul wherever you go, whatever you do.

Mama’s hitchin’ a ride right now. All aboard!






 

Categories
WALK THE TALK

I Want An Animal-Free Mall

That’s right.

A mall. Animal-free. A big one. With lots of glitter and big lights. With every kind of shop. Grocery, bakery, deli, shoe store, pet supply shop, clothes, hair salon using only cruelty-free products, and on and on, restaurants too. Good ones. I have a vision. And it’s a nice one. No fur, no leather, no skins, and those who enter must wear all animal-free attire. This place has rules. No cruelty here. Yes, that’s right. That’s what I want. A happy place too. No vegetarian snobbery. There’s no place for arrogance in the animal-free world of Sharon Lee. No suffering looks on the faces of people who feel they’re being deprived.

Now that I mention it, I see that on a lot of  vegetarian faces. Faces that still have Big Mac lines on them, so it’s not the deprivation causing the look. But it’s there. Maybe it’s the prejudice and discrimination directed at such folks that makes them so unhappy, especially when they’re doing something so right.

It’s okay to have fun while you do what’s right. It’s okay to laugh. God, my God, wants happiness. Every burst of laughter coming from one of It’s animal’s mouths delight’s It to no end. That’s one more frown It doesn’t have to turn upside down. So, laugh. Have fun. Enjoy your life. Just don’t kill the animals. That’s all. Not a lot to ask. And don’t participate by eating the catches of other people. If you do, try harder next time, till you get it right. I’m tired and sick and fed up and depressed (that doesn’t mean I’m not happy) over walking down the aisles of death in every supermarket in the world.

I’m offended and pained at being forced to view and smell the tortured, dismembered bodies of my animal friends. When is it all going to end? Entrepreneurs is what we need. Animal-free entrepreneurs. People with dreams. Big ones. Investors with money that flows in a cruelty-free world. Not just the small, never grow any bigger, shops sprouting up here and there. Though that’s a start and we have to start somewhere, so we’ll support them too. But bigger stores, and big chains of every conceivable market transformed into animal-free.

Fast food. Animal-free Chefs. Veggie Burgers. Veggie Deli’s. Veggie Pizza Parlors. No animals or animal products. Veggie cheese. Soy meats that taste like baloney, ham and turkey, but without the suffering. We don’t need featherless chickens; we need to free the chicken. International animal-free cuisines. I’m tired of having my animal-free products supplied by purveyors of torture. Why should I have to eat my vegetarian meal in a slaughterhouse? Why should I have to buy my clothes at a slaughterhouse? Aren’t you sick of it too? Being given your little vegetarian or vegan corner of somebody else’s house of cruelty? Just to satisfy a small segment of the market? Small segment?

Well, it wouldn’t be so small if more animal-free entrepreneurs with big ideas and big investors gave people what they really wanted: a cruelty-free world, which means a cruelty-free shopping mall. We could do it if we’d stop thinking so small. Big. Think big. Demand big. Stop trying to get your animal-free products in slaughterhouses. How absurd. Build your own stores. Start small if you want, but grow, by golly, grow. Give the people what they want before they ask for it. You know what people want. You’ve been silent too long. Too complacent. Okay, ‘I guess I’ll take whatever vegetarian crumbs they throw my way’ type of silence.

Plan the future. Make the future. See the future through God’s eyes. See big. See beautiful. I want an animal-free shopping mall. And then another, and another till we put the slaughterhouse malls out of business. Till we close the doors on the business of cruelty. I want an animal-free mall. And, I know you want it too. One for all people–and all other animals too. No zoo here, but a place where our animals can come shopping with us. Day care, mall care, for our furry family members while we shop. A mall with style, flair, with sparkle and bright lights. I can see it. I know you can too. Cause I’m looking through God’s eyes now and so are you.






Categories
WALK THE TALK

Animal-Free Culinary Culture

A NEW PERSPECTIVE!

