The Vegan Monologues, at a dinner theatre near you

October 7, 2014

And now, this: California-style, weapons-grade moonbattery courtesy of one Kelly Atlas, under the auspices of an animal-rights group calling itself “Direct Action Everywhere”.

This utter loon walks into a restaurant, where coincidentally the PA system is playing “My Girl,” and delivers a monologue about her girl: “I have a little girl. She was very abused for her entire life. She was terrified. . . . And she was hurt and abused her entire life because of this establishment and because of establishments like it.” And so forth.

Of course, as the weepy, blonde monologue progresses, it is eventually revealed that her “little girl” is actually a chicken named “Snow” whom Kelly apparently “rescued” (read: stole) from a commercial farm or some such place. Kelly’s lachrymose jeremiad continues, bemoaning the fate of Snow’s “sisters”: “And right now their eggs and their milk and their bodies are on plates inside this restaurant, and that is so unfair to them!” she wails.

Behold the certifiable delirium that is the modern animal-rights movement:

Direct Action Everywhere writes, on their Web site, explaining why they engage in “direct action”:

The passion of the movement for animal liberation is unmatched. Many of us have cried countless tears of pain, as we have heard, seen, and even felt the oppression and violence imparted on our non-human sisters and brothers.

Of course, they don’t really believe this, and they say so: the hashtag in the YouTube video title is #DisruptSpeciesism. If a chicken truly is my brother or sister, then eating him might be racism or sexism, but it isn’t speciesism. Direct Action Everywhere doesn’t want to stop animals from eating other animals. If they really believed humans and animals were brethren, they’d try to stop animals from eating meat, or they wouldn’t try to make humans stop eating meat, against their nature. Their aims contradict their presuppositions, and so their message is incoherent as well as risible.

As I wrote a few months ago, “there is a significant categorical and moral difference between human beings and animals. One is made in the image of God, and the rest are a gift of God for our use (Genesis 9:3).” Snow isn’t made in the image of God, and it’s going to take a lot more than a crocodile-tear-jerking homily from a flaky Californian to convince me I can’t turn her into delicious chicken tenders.


Friday in the wild: October 3, 2014

October 3, 2014

I haven’t done a Friday in the Wild for a few weeks, so while it might look like I’m playing catch-up, it is in fact a doozy of a week. Lots of interesting stuff to share. So, without further ado:

Come Reason posted this about the rise in relativism in Christian youth:

This kind of thinking is how tyranny is born. If one cannot tell another his actions are evil, then they will continue until those that would dare to oppose immorality are themselves labelled as immoral. . . . And now, the kids we send to college hold not the belief that they cannot stand their moral ground, but that they should not stand their moral ground, because to do so is itself an immoral act!

[Read The Epidemic of Relativism Among Christian Youth]

Woe unto anyone who declares woe unto anyone.

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F5 #3: In which I get needlessly commercial

February 16, 2013

When I do this F5 series, they have a general tendency to follow a recurring pattern: movies, music, books food, though perhaps not in that order. I’m pretty sure I’ve never just listed a bunch of addresses of a café chain for kicks, so this is perhaps one of the quirkiest things I’ve ever posted to the blog. But it’s partly about food (and so it sticks to the pattern), and it’s also about me (and so it sticks to the purpose).

I began drinking coffee in my late teens—perhaps around 17. (I’d already been drinking tea for a few years). Living in a small town with limited opportunities, my options were whatever I could make myself (usually instant) or what I could buy in a spare period from the school cafeteria, which, suprisingly, wasn’t that bad. When I moved to the city for university, I was almost turned off coffee entirely, thanks to the horrible, tar-like substance dispensed by my residence’s dining room. As a classmate once remarked to me, the real advantage of residence coffee was that you could drink a cup in the morning, and if you felt drowsy during class, just lick some off the roof of your mouth later.