Well here we are. ¡AT THE PLACE! Let’s get right to it. Greetings, greetings and more greetings!

¡NOW!

To serve vegans and vegetarians it’s best to offer delicious animal-free recipes that will satisfy both diet ideologies and philosophies – in addition to offering the meat-eaters, who want to give it a try, something different but spectacular. Everybody likes to try something new. It’s an adventure. And we all love adventures.

You need an animal-free offering in each of your animal categories. If you serve appetizer, soup, salad, main dish, dessert, sandwich, breakfast, then one animal-free offering in each. If you’re a specialty shop, for instance soups and sandwiches, then a couple or a few in each category.

Some animal restaurants offer a vegan option by making an animal dish into an animal-free dish; sometimes all the dishes (or nearly all the dishes) on a menu are offered as “can be made vegan”. Although I applaud this effort, not all animal dishes have a vegan counterpart. There’s lots of room for improvement in this area, since that concept is fairly new. And cost is always the strongest driving force regarding what is on the menu and how much people will pay for it. If you can keep costs down by keeping all the plant-based ingredients in both animal and animal-free dishes the same and simply sub in the veggie dairy and flesh ingredients with an uptick in cost for the vegan option, then the costs stay down. If everything on the menu “can be made vegan”, but doesn’t taste good, then what’s the point? You’re not satisfying all of your customers, and you’ll lose customers rather than gain new ones.

So you like ribs and you only want to serve ribs, that’s your right and it’s legal. Well, there is such a thing as social responsibility legal or not. If you want to serve groups and families, then leaving out certain members because they don’t share your slaughter mentality and animal-abusing culture is prejudicial and discriminatory, and it doesn’t make the rest of the group or families very happy.

In the future, as chefs and restauranteurs become more knowledgeable and proficient in animal-free culinary culture, we’ll see more creative animal-free dishes on all menus, whereby removing the animal from a preexisting recipe wasn’t even considered in the engineering and application of the recipe.

The plants will stand on their own in their own cultural dishes – as a culture separate from one’s ethnicity, race, religion or geographic location.

We want to keep the flavors familiar, the textures familiar, while adding all the new to all the world, but we want to use only plants to achieve that.

Don’t fall into the trap of doing what most animal restauranteurs do, by serving only one animal-free dish making a minimal accommodation to those who don’t eat animals. It’s more an insult than an accommodation. Whether eating breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack, the meal is the same – hummus.

Dining out is one of the favorite things all people like to do. It’s the same for those who don’t eat animals.

Be sure to visit chefdavies-tight.com for over 800 original animal-free recipes engineered by the animal-free chef.

Since all recipes were created with the restaurant and home chef in mind as well as food companies and manufacturers, in addition to the novice, any of the recipes you select will enhance your menu.

Welcome aboard!

Chef Davies-Tight, the animal-free chef at your service

You cannot become a chef without first becoming a sous-chef. No matter where you cook, at home or in a professional kitchen, or for whom you cook, you must learn the basics of food preparation.

~ Chef Davies-Tight






 

Categories
WALK THE TALK

American Animal-Free Cuisine

Though I have multi-ethnic roots, I am first and foremost an American. I was born an American. My parents were born in America. I was brought up on American foods.

So of course, as an animal-free chef engineering animal-free recipes, I bring to the table an American slant. None of my recipes are exact replicas of what Mom or Grandma made. Even when I got married and cooked with meat, I put my own slant on favorite dishes I enjoyed during childhood. Even then I didn’t understand why people wanted to make a dish exactly as it was made in the ‘old country’. Why not experiment with new ways in a new country to make old favorites?

Though my recipes encompass a wide range of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic flavors, textures and aromas, that American slant is part of who I am as a person, thus the foundation upon which I build, create and express my art of animal-free cuisine.

Swapping out the meat and swapping in the plant-based foods isn’t as simple as the slogan implies. When the meat is taken off the menu, each recipe needs to be created around the plant-based foods, not simply created absent the meat.