In fairly short order, two things redeemed coffee for me: I discovered Tim Hortons coffee (unavailable to me in my teens), and also how to make my own coffee properly, out of ground beans. I soon wanted to try something other than the usual medium roast found in donut shops, or canned grounds from the supermarket. Also, the coffee shops around campus sold flavoured coffee, something not widely available in bean form outside of specialty shops. (But try and find raspberry chocolate or orange brandy coffee today!) So it’s no surprise that I soon found myself shopping at Second Cup for my beans—and, when I wasn’t living around the corner from one at school, frequently sitting in one.

So, without further ado, I present . . .

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Soup of the evening, beautiful soup

March 11, 2011

I hate thaws. For the third time in a month, Ottawa is in the middle of an onslaught of warm and wet: melting snow coupled with rain. The result, unfortunately, is a wettish basement, thanks to runoff water filling up a window well and seeping into the house.

I’ve been unable to make a grocery run for a couple of days because I had to stay home and make sure that a sump pump we’ve installed in the well operates properly, and so for last night’s dinner, I kind of had to scrounge and improvise. Actually, it turned out all right, and I thought I’d share the result.

Scott’s Hastily Thrown Together Vegetable Teryaki Soup

Serves: 1, adequately.

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 Spanish onion, sliced
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1/2 cup rice vermicelli
  • 1 egg
  • Parsley, red pepper flakes, powdered ginger, and teryaki sauce to taste
  1. Put the chicken broth in the pot and bring it to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, slice/dice the onions and carrots however you want.
  3. Prepare the rice noodles in a separate pot, and strain when they’re done.
  4. Add the vegetables to the broth. (You might want to give the carrots a head start, since they will take longer to cook; otherwise, by the time they’re done, the onions might have liquified!)
  5. Season the broth with the parsley, red pepper, and ginger.
  6. Let the soup simmer until the vegetables are cooked through.
  7. Add a few dashes of teryaki sauce for colour and flavour.
  8. Toss in the cooked rise noodles, and give the soup a stir.
  9. Break the egg into the soup. Leave it long enough for the whites to set before serving.

All in all, it turned out very well – not bad at all for something made with the odds and ends I had on hand. The carrots were done to perfection, the peppers and ginger added a bit of bite, and the teryaki sauce gave it some sweetness and saltiness. I was inspired by a can of Campbell’s “Teryaki Beef Noodle and Vegetable” that I picked up last week, and thought I could do something similar. If I could improve it, it would be by adding some meat, or perhaps using fresh parsley, pepper, and ginger instead of dried (This wouldn’t change the steps much, except to put the parsley in at the end instead of the beginning.)

(For 10 Crusty Bonus PointsTM, name the source of the post title.)

National Gratuitous Drink Promotion Day

June 10, 2010

So I heard through the grapevine that June 10 is National Iced Tea Day. While I strongly suspect that this is a conspiracy concocted by the Lipton, Redpath, and Realemon companies, I do have to admit that iced tea is my one weakness. So hey, why not celebrate?

And, in any case, I don’t believe I’ve ever had occasion to post my favourite recipe for iced tea, so this is as good an excuse as any.

You will need:

  • 2 L boiling water
  • 4 bags of Rooibos tea, or equivalent loose, or to taste
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 can Five Alive concentrate, i.e. the original five-citrus-fruit flavour
  • Ice (or some other way of cooling hot tea)


  1. Normally, I would start a recipe by inviting you to pour a beer. However, this recipe is so good that it will make your favourite beer taste like rancid hippo urine by comparison, so don’t waste your time.
  2. In an appropriately-sized pitcher, brew the tea to the desired strength. (Remember that ice will obviously dilute the tea considerably, so plan accordingly.) Remove the teabags.
  3. Stir in the sugar to dissolve it.
  4. Stir in enough ice cubes to bring the tea down to room temperature (or cooler, if you like).
  5. Add half of the Five Alive concentrate and mix it thoroughly. Save the other half for the next batch.

Chill the pitcher in the fridge before serving. Better yet, why wait? For instant gratification, pour the tea into a glass over lots of ice and drink it now.

Warning: This is very very very addictive. Handle with care. Fortunately, Rooibos tea is caffeine-free. Also, unlike black tea, it actually tastes better the longer you steep it. Enjoy.

F5 #4: Wings!

February 28, 2009

This has to be a first: I managed to finish something on this blog that I started – and on time, too.)

I love chicken wings. They are, bar none, my favourite finger food. They are my one weakness; my Achilles’ heel, as it were. This year’s F5 seems to be a bit of a palindrome: food followed by popular entertainment followed by popular entertainment – so it seems only appropriate to close out the month with another food post.

A few years back, when I was dropping a not inconsiderable portion of my salary at Local Heroes, a local sports bar that specializes in wings, I began to wonder, could I not do just as well myself, and for half the cost?

Thus, last summer, I regularly cooked up a batch of chicken wings and began the quest for the perfect Buffalo wing sauce. Starting with a basic mixture consisting of half a cup of Louisiana hot sauce and a couple tablespoons of melted butter, I mixed, baked, fried, ate, enjoyed, and evaluated, tweaking the recipe here and there. Finally, all that horrible, thankless kitchen slavery culminated in the following:

  • 1/2 cup Louisiana hot sauce (i.e. Frank’s Red Hot or equivalent)
  • 1 teaspoon habanero sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk it with a fork until it is well mixed.

I use the regular variety of Frank’s Louisiana hot sauce, or a generic equivalent from President’s Choice that’s just as good – plus it comes in really big bottles that are cheap as tap water. This is a Good Thing, since I go through a lot of it in my kitchen. If you want more heat, you can substitute Frank’s Xtra Hot, but I find that makes the wings too spicy. I don’t mind hot dishes by any means, but I prefer flavour to heat! (If you don’t like Louisiana hot sauce at all, of course you may substitute a base of your choice. But that would be a completely different recipe, so you’re on your own.) Since Louisiana sauce is based on cayenne pepper, an extra dash of cayenne adds a little more kick without altering the flavour. At one point, I had added some Tabasco sauce; later, I substituted a habanero sauce and decided I liked the nice finish it put on the mixture. I buy Grace red sauce, an inexpensive and fiery Caribbean brand that is available at regular supermarkets as well as ethnic ones.

For an interesting varation that gives your wings a nice smoky flavour, substitute a minced chipotle for the chile flakes, or a chipotle sauce for the habanero l;- or both, if you like.

I find this recipe makes just enough sauce to coat about two pounds of wings nicely. Your mileage may vary, so adjust the amounts accordingly.

Meanwhile, cook your chicken. I prefer to bread my wings, partly for the crispy coating, but mainly because the breading absorbs more sauce. Proper breading is a bit of a black art that I can’t claim to have mastered. It involves dredging the meat in seasoned flour, then dipping it in an egg wash, and finally rolling it in breadcrumbs. While this seems needlessly overkill, there’s a rationale behind it: breadcrumbs don’t stick to meat, but flour does, and egg sticks to flour, and breadcrumbs to egg. I have a tendency to bread my fingers as much as my food, so I won’t pontificate on the proper technique; whatever one you prefer. And not having a deep fryer handy, I also bake my wings. It takes longer, but is probably better for me anyway. Spread two pounds of wings out on a baking sheet covered with parchment, and bake them in the oven at 300-350 degrees for about one hour, turning them over at the half-hour point.

Finally, take the finished wings out of the oven and toss them in a mixing bowl with the sauce to coat them completely. Serve with raw veggies, ranch or blue cheese dressing, and of course your favourite beverage that rhymes with “beer.”

I often close blog posts with this word, but this time I can almost promise it it: Enjoy.

The triumphant return of F5: Feel the burn!