In fact, the meat has no place in the thought process when developing a plant-based dish, unless you’re creating a recipe that mimics the flavors, textures and aromas of an animal-based dish. But even in a chili, when using a veggie hamburg substitute you can’t simply swap out the animal-based hamburg and swap in the veggie hamburg and expect it to taste the same. Spices, herbs, oils, complimentary veggies, beans, method of cooking, sequence of adding ingredients, cooking times all play a part in the developmental stages and process of the creation, so that when done, although the animal-based dish and plant-based dish won’t taste the same, the plant-based dish will taste delicious.

Vegan Cuisine vs Animal-Free Cuisine

Vegan cuisine (which used to be called strict vegetarian when dairy and eggs were left out) now takes animal-free cuisine to an even stricter, more healthy in every bite, level.

Vegans as a group, having been around a very long time, elevated their diet choices over time within the plant-based realm to reflect greater animal-rights responsibility and accountability, while at the same time focusing on foods that have the greatest nutritional value, which simultaneously do the least amount of harm to the environment, to human health and to other species.

As examples, many vegans now eat only raw foods, unprocessed foods which excludes veggie meats and cheeses. They’ll eat only non GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods, pesticide-free foods, gluten-free foods, while eliminating plant-based foods such as white potatoes and agave syrup, because they have a high glycemic index; palm oil, because the harvesting of the oil destroys the natural habitats of orangutans; tofu, because it’s processed and they fear the effects of phytoestrogens – plant compounds that are similar to mammalian estrogen, to name just a few.

On the other hand, some vegans see no moral issue in eating fish or other animals who are predators – animals who eat other animals. How they square that with their other vegan principles may be difficult for the non-vegan to understand, except to realize that within the global movement of vegan there are vegans of all types, just like there is in any large group, whether it be a political party, a religion or lack of a religion, a gender, socio-economic group etc.

In an imperfect, non-vegan world, vegans reach for a perfect world by living in as a perfect way as possible. Commendable and admirable to say the least. And their vegan cuisine reflects all of that. In fact, vegan cuisine stands separate from all other cuisines, but basically the same within the stated cuisine – just as Italian cuisine, French cuisine, Spanish cuisine, Asian cuisine, Indian cuisine, and others stand separate from other world cuisines, but within each cuisine there are easily identifiable features. Those cuisines can be identified by the way the dishes of the corresponding cuisines look, taste and texture.

My animal-free cuisine is mainstream. It contains no animal products and uses ingredients that mainstream Americans already know and like, combining them in familiar plus new and exciting ways to satisfy their old palate, while opening their taste buds to new pleasurable experiences and nuances within the realm of plant-based foods. That’s why when you look at photos of my animal-free cuisine vs vegan cuisine they look vastly different in the familiarity department. The flavors and textures are also different.

The reason for this is that I develop recipes for the meat-eater, having been one, and having been surrounded by meat eaters most of my life. In fact, I’m sixty-seven years old and have had only two experiences with vegans in all that time – one was actually a family of vegans whom I cooked for now and then twenty or so years ago, and the other I met within the last two years.

Vegan chefs develop recipes for the vegan – for those souls who have already made the commitment to stop eating and wearing animals, and using products tested on animals. But again, who want only the healthiest of foods entering their systems.

My goal is to reach the greatest number of people transitioning to a plant-based diet absent so many dietary restrictions. Then they decide within the plant-based realm how strict they want to become as they evolve.

My focus within that realm is always on flavor and texture. Will they eat this again? Will I eat this again? If the answer is maybe yes or maybe not, then I don’t use that recipe. Most people won’t continue to eat something only because it’s healthy for them. Americans like their food, they love to eat, so it’s my job to expose them to animal-free food that they’ll look forward to eating again.

There’s plenty of room for every variant of plant-based cuisine in the world. I am happy with the route I chose as an animal-free chef engineering fine tasting animal-free recipes.

Lick Your Chops Animal-Free Recipes

There is a point beyond which more practice, more work-outs or a more stringent diet will not make you more proficient, stronger nor healthier.

The Animal-Free Chef applies that principle to Mainstream Animal-Free Cuisine!

You can LICK YOUR CHOPS AFTER EVERY MEAL and still achieve optimal health.

~ Sharon Lee Davies-Tight, the animal-free chef

Postscript: I heard a government contributor to a popular cable news show say recently that the world isn’t trusting America now, so anything with an American label on it won’t be trusted either.

Personally, I refuse to become like the Jews – hiding my identity because the world doesn’t trust me, simply because I am an American or because I might be targeted because of my American heritage.

I am The American Animal-Free Chef, and I will remain so until my death.






 

Categories
WALK THE TALK

‘I Don’t Eat Animals With Faces’

‘I DON’T EAT ANIMALS WITH FACES’

I don’t eat animals period. That’s where I am in life and that’s where I choose to stay.

To begin, let me tell you that my only reason for not eating animals is to preserve the life of the animal. I believe that all animals, including the human animal, once born onto this planet have a right to live their life unencumbered by prejudice, discrimination, enslavement, torture and slaughter, and that no being has a right to take that life, unless in a situation of immediate personal threat. I would not personally kill an animal to eat, and I don’t expect anyone else to do it for me. By not eating animals I preserve the lives of those living and discourage the procreation of those destined for slaughter.

However, I wasn’t always a vegetarian. I was born into a family who ate animals and accepted it not only as a necessary part of survival, but as a delicacy as well – to be enjoyed. I recall many festive scenes surrounding the carving of a turkey or ham on holidays. And in my younger days was elated when Dad, knowing that ham was my favorite, would pile an extra helping onto my plate – without me even asking.

But there came a time when I started asking myself questions about the inconsistencies I observed around me. Why did hearing that a deer got shot saddened my mother, but stewing a chicken didn’t? And my grandmother who impressed me the most, telling me stories of living on the farm – loving the animals as her friends – running off into the woods during slaughter time, to chop down trees till exhausted, madder than a wet hen she’s say, while right in front of her on her plate sat two hot dogs (dogs as she called them) on buttered bread waiting to be devoured. Although young at the time, I remember noting the incongruity between her beliefs and consequent actions. Why if she loved the animals so much did she eat them?

Sometime thereafter an incident occurred that must have left its mark, because as I go over my life looking for clues as to what influenced me to care for the animals, this stands out startlingly clear. One bright, sunny Sunday morning, the air crisp, clear and sweet smelling, the whole family set out for the country to attend an all day picnic at friends of my parents. They had a big swimming pool and huge, expansive garden with every flower and vegetable. Fruit trees too.

Upon arriving we unpacked the car, then strolled across the long yard into a scene that I will never forget. The husband standing in khaki shorts, black leather shoes and black socks; blood splattered all over his bare chest and legs, cigar stub in mouth, hatchet in hand. Chickens  – some running, some squawking, others barely moving. And he, laughing through a mucous-filled throat, “I’ll get you little sons-of-bitches”. Wife talking to Mom about defeathering and gardening as they walked back toward the house. And hearing faintly as they walked further away, “You know Peg, he hates to do that”. I was stunned. Those poor defenseless chickens. It wasn’t right. And why did he do it, if he hated to do it? But, he was a nice guy and so was everybody. And he didn’t kill any in front of us. I was glad of that. So, just like everybody else, I went on to enjoy the day swimming and playing, and eating my fair share of hot dogs and hamburgers.

I suppose experiences such as these as well as others along the way sit on a back burner for a while, waiting to emerge at some later time to influence your life, because it wasn’t till many years later that I actually did stop eating animals. But when I did, it happened suddenly.