February 6, 2009

A few years back, I decided to devote the four Fridays of February to some strictly personal stuff about my guilty pleasures. I named the series F5: Four February Fridays of Fabulous Frivolity. Unfortunately, I never managed to get the series to go the distance or on time. Recently, however, I discovered that Blogger has implemented a scheduling feature: by post-dating a blog article, I can write it well in advance and forget about it, and it will automagically appear at the appointed time. So I really have no excuse this year.

When I was little, my dad’s brother lived nearby, and we would pay his family a visit a few times a year. My aunt had grown up in India; hence, curry was inevitably on the dinner menu. While I love curried food now, I didn’t really like it until I was a teenager. But I did like the papadums that she served with it. (I still do – crispy, flat wafers of lentil flour, fried in oil until they puff up and turn crispy.) After three or four of these, I had a noticeable burn in my mouth. And that was my first experience with hot food that I can remember: I didn’t much like it, but I put up with it.

I think the turning point, when I actually came to like the sensation of hot food, came some years later at summer camp. One of the counselors, who sat at my dinner table, had brought a bottle of Tabasco sauce with him. (Rumour had it that he and another counselor would secretly enjoy peanut-butter-and-Tabasco sandwiches after hours.) While I had often seen Tabasco sauce in cartoons, usually used as a weapon, I had never tasted it. With a single drop on the tongue, I felt like I had been napalmed. Not a pleasant experience. But the flavour – what there was of it in the instant before smoke began pouring out of my ears – was wonderful, and I wanted more, and I determined that I would learn to love the heat. My mother’s single bottle of Tabasco, which she had probably had for years, was drained in only a few months as I began to find different uses for the stuff. (A few drops go very well with celery, and coincidentally I also began developing a taste for tomato juice.) She wasn’t impressed, but the sauce was so old it had turned brown, so I was really doing her a favour. And thus my transformation into a committed chile-head was complete.

During my latter years of high school, a I attended a picnic held in honour of a visiting missionary and some of his students from India. Amongst the various dishes on the table was a veggie plate. And on this plate were some little, shiny, green peppers. “How cute,” I thought, and took two back to my seat. I bit into the first one. It was cool, crisp, fresh, and tasty. So I finished it off quickly.

Bad move.

Living in a small town with a limited selection of fresh produce, how was I supposed to know what a jalapeño pepper looked like?

Of course, jalapeños have a fairly slow burn, so it was a few seconds after I had devoured the second pepper before I started feeling the heat from the first. For the next ten minutes, I sat in my seat and suffered. And sweated. And endured the snide remarks.

Fortunately, you build up a tolerance for capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers hot), and jalapeños don’t often have much effect on me anymore. And that’s fine: although I’m an unrepentant chile-head, I don’t really seek the thrill of hotter and hotter food. I feel that the heat should enhance and complement the flavour of the dish rather than be an end in itself. You can keep your suicide wings; make mine hot or even medium.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a good selection of hot condiments in my pantry. I love hot sauces: chipotle sauce with chile, for example. My sister spent some time living in the Caribbean, and she has brought me bottles of two Antiguan sauces: Judy’s and Suzy’s. Bother are intolerably hot on their own, but both go very well with eggs. A Canadian sauce named Prairie Fire is good for adding heat to dishes without altering their flavour. And, of course, there’s good old Tabasco Sauce.

Generally, though, I don’t spike my cooking with hot sauces, unless the recipe specifically calls for one. I’d rather use an appropriate spice, like cayenne powder, or better yet, fresh peppers. There’s no comparison between a pot of chili that has been simmering on the stove with fresh habanero or jalapeño peppers, and one that has just had a teaspoon of Tabasco dumped into it. I also recently discovered canned chipotles in my local grocery store, and they are good for giving food a rich, smoky flavour. (The sauce they are packed in makes an interesting addition to salad dressings, too.)

This, apparently, is my hobby – I don’t have too many friends who like spicy food. So if you’re over for dinner, I promise not to firebomb you. Too badly.