Asleep one night I dreamed I was at a barbecue house in Florida. I recall sitting on a long bench attached to a long table with meat paper stretched over the top of it. In fact, there were many of these tables in a large barn-like structure with a concrete floor. The serving area was to the front of the building extending across it. And the kitchen was to the left rear with swinging doors with windows in them.

Sitting there I began to feel a little uncomfortable, but didn’t know why. I noticed a few people milling around, then became vaguely aware that no one was talking. I assumed they were waiting for an order, as I guessed I was, but I didn’t remember ordering anything.

Well, in a second what I saw carried out from that kitchen on a barbecue spit five feet long was a charcoal – broiled – to a golden brown – whole person, all shriveled up. Well, I didn’t wait around to see who ordered it – I knew I didn’t. I got the hell out of that dream in a hurry! To keep a short story short, it was that scene in that dream that convinced me to stop eating animals.

The next morning when I talked it over with my husband we both agreed that if it wasn’t right to slaughter a human for barbecue, then it wasn’t right to slaughter any other animal for barbecue; they were one and the same. So, that’s how my animal-free adventure began. As swift as that with not much deliberation, we stopped eating animals…and knew we were right in doing so.

For the next few years going meatless became an ever-present challenge – three meals a day, whether cooked at home or eaten out had to be dealt with. Since eating out offered limited taste and variety I decided to cook. I spent hour after hour scouring magazines and cookbooks for ideas, but couldn’t find much. It seemed that vegetarians back in the ’70s were primarily into taste bud punishment. So, I began experimenting on my own. I cooked day and night discovering new ways to please my palate, my husband’s palate, and anyone else’s who ate at our house. I was determined to make this work, and would prove to everyone that I could prepare meals without meat that were every bit as tasty as meals with meat. And I did just that. Proved it again and again.

But somewhere along the way our commitment started to break down. Whether it was the lack of support – and in many cases outright scorn and rejection from family, friends, associates, co-workers, wait staff in restaurants etc. – or simply a desire to do what everybody else was doing – whatever the reason (and it’s never difficult to find a reason for doing something that’s already socially acceptable) – we started eating meat again. And we did it with rebellious abandon, convincing ourselves that if everyone else did it, then it must be right. We packed our refrigerator full of meat. Bought in bulk at the warehouse, where we could pick out large cuts at wholesale prices. We had steak every night.

Then, just before Christmas one year we stopped at a farm in Amherst, Massachusetts that advertised quail for sale. We thought for something different we’d cook up a couple for Christmas dinner. We walked into a shed where a farmer was tending his birds whom he sold mainly to the University of Massachusetts for experimental purposes. He raised them. Many of them. Of exotic variety. They were everywhere. All in cages. And we moved very carefully so as not to disturb any of them.

We told the farmer what we wanted. But before filling our order he talked about the birds, pointing each one out as he told of each one’s uniqueness. He started to walk toward what looked like a refrigerator, but stopped midstream to open a cage. He removed a bird. And instead of showing it to us as I thought he was going to do, he held it securely in his left hand while forcing the mouth open by squeezing it’s jowls, then with his right hand, swiftly and dispassionately thrust a bade into the opened beak and up through the brain. He did this with a second bird, then asked, “That’s all you wanted was two, right?” I choked out a “yes”, but thought not this way! But how did I expect to get a quail? Prepackaged, defeathered, ready to cook – already dead?

Well, this meat-eating spree didn’t last for long, since once again I became subject to my own curious questioning, while at the same time being quietly nagged by a thought I had recently stumbled across – that the majority is not always right.

For the next several years I seesawed back and forth between eating animals and not eating animals. This indecision helped to further exacerbate the already present conflict in me which had been brewing for years. I knew it was wrong to kill animals to eat or for any other reason, but wanted proof of its wrongness. I went over and over the arguments I heard in defense of killing animals: We slaughter animals because we raise them for slaughter; we’re at the top of the food chain; they don’t contribute to society; God gave us permission; they taste good; we’ve always done it; everyone else does it; we developed large arm muscles with which to hunt; we developed large canine teeth with which to tear flesh; animals kill each other; it’s a matter of survival; we’re superior; plants scream when pulled from the ground; they’re dumb; they can’t feel pain or fright; they would otherwise suffer by the hands of nature from overpopulation and starvation. And some even said that there’s no such thing as good and bad, right or wrong, and if we accepted the world without judgment, then what’s one more dead cow?

I could not find in any of these arguments, or any others, a foundation of truth which could be in any way logically construed to justify the raising and killing of animals for consumption or any other reason. It just didn’t make sense to force these animals into violent, wretched, premature deaths to satisfy our own appetites.

If you raise a child for slaughter, that child is still a child. The billions of children and adults we kill on a continual basis in the animal kingdom of which we are part can only be given a name as harsh, cruel and gruesome as holocaust. It is our arrogance which prevents us from understanding and acknowledging this truth. We fear that our acknowledgement will put other needy humans (ourselves included) at risk; that we will lose the preferential treatment that we’ve been so accustomed to throughout the ages. We live under the false assumption that in order to help one group, we must neglect another group. This is just not so. The more you love, the more love you have to give. The more you care for and respect your co-inhabitants on this earth, the more caring and respectful you become of everybody’s rights. There is a bottomless well of caring in each of us. All we have to do is loosen the grip of our own arrogance on our own thoughts and actions. You will not love your own group or yourself less; you’ll love them and yourself more. We simply do not have to neglect one part of nature to care for another part.

Continuing to grow inside of me was an unrest regarding this issue that once again fulminated in a dream…in this dream I  was the chicken. And scared shit I was to die by the swing of that hatchet. My heart beat so fast I thought it would stop. I awoke in a pool of sweat. I may have even urinated. But at that precise moment I knew right from wrong – judgment or not. When it was my head there was no question. The conflict melted away. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It was so simple.

That night as I laid my head safely back to the pillow, I remembered hearing a long, long time ago a mother telling her child as she pointed to the dog, “See, he has eyes just like yours…and a nose…and ears…and a mouth”…as she outlined the dog’s face with her fingers. And that’s where I am today – ‘I don’t eat animals with faces’.

As far as the inconsistencies and incongruities I observed then and continue to observe now, I attribute them to ignorance in some cases; an inability to acknowledge the fact that we’ve been committing wrongful acts for most of our lives; a resistance to change and growth (many times the result of family, friends and society’s disapproval of our choices); and in still other cases, a simple lack of commitment. In my own case, I have finally bridged the gap between my beliefs and consequent actions, and I have my grandmother to thank for that.






 

Categories
CHEF'S HELPER

TASTING

TASTING. Taste and/or smell each ingredient before you add it to a dish, then taste and smell the dish to which you’ve added it, so that you become familiar with the way in which the flavor, texture, color and aroma achievements progress. Cooking is not only an art, but a science as well. Knowing how one ingredient in a particular form, under certain conditions interacts with another, and how those two interact with a third, and so on, will give you a solid foundation from which to begin the creative, more artistic aspect of cooking.

Keep in mind that the flavor, texture, color and aroma achievements are not complete until you serve the dish. This means that while the recipe is in progress it will not taste, feel, look or smell perfectly. Due to our impatient, pleasure-seeking natures, we frequently expect the full flavor, etc. achievement from the beginning, and when we don’t get it we become discouraged and begin altering the recipe, which inevitably leads to further frustration. Be patient; take your time and wait till the end for the full maturation of your achievements to occur.






 

Categories
CHEF'S HELPER

GUESTS

GUESTS. Since eating is one of the most important functions in life (eating is what keeps us alive), we approach it with a desire to make each experience – whether for 1 or 21 – the happiest and most healthful experience ever. Therefore everyone is treated as a guest – including family.